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, July 31, 2005

I'm glad baseball's trade deadline passed without the Mets giving up prospects for anyone of marginal value, like Danys Baez or Alfonso Soriano. I clicked reload on, Baseball Primer, and Baseball Prospectus way too frequently the last couple of days. My fantasy teams are doing ok lately too, except for the one in the league where I didn't realize there was an innings maximum.

I'm reading "Everything Bad Is Good For You," by Steven Johnson, which says that video games help kids think better and TV shows are so much more complicated than they used to be. Pop culture is resulting in smarter people. A controversial thesis, but the book's an interesting read. Makes me feel less guilty for playing Funky Truck. Although I don't think that's really the kind of video game he's talking about.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A couple of things I want to link to:

One of my friends has an article in a new magazine called "Number II" that's going to begin appearing (for free) on newsstands in Indianapolis starting in September, (for free) on the Internet, and (not for free) by subscription. There's other articles on the website too, but I haven't read any of them yet. But the one he wrote, that the link is to, is funny.

I linked to this once before, but there are some new sound files up. One of my friends has been writing songs and performing them as Johnny Hancock. I saw him live on Wednesday night and he was really good. I'll post about it next time he's performing somewhere. "Only Words You Know" is a really good listen. Check it out.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

FYI. The California Bar approved items list, as sent to me. Pretty funny.

#3 is bizarrely worded.
#8 is interesting.
I don't know what #18 is.
#20 is really strange.

And I'd want to see someone bring ear plugs and then put hearing aids on over them to compensate. :)


Only the following items are allowed into the test centers without prior approval:

1. The examination materials distributed
2. Pencils or pens
3. Silent analog watches, timers and clocks not measuring larger than 4"X4" inches or smaller
4. Rulers
5. Paper clips
6. Highlighters
7. Back Support
8. Up to two pillows without cases
9. One book stand
10. One foot rest
11. Splints
12. Braces
13. Inhalers
14. Crutches
15. Wheelchairs
16. Casts
17. Hearing aids
18. TENS Units
19. Eyeglasses
20. Ear plugs or plastic material normally associated with the sport of swimming
21. Feminine hygiene items
22. Medicine
23. Wallets

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Bar Exam, Day Two

I'm done! Congratulations if you're done too. It's a little exhausting. By MBE question #160 or so, my eyes were really struggling to stay open and my mind struggling to keep focus. I'd start reading a question and completely lose track of what was going on and find myself thinking about whether or not the fact that Starbucks says on its menu that its new Green Tea Lemonade is "shaken" actually means anything, and whether "shaken" lemonade is somehow better than unshaken lemonade, and worth the dollar premium over regular lemonade anywhere else in the universe. I mean, compared to that riveting line of thought, how could Dora and her defeasance, Victor and his vested remainder, Mark and his mortgage, Wanda and her wife, and Andy the Arsonist compare. Seriously, some of these questions... Mary grants an easement by prescription to Fred, who sells his property to Sue, who's married to Sam, who hit Lucy with her car... too many people to keep straight! And no logical diagram at all to make it make any sense. What does the arrow for "granted an easement" look like, as compared to the arrow for "killed in a barfight" or "hired a contractor"? And it's so much gossip anyway. In an improv class I once took, the teacher was really big on us not gossiping on stage -- talking about people who weren't there. It's boring to the audience. They want to know about the people on stage, not the people they'll never get to see. Same thing on the MBE. Tell me what the guy next to me is doing, not Terry the Trucker or Robby the Rapist. You're just gossiping. It's not nice.

But the MBE is without question a more fun (okay... that's the wrong way to put it... less un-fun is better...) day than Essay Tuesday. Essay Tuesday was brutal. Multiple-Choice Wednesday was just tiring. Tiring is better than brutal. No real surprises in the questions today. If you take a practice test, you know what it's gonna look like. I mean, I guessed on pretty much every answer, but there was never a point where I was thinking, "this isn't somewhere in the book." Every question had an answer someone could have reasonably known. Just not me. Or anyone else who had something else to do the past twenty-five years besides learn the details of law in a jurisdiction that doesn't even exist.

Announcement Man was totally on fire today. I didn't mention Announcement Man yesterday, because he was really boring, but basically they've found the man with the most soothing monotone on the planet (first runner up in the "You Can Be The Moviefone Man" competition), given him a really boring script to read, recorded his voice, and they pipe it through on continuous loop for the thirty minutes before each section starts.

"In front of you is a test booklet. Please verify that the number printed on the upper right corner of the test booklet matches your seat number."

And now his wife's favorite part:

"Now, without breaking the seal, slide your answer grid out from underneath the top cover of the MBE booklet. Slide that answer grid out. Baby. Without breaking the seal. Slide. Slide that grid. Come on, you can do it. Slide that grid out. Don't break the seal."

Wow, I'm on some other planet this afternoon, sorry.

Anyway, he went on to admonish anyone who's snuck in any contraband (like beepers, cell phones, untransparent bags, or -- gasp -- newspapers), and then had a whole bit about the copyright restrictions on the MBE exam. Don't write anything down, anywhere. Don't tell anyone the questions. Don't tell anyone anything. The first rule of the MBE is no one talks about the MBE. My favorite went something like this: "Revealing any of the MBE answers in any written, oral, electronic, or other medium is a violation of the copyright and grounds for failure of the exam and disqualification in the character and fitness portion of the evaluation...."

The questions I understand they want to keep secret. Although I find it hard to believe they really use them again, since enough people fail the test that someone'll recognize them next time. All you need to do is take it five times and you'll be golden then -- answer A for everything the first time, then B, then C, then D. Get your scoresheets back, memorize the answers, and the fifth time's a charm.

So the questions I understand are secret. But the answers? What are they worried about? Here, you want to know the answers? A. B. C. Sometimes even D. A. A. B. C. D. D. D. D. C. B. B. C. D. A. A. D. B. C. A. D. Those are some answers. Actually, that's really just the Bar/Bri acronym for "WAS THERE ANY ACRONYM THAT EVEN MATTERED ANYWHERE ON THE TEST???? IS THERE ANYTHING ANYONE TOLD ANYONE TO MEMORIZE THAT ACTUALLY MATTERED???? WHERE'S THE ACRONYM FOR 'BUYING YOUR BOOKS ON THE BLACK MARKET WAS ENOUGH; I CAN'T IMAGINE ACTUALLY SITTING THROUGH YOUR CLASSES AND THEN PAYING EXTRA MONEY FOR A SESSION WITH SOME MAGIC MAN MARINO WHO GUESSES THE ESSAY TOPICS AND GETS THEM ALL WRONG!" Seriously, that's the report. This clairvoyant Marino dude is no John Edward. He didn't get any of them. That's a hundred bucks you could have spent on flash cards instead. Flash cards. Ha.

At one point, whichever technologically-competent day laborer was manning the switchboard pressed the wrong button and Mr. Disembodied Voice, five minutes before the morning session started, announced, "STOP! Stop your writing. Put your pencils down." Uh, wrong one. I was hoping they'd press the one where he reads the answer key. "In the space marked 103, fill in the circle marked B. B for Baby. Slide that grid out, baby. 103. B. Don't break the seal."

[In the video version of this post, an animated seal will now dance across the screen. Try to imagine it.]

The MBE form also had a section where we had to write something, so they can see if it matches the handwriting sample we submitted four months ago when we signed up. Like I remembered whether I'd printed or written in script. The disembodied man told us about it, but no one caught it. So the proctor comes around to check, and I ask her what we need to write. "I don't know. Ask the guy behind you. He knows." Thanks. Not to rag on my proctor though. I thought she was very nice. Very friendly. As I handed in the exam yesterday afternoon, since obviously I was in the mood for idle chitchat, she asked what the exam cost to take. "Two-fifty," I said. "Each session?" "What?" "Each of the four sessions?" What I should have said: "I don't think they sell them separately. I think it's a package deal." What I said: "No, all four."

The guy sitting next to me was less of a fan of the proctor. Yesterday she wouldn't let him go to the bathroom. It was the last fifteen minutes of the afternoon session, and the last fifteen minutes of any session, due to the critical national security implications of the exam collection procedure, are quiet time. No getting up. So he asked, and she said no. He said he really had to go. Sorry.

See, as I figure it, the proctors didn't really understand him. They don't remember what it's like to actually feel the urge to go to the bathroom before you go. They're a good twenty or thirty years past all that. It's all foreign to them. "You have to go? How do you know?" Someone told me at his bar exam a few years ago someone wore an adult diaper. That's commitment. Or that means you should be committed. One of the two. I'm not quite sure.

