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.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

I just wrote my column for this week's law school paper. It's sort of all over the place, so I don't know. Maybe something else will inspire before Wednesday.

The curse has been broken. After 86 years... someone is finally going to get a “C” in a class. Heck, it’s probably going to be me, since I keep forgetting to pick up new reading packets from the distribution center and by the time I get there, they’re all out. There’s something profoundly uncomfortable about walking into class knowing that not only haven’t you done the reading; you don’t even have the reading; and you know you’re not going to remember to pick up the reading until the week before the exam when you realize there’s a small gap in your notes in between “Welcome to the first day of class,” and “I’ll be available in my office between now and the exam.”

I was reading our weekly newsletter, as I searched for something to inspire me to write this week. There’s almost too much there. There’s the annual “Harvest of Health” fair next Wednesday, with “free food and giveaways” and “free chair massages.” I remember last year’s. I got a band-aid, a couple inches of dental floss, a brochure about proper cleaning between my toes, a used Kleenex, and three un-popped popcorn kernels. I guess I got there late. I’m confused as to what the Harvest of Health fair is advertising. Given our student health insurance plan, if, say, my arm gets chopped off in a freak Civil Procedure accident (let’s say my hand is in Vermont while my elbow is in New Hampshire, when suddenly a car rolls down a hill...), Harvard Health Services is really going to be the place I go, I promise. And if any of us still need “reminders” to brush our teeth or take care of that rash, I think we deserve whatever our fates and shouldn’t have someone reminding us that the normal color of skin is not green.

There’s also a message about a course on “health management for older adults” being given in conjunction with the medical school starting in January. Unfortunately, the course meets from 5:45-7:15 on Thursday nights, which is well past the bedtime of anyone who’d be interested in taking it. Finally, there’s an announcement about the 2005 American Bar Association Mediation Competition: “Regional competitions will be held in early March and the winners will compete nationally.” I think that’s the same way American Idol works. Interesting.

So perhaps I was reading my newsletter too carefully over Flyout Week. But what else is there for a 3L to do? I’ve gotten some e-mails from 2L friends of mine: “I already have 12 offers, including 9 at firms I really like, but I still have 8 more callbacks this week, so I’m in a really good position.” I may be exaggerating the numbers. For 2Ls, though, it’s the beginning of the end: you come back to campus with an offer, and – you think you’re not picking up your reading packets in time now? Just wait until next semester, when you have no idea what you’re still doing in class.

This is the problem with the recruiting schedule as is. People’s futures are fixed before they’re halfway through law school. Fall of 2L year most people already know where they’re going to end up – or at least where they have an option of ending up – and it makes the rest of the time here feel pretty useless. You’re "on your way out" before you’ve really gotten adjusted to the place. I think this is the explanation to answer our Dean's comment in her "State of the School" speech that she doesn’t understand why students are unhappy here. They’re unhappy here because once you go through flyout week 2L year, the rest of your education feels somewhat pointless. And a year-and-three-quarters is a long time to feel like what you’re doing is pointless. Despite the plethora of opportunities on campus to work with brilliant professors, interesting classmates, and with the unfathomable resources of the Largest Law Library In The Known Universe (TM).

In her State of the School speech, the Dean said the law school cannot be criticized for keeping students from pursuing public interest careers – the low-income protection program, the Office of Public Interest Advising, the speakers that come to campus, the summer funding support... all of these things bear her out. But I think the reason why students can see it differently is because of this recruiting schedule. No, the law school doesn’t force people to take corporate jobs. But OCI happens so early (and it’s not Harvard’s fault – at most schools it happens even earlier – so I’m not blaming the Dean, but I’m just trying to see if I can explain the paradox) and so many people participate that people who don’t – and who are left to tell friends, still a full twenty months before graduation, that they don’t have a job lined up yet – feel like exceptions. The process marginalizes people who don’t participate, probably to such an extent that some people who wouldn’t otherwise try a firm at all try one 2L summer – which is probably a good thing, actually, because how can you know for sure if you don’t try, and it’s an awful lot of money – but are really just postponing their marginalization until 3L year.

I don’t know if there’s a solution to this – given that it comes from the firms’ schedules, and is a problem everywhere, not just here – and I don’t even know if I’m describing a real problem, or just something I’m imagining in my head. And I’m really not sure how a column about the Red Sox breaking their curse ended up as a column about OCI. Maybe next it’s time to break the 86-year curse of every Monday being “Turkey Day” at the law school cafeteria. Was turkey on sale at some point in the past, and the school just stocked up for the future? Can we donate the extra turkey somewhere? Maybe the Yankees need a new mascot.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Four Easy Halloween Costume Hints:
1. Don't shave, and go as a member of the Red Sox
2. Set a car on fire, and go as a fan of the Red Sox
3. Don't sing, and go as Ashlee Simpson
4. Carry a weapon of mass destruction, and go as anyone but Saddam Hussein
Election Day Special: Battleground Area Previews

From The New York Times:

CLEVELAND, Oct. 30 - The 2004 presidential campaign is ending as it began, focused with blazing intensity on no more than a dozen hard-fought states, [in a] tinglingly close contest between President Bush and Senator John Kerry....

A series of hairbreadth finishes could plunge the nation into treacherous straits, with lawsuits in multiple states, a far more complex prospect than the legal contest in 2000, which was confined to Florida. Several suits have already been filed. But the huge numbers of newly registered voters could confound all the forecasts.

Battleground-state previews by New York Times reporters follow [including Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, and more].

Other battleground areas not covered in the article

Hidden Valley Ranch

Almost alone in the West, Hidden Valley Ranch has traditionally been a place where Democrats can win federal office, but only if they slather their vegetables with mayonnaise-based condiments like Creamy Italian dressing. Even though President Bush carried the Ranch in 2000 by five percentage points, most of its line workers are Democrats, believing that a second Bush administration would result in their jobs being outsourced to Mexico, where dehydrated bits of carrot, used in virtually all of Hidden Valley Ranch's creations, are marginally less expensive. The President's love for his own ranch in Crawford has thus far failed to impress workers here, who insist that despite the name "Hidden Valley Ranch," it's actually more like a sweatshop in the middle of a dry, hot desert, without sufficient ventilation. This, coupled with mixed economic news -- one bottler lost a quarter in a batch of French dressing -- has put the Ranch in play for the Kerry campaign. Neither candidate has visited Hidden Valley Ranch since the summer's raspberry vinaigrette disaster, but President Bush's aides have put out word that the President enjoys Honey Mustard dressing on his dinner salads.

My Grandmother's Friends

My grandmother's friends remain intensely contested, with President Bush and John Kerry both hoping the other's supporters pass away by Tuesday. Wary voters among my grandmother's friends remain gripped by anxiety, due mostly to unrelated conditions involving the circulatory system, or a failure to remember to refill the psychotropic drug prescription in time. Radio and television have recently been flooded with advertisements from both candidates specifically targeted to appeal to my grandmother's friends. However, the radio volume doesn't go high enough for any of them to hear the ads, and the television is stuck on the Food Network, and no one knows how to change the channel. The Kerry campaign was hoping a visit by rocker Bruce Springsteen would help him gain last-minute support, but, no, no idea who he is at all. Each campaign says that turnout holds the key to victory. "Whose hip is going to last?" said one Bush aide. "And will they really remember that Tuesday is Election Day, or will they go to the foot doctor instead?"

The Ethnic Foods Section of the Supermarket

The traditional recipe for cooking up a region undecided does not fit the ethnic foods section of the supermarket. There are no farmers as in Iowa, blue-collar manufacturing workers as in Ohio, or Jewish Pat Buchanan supporters as in Florida. Instead, there's a mix of immigrants hoping to find foods from their native lands, retirees experimenting with a new cookbook from the library, young people imagining themselves to be among the cultural elite because they know how to make Pad Thai at home, the lost and confused, just looking for string cheese, and three stock clerks, moving the expired cans of fish product to the front so they get bought before the new ones. Several different recent polls have Mr. Bush ahead of John Kerry, but the lead changes every time Manischewitz releases a new flavor of macaroons and the Jewish population in the aisle increases dramatically. While in most areas, the war in Iraq and the economy preoccupy the voters, here it's dried beans.

West Dakota

Despite not existing, West Dakota is shaping up to a real factor in Tuesday's election. It's unclear which candidate will come out on top, due to a number of factors. First, the military presence here is enormous, through installations like Fort Snowpile, the United States Hail and Sleet Reserve, and NORAFD, the North American Fictional Defense Center. If Mr. Kerry does win here, it will not be a result of a final media blitz. There is no television market that reaches the residents of West Dakota. It will also not be because of his visits to the region; he has not visited. But neither has Mr. Bush, leading pundits to insist both campaigns are on equal footing as they try to capture the zero electoral votes up for grabs in this hotly contested battleground region.

The Magazine Section at Barnes & Noble

It's a highly fragmented population here in the magazine section at Barnes & Noble, with highly-entrenched camps staking out their ground in the Motorsports, Garden & Home, Popular Music, Alternative Lifestyles, and Children's shelves, just to name a few. Candidates have tended in the past to focus on only a few of these groups, ignoring anyone reading "High Times," since that's obviously a Green Party voter, and anyone reading "Highlights," because that's obviously either a child, or someone who won't be able to figure out how to use the voting machine anyway. "It's going to come down to that guy reading the guitar magazine," said one Kerry ground operative, "and the woman with the needlepoint guide." "Oh, and that guy trying to grab the porn without anyone noticing."