More about the bathroom, actually, since it's the most interesting story I've got. So I was fortunate enough to be seated near one of the bathrooms, which was nice only because it means I have a story. I went before the exam started this morning, and the bathroom was fine. There was one stall and two urinals, and it all seemed to be in fair working order. And then about halfway into the morning session the drinkable yogurt I had for breakfast finally made its way through my system and I had to go again. So I raised my hand and they let me go (she liked me more than she liked the guy next to me... I mean, obviously, after her great pick up line yesterday about how much the test costs), and I went in... and the stall door had been pulled off its hinges and was angled sort of lopsided braced against the ceiling. Now, maybe it just fell off or something. Maybe this was all innocent. But I have to hope -- I have to imagine, for the sake of this being a story -- that some frustrated fellow just went in there and tore it off the freaking hinges in a fit of MBE-induced rage. Please let me keep that image. Please.

So I leave the bathroom, and there's some guy in a suit outside. An inspectorly-looking man. A bar official, perhaps. And he's staring incredulously at the door. And the proctor manning the bathroom is nodding disapprovingly at the state of the door. How could someone do this? Luckily, it seemed pretty clear this had happened some amount of time before I used the bathroom and there was no suspicion that it was me or anything like that. The suit man had already been called to deal with this. Perhaps, in fact, he was Mr. Disembodied Voice. Maybe he was a celebrity. Oooh. That would have been neat.

Anyway, that's my bathroom story.

The one thing I made a point to look for today was specific details of the law school t-shirts people were wearing. I missed it yesterday, picking up on the trend but having nothing in the way of examples -- Fordham Students For Choice, or whatever -- yet today the trend was noticeably muted. Not as many of those shirts. But a lot of law-themed shirts, actually. One guy with the word "Homicide" on the back of his shirt. I wonder if there's any restrictions. Could I screen-print up a shirt listing the elements of crimes on the front? Is that fair game? How about one of those concert date t-shirts but instead of cities it's just one long Bar/Bri acronym. It's the TSLEGUPLOGPIT tour. Is that legal? Mr. Disembodied Voice said nothing, so I can only assume....

So maybe I passed, maybe I didn't, but who the heck cares at this point. It's done. I have a floor slightly littered with outlines I can toss, books I can burn, and some scraps of paper that turned into these last two weblog posts. They'll all be gone real soon. No more evidence I was ever a law student. Gotta erase all of it. Never want to know about any of this ever again. Or at least not until South Dakota in February. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I should really be sleeping, but I have to write about this while it's fresh, tomorrow's six hours of multiple choice be damned. :) I may be the only person who went from the bar exam today to his improv comedy class tonight, but it's not like I was really in any mood to teach myself the elements of burglary (although that would have come in handy for an essay today). I spent my subway ride home jotting down notes for a post, on the back of a Duane Reade receipt. Let's see if I can decipher my scribbles, and write something coherent...

The Bar Exam, Day One

Every trash can on the West Side of Manhattan is filled with Bar/Bri outlines.

Okay, maybe just two of them. But they were the two I passed on the way out, and they both had Bar/Bri outlines visibly floating among the Red Bull cans and Starbucks cups, so I have to assume it's part of a pattern. Garbage cans on the West Side of Manhattan have a propensity to be filled with Bar/Bri outlines. (If you've taken evidence -- I didn't -- that sentence made sense. Otherwise ignore it.)

I got out of the subway at 8:10, at 50th and 6th Avenue, to make the walk to 50th and 12th Avenue, to Pier 90, for the exam, which began at 9. Everyone I passed was carrying a clear plastic food storage bag. It was like the walk of shame. Clear plastic storage bag? Check. Old t-shirt from a law school organization? Check. Crazed look in your eyes? Check.

I got there and got on the end of a line that was really, really long. "Is this Pier 88?" "No, it's Pier 90." "Oh, crap." And one guy sprinted away. I recognized a few faces from law school, a couple of people from the firm I worked at last summer, and two people from high school who I hadn't seen in nine years. It was like a bizarre Nerd Reunion. The high school thing was weird. I hadn't really thought about it beforehand, but it totally makes sense that there'd be other people from high school who've had the same basic existence over the past 9 years as I have, just in an alternate universe. As much my fault as not, but surely we should have been able to do better than this:

ME: Hey... You're...
HIM: Yeah... Hey...
ME: How's it going?
HIM: Good. You?
ME: Good. Long day.
HIM: Yeah. Good luck.
ME: Yeah, you too.

Nine years encapsulated in about ten words each. But I guess no one can really be expected to be in any frame of mind to have a real conversation. Before, during, or after six hours of exam-taking, I certainly wasn't.

They gave us green wristbands that we have to wear until the end of the test tomorrow. So we can find each other on the streets of Manhattan. It'll be fun on the subway in the morning to see if I can find the other law students. It's like being under house arrest, sort of. Except we're allowed to move around. Sort of. Not without raising our hand first.

Security was surprisingly lax. Bags weren't allowed in, besides the clear ones, but you could put anything in the clear ones and you'd be okay. They didn't search pockets either. No real incidents. It was very well-organized, it all started on time... they have it down to a science. Disappointingly free of procedural things to make fun of. They did have some really old proctors though, and they're always fun.

I'm still trying to figure out the escalator. It went up when we came in, down when lunch started, up after lunch, down to let us out... it was a smart escalator. I mean, I guess they just flip a switch, but I'm impressed. Doesn't take much sometimes.

Lunch was weird. Lots of people studying outside. I'm not sure what good it could possibly do at that point. Here's what's weird about the test. There's so much material for the New York day -- so many subjects, so many details, so many rules -- and so little of it gets tested. It's completely a matter of whether you happened to cram in your head the right stuff. There was one multiple choice question about commercial paper. Secured transactions didn't make a single appearance on the exam. One multiple choice question about will distribution. Nothing about trusts. Half an essay and two or three multiple choice questions about evidence. Nothing I can recall about criminal procedure. No one got murdered, no one burned down a house, no one got raped. On the exam, I mean. In the exam, I don't know for sure.

A lot of New York Civil Procedure stuff. A lot. Things with words I didn't know, like pendency and receivership. A lot about jury trials and how many people on a jury and who's entitled to them. A lot about how many days to file a motion and whether you need the court's permission, and who has jurisdiction. That stuff was all really boring and I barely looked at it, so I was kind of screwed on those multiple choice questions. But if you're reading this to get a sense for next year -- skip a lot of the New York subjects, but don't skip the New York Practice stuff. Really.

Honestly, I have no sense for how I did. In absolute terms, I did pretty lousy. I didn't know the law for most of the essays and guessed on most of the multiple choice. So in absolute terms, I'm sure I did badly. But I don't know what that means as far as passing or failing. I don't know how well I needed to do. I figure it could go either way. I really didn't know enough law. I didn't know the elements of burglary, which I needed to know for one of the essays. I didn't know the contract law they tested, even though I know I used to. I did okay with the Torts and Wills questions, I think. The MPT (Multistate Performance Test -- basically an open memo -- they give you the law and the facts and you write a memo) was easy, but I imagine everyone thinks it's easy, because it's easy, so no comparative gain there.

It's a long six hours, because there's a lot of writing, and a lot of having to answer boring essay questions that you really don't have any interest in answering. I'm imagining the multiple choice MBE stuff tomorrow will be at least less boring, and probably better because I feel better prepared for that part than today's part. And then I'll be done! And no more law ever again! :) Unless I fail and go take it in South Dakota in February.

More tomorrow, and probably I'll be more coherent about it too. I think it would be cool to demystify this thing a little bit, because I don't think people really know what the Bar Exam is really like before you go take it. So if there's anything anyone wants demystified, shoot me an e-mail and I'll try to come up with something to say.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Day Before

Perhaps not, but someone might be wondering what I'm doing today as I prepare for the exam. There's a section of the Conviser Mini Review about New York Distinctions in all of the areas of law being tested. I'm looking at that. Although it's hard to appreciate the distinctions when I'm not all that knowledgeable about the multistate law that it's distinct from. But I'm hoping some of that sticks. I just went to Duane Reade and bought some pencils, pens, tissues, gallon-sized ziploc bags, and looked for a quiet snack (but didn't end up finding one that looked appealing). When I'm done with the Distinctions section I'll try and memorize some statutes of limitations, because that seems important; probably skim the Evidence section again; watch last night's episodes of Entourage and The Comeback; eat a light dinner; go to sleep really early (hopefully 9:00 or so); wake up nice and early tomorrow; make sure to go to the bathroom; plan to get there about an hour early to watch people freaking out; and from there my fate is in the hands of a higher power.

George Carlin has a routine about how people only watch car racing for the accidents. That may or may not actually be the case, but I feel like I sometimes feel the same way about standardized tests. When I took the LSAT, the proctor failed to give the 5-minute warning on one of the sections. I knew she'd forgotten, because I was keeping track of the time pretty carefully, and I couldn't shake the excitement for those 5 minutes regarding what would happen when she called "time."

As it turned out, nothing happened, except for a few audible gasps, but those five minutes were the most exciting part of the whole test.

There's something so controlled about these situations -- such exact instructions and defined procedures -- that I feel like I just can't help but root for something bizarre to happen. For the test booklets to be misprinted. For the power to go out. For the bathrooms to be broken. Some tiny little thing can throw the whole procedure off, and to watch the proctors try to adjust and figure out how to proceed. On the brink of chaos. I root for stories. The exam itself is likely to be unimaginably boring. Whether I pass or fail -- and I honestly don't know that I've prepared enough to come even close to passing this thing -- I want to have something to talk about, something to write about, something to experience. Nothing truly terrible, of course. I don't want a meningitis outbreak at the test center, or a random wild gunman. But someone waxed the tables the night before and the exam papers won't remain in place? Sure, that could be cool. Someone accidentally locks the door and no one can get out for the lunch break? Absolutely. Someone switches the exam and we have to take it in Turkish? Why not?

P.S. Best of luck to Amber, Chris, WT, JCA, Matt, Gabe, Adam, Andrew, and everyone else (with or without a blog) who's taking this thing. It won't be so bad. At the very worst, you can just join me in South Dakota in February. :)
State Bar Quirks

Matt Astle has a post about the Virginia Bar:

Dress for all applicants shall conform to the standards suitable for a lawyer appearing in a court of record, i.e., a suit or jacket and tie for males, and a suitable dress or suit (pantsuits are acceptable) for females; however, applicants are encouraged to wear shoes with soft soles, such as tennis or athletic shoes, to reduce noise and resulting disturbances to other applicants.

That's right. I'll be wearing a suit, tie, and tennis shoes.

And one reader e-mailed me saying:

In both PA and NJ, the ‘quiet snack’ rule specifies that the snacks be a) unwrapped (I’m assuming because of noise and not because they think someone will write stuff on the inside of the wrappers) and b) small (they give gum and mints as examples).

This has all made me really, really curious. Tell me the quirky rules of your state's bar exam. I'll compile them all into a big fun post when this is all done. Virginia's suit thing is bizarre. The "unwrapped candy" rule is pretty bizarre too. Are there more?
The South Dakota Bar

One reader writes:

Since I've actually considered taking the SoDak bar exam, I thought you might want to know that there are a couple advantages to being able to practice law in the Mount Rushmore State:

The vast majority of SD lawyers went to the University of South Dakota. USD's in Vermillion, a town notable for housing many of its students in trailer parks adjacent to the campus. I've been informed by lawyers in my hometown that bar association meetings are basically USD reunions. People who live in trailer parks know how to party.

You get to hang out in Pierre (pronounced "peer," not the French way). A town who's most interesting asset, as far as I can remember from school trips, is the smattering of funky-colored tiles on the floors of the capitol. There are only a small number of them in the building and they're hard to find. It's like a scavenger hunt and it's fun. Really.

Small town lawyers are fun and quirky (and famous . . . within the small town). My favorite lawyer used sends all the high school debaters cards and stuff when they qualify for the national tournament. Ever seen the tv show Ed? You can totally be Ed in SoDak.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Tepid fun with marginal bits of law in the Conviser Mini Review, Part I

From the Wills section: "A person who has been absent without explanation for a continuous period of three years during which, after diligent search, she has not been seen or heard from is presumed to have died three years after the date she disappeared. If the person was exposed to a specific peril, it may be determined she died less than three years after her disappearance."

STEVE: "Haven't heard from her in three years. Guess she's dead."
JANET: "Yeah, haven't from her in three years, since she went into that shark tank wearing a necklace of beef. Guess she's dead."
STEVE: "Yeah, guess she's dead."
JANET: "Guess we can distribute her property now."
STEVE: "Yeah, guess so."
One of my favorite readers e-mailed regarding quiet snacks at the Bar exam:

i kid you not... while i was doing the practice exam downtown, i was opening an odwalla bar and three people at the table behind me gave me dirty looks.... so i don't know what's quiet enough if that's not quiet enough. i guess if i have marshmallows wrapped in cotton that will be alright.
Baseball Players Say Dumb Things

Mike Cameron, of the Mets:

The mid-afternoon start and the sun directly over home plate made his life miserable in the early innings. Beltran knew it would. He turned to Cliff Floyd in left and told him to help out, if he could. Mike Cameron in right was skeptical about any such problems.

"The sun has been there for 500, 600 years . . ." Cameron said, proving himself no great astronomer.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

This Bar stuff is pretty boring. I can see why most of the classmates I've talked to recently want to kill themselves.

In retrospect, I should have done this differently.

I should have signed up to take the South Dakota bar exam (pass rate ~95%) instead of the New York test (pass rate ~64%). I'm guessing I can do better than 5% of the people who take the bar exam in South Dakota, even if I can't do better than 35% of the people who take the bar exam in New York. If I was actually going to practice law, obviously this would be a dumb plan. But since I'm not, at least for now, this would have been a smarter idea. Actually, studying more for the one I'm taking might have been a smarter idea. Or not taking any Bar Exam at all might have been a smarter idea. But if we're limited to two ideas -- South Dakota bar exam or New York bar exam -- I think I didn't choose the smarter one.

If I took the South Dakota exam and passed, I could say I'm a licensed lawyer, and then just change the subject. No one's ever going to ask where I'm licensed, and who cares anyway. This way I could have gotten a nice vacation out of it, maybe visited Mount Rushmore....

Instead, I'm going to Pier 90 on 50th street and 12th avenue. I hope it's air conditioned, although I have a hunch it won't be. (And with that, I've just sent dozens of people into a panic. Sorry.)

In case anyone else will be at Pier 90, look for me in Seat 1734. I'll be the one with the gallon-size clear plastic food storage type bag containing my admission ticket, a government-issued photo ID, my wallet, tissues, pens, number two pencils, a beverage in a plastic container or juice box, a quiet snack/lunch, and perhaps some hygiene products, if I can figure out what the heck they're talking about.

Someone at Ziploc was asleep on the job, it seems. They're missing a real sponsorship chance here. They could have had their name on the Bar ticket. It's a perfect opportunity. Picture it. Ziploc: the exclusive authorized clear plastic food storage type bag of the 2005 Bar Exam. They could have required it. "I'm sorry, but your generic plastic food storage type bag is not permitted in the exam. Please deposit it, along with your quiet snack and your hygiene products, into the official trash bin of the 2005 Bar Exam. Welcome." At least 1734 people would have bought Ziploc bags, assuming I'm in the last seat in the room. I'm guessing I'm not.

A few things to address on the list of permitted items.

1. Medications. It doesn't say Prescription medications specifically, so I don't know where they draw the line. I assume Tylenol is okay. I assume Sudafed would be fine. But what about performance-enhancing drugs? Are they legal on the Bar exam? Can I bring the Ritalin I stole from a fourth-grader to help me focus better? What about the cocaine from the guy on 50th street and 12th avenue, since I think that's the kind of retail that area specializes in? Is cocaine a "quiet snack"?

2. Quiet snack/lunch. How quiet? Who's to say what's quiet? Are we limited to gummi bears and yogurt? Or would a grilled cheese sandwich be okay? What if it's grilled lightly so the bread really isn't that crispy? What about that Asian fruit that supposedly smells like rotting cheese but tastes good? Durian, I think. That might bother my fellow test takers, but it's probably quiet. Am I allowed to bring a quiet snack that's distracting to my fellow test takers? Puffed rice are pretty quiet, but if I start throwing them at people, they can be kind of annoying. What about curry? Is curry quiet enough? I'm retarded, sorry.

3. Hygiene products. Someone told me they mean tampons, but they're not very explicit about it. Can I bring a couple of q-tips and clean my ears in the middle of the exam? Is that allowed? How about my own 2-ply toilet paper, in case the bathroom has that generic sandpapery kind? A couple of bandaids in case of an accident with the pencil? A toothbrush? How about shampoo? These are all hygiene products, after all. Some dental floss? A hair dryer. It says the snack has to be quiet, not the hygiene products.