President Bush's Staff

President Bush's staff was not even supposed to be in the game at this point, and there is some argument about whether it really is. As recently as a month ago, it had been scratched off of most political strategists' list of battleground areas, expected to do once again what it had done in the last presidential election -- go Republican. But then John Kerry visited twice this week, with his message of international cooperation and lower deficits, and President Bush's staff has turned into the battleground that some hoped it would be all along. Republican officials say they think they can hand Mr. Bush's staff to Mr. Bush through the rural members. Democrats are convinced they can offer plum ambassadorships in faraway lands instead. But, lately, officials on both sides have been hearing two words from members of President Bush's staff that many of them have been trying hard to forget: Ralph Nader. He may end up taking it, against all odds.

Friday, October 29, 2004

JD2B links to the American Lawyer Summer Associate Rankings. These read like teacher evaluations -- on a 5-point scale, none of the 159 firms ranked has an overall score below 4. This is crazy. It tells someone nothing. One bad review -- one score of 1 by one unhappy summer associate -- can plunge a firm dozens of places in the rankings. That's stupid. They either need different questions, more assurance that it's anonymous, or some other way of obtaining information, because there's no way that every firm is awesome. Some of them must be better than others by more than a fraction of a point on a 5-point scale. 4.5 cannot be average. It just means the scale is wrong. If everyone loves their summer jobs, then, still, some people must love them more than others. There's very little value in reading the results of this survey, and American Lawyer should feel stupid for bothering, because it's basically just measuring how well each firm convinced its summers to fill out the form well.

Okay, there's one tiny kernel of value. The firm-by-firm rankings have a bit of prose in terms of stuff that's good about the firm and stuff that's bad, I assume taken from the aggregate responses, but probably just from the 1 form where someone bothered to leave a comment instead of just doing the multiple choice stuff. So, again, I'm not sure how much credence to give this stuff. I browsed for interesting comments. Here's the best ones I found. (In other words, this is the Cliffs Notes to the summer associate survey, so you don't have to slog through it.)

Akin Gump:
Most memorable experience: Social events.
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: A few less social events.
This is so helpful, isn't it? Come on, American Lawyer. And I'm not even going to dwell on less/fewer. I hope the firm reads this as "a few events that are less social," so they have a solitaire tournament, or a solo kayak competition, or something like that next year. Nevermind, I'm being stupid.

Allen & Overy:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Communicate better on the nature of the work offered.
This sounds kind of substantive. Did the firm tell someone they'd be doing one thing and then totally bait-and-switch? "Uh, yeah, you who wants to do public interest -- you're going to be defending Burma in this human rights case."

Alston & Bird:
How they would describe the firm to other law students: A fun place to work with people who enjoy working with young lawyers.

Baker Botts:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Change the overall tone of the firm: make it less formal, more fun, and not as dour.
Wow. Less fun *than an average law firm.* This place must be a blast.

Barnes & Thornburg:
Most memorable experience: Having people tell me that they heard "through the grapevine" that I had done a great job [on a brief]; I’ve never been so proud!
Anyone else want to hit this person?

Choate, Hall & Stewart:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: More social events-particularly [ones] that do not seem like social exams.
Getting excited?

Cleary Gottlieb:
What they said surprised them most: How the hours flew by.
Are these surveys really anonymous?

Cozen O'Connor:
Most memorable experience: Scavenger hunt through Philadelphia.
Anyone else picturing a team of law students stealing the Liberty Bell?

What they said surprised them most: Work somewhat less soul-crushing than expected.
How they would describe the firm to other law students: Don’t get scared away by myths of horrible people.
I bet these lines are going straight into the recruiting brochures. This should scare you. If this does not scare you, stop, take a look in the mirror, and think about the person you used to be before law school. Sorry, this is just a frightening pair of comments.

Crowell & Morin:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Less junk food related activities.
What were they doing? Bobbing for cheez doodles?

Davis Polk:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Provide summer associates with one paid day off.
This is not a comment on the law firm. Whoever wrote this should go look at his paycheck. They're paying $2400 a week when you come to work. That's way more than any 2L deserves for summer work. There's no way -- no way! -- that anyone could possibly make a legitimate straight-faced argument that the firm has any obligation to pay you when you don't show up. You're making enough already. Crazy. Crazy.

Most memorable experience: Dechert took all of the firm’s summer associates to London at the beginning of the summer; London trip was incredible.
But did they make you do work there?

Dickstein Shapiro:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Have the associates stop pressing the summers for gossip.
Okay, cross that one off the list.

Foley Hoag:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Faster Internet access.
That's interesting. I mean, if it's true that it's a problem, it's bizarre the firm hasn't dealt with that.

Holland & Knight:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Have a couple of summer associate events that are of more interest to women.
Cancel the weightlifting competition for next year. Also the sperm donation event.

Irell & Manella:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Plan a few more events for shy people.
You want that firm with the "less social" events, right? Better cancel the scream-off for next summer. And the rave.

Kronish Lieb:
What they said surprised them most: That once you get a Blackberry, you are on a leash.

Lewis & Roca:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Give some more upfront information about how to utilize a secretary.
No comment. Use your imagination.

O'Melveny & Myers:
What they said surprised them most: The culture of a seven-day work week.
Again, that's one for the recruiting brochure.

Sidley Austin:
What they said surprised them most: How easy it is to forget about the other things you wanted to do with your life.
Two in a row: again, get that one in the brochure. In bold.

Simpson Thacher:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Give the summer associates remote access to the office…via a Blackberry or at least passwords [to a server] so that we could leave the office…with some peace of mind.
No comment.

How they would describe the firm to other law students: They made me feel like a real person with a life, thoughts, and opinions of my own.
Lucky you!

Thacher Profitt:
If they could tell the firm to change one thing: Pick: lifestyle or sweatshop–I’m confused.
That doesn't sound good.

Weil Gotshal:
What they said surprised them most: Friendliness of partners and associates–no rug chewers.
I just don't know what a rug-chewer is. Anyone? I think it was in the Saturday Night Live sketch where they made fun of John Kerry talking about Vice President... no, I don't want to go there. Forget it.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Big London Wrapup

A. Ten things you ought to do in London:
1. Eat some weird flavored potato chips. Like Marmite, which is not, as it sounds, an insect removal spray.
2. See some cheap theater. But don't go see Cats or Les Miserables, because you can see those on tour in a city near you, and what's the fun of that. Go to the National Theater, because they had cool stuff. Or see something experimental, just for fun.
3. The theater museum was worth it. Even if you don't like museums.
4. Walk the Tower Bridge. Good views. Also the Hungerford Foot Bridge. And London Bridge. And Waterloo Bridge. So many bridges.
5. Observe the traffic crossing signals. Drivers drive fast. Careful.
6. My chicken cutlet sandwich from the food truck at the Portobello Market was really good. And cheap. Almost worth a special trip.
7. Buckingham Palace and the park right near it. Really huge, fat birds. I think animals are neat. Maybe because I'm from New York, and didn't see any live animals growing up. Fat birds. Cool.
8. The food section of Marks & Spencer department store is a fun wander-through, just to see what's the same and what's different. Like these weird "eggs" made of sausage and breadcrumbs that seemed pretty popular.
9. The National Portrait Gallery is another cool museum for the non-museum types. Although it will make you realize how little you know about famous British people.
10. Watch some TV. Neat reality shows.

B. Ten things you ought not to do in London:
1. Change your money in the machines in the airport. They'll rip you off. Use the bank machine by the train station -- don't panic that you won't find one there. It's there. Don't be tempted by the machines.
2. Don't pay full price for theater. There's a half-price booth at Leicester Square. Or, for the smaller shows not at the booth, usually a student discount.
3. Avoid the sweet Indian dishes because they're sickly-sweet. Tikka Masala, I'm looking at you.
4. Don't ride the bus. There was nothing fun about the bus.
5. Spend your change, because if you let it build up, it's going to weigh you down. Because there's no 1-pound bill, those 10s and 20s become coins much more quickly than in America. Very easy to end up with a pocketful of heavy coins.
6. That ferris wheel looked awfully expensive -- more than $20. Is it really worth it? Didn't look like it. And I like ferris wheels more than most people do, I think.
7. TGI Fridays. Subway. Starbucks. McDonalds. Burger King. You're in a foreign country. Don't be stupid. Eat authentic food, not crappy American imports. Give me a break. Same goes for the Gap and Borders. Go to British stores. Otherwise you should've stayed home.
8. Buy the weekend pass on the underground. It's the best deal you're going to find if you'll be going anywhere.
9. Umbrella. You'll need it.
10. Toothpaste. Bring some. They don't sell it in England. (I'm kidding. Please know I'm kidding. Just desperate for a #10, that's all.)

C. My favorite subway station names that I can remember without consulting a map.
1. Embankment. I've already covered this one.
2. Canada Water, not near Canada, and not near Water.
3. Bermondsey. Say it. It's just fun and British-sounding.
4. Paddington. Like the bear.
5. Southwark. Pronounced nothing like it looks.
6. Piccadilly. Again, just a fun word.
7. Leicester Square. That's pronounced, "Lester." Seriously. Go figure.
8. Notting Hill Gate. Like the movie.
9. Margaritaville. Okay, I'm making that one up.