4. They don't say anything about keys. I need my keys or I can't get back into my apartment. Seriously, it says nothing about keys. I don't know what they expect us to do with our keys. (And with that, I've again just sent dozens of people into a panic. Sorry.)

I haven't studied enough to legitimately pass this thing. If I do end up passing, it will be mostly luck, and possibly thanks to whatever quiet snack I choose to bring (lawyers can be quiet, right? can I bring a quiet lawyer?). If I don't, well, South Dakota gives the exam again in February. :)
Awesome article about a paradise in Florida for retired chimpanzees.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Amber argues the other side of my post below.

I don't want transit cops digging through my purse and checking to make sure I don't have C4 hidden under my personal hygiene products. The airport security checks are pretty dire, but at least you choose to go to the airport. This effectively repeals the 4th Amendment for anyone who depends on public transit to get to work. That's the big deal, at least for those of us who care about the law and not just (the appearance of) security.

Majikthise makes a good point that this will only result in aspiring subway bombers strapping belts under their clothes instead. Does Blachman want a quick frisk before hopping on the 4/5? How about a strip search? Does he want to add an hour onto his daily commute so everyone can put their laptops through the metal detectors one by one? Bah.

Fine, I didn't really think this through.

Of course I don't really want a strip search before getting on the subway.

Of course I don't really want a bag check.

Of course it's likely that any aspiring subway bombers can easily figure out a way around this.

But what it comes down to, for me, is that, honestly -- even if this is naive and stupid -- I trust the government. I trust that whoever is making these decisions knows what they're doing. Or at least they know better than I do.

I have no idea how you keep a city as safe as it can reasonably be.

All I know is that since September 11th, New York hasn't had any more bad stuff happen. I certainly don't know if that's just luck, if it's by design to lull us into a false sense of security, or whether there's stuff going on behind the scenes that's really thwarting terror attempts.

But because I don't know, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that whatever they're doing seems like it's working.

I don't think anyone wanted to start randomly checking bags if they didn't think it would be of some benefit. Maybe they're wrong, and maybe the costs are too high for whatever illusory benefit it's providing. But it feels pretty silly for me to presume I know better than the people making these decisions. I don't. So, for now, I trust them.

Yes, it's a slippery slope.

And, yes, maybe the whole war thing should have taught me that I shouldn't actually trust the people making decisions in this country.

I'm not saying I'm making a legitimate or good argument. I'm just saying I don't feel all that burdened by a police officer searching my bag, if the reason they're doing it is a good faith belief that it'll make me safer.
I was in an elevator in an office building this morning, and two people were having a conversation.

Man: That's a big bag. Did they search it on the subway?

Woman: God help them if they try and search this.

I think she just meant that there was so much crap in her bag that it would be a pain for someone to search it, but it seemed like a bizarre thing to say. Who are these people who are really upset about the police wanting to search people's bags on the way into the subway? Why would anyone be upset about this? I want people's bags to be searched. I'm fine with metal detectors, and plainclothes cops, and whatever else they feel like they need to do to make the subway (and the rest of the city) as safe as it can be. What's the big deal?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I had lunch with a friend today who said he thought one of the toughest things about the Bar Exam is that doing all of these multiple choice questions is terribly depressing.

Nothing good ever happens to these people. Everyone who crosses the street gets hit by a car, every doctor botches the surgery, parachutes never open, contracts never get fulfilled, everyone who uses a lawnmower ends up in the hospital, as soon as you write a will your whole family dies, your employee benefit plan never pays out its benefits, everyone's computer gets a virus, your friends are always intoxicated, stealing your farm equipment, and driving it into the barn, police search you all the time for no good reason, you can never find a good place to hide your weapons, no one ever writes anything down right, banks never recognize a signature as a forgery, and the forger always flees the country.

It's no better for criminals, actually. Arsonists never burn down what they meant to, thieves always end up murdering someone, conspirators can never convince their fellow criminals to back out, no one's ever given access to their lawyers before questioning, and spring guns go off in everyone's garage.

No wonder no jurisdiction has adopted the model code tested on the multistate exam. It's a recipe for disaster. There's so much crime, nothing ever goes right, every factory emits something terrible that kills your plants, the woods are filled with danger, anyone who tries to save you ends up doing more damage, the unions are all on strike, there seem to be an unlimited supply of easy-to-obtain snakes, no one does background checks, suppliers never have enough of what you ordered, property rights are virtually non-existent -- rogue easements left and right, no one ever records any deeds, everyone's trying to adversely possess everyone else's land -- and everyone's constitutional rights are always being impeded. And there's a shocking number of lawsuits.

All in all, MBE-land is a pretty horrible place. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A reader at law school in Canada writes with a request:

I'm in charge of the orientation week for the incoming class of 1Ls at my school this Sept, and we don't have a "theme". It was going to be .08: Push It To The Legal Limit (dunno what the [Blood Alcohol Content] limit is down there, in Canada it's .08) - but this was deemed politically incorrect. So, if you have any ideas for a theme (2007 was: "007: Licence to Practice")... it would be much appreciated.

I wrote back with some thoughts, but nothing all that thrilling, so (with his permission) I thought I'd throw it out there and see if anyone had any ideas.

I started thinking about things with the number 8... #8 in the Canadian constitution is about search and seizure, but that's not that funny... 8 reindeer on Santa's sleigh, but, again, not that funny... the recent Live 8 concert had a tag line that's actually pretty relevant -- "The Long Walk To Justice," but "Live '08: The Long Walk To Justice" only makes sense if someone knows that's the concert's slogan, and I'm guessing most people don't. I thought of Eminem's movie 8 Mile. "'08 Mile: Lose Yourself in Law" seems not horrendous, but I'm not real happy with anything I was able to think of.

So maybe you can do better. Send me any ideas and I'll pass them along to him, and post them here.
Roberts in the news. Oh wait, that's Padres outfielder Dave Roberts. There's some other Roberts in the news too, but Dave is more important.

Roberts needed only one pinch-running appearance to achieve everlasting fame in Boston. He also needed only three months with the Red Sox to realize how much he would rather start for a team in Southern California than come off the bench for a team in the Northeast. Roberts was able to broker a trade to San Diego partly because he was familiar with both general managers and knew what both organizations needed, but mainly because he understood the significance of that one pinch-running appearance.

"For a lot of last year, I felt like I was sort of being phased out," Roberts said last night, before the Padres played the Mets at Shea Stadium. "Having that experience in the playoffs gave me a lot of exposure. It definitely elevated my stock."

Uh, I mean:

"Roberts needed only one pinch-running appearance to earn the attention of President Bush and a nomination to the Supreme Court. He also needed only three months with the circuit court to realize how much he would rather start for the team in Washington than come off the bench -- er... no, that works... the bench, yeah -- for a court in the Northeast."

Or something like that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

They're tattooing fruit now.

Does that mean it's not kosher?

Monday, July 18, 2005

The worst acronym I've come across from Bar/Bri so far -- and a couple of readers e-mailed me this yesterday, before I read my Wills outline today:


The list of Testamentary Substitutes:

T otten Trusts
S urvivorship Estates
L ifetime transfers
E mployee Benefits
G ifts
U S Government bonds
P owers of appointment

Not testamentary substitutes (LOGPIT):

L ife Insurance proceeds
half "O"f qualified pension benefits.
G ifts within $11,000 annual exclusions
P re-marriage irrevocable transfers
I rrevocable transfers made more than 1 year before death
T ransfers with retained life estate made before September 1, 1992

You know what, Bar/Bri? That's cheating. The "O" can't stand for "of." I'm sorry. You lose. You and your acronyms can go to hell. That's HELL:
H urled out the window
E rased from my memory
L eft for the garbage man, to end up in a
L andfill somewhere

How about some acronyms someone can actually remember? Want to know what lawyer ads can include? Remember YOU TOUCH KIDS:

Y our clients
O ffices you hold
U sual areas of practice

T eaching positions held
O rganizational memberships
U ndergraduate degree
C redit arrangements
H ourly rates

K nowledge of foreign languages
I nvolvement in group or prepaid legal services programs
D ate of admission to the bar
S et rates for specific services

Or how about the methods of delivering service of process? Just remember GONORRHEA:

G ive it directly to them
O rder of court
N ail to dwelling place and mail a copy
O fficer of corporation
R egular mail to place of business
R egular mail to last known residence plus affixed to door
H and to a corporate director
E x parte motion for alternative method
A gent designated to receive process

You happy now, Bar/Bri? (The sad thing is that I'm actually going to remember these things now that I've worked out acronyms for them.)
More about the nanny thing below here. The general opinion of the people commenting, there and at the nanny's blog, is that the woman who wrote the article is naive to expect her employee not to have a life outside of work. That's legitimate enough. I don't really understand the woman's thought process in writing the article. Whether or not it's *fair* to have written it -- I mean, the blog is publicly available, so it's not like she's revealing any secrets, but it just doesn't seem very nice -- vindictive, even -- to write an article painting the nanny in a negative light and not anonymize the details enough to make the blog hard to find, when even at worst the nanny wasn't doing anything so awful. On the other hand, if she wanted to be vindictive and hurt the nanny, exposing a huge audience to the blog and the nanny's writing seems like it cuts the other way. I speak from experience. Having your blog mentioned in the New York Times is a good thing. :)

But the broader issue, I guess, is about the nanny-mother relationship, and where the line is between "employee" and "member of the family." Hopefully one day I'll have kids, and the thought of hiring a nanny to take care of them is kind of nauseating, actually. I mean, I understand why it makes sense for a lot of people, with jobs that keep them out of the house and not wanting to put their kids in day care, not having any relatives who can watch them, and having the means to hire someone... but it's sad. I was a summer camp counselor for a couple of summers, and pretty much all of the kids said they had nannies at home. On visiting day, a lot of the nannies came, and the kids were more excited to see them than they were to see their parents. And it's sad. I mean, if the nannies are good people and the parents aren't, then maybe it's not sad. Maybe it's good. I don't know.

I think I would find it very difficult to feel comfortable with a stranger taking care of my kids. And I can see why the nanny having a life outside of work would bother the mother, legitimately. Someone taking care of kids is more than just an employee. Ideally, she's a role model. Even at camp, I felt like there were a fair number of counselors who, if I was a parent, I'd be a little wary of leaving my children with. The riflery (why were there guns at a camp anyway?) instructor who shot at turtles, for example.... After having been a camp counselor, I honestly don't think I'd ever send a kid to sleepaway camp. Because you never know who's watching them and what's rubbing off on the kid. Also because I would have been *miserable* as a camper at sleepaway camp and I've got to believe that any kid sharing part of my gene pool would be pretty frustrated too. Not that I was a particularly high-maintenance kid (I mean, maybe I was...:), but there was just so much unexplained "you have to do this" at camp that I would have hated it. You had to play soccer, you had to eat the tacos, you had to go swimming, you had to run around in the heat, you had to deal with the annoying bunkmate picking on you, you had to deal with the counselor ignoring you, you couldn't call home, etc.... I could deal as a counselor :), but as a camper I would have either needed to find a counselor who could read my mind a little bit, or been lucky enough to make some friends in the bunk, or else it could be miserable.

I was a good counselor, but I totally played favorites. There were kids I understood more than others. The smart kids, the shy kids, the scared kids. I identified with them more. I was much more willing to sit down and negotiate with some kids than others -- to promise them an extra snack if they'd at least make an attempt to go in the pool, or to pretend I believed that they weren't feeling well and go for a long walk to the nurse's office instead of making them stand against the wall at the seven-year-old co-ed "dance" feeling out of place. Whereas the big kids, the ones who expressed their insecurities by acting out instead of by shutting down, the ones who weren't as bright -- I was much more able to just tell them they had to play kickball and forget about it. It wasn't totally fair, but I almost felt like I needed to "protect" the kids who had that spark, in whom I saw some potential for greatness. Because I could see the very real possibility that you take a smart, sensitive kid and throw him into this situation, where no one's listening, no one's understanding his needs, no one cares -- and he gives up. He decides it's not worth it to be smart and sensitive and good, and instead he should just be a spoiled brat like the rest of them. And he's lost forever. Maybe this isn't really how it happens, but that was how it felt to me. That there were some kids that had something special I could see, and that it was fragile. And I wanted to make sure they knew I saw that in them, and that I at least understood a little bit, and wasn't going to make them play hockey for no reason if they were afraid of the puck, and wasn't going to make them suffer needlessly in a situation they didn't have to be in. Although I realize the argument can be made that what some of these kids needed was exactly the opposite -- that they were at camp to learn to cope, and learn to deal with things outside their comfort zone, and I should have just let them figure it out instead of indulging them and cutting the crust off the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or maybe I just liked being the nice counselor and letting the other counselors do the dirty work. :)
Cool article about a woman reading her nanny's blog.


Instead of opening a dialogue, I monitored her online life almost obsessively. I would log on upstairs to see if she was simultaneously posting entries below me on her laptop while the baby was napping. Too often she was.

Wait a second. You're upstairs, the nanny's downstairs, the baby's napping. Maybe I don't understand the whole concept of a nanny, but if you're actually in the house, why do you need a nanny? Or is the whole point that you're rich enough to pay for someone to take care of your kids even when you're perfectly able to do it yourself?

Update: the blog in question is here and the author writes a response to the article. A very interesting post here. This is interesting. Read it. I may have thoughts later, but nothing much to say now except that it's interesting.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Just a quick plug for The Record, Harvard Law School's newspaper. The new editor is looking for staff (the link is to his message), so if you're an incoming 1L, or a rising 2L or 3L, and want to get involved, check out the link.
Bar Study Update

I'm a couple of days into my "Too Little, Too Late" bar exam study regimen. (As the post below indicates, the study regimen includes spending a day going to Philadelphia just to see a baseball game. But I did bring some outlines on New Jersey Transit with me and got some reading done.) I've read through outlines for all of the MBE subjects, and a couple of the New York subjects, although lots of New York subjects still to go.

What I'm struck with is all the acronyms Bar/Bri thinks someone should remember. In lots of cases I think it would be easier to remember the rule than the acronym and what it stands for. And how to keep all of the acronyms straight, I have no idea. In the property outline alone, here's what we've got (this is all true):

1. The doctrine of waste: remember PURGE. Prior Use, Reasonable repair, Grant, Exploitation.

2. The creation of a joint tenancy: remember T-TIP. same Time, same Title, identical equal Interests, identical rights to Possess the whole.

3. Severance of a joint tenancy: remember SPAM. Sale, Partition, And Mortgage. (That A is kind of forced.)

4. Tenant wrongfully vacates: remember SIR. Surrender, Ignore, Re-let.

5. Constructive eviction: remember SING. Substantial Interference, Notice, Goodbye.

6. Tenant's entitlements when the implied warranty of habitability is breached: Remember MR^3. Move, Repair and deduct, Reduce rent, Remain in possession.

7. Landlord's tort liability: remember CLAPS. Common areas, Latent defects rule, Assumption of repairs, Public use rule, Short term lease of furnished dwelling.

8. Creating an affirmative easement: remember PING. Prescription, Implication, Necessity, Grant.

9. Types of negative easement: remember LASS. Light, Air, Support, and Streamwater.

10. Parties bound to real covenants: remember WITHN. Writing, Intent, Touch and concern, Horizontal and vertical privity, Notice.

11. When does the benefit of the promise run to the successor of the benefitted lot: remember WITV. Writing, Intent, Touch and concern, and Vertical privity.

[Note: why does Vertical privity get its own letter in this one and not the previous? Even if I somehow remember these acronyms, isn't that a little bit confusing?]

12. When are successors bound by equitable servitudes: Remember WITNes. Writing, Intent, Touch and concern, Notice.

[Note: why the extra "es" that stands for nothing? Is WITN any harder to remember than WITV for the previous one?]

13. Adverse possession: Remember COAH. Continuous use, Open and notorius, Actual use, Hostile use.

[Note: didn't I remember this one when I was learning trigonometry too?]

14. Termination of an easement: Remember END CRAMP. Estoppel, Necessity, Destruction of the servient land, Condemnation of the servient estate, Release, Abandonment, Merger doctrine, Prescription.

[Note: I'm really not making this up.]

15. Notice imputed to the defendant: Remember AIR. Actual notice, Inquiry notice, Record notice.

16. How does the deed pass from seller to buyer: Remember LEAD. Lawfully Executed And Delivered.

17. The real defenses to the holder in due course foreclosing a mortgage: Remember MAD FIFI^4. Material, Alteration, Duress, Fraud In the Factum, Illegality, [and 3 other I-words that aren't in the outline I have, so I just have to hope they're not important, as if I can really remember all of this anyway.]