D. Flavors coming soon in Walkers Crisps.
1. Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, and Cabbage Soup
2. Iron Filings
3. Cucumber and Arsenic
4. Lemon Pledge
5. Baby
6. Owl Dropping and Dog Snot
7. Earwax and Gravy
8. Sour Pickle, Sour Milk, and Sour Patch Kid
9. Tartar Sauce, Cream of Tartar, and just plain tooth decay Tartar
10. Chlamydia
No more curse. Wow. Go Red Sox. I'm kind of upset they won so quickly -- I was looking forward to a couple more World Series games. But what can I do. I'm glad they won. I watched almost the whole game. Except the very end. "How's that?" you ask. Well, at the 7th inning or so, I was getting sleepy, so I got ready for bed and put the game on. And was watching. And saw the top of the 9th. And then, apparently, I fell asleep during the commercial break. And woke up again to find Derek Lowe talking to the on-field reporter guy about the victory. So I shut the TV off and went back to sleep. Not like they scored anything in the bottom of the 9th. But I do feel kind of silly having fallen asleep. Gives me a nice start on today, though -- I guess it'll take one more day to get adjusted back to the time change.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Matt, a friend and classmate of mine, has a post about how students shouldn't skip class when they know they're going to be called on, and also that law students should be old enough to flush. I agree with him on both points. I had a class last spring where the professor went down the rows in order, and there was a day when like ten people skipped in the same row. Come on. You're supposed to be an adult. They're easy questions anyway.

Also a nice post from Matt about the herd mentality as regards law firms and clerkships.

Matt's cool. And has no idea that his counter is about to double. :)
London: Day Six

Yesterday's post never got posted, because of Blogger weirdness, so I just published it again, so you can check that out. I'm back at school, as of about two and a half hours ago. 11 hours door-to-door from my friend's dorm in London to my apartment here. Felt like no more than 7 or 8. :) I saw "De-Lovely" on the plane, the Cole Porter bio-pic. I don't know that I'd call it De-Lightful, but it was at least De-Cent. It kept me interested. But I may be more inclined to like bio-pics about songwriters than the average bloke. The American customs line in the Boston airport was longer than the foreigners' line. No fair. But no big deal. Good trip. I had fun.

The play I saw yesterday was "The History Boys" by Alan Bennett. I liked it but didn't love it. Apparently, as I browse some reviews and articles now that I'm home, it seems that it may end up in New York on Broadway, and most of the reviews, although not all, are very, very positive. My issue with it was that I liked 80% of it -- the main plot was about 8 seniors at a British prep school, hoping to get into Oxford or Cambridge, and the battle between one of their teachers, who wanted them to learn for the sake of the learning, and the new teacher brought in to help them prepare for the Oxford and Cambridge exams -- and thus saw learning as a means to an end. This was all really interesting, well-done, thought-provoking stuff. But the main subplot was that the learn-for-the-sake-of-learning teacher offers the boys rides home and fondles them. And then the headmaster finds out and wants to get rid of the teacher, and the emotional content of the play is such that it seems like we're supposed to feel like he should keep teaching in spite of this, and he's the hero, and it just didn't make all that much sense, and I didn't see what the point was. He had a nice, interesting play, and then mucked it all up with some weird message about how education is erotically charged and teachers fondling their students is kind of romantic and good. Or something like that. So that was sort of icky. But the show was witty and clever and funny and engaging. So I don't know how to necessarily reconcile all of that. You can check out reviews here and here if you're curious for more.

I had Indian food last night for the second time of the trip. The Indian food I had in England -- and bear in mind very small sample size here, and I'm generalizing -- was more intensely flavored than in America, but I'm not sure in a good way. The Tikka Masala was sweet. Like tomatoes, cream, and sugar. Very rich. But too sweet. It was like eating candy-coated lamb, a bit. And there was lots of cinnamon and other spices that made it really flavorful, but it was kind of sickly sweet. So I appreciated that it was well-made, but it didn't really do it for me.

In the airport today, I had a bacon and brie baguette that was delicious though. And I had a couple of Cornish pasties (think Hot Pockets, but better) during the week that were quite good.

Also, you can check out Walkers for all the cool flavors of crackers and potato chips they had over there. Click on the "Sensations" line for some of the coolest flavors, like the oriental crackers and pappadoms.

I'll have a wrapup post tomorrow, and then it's back to law stuff. I have some ideas for some interesting posts. So if you've been bored by the London stuff -- and my site stats indicate you might well be -- don't leave. Interesting stuff soon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

London: Day Five

I found a more European part of London in my wandering today, so I'm more pleased, and no more NY comparisons. The area is called Covent Garden and it has lots of little stores and cobblestone streets and people with face makeup performing in the street for money. I like better.

My friend and I saw a terrible play last night called Gaffer! (the exclamation point should have been a clue). It was a one-man show about soccer (football). We left at the intermission. It was sleep-inducing.

But today, in just a bit, I'm off to see a Tuesday matinee of a play called "The History Boys," which, simply by virtue of it being written by a guy who has anthologies of his plays in bookstores -- can't recall his name right now, but Googlable I'm sure -- should be better. So that should be cool.

Today's my last day here. A full wrapup once I'm home tomorrow, perhaps with some Top Ten things to do / not to do in London if you're a terrible tourist like me who doesn't love art museums. Liked the theater museum I just went to this morning though. Nice exhibit on lighting.

Monday, October 25, 2004

London, Day Three Part Two & Day Four Part One

I should have just called yesterday "Day Three" because I shouldn't have really thought I'd want to get back on the Internet again. I'll fix it when I get home. Anyway...

Yesterday we went to the Imperial War Museum, which came highly recommended from readers. But we were hungry, and it was crowded, and we were hungry. So the stay in the Imperial War Museum was brief. Followed by a walk over a bridge, and to Buckingham Palace, and through a park, and around a park -- which could have passed for Central Park, adding to the impression I sometimes have been having, although not always by any stretch, that London and New York are not dissimilar enough to make London actually seem foreign. This may just be ignorance on my part of stuff like how old buildings are and how to tell.

Wandered around the Waterloo area, which has a train station with a McDonalds, a Burger King, and a Starbucks. Poor London. Stop taking our chain restaurants. They're not really worth it.

I really like the British baseball commentators on "five," the BBC station that airs the games. They're funny. Also, they had a show "Britain's Worst Chef" the other night that was pretty amusing. And a commercial for "Gender Swap," which I don't really want to watch. Curt Schilling is awesome.

Today my friend had class, so I went out on my own and basically walked across the city and stopped whenever I passed something cool. I breezed through the British Museum in less time than it deserved, but it had lots of cool old Greek stone things, and a nicely architected Grand Court in the center. I went into Virgin Records, for no reason, and found it what you might expect. Also was curious and looked at the magazine section in a large British bookstore. They had more American magazines than I might have expected. Before the British Museum, I walked down Oxford Circus, a big busy street. Then I walked down Fleet Street, looked inside the Inns of Court and the Criminal Court, walked over to St. Paul's Cathedral (very nice, despite the scaffolding), continued (after getting myself turned around and retracing a few steps) around the Tower of London, across the Tower Bridge, over to the London Bridge, to Shakespeare's Globe Theater, and then picked up tickets for a show about soccer (er, football) that we're seeing tonight at a small theater not far from Shakespeare's.

Funny sign of the day: Under a bridge, announcing the clearance, "Max Headroom __ meters." Max Headroom, like that talking TV box thing from the '80s. Although maybe we have those signs in the U.S. too and I just haven't noticed. At some point on my walk I passed the London School of Economics and the Financial Times headquarters. No reason for mentioning that, I suppose.

So I covered a lot of ground. Maybe walked 3 or 4 miles, I'd imagine, at least. More tomorrow, and then I come home on Wednesday.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

London: Day Three, Part One

I haven't really done anything today yet -- my friend is doing some schoolwork, so I'm killing a half-hour on the Internet and then we'll head into the city somewhere -- so this can't be all I write about today, but I have a few random notes I scrawled down from the rest of yesterday after I posted:

1. There's a subway stop called "Embankment." This seems like a bad idea. I mean in terms of not really making me want to get off there. Like "Flood Plain" or "Tornado Alley," just not inspiring much confidence. You wouldn't name a subway stop "Death Trap," "Cliff's Edge," or "Ebola Virus," would you? "Lightning strike," "Bleach attack," or "Murder"? Is "embankment" so much better?

2. There's an ad on the subway -- and I know I should call it the tube, but let's stick with what I'm used to -- for an anti-fatigue drug that opens with the line, "Knackered?" That's a nice example of onomatopeia -- spelled it wrong I imagine -- words that sound like what they mean. That sounds like it means pretty darn exhausted, and I'm guessing it does. Nice word.

3. Speaking of subways, there's a whole bunch of the American chain restaurant Subway here. But it's not even called a subway. This seems crazy to me. Crazy. Also, TGI Friday's and a shopping mall we passed had 4 Starbucks on the directory. America should not be exporting this stuff. Please stop taking it, London. Please.

4. Lots of fried chicken places. I don't know why. Maybe just this neighborhood my friend lives in, which looks a lot like the neighborhood around Yankee Stadium. Sorry, Yankee Stadium.

5. Went to the National Portrait Gallery. I liked it MUCH more than I like most museums of paintings on walls. Because at least it was of people. They even had a George Washington. My reaction: "Oh! Finally someone who looks familiar!" Because my overall reaction to the whole museum: there are an awful lot of famous people I've never heard of, and I guess England just has this whole set of people whose American equivalents I'd surely know, and just have never, ever heard of at all -- I don't know why it surprises me, but I guess I didn't realize they have their own famous people here. It's neat! Walked through the 1960s-1990s gallery, and all of these people who I bet are pretty famous, but I had no idea -- authors, musicians, cricket stars. No clue. One or two, vaguely. Michael Caine. Otherwise, nope.

6. Stuff's expensive here. Like food. Speaking of food... time for food... more later.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

London: Day Two

I am in a different Internet cafe today, right near Trafalgar Square, although I haven't made it to Trafalgar Square yet. My friend is making a phone call. So I'm doing this.