That's seventeen acronyms, just for one subject. Is this *actually* helpful? Will I really remember what rule goes with WITV and what goes with WITHN, and what those letters stand for, and what doesn't get a letter -- and the seventy-five other rules that don't have acronyms at all, what about them?

Actually, here's a way to remember all of these acronyms. Just memorize this fact pattern:

MAD FIFI was a LASS who ate some SPAM. She stuck not a q-tip but a T-TIP down her throat and PURGEd in the sink, which was made of LEAD. It flew threw the AIR. It made a PING when it hit the metal. She got an END CRAMP from vomiting. There were no WITNesses, not even SIR, who liked to SING (and had, incidentally, recently given Fifi the CLAP(s)).

And, voila, there's 75% of what you need to know about Property.
Citizens Bank Ballpark

People who don't care about baseball can skip this one. Yesterday I went with a friend to Philadelphia to see the Phillies-Marlins game at the Phillies' relatively new stadium, Citizens Bank Park. Nice stadium, like all the new-ish parks I've seen. They borrowed liberally from Camden Yards, creating a boulevard-like walkway with stores and concessions right inside the entrance. There's a nice Phillies Hall of Fame / History of the Phillies exhibit, including a somewhat-overblown "secrets of the Phillies" pitching plaques, showing how to throw a fastball, curveball, etc. These aren't secrets of the Phillies. Especially not with how the Phillies pitchers are doing this year.

Unfortunately, the stadium concessionaire is Aramark, who also control the food and beverage at Shea Stadium and lots of other places. They're very good at serving lousy, overpriced food made to seem more regional and unique than it actually is. Each concession stand seemed to have a different name -- "Cobblestone Grill," "Old City Creamery," "South Philadelphia Market," "Hatfield Grill," "Fairmount Fries," etc -- but, really, they all served the same thing. Hot dogs, sausage, fries, nachos, pretzels -- the generic Aramark concession food, all cooked about a week ago and served under heat lamps. There were a couple of unique items -- there was a Geno's cheesesteak stand, where you could get an Aramark cheesesteak with the Geno's name for $7.25. Underwhelming. I've had real Philly cheesesteaks. This was not. This was overpriced ballpark food. They had a stand called "Bull's BBQ" which was trying to be "Boog's BBQ" from Camden Yards, but didn't look as good (didn't try it, so I'm only going by what I saw). Someone can tell me whether I missed out by not trying the "Crab Fries," which appeared to be regular french fries dusted with Old Bay seasoning. I was intrigued, repeatedly, but not intrigued enough to buy them. But maybe I should have. Google tells me I should have. Oh well. I don't mean to rag on the stadium food having only tried the crappy cheesesteak.

But besides the food, it's a really nice stadium. The concourses are wide, there's lots of open space to see the field while you're walking around, and our $27.50 terrace-level seats were awesome. You feel like you're much closer to the field -- you *are* much closer to the field -- than at a place like Veterans Stadium, where the Phillies played before this. No complaints about the seating areas. Great view of the field. Nice scoreboards, good sound, good atmosphere.

Terribly unethusiastic fans, although that may have been because of the rain that delayed the start of the game by 40 minutes. But no brawls. I saw a game at Veterand Stadium about 8 years ago and was in the 700-level, way up high, and about a dozen people got kicked out for fighting. It was fun.

Sitting in front of us was a family where two kids were celebrating birthdays. They have a guy who comes around and makes the section sing happy birthday and throws confetti at them. The older couple next to me was entertaining -- it may have been the wife's first baseball game and she kept asking her husband questions about why the players are running in the direction they're running in, and whether the balls were fair or foul, and where to look to see the score. She also got seriously frightened by the cannon that shoots t-shirts into the crowd in between a couple of the innings.

After a homerun, the neon liberty bell lights up and rings, and the scoreboards are bathed in a pink and purple home run design. A little bit like a pinball game, my friend noted. And there were a bunch of home runs. Backup catcher Todd Pratt had one of the best days of his major league career, and my new favorite Phillie (he's on two of my fantasy baseball teams) Chase Utley had a 3-run homer and a couple of other hits. Lots of hits by both teams. Lots of lousy pitching. A new Marlins reliever with a name that sounded like an Austin Powers character (Randy Messenger).

Easy parking, a view of the Philly skyline, some flowers growing in a ledge by the wall, nice landscaping, nice architecture, it's a nice ballpark. If the Mets can do as good a job with their new stadium, I'll be pleased.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I saw a staged reading tonight of a musical called "The Times," written by Frasier writer/executive producer Joe Keenan (book and lyrics) and Brad Ross (music).

It was terrific.

I decided to go see it because I'd heard the soundtrack from one of Ross's other musicals, "Little by Little," and liked it a lot. So when I came across an article about this one, I was psyched to go. I'm glad I did.

Basically, it's the story of a dissolving marriage. The wife is an actress who gives it up and becomes an advertising exec. The husband is a writer who can't get anything published. He resents her for giving up the dream; she resents him for not giving it up. He turns bitter, she turns selfish, they fall out of love.

There's a background concept involving stories from the New York Times and how their lives interact with the media, but that's just color and the real core of the story is the relationship.

And it's all done so well.

The lyrics are really clever and well-crafted. They fit the music, nothing feels forced or contrived, the rhymes are basically flawless. The music is melodic, catchy, and almost every song has a hook. The songs stand alone but fit together. You end up feeling for the characters. Or at least I did. I could identify with them. I thought the ending was a little too easy, but that's barely a quibble. This was a terrific show. I didn't miss the costumes and lights and set at all, and hardly noticed the scripts the actors were holding. The singing was great. This was a really talented cast.

There's no reason why this shouldn't be given a real production, off-Broadway somewhere. It's good enough that I'd be tempted to see it again if it wasn't just running this weekend. It reminded me what good musical theater can be. It won't change your life, but it's not trying to. It's just a terrific, expertly-crafted, entertaining and thoughtful musical.

It finishes its weekend run on Saturday and Sunday. If you're looking for something to do, I can't recommend it more highly.
Hooking Up is a new 5-part documentary on ABC that premiered Thursday night, following a bunch of women in New York who use online dating sites. The link is to a NY Times article about it. From the article:

In brief narration in the voice of a dater we learn, "With 40 million Americans hooking up online, there's got to be someone out there for me." But that statistic is the end of the program's pedantry. After that, we're up close and personal with a dozen successful, attractive New York women, ages 25 to 38, as they condemn men, idolize men, tire of men and try again.

The show's compelling, in a way that feels really sleazy. The whole thing is actually really sad. One woman says followed by the show says, "I'm looking for a husband. This isn't supposed to be fun."

One of the women, a 36-year old gynecologist named Lisa, gives out a fake name to her dates, won't provide a picture, and won't tell them what she does for a living. She says it's to protect herself, because as a doctor she doesn't want people seeing her face on an Internet dating site and knowing she does this. She goes on a date *with another doctor* and still refuses to tell him she's a doctor too. Yet she's admitting it all ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. How concerned with her privacy can she really be? Is this not just a little inconsistent?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

People steal things from hotels, restaurants and airlines, according to the New York Times.

"But people also stuff handmade wrought-iron bread baskets into their bags and even pry loose items that are glued down, like empty wine bottles mounted on the wall."

Other items listed in the article:
Toilet paper from hotels and restaurants
Forks and entire place settings
Linen Napkins
Sake sets
Soap dispensers in the bathroom
Bottles of liquor
Salt and pepper shakers
Crystal wine glasses
Bath mats
A little rubber whale
An attractive "do not disturb" sign
Airline blankets and pillows

This is inspiring a sketch.
Apparently a New York mayoral candidate, C. Virginia Fields, sent out a doctored photo to supporters, replacing a white couple with a stock photo of an Asian couple in order to show broader ethnic and racial support for her campaign. Because everyone knows that the best way to illustrate genuinely broad support for your campaign is with an ethnically diverse campaign advertisement.

It has been discovered that this is just the latest in a series of doctored photos released by the Fields campaign:

*The photo of Fields digging survivors out from under the collapsed building on New York's upper west side is actually a composite of Fields at home tending to her garden superimposed on an image of the rescue scene.

*The photo of Fields at the Gay Pride Parade is actually a photo of Fields at her desk, superimposed under a picture of a colorful shirt.

*The photo of Fields crossing the Potomac with George Washington actually appears to be a photo illustration and should not be taken as a factual depiction of actual events.