The most common thing people who e-mailed me told me to do was go to Portobello Market, so I did. Although the weather here is ideal for growing mushrooms (wet and cloudy), that's not what Portobello Market is about. Think fleamarket, but instead of in a big open field, it's down a long street. Perfect if you're looking for scraps of metal or broken dishes. Or at least dishes that would be broken by the time you get home. The American Accent Quotient (AAQ) was high. It was very busy with people looking at costume jewelry. Upside: cheap food. I had a chicken schnitzel on a roll with onions. It was good. Then some banana and corn fritters (they were separate fritters -- unlike the crisp flavors, they were not combined into one magical banana corn delight) from an Indian vendor. Good stuff. And I looked at produce, because, like I said yesterday, I am the only tourist in the world who would rather look at food than at art. It's bizarre, because I don't really eat that much, and I'm cool with eating cheap street crap, but I just find looking at food other people have that we don't to be interesting. A kid on the tube was eating Flame Grilled Steak flavored potato chips.

So. Walked around Portobello Market for a while, and then walked through a big green park in the pouring rain (where I discovered lemonade = carbonated. Weird.) and to the Victoria & Alberts museum, where the Uncompelling Art Quotient (UAQ) was relatively high. Although they had an exhibit on wrought iron gates that was pretty cool (believe it or not, I'm serious), and an exhibit on musical instruments that sounded better than it was. Also a very strange blue and green chandelier. Man, it's tough to be tourist when it pours all day.

Walked to Harrod's after that, a big department store not entirely dissimilar from Macy's. It was mobbed too. Walked through the perfumerie on the way in, but could not find the Power Toolerie to compensate for the lack of masculinitie. I mean masculinity. Also looked at more food.

Trafalgar Square is next. More touristy stuff to follow. If I was here next week, I'd go see a one-man show Dylan Moran is doing called Monster II. I saw Monster in New York over the summer sometime. He was funny. Alas, it doesn't open until November 1.

The tube is pretty slow compared to New York.

Friday, October 22, 2004

London: Day One

I'm posting from an Internet cafe about 4 minutes from where my friend who I'm staying with lives. I've been in London 10 hours now. 3 of them were spent getting from the plane to my friend's place. 4 of them were spent sleeping (time zones. wow. weird stuff.). One was spent in a supermarket. Because I'm easily amused.

My friend lives in what would in the U.S. be called a working-class suburb, if you were being polite. It's kind of a ways from Central City. But it's cool. I feel like I'm going to bump into the unsuccessful brother of one of the characters from "The Office" on the street.

Heathrow airport was nice. This sounds really bad to say, as an American, because it reinforces stereotypes of Americans, but I was kind of annoyed they didn't have a separate customs line for us and we had to wait with the rest of the world that isn't from the EU. But the line moved faster than it looked. On the tube (tube = subway -- that is the only thing I know, from the guidebook I read), two people were reading Dickens. I thought that was funny.

There seems to be a standard font in England -- it's like Trebuchet in Microsoft Word, a sans serif, pretty casual font. It's everywhere -- on ads, on the tube, in the airport, on the phone book -- apparently the U.S. just didn't get the memo that serif fonts are out this generation.

I bought Vanilla Malted Milkballs from a vending machine. Because anything we don't have in the U.S. is extra-interesting to me. They're good. Halls cough drops come in Blackcurrant. I didn't buy any. But they were in the vending machine too. THey have M&Ms, but the packages are shaped differently.

We spent an hour in a supermarket. My friend needed a phone card, and supermarkets in foreign countries never cease to amuse me. I'm serious. I could wander in there for three hours and be totally content. People here like their chip flavors hearty and interesting. It's so cool. I bought a bag of Peking Spare Rib & Five Spice oriental crisps. They had grilled steak & onions chips, Yoghurt & Dill, Malaysian Chutney, Crispy Bacon (as opposed to soggy bacon?), Lemon & Sage Doritos, Honey Ham. More. I should have taken notes. Wood Chips & Honey Oat Chicken Droppings. I plan to try a new bizarre flavor of something every day. Because I'm easily amused. I got some citrus juice to go with the chips. A cheap snack. I'm a cheap tourist.

Tomorrow: Central London, and the answer to the question, "Will I get run over because my reflex is to look the wrong way when crossing the street?" Tune in to find out. Also, more about funny food flavors.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

As I watch Jim Edmonds force a game 7 in the NLCS after 12-inning masterpiece (that I missed most of because of a meeting -- but got back in time to see the last inning and a half), Sherry has a post on her newfound discovery that baseball might actually be cool, and I think she articulates this masterfully (no surprise, if you read her blog):

I started to see why people like baseball so much. For a team sport, it is excruciatingly individual. At any moment, one individual from each team has the entire pressure on him. It's a pressure cooker. Players can be heroes or complete jackasses but when it's their moment the whole weight of the game is on them. I've always thought baseball was incredibly boring -- just a bunch of standing around, and this artificial separation of defensive play and offensive play with no hope for the defense to intercept or turn things over and change the direction of the game... but I now see how it can hold you spellbound and hopeful, building up the tension and wondering whether a player will do something masterful or bungle his chance and crush everyone's dreams in a split second.
Ha! The New York Times has an article this morning that covers a point I made a bunch of times during the summer: expensive restaurant food is all the same, no matter what the ethnicity -- it all converges. When I made the point, I used Miso-glazed salmon as my example of food that was everywhere this summer. The Times uses Miso black cod. Ha. I'm two months ahead of the New York Times in my cultural observations. :) From the article:

All four of those restaurants opened over the last two years, and all four show that what is sold and heralded as ethnic variety is often just ethnic blending, with a frappéd result that changes little from one restaurant to the next. Behind a comforting illusion of diversity lies an even more comforting reality of sameness. In a city of supposedly inexhaustible options, there seems to be one meal, shaped by tyrannical culinary trends, pervasive nutritional fads and the economics of supply and demand.

"All you need are some different condiments, some different lighting and a different-looking menu, and people think they're having a different meal," said Mitchell Davis, a cookbook writer who teaches in New York University's department of nutrition, food studies and public health. "They're not, because they really want to be eating the same things: steak, cod and tuna tartare."

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Next week is our flyout week, when 2Ls do their callback interviews. And so 2Ls and 3Ls don't have classes. So it's a week off.

I'm lucky enough to have a friend who's studying in London for the year, and so I found a cheap flight and I'm going to visit, since when else will I know someone in London, and have a week off to play with? I'm leaving this Thursday, and I'll be back next Wednesday. We've been e-mailing without any noticeable access difficulties on his part, so he's apparently got decent Internet availability, so I should be able to post stuff -- and it's super-fun to write about weird stuff in foreign places anyway (see my Paris posts from last December), and gives me a reason to keep my eyes open.

So that's what's on deck. A favor: tell me what to see and do. No concrete plans right now. I've heard good things about the Indian food, a street with cool old bookshops that I can't remember the name of, and this big clock people keep talking about. :) Also a suggestion that we take the bus to Oxford and wander around there, since it's cool. But I have no real clue beyond that, and haven't read the London guidebook yet that I bought for $2 off Amazon used. So I'm eager for suggestions. Assume I'm relatively poor, and not a huge fan of old paintings (although other art is cool sometimes). Anyone who e-mails me a suggestion gets a postcard. (I just came up with that idea! Not bad, eh?)
Most Frightening Food Service Moment Ever

Girl in front of me, looking at pieces of chicken in sauce: "Is that breast meat?"
Server: "Not just breast meat -- it's from ALL the parts!"
In my Japanese Law class today, the professor was talking about the exams that students have to take if they want to be part of the bureaucracy. It's a 3-part exam -- an IQ-test-like portion plus a general knowledge portion, then a professional knowledge test, and then an oral exam. He shared some of the general knowledge questions:

1. What is (1+i) to the twentieth power?
2. What is the weight of the air of 22.4 liters at 0 degrees celsius?
3. What was the name of Buddha's wife?

I was 0-for-3, and really only question 1 do I think I ever knew or could figure out the answer to. But this is what Civil Servants in Japan need to know. Here, I imagine the test looks very, very different.

Monday, October 18, 2004

My post about last night's Sox game goes ditto for tonight, I guess.

We received an e-mail today. I read it twice. I'm not sure I understand what the big threat is here. I mean, maybe it's bad, but it sounds like nothing really bad is going on:

I would like to make you aware of a suspicious incident that occurred last week. A member of our staff received a fraudulent phone message from the Mail Room, informing her that there were packages for her to pick up. No harm resulted but the circumstances are similar to several calls Harvard staff received last year. In each case the caller was male and directed the message to the individual by name in a familiar tone of voice. Nobody that received such a call was confronted or harmed, but the pattern of calls is concerning. Harvard Police pursued each incident but without resolution; the calls just stopped until this similar event.

Be alert and cautious. It would be very unusual for the Mail Room to call for you to pick up a package. If you receive any such call from the Mail Room, print shop or other department, make sure you know who you are talking to and get a call back phone number to confirm.

UPDATE: Someone e-mailed and said the problem was -- and they didn't put this in the e-mail -- people were then coming into these people's offices, knowing they'd be out getting their "packages" and stealing their stuff. Uh, including that detail might have made the e-mail make more sense...
Red Sox just tied it up. And there is hope. For now.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

We're lucky: 2Ls and 3Ls get a week off for people doing interviews to go fly to their firms' offices and do them. So for people doing interviews, it makes it all a bit easier. And for people not doing interviews, it's a fall break. Hence:

A 1L’s Guide to Flyout Week

The campus is about to be yours for a week. I know – it’s almost too amazing to believe. You will have full access to the tables outside the student center, without having to compete with the bigger-and-stronger 2Ls and 3Ls who often muscle you out of the way right as you’re about to sit down with your “early Thanksgiving” turkey special from the cafeteria. There will be no lines at the distribution center, so you can pick up course readings with ease. You will find a desk in the library, without having to search for the fifteen or twenty seconds it normally takes. You’ll be the first to see a week’s worth of mailbox notices, about class rings, tuxedo rental, a new lecture series on the illusion of your education being worth anything, and an exciting session on living a life in soul-crushing debt, sponsored by your new friends at the Office of Career Services, who are like dogs in heat, waiting for their cage to be opened at the November 1st “you can start making 1Ls regret coming to law school” job-search start date.

I know you’re all wondering: how can I take best advantage of flyout week, given that I’ll have the campus all to myself? Here are three ideas to get your started:

1. All the office hours you want. No 2Ls and 3Ls bullying their way in to see professors with their important question about the Evidence Rules, or some silly old things like that. You can spend the whole week engaging him on whether Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 13 is more important than Uniform Commercial Code Section 2-205. Wow!

2. Convince the administration to change the codes on the bathrooms in the tunnels. Just imagine: a thousand 2Ls and 3Ls come back to campus next week, and can’t get into the bathroom! Hilarity ensues.

3. Draw funny moustaches on all the portraits around the school. Well, I guess you could do that even before flyout week. But maybe it’s more fun during flyout week. I don’t know. I’m glad I only promised three ideas and not ten, because I’m clearly having trouble here. Oh well.

After all, surely there are things that a 3L like me is too jaded to even remember about 1L year. Was there really a time when we had to write legal memos? I think I’ve blocked it out of mind completely....

A 2L’s Guide to Flyout Week

Off you go, to far-fling cities like New York, Washington, New York, Washington, New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. And, for some of you, four of them in seven days because you can’t just make up your mind about where to spend the rest of your life. Ridiculous. It’s only the rest of your life. Make up your mind already. What’s taking so long? You may think the point of flyout week is to get a job, but, really, you’ve already done that. You’re going to get some offers. Maybe not with every firm you’ll be visiting, but you’ll do fine. So don’t worry about that. The real goal for this week is to cost the law firms as much as possible. You have the amazing opportunity to make these places spend thousands of dollars on making sure you have an enjoyable week in their city. Take full advantage:

1. Walking? No. Taxicabs? Gosh no! Limousines. From the airport to the hotel. From the hotel to their office. From their office to your friend’s house in the next state. From your friend’s house in the next state to Las Vegas. From Las Vegas to Atlantic City. From Atlantic City to New Orleans. From New Orleans to Bermuda. Except Bermuda’s an island, right? Oops. But you get the point. Travel in style. After all, you’re not the ones paying for it.

2. Four-course breakfasts. Eight-course lunches. Thirteen-course dinners. Room service. Read the fine print. They give you some ridiculous amount of money they’ll reimburse you for meals. It’s like fifteen bucks for breakfast. You can eat two dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, and the firm will pay! That’s amazing! You can get almost one whole Starbucks Frappucino for that price! You can get the new Dunkin’ Donuts double-bacon, double-cheese bagel sandwich! Ten of them! The perfect breakfast to start off the day, if you think about it. How else will you get into the heads of 50-yar-old partners, slowed by their first two heart attacks, running on a caffeine high, after four hours of sleep and a recurring nightmare about a missing semicolon. At first, there was a follow-up sentence here, but I decided a missing colon is not really something to joke about.

3. Petty cash. No recruiting coordinator in his or her right mind would refuse a polite request from a law student on his way out of the building for a few extra dollars of spending money. Especially after a good set of interviews. You’re being walked to the elevator, just turn and say, softly, “You know, I was hoping to buy my mom a souvenir from the airport gift shop, since I love your city so much and can’t wait to work here. But I’m a little short on cash… I was wondering if the firm might be able to help me out a little bit. Nothing major, just a couple twenties. Consider it a cash advance?” Who’s gonna say no to that one? And if you’ve got eighteen callbacks in six days, like most of you do, that’s an awful lot of money…. Think about it.

4. “Excuse me, airline employee. I was hoping to upgrade this coach ticket to first-class. Sure, just bill it to the account that paid for the ticket originally. Thanks.”

A 3L’s Guide to Flyout Week

1. No classes.

2. No real restrictions on what you can do and where you can go, besides your own budgetary constraints, since we’re all probably $600,000 in debt by this point.

3. No reason to be concerned about much of anything, since there really aren’t any consequences at this point, short of breaking the law, and even then – we’re lawyers, we can talk our way out of anything! “I think the policeman violated my 4th amendment rights.” Do you think a judge remembers what that means any more than we do?

Hey, it sounds like a normal week!
I just saw a commercial for the upcoming reality show, "Big Fat Loser," where fat people try to lose weight, but are steered off course with the temptation of fattening foods. This seems particularly cruel.

My pitch for the next step after Big Fat Loser? An exciting new reality show where pregnant women are tempted with alcohol. This is where we're headed, right? How about poor people being tempted with money covered in a virus that will make them violently ill? Or sick people tempted with cures where the only downside is that their entire family dies?

Reality TV. Wow.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

...and sometimes there's just something worth linking to.

Yesterday, Jon Stewart went on Crossfire, and told the hosts they were partisan hacks (and that's just the beginning). The video is here. This is really funny, and it's really illustrative of why The Daily Show is good and CNN is bad. If you watch only one 13-minute video clip today, this should be the one you watch. Really, this is worth watching. Go watch it.

Or, if you don't do video, the Washington Post has an article about it. But the video is better.
I saw the movie, "Team America: World Police" last night, which was done by the people who do South Park.

Very, very funny.

Not perfect, by any stretch. Too many of the gags were very predictable, and you could see them coming, but even the predictable ones were funny. The voice work was not uniformly great. The plot was not that crisp. There were areas it could have been improved. There were jokes I thought I saw coming, and then nothing happened and it was a wasted opportunity. But those are mere quibbles.

Because it was very, very funny. It's worth seeing. Unquestionably.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

We have a 3L paper we have to write. Here are some topic ideas:

"If there was no curve: short stories from a fictional universe"

"Law in the time of reconstruction: a look at legal norms in the period when the student center was being renovated"

"Other countries: do they have legal systems too?"

"Public interest, public toilets: an examination of the inferior plumbing conditions at leading public interest organizations."

"Sixty dollar lunches: a summer associate's guide to New York's top restaurants."

"Studying for the MPRE: a minute-by-minute diary."
Democratic Debate Parody: Oct. 13, 2004 which should really just be called "Debate Parody" but I screwed up the title and if I switch it is messes up the Indexing because a couple of people already linked to it. Oops. Sorry.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good evening from an auditorium that looks exactly like the last one we debated in. Just so you know which state we'll be hearing the candidates pander to, let me tell you we're in Arizona tonight. By the end of the night, you'll know how many people in Arizona have lost their jobs, lost their health care, and lost their hair since the 2000 election. Even though there are only a hundred people in the room, and most of them are related to one of the candidates. I'm Bob Schieffer of CBS News, and I'm very old.

I'll moderate our discussion under detailed rules agreed to by the candidates, including the temperature in here, which is a chilly 47 degrees. But John Kerry's from Massachusetts, so that's what he wanted. George Bush, in turn, asked for Tonka trucks in the Green Room. That request was granted. The questions have been chosen by me, one of my research assistants, or the producer talking to me through my earpiece. To refresh your memory on the procedure -- and mine -- I will ask a question. The candidate is allowed two minutes to answer. His opponent then has a minute and a half to offer a rebuttal. At my discretion, I can extend the discussion by offering each candidate an additional 30 seconds. A member of the audience can then speak for 7 seconds, a dog can bark for 3 seconds, I can give you 2 seconds to grab another beer from the fridge, and then we will flash a subliminal message on the screen for an eighth of a second. A green light will come on to signal the candidate has 30 seconds left. A yellow light signals 15 seconds left. A red light means five seconds left. A purple light means we're at a 4th grade science fair growing plants. A black light means we're at a rave. A flashlight means we've had a blackout. There are also buzzers, horns, sirens, cans of mace, bottles of silly string, and freshly squeezed lemonade, if they are needed.

The candidates may not question each other directly. Because "debate" doesn't really mean anything. There are no opening statements, but there will be two-minute closing statements. There is an audience here tonight, but they have agreed to remain silent, which makes them pretty near useless. Except for right now, when they will clap on command like the monkeys they are. (Applause)

Gentleman, welcome to you both. By coin toss, the Bills will do the kickoff. Uh, I mean the first question goes to Senator Kerry. Senator, I want to set the stage for this discussion first by asking the question that I think is probably on the minds of many people watching this debate tonight. Are the Yankees still winning the game?

SEN. KERRY: Yes, Bob. I believe they are.

PRES. BUSH: They are winning the war against Terry. Terry Francona, the manager of the Red Sox.

SCHIEFFER: Thanks. For the first question, Senator Kerry, will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?

KERRY: The world in which *we* grew up, Bob? You're like sixty years older than I am. The world in which you grew up had slavery and outhouses. But it's an understandable concern. The measurement is are we as safe as we ought to be. Are we as safe as the books on President Bush's nightstand are safe from being read? I think we're not. I think there were a host of options that this president had available to him that he didn't take, like making sure that at all our ports in America containers are inspected. 95 percent come in today uninspected. People who fly on airplanes today, their bags are x-rayed, but their teeth are not. Firehouses don't have enough dalmations. Teachers don't have enough chalk. I don't have enough money. We can do better.

BUSH: We are safe. Let me compare us to Afghanistan, the country we all think of first when we think of safety. They had elections there. We have elections here. The first person who voted was a 19-year-old woman. Then she was shot.

KERRY: I will hunt down terrorists myself and kill them. With my bare hands. I will do it in the way Ronald Reagan did. By increasing deficits and trading arms for hostages.

BUSH: The symbol of our freedom and liberty is the Liberty Bell, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia makes cream cheese. Thus, like cream cheese, we will spread freedom and liberty around the world.