*The photo of Fields tied to a cross and being lashed by a whip is actually a promotional still from The Passion of The Christ

*The photo of Fields planting a flag on the surface of the moon, however, appears to be genuine.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My roommate's been away on vacation for about two weeks, and won't be back for another week. I like my roommate. He's been a really good roommate so far. It makes me try to be as good a roommate in return as I can possibly be. Which is why I feel really bad that I was a moron and broke the apartment yesterday.

Well, not quite. But still, I did something stupid that ended up eating up about five hours to make it all better.

I was in the kitchen, and on the phone, and loading the dishwasher. I saw a little bottle of something in one of the kitchen drawers. I didn't really look at it carefully, but it said something about making dishes sparkly, and I assumed it was like that Jet Dry stuff you put in the dishwasher to make your dishes sparkly. I've never used that before, but I figured maybe my roommate had bought it and was using it. The bottle was a little used. So I put some into the dishwasher dispenser and started the dishwasher.

About ten minutes later, still on the phone, I notice there's a puddle forming in front of the dishwasher. I was standing right there, so it didn't get out of control or anything like that. Just a little puddle. So I immediately shut off the dishwasher and opened it up. And noticed it was full of soap suds. Big suds, like the man who lives in the dishwasher was taking a bubble bath. And it was overflowing. You see, I put liquid dish soap into the dishwasher, and that's a bad thing.

What's really dumb is that I did this once before, when I was about ten years old. My mom told me to do the dishes. She assumed I knew that the powder goes in the dishwasher, not the liquid. I recall a kitchen full of soap suds. Like, a flood. A lot of water. Lots and lots of soapy water. I almost drowned. (I was a small kid.)

So I should have learned my lesson, but apparently I didn't. What made me feel especially terrible was that my landlord, on the rider to the lease, had a specific provision -- that we must remain in the apartment whenever the dishwasher was running. He seemed really concerned about a flood. So I felt extra bad.

But I caught it right away, and there wasn't that much water. I cleaned up the water, using about a half a roll of paper towels, and then I used a glass to start scooping the suds from the dishwasher and putting them in the sink.

Then I realized there's a part of the cycle that drains the dishwasher, so I tried that, and the water went away.

So that was good. But I still had a Jet Dry dispensing hole full of dish soap. My stepdad advised me to get a straw and suck it out. He was trying to be helpful. I didn't have any straws. I used paper towels to clean it out and flushed it with water. Then I went to sleep.

A small part of me wanted to leave it until my roommate got back, and then play dumb when the first time he ran the dishwasher, it flooded the kitchen. A small part of me. But I'm a terrible actor, and also not a jerk, so I knew I had to actually deal with it today. I tried running the dishwasher again, hoping the soap had been diluted enough. It wasn't. It started to flood. But I caught it before any water escaped. Because I was standing with my foot in the dishwasher crack, to feel any water before it hit the floor.

So then I turned to the Internet to figure out if anyone had a solution to this problem. Apparently, there are a number of solutions. Crisco Oil. Oil, Table Salt, and Ice Cubes. A bar of soap, liquid fabric softener, malt vinegar, milk, or a half-cup of vegetable oil. White vinegar. Baking soda.

I decided that despite the lack of consensus, I would try a bunch of these solutions and hopefully something would work. So I went to the supermarket and bought white vinegar (all we had in the apartment was red vinegar), vegetable oil (all we had was olive oil), table salt (all we had was sea salt), baking soda (all we had was regular soda), and a crate of Clementine oranges (not for the dishwasher, but they're good anyway).

Luckily, I remembered that in 4th grade, when we made a volcano, we mixed vinegar and baking soda and that created big amounts of foam. Exactly what I didn't want. So no baking soda. Now my refrigerator will smell fresh though. So I mixed together some oil and vinegar, and added some salt... and had a salad. And then I put some oil and vinegar in the dishwasher, added some salt, and ran the dishwasher. I stopped it every minute or so and looked inside. At first, suds. I scooped them out and continued the cycle. Fewer suds. Scooped them out. Added more salt. Continued the cycle. Fewer suds. Continued. I think I've cured it. I've run a complete cycle, and no flooding, and not really any suds. Tomorrow I'll try running it with the dishes and see what happens.

But I think I've escaped without any real consequences, luckily. No flooding, and the downstairs neighbor hasn't knocked on my door so I assume the small amount of water that got on the floor didn't seep down into his apartment. I mean, we're allowed to clean the floor, right? It is possible that under a normal circumstance, I could spill some water on the floor and it wouldn't cause a leak, right? I hope.

But I still feel bad that my roommate goes away on vacation and I break the apartment.
I bought an awesome CD yesterday. The Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown came out with a disc where he sings some of his material, some from shows he's written and some new stuff. Amazon's got it here. There's some real masterpieces on here. I'm blown away. I don't know what it is. He's created some really wonderful songs -- lyrically, musically, vocally. "Someone to Fall Back On" and "Nothing In Common" should find their way into the catalog of songs that get sung fifty years from now. They're brilliant. I've heard most of his Broadway music, although I never saw any of his shows. He's somehow able to bridge the gap between "musical" music and pop music. And he plays a mean piano. Good stuff.

I mean, not if your musical tastes run toward 50 Cent, probably not your thing. But who knows.
The first post if I started a weblog called 'Anonymous Writer'

Prologue: I can't come up with a better way to write this post. I started it with the title "feelings I'm ashamed to write about, because they make me sound like I don't understand how fortunate I am" but I can't spend the entire post apologizing for being in a really lucky position. This is what's been keeping me from writing more on here recently, I think. It's now been about two months where the full-time task hanging over my head is writing a novel based on the Anonymous Lawyer weblog I've been writing. I feel really fortunate to be able, for now, to write and not to have to go be a lawyer. But I've been scaring myself into feeling like that means I have no right to have any frustrations, or at least no right to write about them, because it'll seem like I'm ungrateful. But what that's meant is I don't write. And I miss not having the weblog as an outlet for me to sort out my feelings. The mere act of writing really does help make things clearer (and reader feedback helps sometimes too :), so I want you to pretend the rest of this post isn't really me. It's Anonymous Writer. Anonymous Writer is allowed to be honest even when Jeremy is afraid that being honest will get him a dozen e-mails that say he should be ashamed of himself for not realizing how fortunate he is.

Anonymous Writer

1. My boss needs to be fired. He lets me come in late, he lets me leave early, he doesn't stop me from spending hours doing things completely unrelated to work, and he gives me unlimited vacation days. He doesn't hold me to deadlines, he accepts lame excuses for why I don't get anything done, and he refuses to impose any sort of structure on the work day. He's pathetic. The problem is that I can't fire him because he's me. I'm a terrible boss. I came to the realization a few years ago that I'm consistently motivated more by trying to impress others than by anything inside of me, but didn't really believe that was completely true. It's completely true. To impress someone I respect and want to think highly of me, I will do anything, and I will do it quickly, and I will find the motivation somewhere. It'll just be there. It'll keep me up nights. It'll kick in, every time. Without that, it's like pulling teeth. I turn the Internet off and ten minutes later I turn it back on to check e-mail. I promise myself no food until I write another thousand words, and I eat anyway. I can't hold myself to anything. I need to get better at that, or get my editor to whip me with a belt or something. I'm a terrible boss. Two months and I still don't have a regular daily schedule. I make the excuse that writing is governed by the inspiration. I need to get over that crock of baloney, because I don't think it's really true. I'm just a bad boss. At least when I'm the employee. I suck at this part of being a writer, I really do.