KERRY: The President had an opportunity to kill Osama Bin Laden, and he outsourced the job to Tony Soprano, who did not do it. The President said he didn't know where Osama Bin Laden was, he wasn't answering his e-mails, but he said he wasn't concerned.

BUSH: I don't think I ever said I wasn't concerned about Osama Bin Laden. Of course I'm concerned about Osama Bin Laden. He has my West Wing DVD set. This is one of Senator Kerry's exaggerations. Like when he said he was taller than me. He says it's about intelligence. It's not about intelligence. Not with me in the Oval Office.

SCHIEFFER: To jump from homeland security to something that couldn't involve a more awkward transition, I'd like to ask you about the flu vaccine. I mean specifically, since I'm old, I'd like a flu vaccine. Can I get one?

BUSH: Yes, I think you can, Bob. We should be saving them for the young, and the old. If you're neither young nor old, don't get a flu shot this year. I haven't got a flu shot and don't intend to, because I'm only the President, so what's the difference if I get the flu.

KERRY: Frankly, after my Botox injections, I don't want any more shots. This just underscores the problem with the American health care system. British vaccine makers are ruining everything for us. It's their fault that a million people right here in Arizona have no health insurance at all. 82,000 in Phoenix, 73,000 in Tucson, and 14,000 here in the audience today, including Mildred Smith, who has whopping cough, and Janet Dickinson, who has the clap. And, lest you think I've forgotten about pandering to the swing states, 114,000 Ohioans lost health insurance under President Bush, 82,000 Wisconsites, and 7 members of Union 723 in Tallahassee, Florida. Told ya I'd mention you tonight, Joe.

BUSH: A plan is not a litany of complaints. Litany. That's a real word, right? Did I make that up? Senator Kerry just said he wants everybody to be able to buy in to the same health plan that senators and congressmen get. Are senators and congressmen all that healthy? Max Cleland is missing some limbs. Do we want Americans to be missing limbs? Bob Dole has a shriveled arm. Do you want a shriveled arm? Strom Thurmond is dead. Do you want to die? If every family in America signed up for the senator's plan, it would cost us $5 gazillion over 10 years. It's an empty promise.

KERRY: Actually, it's not an empty promise. Here's an empty promise: we'll all live on the moon in 10 years. Promise. Look, seniors ought to have choice. In the Senate, we have choice. I chose Blue Cross / Blue Shield. And for mentioning them in this debate, they gave me a hat.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Senator Kerry, a new question. You pledged during the last debate that you would not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 a year. But the price of everything is going up, and we all know it. I mean, when I was a kid, hot dogs cost a nickel and the printing press hadn't been invented yet. Now we have cars. It's ridiculous.

KERRY: You're right that it's ridiculous, but I want to shut some loopholes. The Bush administration is doing favors to the people importing ceiling fans from China, iron filings from Slovakia, and whoopee cushions from the Ukraine. I'm going to stand up for the American workers, and I'm very tall, so that's important. And I'm going to do it in a way that's fiscally sound. Hear the sound of fiscally? It's a lovely sound.

BUSH: Well, his rhetoric doesn't match his rectum. Er, his record. He's been a senator for 20 years. He voted to increase taxes nine million times. When they tried to reduce taxes, he voted against that 1.2 billion times. He talks about being a fiscal conservative, but when you're a senator from Massachusetts, when you're a colleague of Ted Kennedy, when you're richer than God, that don't mean nothing, as I would have said before my debate coaches taught me some English. Ain't it grand?

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President, what do you say to someone in this country who has lost his job to someone overseas who's being paid a fraction of what that job paid here in the United States, and mostly in beans?

BUSH: I say I need to avoid answering questions about the economy, so I'm going to turn this one into a question about education, say the words "community college" a half-dozen times and pretend I haven't just completely punted on this one. No job? By definition, you must need more education. And with No Worker Left Behind, I'll get you some. Maybe.

KERRY: I want you to notice how the president didn't answer the question. Now, I'm not going to either, because I just remembered that the laugh line I've been practicing all week would have been appropriate in that last question, but I forgot all about it. So let me throw it in here, even though it's not even all that thrilling anyway. Being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order. (SILENCE) You're supposed to laugh. Teresa, pay them to laugh. Aw, screw you all. Like the President did when he cut Pell Grants. You want to make this about education, we'll make it about education.

BUSH: There you go again, Mr. Senator. In his last litany of misstatements -- there's my new word again! Litany! Senator Kerry said we cut Pell Grants. That's a fact. We've increased Pell Grants by a million students. That's a lie. Oops, I mean the other way around.

KERRY: You know why the Pell grants have gone up in their numbers? No? Me neither. Crap.

SCHIEFFER: New question to you, Senator Kerry. Many experts say that a president really doesn't have much control over jobs. If someone invents a machine that does the work of five people, that's progress, and, man, we didn't have any machines at all when I was growing up at the turn of the 16th century. What do you say to that?

KERRY: It's not completely the President's fault there are fewer jobs. I never said that. It's 98% his fault. It's 2% the fault of the recent spate of Florida hurricanes, which, as President, I will stop.

BUSH: Fewer jobs? "Jobs" sounds like "gobs," and not to change the topic or anything, but my tax cut gave you money. A family of four making $10,000 got 44 cents. It's your money. My opponent talks about fiscal sanity, but his record in the Senate does not match his wretchedness. Er, his rhetoric. He voted to increase taxes 98 times, to bust the budget 277 times, and to rape his sister 37,000 times.

KERRY: Bob, anybody can play with these votes. Everybody knows that. So, despite the fact that he's right, and I can't deny it, let's pretend I just did. Look, I voted for a tax cut once. Back in 1942. You were there, Bob. And, finally, to start the requisite war of the bipartisan name dropping, let me mention I once shook hands with Ronald Reagan.

BUSH: Oh yeah? Well, Ted Kennedy voted for No Child Left Behind. Because he wants to eat them all. Senator, there's a mainstream in America, and a main stream that runs outside my ranch in Crawford. It's very nice. In American politics, you're on the Left Bank. And I'm on the West Bank. Your record is such that Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts. And the fattest. And, incidentally, if Ted Kennedy's a conservative, that would make me a fascist.

SCHIEFFER: You're both looking quite lovely this evening. Have I mentioned that? With that in mind, and excuse me as I loosen my belt here, do you believe homosexuality is a choice?

BUSH: I don't know, Bob. I don't know anything.

KERRY: Dick Cheney's daughter knows. She knows her father is an evil, evil man.

SCHIEFFER: Okay, now that we've started the section of the debate where we'll be pandering to the religious nuts, what do you think about abortion?

BUSH: I wish I'd been aborted, Bob. Because being President is hard. It's hard work. Hard. I work on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday. It's terrible. It's hard. Oh, so hard.

KERRY: Oh, so we're parodying the other debates now? Well, I remember that first World Trade Center bombing, in 1993, and then the other one, in 2001, what's that, 2, 3, 28 years later?

BUSH: Maybe you should look it up on the Internets.

KERRY: Or I'll just ask my wife's OG-BMW.

BUSH: Good idea. Should we get back to the debate at hand after that fun little interlude?

KERRY: Yes, we shall. I grew up a Catholic. I was an altar boy. I was touched by no fewer than fourteen priests. But I don't think I can tell people not to have abortions, not because I think they're good, but because I want to win this election, and my consultants insist this one is non-negotiable.

BUSH: I believe we should promote a culture of life. But not if it doesn't score well on standardized tests, because we want to end social promotion and leave no child behind. And, unlike Kerry's priests, we want to touch no child's behidn either. I want to continue to promote adoption -- that's a great alternative to abortion. Forced sterilization. That's a good one too.

SCHIEFFER: Health care costs have risen over 30%. Whose fault?

BUSH: Mine. Of course. How could it not be? But the real problem is technology. We need to get those Internets into the hospitals. Unmanned vehicles should be diagnosing patients. Oh, and protecting the border too.

KERRY: Actually, I think we should just steal drugs from Canada, because who cares if the Canadians get sick.

BUSH: I was deeply concerned about seniors having to choose between prescription drugs and food. I hope they chose food. Food's important. We need to keep that in mind.

KERRY: Two leading national news networks have both said the president's characterization of my health care plan is incorrect. One called it fiction, the other called it the opposite of non-fiction.

BUSH: I don't think we can trust the news networks. Personally, I get all my news from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He's one funny guy. And Marmaduke. How I love Marmaduke.

SCHIEFFER: How about immigration? You like the Mexicans, Senator Kerry.

KERRY: I love the Mexicans. Except I wish they'd stay in Mexico. But it's not just Mexicans. People from the Middle East are crossing the border. And everyone from the Middle East, as we all know, is evil. People from the Midwest are crossing the border too. But I'm happy to get rid of them. Except the lovely people from Iowa, which is a swing state.

BUSH: I don't support amnesty. I think people should try and avoid short-term memory problems like that. Be careful if you hit your head. Get a flu shot.

SCHIEFFER: People in the National Guard have been complaining about a backdoor draft. What's your reaction to that?

BUSH: I told you. I'm not for gay marriage.

KERRY: I'm with the President on this one.

SCHIEFFER: Let's move on to assault weapons. You're for continuing the ban, is that right, Senator Kerry?

KERRY: I'm a hunter. I hunt the poor. I shoot them dead. I've owned guns since I was a toddler. I am not going to do anything to revoke the 2nd amendment, or the 4th amendment, or the 23rd. The 19th may be at risk. But right now, terrorists can go to gun shows and buy guns. Osama Bin Laden's handbook says that's exactly what they should do. It also has a great recipe for baked chicken that Teresa and I just love.

BUSH: The best way to protect our citizens from guns is to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns. Which, if you listen carefully to my answer, I can almost convince you that's something new, that I've started, because before, if someone committed a crime with a gun, we let them go free. But not anymore. That's my gun plan. Not letting criminals who shoot people go free.

SCHIEFFER: One final question, before I let you give the stump speeches you've had memorized for the past eight months. It occurred to me as I came to this debate tonight that the three of us share something. We all forgot deodorant this morning. It's been a terrible odor here in the auditorium. But, besides that, all three of us are married to people who'd make better presidents than we would. What have you learned from your families?

BUSH: To listen. To stand up straight. To keep the toilet seat down. I promised Laura she'd never have to give a speech, I'd stop using cocaine at Camp David, and our daughters wouldn't be delinquents. I'm 0-for-3, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: I married up. I married way up. Do you know how rich she is? Do you? She is so goddamn rich it's totally awesome. I don't even need to win this election, Bob. I am so rich that it's absolutely astonishing that I don't get laughed out of the room when I say that I identify with the problems of the middle class. If you divided the money I have among everyone in the state of Arizona, we all still wouldn't be middle class.

SCHIEFFER: Well, gentlemen, that brings us to the closing statements. Senator Kerry, I believe you're first.

KERRY: Nah, I think I'll skip this one.

BUSH: Yeah, me too. I'm getting pretty sleepy.

SCHIEFFER: Works for me. Yankees are still playing, so you all may want to check that out, since it's not like any of the pundits are going to have anything useful to say. Oh well. From all of us here in Arizona, I'll see you 4 years from now, when I'm a hundred and twelve.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

We received an e-mail yesterday with the subject line, "Flu Vaccines." This is not what it said, although I sort of expected it to:

Dear Law School Community:

As many of you may have heard in the news, there will be a limited supply of flu vaccines available this year. For this reason, the Harvard University Health Service has made a special purchase to enable members of the University community to bypass the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and receive vaccinations even if you do not fall into one of the at-risk categories the CDC has identified. Although Harvard's purchase of the vaccinations will prevent a number of the young, the old, and the fragile from receiving protection from the flu, we think we're more important, and so we don't really care.

As long as you have a Harvard ID, we prefer you to the riffraff that would otherwise receive a flu shot. So come one, come all, and come twice if you wish, to the University Health Service on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 12-3, beginning Thursday, October 14th. The cost is free -- in fact, we'll pay *you* ten dollars just for helping us get rid of these damn things before the CDC asks for them back. We wouldn't want our friends down at Yale to get their hands on these, now would we? No way.

Please check our website for more information, and, please, whatever you do, stay away from sick people. They're dangerous.

Thank you,
Harvard University Health Services
I developed a terrible habit over the summer: I started reading "The New Yorker." My reaction to it used to be that it was too high-brow for me. But now I kind of like it. Not the fiction, but a lot of the rest of it. Does that mean I've gotten too high-brow, or it's gotten more low-brow? I hope the latter. I really do.
A couple of days ago, I promised some thoughts on the impact of the classroom itself on how decent a class is. When visiting my friend over the weekend, I got a chance to sit in on a law school class at a school I won't name. Over the past year or so, the Dean here has made a fairly elaborate effort to make some physical pieces of the campus better -- she renovated a bunch of classrooms with new desks, good lighting, comfortable seats, lots of electrical outlets, wireless Internet, A/V systems, the whole shebang. And this summer she renovated the student center pretty dramatically. In all of the speeches I've heard her give, she pretty consistently hits on a message that the student experience matters to her, and she wants people to love it here. The sense I get is that people don't love it here all that much. You can get lost here. You can fail to find your place. You can blend into the herd. This may be a function of size, or it may be a function of something else. I think there's a community for people who make the effort to be part of it, but it's easy not to be. Anyway. I had never thought much about the physical renovations, except to contemplate that I'd rather have had my share of the $12 million it cost to renovate the student center, since I don't really use the student center for anything and I don't care if it's a dump. But the classrooms, while I absolutely recognized they were nicer than they'd been, I hadn't thought about them really.

The class I sat in on left me with two reactions. The first was that it was a horrible class. The professor was terrible. The subject matter was beyond dreadful. It would have been a bad class in the Sistine Chapel; it would have been class on a cliff overlooking the ocean; it would have been a bad class in the middle of a laser light show. But it was made so much worse by the setting. The classroom was old, and filthy -- the horizontal blinds on the windows, once white I'm sure, were closer to brown. The desks were sticky. The chairs -- those uncomfortable kinds that are attached to the floor -- like ones we had in some classrooms pre-renovation -- were in various states of disrepair. The space next to where my friend sat was just a chair stump -- the seat was gone -- and when his hand accidentally brushed it at some point during the class, his palm was covered in grease. The room was way too big for the class -- space for over 100 in a class of maybe 35 -- and arranged in church-pew-like rows, the professor seeming awfully far away. The students sat mostly toward the back. There was no chalkboard -- just a temporary white board on wheels, and a marker running out of ink. The lighting in the room would charitably be called dim.

Maybe I was just trying to justify my tuition, and don't want to admit that maybe it's really just as bad here, but I couldn't help but feel like even my worst class here has not been quite that bad. I have boring classes, sure. Classes I want to run from and never come back, because they're just so awful. But never classes that felt quite so... impoverished. I started thinking that atmosphere and facilities do make a difference. Comfortable seats, clean desks, good lighting, ample blackboard space, close proximity to the professor, professors who at least pretend to be trying to teach. Some level of engagement.

I'm not sure what my point is. Nice classrooms help? I guess that's my point. Of course, good teachers help a helluva lot more. But if you can't have those -- and I get the feeling that good teachers are not in rich supply at any law school... I've had a handful here who've been somewhere between very good and fantastic, and another handful who've been perfectly competent, but I've also had a handful who've been dreadful at this and a smaller handful who just haven't seemed to be trying all that hard. So if you can't get the good teacher -- and, please, I think we deserve every professor to be at least a little bit great, to have greatness inside of them, even if we can only see glimmers from time to time -- I really do think, more than I did before sitting in on this class, that atmosphere matters. That's all. That's all I wanted to say.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A Backlog of Book Reviews

Over the past week, I've read a bunch of books for no reason related to anything I'm getting graded on. All but the first one were on the plane back and forth this weekend, so don't think I stay up nights reading books not for class (or books for class, but that's another story...), because I usually don't. Though maybe I should. Anyway:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart presents: America (The Book)

Funny stuff. It's formatted like a grade school American history textbook, only it spoofs the genre and turns everything into a joke. It's not a book in the sense of a narrative and a plot and that stuff. It's a collection of sketch material themed around American history, surely pieced together from the work of a whole bunch of contributors, into a cohesive whole. And it works. The main text is a history of the world, with much focus on the U.S. "Athens: Our Big Fat Greek Forerunners." That should give you a sense. This main text is well-crafted, often chuckle-worthy, and, especially the footnotes, worth reading. But it's the weak link. Peppered throughout the book -- like any other grade school textbook -- are sidebars and features and pictures and boxes and graphs and asides... and that's where the book really works well. A guide to democracy, a presidential board game, a Supreme Court, uh, well, words will spoil it. Boxes by correspondents Ed Helms and Samantha Bee are probably the funniest repeating features. The Election 2004 supplement in the back is worth reading first. Good book. Worth my $16 (30% off the cover price at Barnes and Noble, and probably elsewhere). Could have been really dumb and pointless. Wasn't.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

This is a book of funny personal essays, like Sedaris's previous bunch of books. I read "Me Talk Pretty One Day," his previous book, and I liked it. His others have been sitting on my Amazon wish list for while (I use the Amazon wish list feature to store things I want to get from the library or wait until they're $3 used or something... it's a great little tool Amazon's got there, honestly) but I hadn't made much effort to find them. After reading this one... and I know his book is selling really well and getting good reviews, but my honest reaction here... I removed his others from the wish list. I've had enough. It didn't do it for me. I have a pattern -- holds true for TV, movies, books. I like stuff when I can identify with a character, when I like a character, when I wish I knew them for real, whether it's the author of a book, or the lead in a movie, or whatever. I don't enjoy stuff, even if it's well-written, where I don't like the characters. Other people don't have this issue. I find that I do. That said, I don't find myself rooting for David Sedaris. I don't find myself caring what happens in his stories. And I really don't find myself all that amused. "Me Talk Pretty One Day" I enjoyed. For whatever reason, this one I didn't. I read the whole book, but kept looking for a spark, something to remind me why I wanted to read it. But it didn't do it for me. I don't know. You probably disagree. I'm okay with that.

Prime Times, edited by Douglas Bauer

This is a book of essays about television. The editor solicited pieces from a couple dozen working writers -- Nick Hornby and Nora Ephron are probably the two best-known -- about some aspect of TV. Favorite show past or present covers most of them; there are a few genre pieces too, like about civil rights on TV, or infomercials. The book, like any book of essays by different writers, lives and dies on the efforts of its contributors. There were some magically brilliant pieces in here. And there were some I skipped. One overall frustration was that the essays about shows I wasn't particularly familiar with -- Hawaii 5-0, The Twilight Zone, Big Valley -- I didn't give much of a chance to. I couldn't get grabbed. I didn't have the needed background to understand and feel the piece. But here's what I loved: Nick Hornby's piece on The West Wing is very good. Elizabeth McCracken's defense of America's Funniest Home Videos is extremely well-done, and wasn't a piece I thought I'd like but it ended up as one of my favorites. Phyllis Rose's piece on Survivor is superb. Susan Perabo's piece on Days of Our Lives, a show I've never seen, is fantastic. Those are the first 4 in the book. The editor knew what he was doing, because they never returned to that level, at least not consistently. Jill McCorkle's piece on The Andy Griffith Show is good. Susan Cheever's piece on Father Knows Best is a fine read. Stephen McCauley's piece about infomercials is great. Nora Ephron's piece on the Mary Tyler Moore Show is short but fine. Richard Bausch's piece on The Dick Van Dyke Show is excellent. I've listed more than half the book, so we've got a collection worth reading here. But the best one -- David Shields' piece on Monday Night Football, but, more than that, an essay about his childhood, is the book's masterpiece, and I've never seen an entire football game and couldn't care less. It makes me want to know him, and that's the highest praise I can possibly give an author, I think. It makes me want to read his books. And, oddly enough, when I looked in the back at his bio, I realized I own two of them. They're not recent enough that I remember anything about them -- I'm sure I picked them up at a discount book store for a dollar or two at some point along the way, because they looked interesting at first glance -- but it tells me at least I'm consistent. Good essay. Inspired me to write the piece I wrote this week for a creative writing workshop I'm in at school, actually. Good book.

Letters from Law School: The Life of a Second-Year Law Student by Lawrence Dieker

This is a book from 4 years ago that attempts to pick up where Scott Turow left off and chronicle the second year of law school. It's not a very good book. I'm sorry. I'm sure the author is a very nice man and I don't mean to hurt his feelings. But it didn't do it for me. The author writes at the front that the characters are all conglomerations and so forth. But goes one step too far: he changes his own name. So not even his own details are real. Or are they? Who knows. And, frankly, who cares? The book is obsessed with chronicling his stream of rejection letters from law firms. Getting a job is hard. Gotcha. He doesn't have enough interesting interview stories, and so we're just left with him wondering if he'll get an offer from the firm he worked at 1L summer. And wondering. And wondering. He writes on to a journal. He goes to some classes. He talks to his wife. He agonizes over having to ask a friend if he could borrow his class notes (making it into so much bigger of a deal than it really is, seriously). He's not as insane as Scott Turow, but he's not enjoying life, and he's not particularly insightful about the process or about life as a law student. It adds very little to the genre. Unfortunately.

Two more books I read, but they're going to get longer treatment from me in the next couple of days. One because I'm writing a review for the law school paper. The other because it really struck a chord and I want to devote more thought and space to it. But I hope these were worth a little bit.
Another article of mine over at, this time about preparing for final exams. Check it out.

Monday, October 11, 2004

An article in the NY Times about the lack of fruits and vegetables in the American diet, that treats produce like it's some new foreign alien food we've never heard of:

Most vegetables and fruits require some preparation - washing or peeling, cutting and often cooking. Busy meal makers can greatly reduce preparation time by using frozen vegetables and fruits and packaged prewashed salad ingredients. Many supermarkets also have salad bars, allowing consumers to buy only the amount of ready-to-use foods needed for a given meal.

Some unprocessed fruits and vegetables come ready to eat, needing perhaps only a rinse. They include bananas, apples, pears, grapes, berries, tomatoes, mushrooms and celery. One of my weight-watching friends snacks on Kirby cucumbers, which need no peeling.

Really? Some fruits and vegetables come ready to eat? Is this what America has come to? Wow. Disturbing.
Frequently Asked Questions about Callback Interviews

Q. What are they looking for, really? What do I need to do to get an offer?
A. First of all, that’s two questions. But I guess they’re basically the same. Someone once told me they’re just looking to make sure you’re not an axe murderer. But that person didn’t get any offers, so what does he know? They want to see if they like you. They want to see if you’re articulate and reasonably bright and don’t do anything stupid. They want to torture you and see if you talk back. They want to take advantage of the fact that you’re just a poor law student and they’re a big, rich law firm. No, actually I have no idea what they’re looking for. But no one does. And the callback-to-offer conversion rate is at least 50%, so unless there’s some spinach in your teeth, you’ll do fine. If you got the callback, it means they didn’t hate you. Work with that.

Q. I know everyone at the firm is going to keep asking me if I have any questions. But I really don’t have any questions. I just want an offer. If I had questions, I’d read the web site. All these places are the same anyway. What do I do?
A. Well, first I think you should read the website anyway, because maybe you’ll figure out some questions from that, like why all the partners are old white men, or why the associates don’t have their own biographies and pictures, or why the summer program information page warns you to avoid eating any solid foods for 48 hours before your callback interview (it’s to save room for lunch). But, if that doesn’t work, there are lots of generic questions they hear dozens of times a day that you can pretend you’re actually interested in the answers to. Questions like, “why did you choose this firm?” “what’s your favorite thing about working here?” “what do you most enjoy about the practice area you’re in?” “how are assignments distributed in the summer program?” “how many hours did you bill last week?” and, the one I asked a partner last year as my mind drew a complete blank and I didn’t know what else to say (I swear I’m not making this up), “I notice lawyers here have lots of paper on their desks. Is that typical?” Don’t ask that. I didn’t get an offer from that firm. I think there was a cause-and-effect relationship there.

Q. What should I order at lunch?
A. The most expensive thing on the menu! No, I’m kidding. The least expensive thing on the menu! No, I’m kidding. Seriously, just copy everyone else. Not exactly, but sort of. If they’re ordering appetizers, get an appetizer. If they’re ordering pasta, get pasta. If they’re allergic to shellfish, be allergic to shellfish. If they have an annoying habit of picking their teeth with the silverware, pick your teeth with the silverware. If they spit food into the napkin, and then leave the napkin unfolded on the table so you can see their chewed-up foods staring right at you as you try and eat your baby octopus, well, then maybe you should just get up and leave. Conventional wisdom says that you shouldn’t order soup because it can drip, you shouldn’t order spaghetti because it’s hard to eat, you shouldn’t order anything with red sauce because it stains, you shouldn’t order fish because it has bones, you shouldn’t order chicken because they’re treated badly in poultry farms, you shouldn’t order beef because of mad cow disease, you shouldn’t order pork in case someone’s kosher, you shouldn’t order broccoli because it feels pain, you shouldn’t order pie because it’s an irrational number, and you shouldn’t order the veal chop because it’s been sitting out for a while and I just don’t think it’s that fresh today. Other than that, anything’s good.

Q. Will it matter if my shoes don’t match?
A. Each other?? Gosh. Yeah, I think it will. Buy some shoes!
Cool post by Sherry at Stay of Execution about the different facets of personality. I feel like I have more to say on this one, but am not quite in the mood to right now. Later.
I'm back from weekend away visiting friend. Sorry for no weekend posts. I'll make up for it with an avalanche of new stuff in the next couple of days. First up, a quick movie review. Friday Night Lights is exactly what you might expect a high school football movie to be. If you saw Remember The Titans, this is not a substantially different movie, although I liked Remember the Titans better. I guess the football action scenes were better in this one, although I think the story was more polished in Titans. Not a waste of time, but nothing groundbreaking. Also, if you're renting a movie, you can do both better and worse than Scary Movie 3.

Later today, or perhaps tomorrow: a Debate parody, some book reviews, including one that will involve a semi-long discussion of the morality of the American legal system, a comment floating in my head on the impact of the classroom itself on how decent a class is, and hopefully 800 words about something funny that I can use in this week's law school newspaper, because as of right now I've got nothing.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I'm watching the Presidential debate. I think Kerry is doing a much better job than Bush. Bush just doesn't really seem to have much going on in his head before he talks. That said, neither one of them is all that impressive. A few highlights I've noticed so far, and my quotes are all paraphrased because I'm not taking notes:

1. Bush: "internets." No, actually there's one.
2. Bush: "drugs from a third world." Huh?
3. Kerry: "first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the next one was 5, 7 years later." 8.
4. Kerry: "OG-BYNs"
5. Bush: "OG-BYNs"
6. Kerry: "[listing 3 things Bush did]. And he's 0-for-2."
7. Bush: "We need intelligence." Yes, we do.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I saw Scott Turow speak tonight about the death penalty. It was not that interesting. He has a new book about the death penalty. I hope it's more interesting than his speech. Left in the middle.

Imaginary Q: "Wait a minute. I go to Harvard too. Scott Turow wasn't there tonight."

A: "That's right. I'm visiting a friend somewhere this weekend, and since I only have classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, it's already weekend. People with too much time on their hands can probably figure out where. It doesn't really matter where, though. The only point of my post was that Scott Turow's speech wasn't that interesting and I left in the middle."

Imaginary Q: "So that's all you have to write today?"

A: "I don't know. Let's see..."

Eight playoff or debate matchups not happening tomorrow night, but close

1. New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees v. John Kerry
3. George W. Bush v. Minnesota Twins
4. John Edwards v. John Kerry
5. Dick Cheney v. Atlanta Braves
6. Bruce Babbitt v. Homestead Grays
7. San Francisco 49ers v. Elbridge Gerry
8. George W. Bush v. Washington Senator (uh... wait...)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Borrowing a page from Jeff Foxworthy:

"You Know You're a Gunner If..."

>>The professor knows your name better than the case names.
>>Your arm is tired.
>>You lose your voice after each class.
>>You don't think anyone in your class is a gunner (hint: it's you).
>>You have no friends.
>>People audibly sigh when you raise your hand.
>>You look forward to going class because you have so much to say.
>>You think the professor is your friend, and class is a normal conversation between the two of you, without regard for the fifty other students in the room.

>>These aren't that funny. Sorry. I'll try harder next time.
I caught the second half of the debate last night on C-SPAN before I went to sleep. They both seemed on message. I really don't have a ton more to say, except that if I'd been playing my own VP Debate Drinking Game, I would have needed something to drink, because a few of the things I thought they'd say were actually said, including a Halliburton mention, wrong war wrong place wrong time, and something about chemical agents.