2. What was awesome about law school, and gave me three years of weblog material, was that people cared. This was really something people cared about. There were emotions, there was drama, there were common experiences that actually mattered and had an impact on people. There was a seriousness of feeling. Things felt important. Same thing at the law firm as a summer associate, and probably even more so. Things really felt like they mattered, and there were people there who they mattered to. This made it easy to write stuff, frankly. It made it easy to find inspiration and see character and find stories. Things that seemed important were going on. There were reactions and confrontations and events. It felt relevant to write about it. It felt important. I had things I really wanted to say -- things I needed to say just to sort out the reality of the experience and figure out what was going on. What's really hard about this -- much much much more than I realized it would be -- is that when you're not in school and not at a job, it's really hard to find yourself around things that people are caring about, and to find things to write about. It's hard to even have things to say sometimes, because I'm not around people caring about things, I'm not seeing any drama or emotion or confrontation or even any experiences. I've been very, very, very deliberate about making enough plans with friends that I'm not lonely or bored. I've been good at that. Most days I have something to do with other people. Without that, I'd really be ready to shoot myself. But I thought that would be enough, and it hasn't been. Because while it's been really great to be able to hang out with people and go see shows and eat meals and do stuff like that, it hasn't put me in situations where people are really doing things that are important to them. And I know that most jobs aren't that important anyway, and that what a lot of my friends are doing all day while I'm trying to write is pretty boring and uninspiring. So it may not be any better. But it's something. There are other people. People with problems and stories. Things are happening. At the very least, it gives them stories to tell and things to think about. At best, it provides writing material. Nights like tonight, I convince myself that the best thing I could do would be to look for a part-time job -- any job where I'd be around people, probably -- for a couple of days a week, and the inspiration, the ideas, the new thoughts it would put in my head, it would all be more than worth the time it would take from the writing. And then I wake up the next morning and it feels like a stupid idea. But I know it's not, and I just need to do it. But then the boss part of me suddenly cares about my schedule and is like, "No, you're writing full-time, what the hell are you thinking about getting a stupid job for? Are you an idiot?" So I'm still trying to sort that out. But I need to do something, because it's really hard to write when there aren't new thoughts percolating through your head every day and new things to think about. I can only amuse myself for so long.

3. This relates to the previous point, but it's also hard to write when the feelings aren't fresh. What made Anonymous Lawyer resonate with people, I think -- and what made it compelling for me to write -- was that it was real. Not the stories necessarily, but the emotions behind them. The feelings were real. These were things I had to get out somewhere. That I felt compelled to write down. That I felt like I wanted to say. It was authentic. I really had something to say. But now that it's been a year since I was at a firm, it's hard to make it all seem so raw and fresh again. What I had to say, in a lot of ways I feel like I've said it. There are a lot of words on there. It's hard to make them seem fresh to me again, even though I know to a reader who hasn't read this stuff, it'll all seem fresh and new. It's hard to channel those emotions again, because it almost feels like a dream. How can anyone take the law firm so seriously? But people did. And it was scary. I felt real feelings. I had things to say. I worry a lot that I've lost that. That I no longer have anything to say. That I've written everything authentic that I have to write, and everything new I write is contrived and a little bit pointless, because it's just stuff in my head, motivated by the need to write this book instead of the need to say something. But then sometimes I wake up with a lot of inspiration and lots of new words to write, so then I forget about this worry. But not always.

4. Along those same lines, I worry about the transition from novel to weblog. The weblog has resonated with people and really works, I think. I worry I can't live up to that standard in the novel, and can't give the novel a reason to exist beyond the weblog. I'm trying very hard to make sure people who've read the weblog will like the novel -- it's not just a rehash of the same stuff. There's a plot, there are new characters, it's new words, there are things going on. But I also want people who haven't read the weblog to not be missing out on anything. I want to make sure everything about the weblog that's good is also good about the novel, plus more. Part of me is struggling with the question of what I'm trying to do with the novel. Is it just a novel, with a compelling story, interesting characters, and (hopefully) funny writing, or can it be more than that? Can it really say something about law firms and law school and what it all means and life and livelihoods and be something actually thought-provoking? Can I get people to read it not just for the story but for my voice? Can this be not just one of thousands of novels that come out every year but something really amazing? And I don't know if I can do that, or if that's too high a bar to set for what's basically the first novel-like thing I've written. I don't want to stop myself from writing a good novel because I'm trying to write a great one. But I also don't want to write merely an okay one if there's a chance to write something really extraordinary. And I don't really know what a great novel looks like, or what a bad novel looks like, or how to write a novel at all. So some days I feel like I'm faking it, sort of. Not really, but I've lived with this character and this material for so long that I sometimes forget what's good and what's shlock and what's actually going to make this a book worth writing, and a book worth reading.

5. Putting this in writing helps. If nothing else, just being able to write it reminds me I do have things to say, and thoughts going through my head, even if lately it's been hard to always remember that. I had my improv comedy class tonight and I felt profoundly uncreative. I start to worry sometimes that I'm losing whatever spark I might have had. That law school stole it, or that losing the pressure of trying to get a break, of trying to get my writing out there, of trying to get people to notice -- that losing that pressure took the spark with it, and I can't get it back. That I was funny and creative out of fear and out of anxiety about the future and out of this pressure to not end up at a job I hated, in a life I didn't want to live. And now that the fear is gone, maybe more is gone too. I haven't really convinced myself yet that I'm wrong about that, and it scares me. It scares me a lot. This is all really exciting, in the abstract, but sometimes a little bit frightening in the reality. Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes it's just really cool. :)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Justices not rumored to be retiring imminently

1. Justice Thomas
2. Judge Judy
3. ESPN commentator and former baseball player David Justice
4. Pete Williams, NBC Justice Correspondent
5. The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada
If you're looking to waste a valuable chunk of your day, this web game is really addictive. I got to level 5, but only once. Keep getting stuck on level 2 or 3.

Also, anyone who knows how to ban your computer from going to certain sites, in such a way that I could have someone else input a password and not tell me what it is, let me know.

You think I'm kidding but I'm not.
random sketch that isn't that funny

The Apartment

(Lights up on a guy and a girl in an apartment. The guy is playing a makeshift set of drums – coffee cans, garbage pails, etc. The girl is playing with a bicycle horn. They both make noise intermittently throughout the scene.)

Our new neighbors are weird.

No kidding. They’re so quiet. It’s unnerving.

The last ones were awesome. They had great music, they wore heavy shoes, it was so entertaining.

Yeah, it was like a party on the ceiling every night. I totally miss it.

But these new ones are lame.

Lamer than lame.

Nothing. Not a peep. No slamming doors, no blasting stereos, not even any late-night cell phone calls that we can hear through the vent.

Yeah, those were the best. “Missy, I love you.” “Missy, I hate you.” “Missy, I have herpes.” It was like our own private radio sitcom.

I miss radio sitcoms. TV sucks.

No kidding.

But I bet these losers don’t even have a phone.

And the smells! The old neighbors were awesome cooks. With garlic and onions and that Asian fruit that tastes like custard but smells like rotten cheese.


Yeah, that’s it. It was like living in the supermarket! It was so much fun!

I think these lame people must be part of that raw food movement. Nothing. No Chinese, no Mexican, no bacon smell to wake us up at six in the morning. Those were the days.

Those were indeed the days.

I think we should go up there and complain. You’re studying for the GRE and everything, you need distractions. They have no right to be so quiet and inoffensive.

Maybe we should tell the landlord.

Or call the police. I’m afraid--of how lame they are.

Damn, at least a gunshot once in a while.

You’re telling me. Maybe a firecracker? Or a smoke alarm?

How about a leak? Some water dripping through the ceiling? That would be awesome.

That would be amazing.

That would be incredible.

(We hear a muffled doorbell.)

What kind of freaking doorbell was that?

(It rings again.)

That’s so freaking annoying.

(It rings again.)

It’s coming from downstairs. I hate those noisy downstairs neighbors. The nerve. Let’s get ‘em.

(DAN and STACY grab baseball bats and exit to go beat up their neighbors.)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I saw "Bewitched" last night. Despite less-than-stellar reviews, I thought it was fun. >Rotten Tomatoes shows that 25% of the reviews are positive, but even the positive ones are pretty lackluster:

"Great open, really great first act, far into the second act this is a strong production. It's light and airy, fun at every turn. Unfortunately, it slips during last 3rd."

"What keeps Bewitched just barely out of the summer slush pile is its sense of light-hearted fun."

"You may be more bothered and bewildered than bewitched by this spoof-remake of the classic TV series."

And those are the good ones.

More Rotten Tomatoes fun -- here's a pair of review blurbs that are hard to tell apart:

"As far as ill-advised Nicole Kidman vehicles... are concerned, the nicest thing one can say about Bewitched is that it's an improvement over The Stepford Wives."

"The nicest thing you can say about Bewitched is that it's better than The Stepford Wives."

Oh well. Sometimes I just like movies no one else does.
Family Guy is really funny.

Even though they stole tonight's vomit scene from Team America, it was still really funny.

Vomit is always funny.

Family Guy and vomit are both always funny.

While I'm at it, other TV shows I'm watching:

1. Entourage
2. The Comeback
3. The Scholar

Entourage and The Comeback are an awesome pair of shows. The Scholar is just reality TV, but it's kind of compelling. Beyond those and Family Guy, TV is kind of a wasteland over the summer. But that's good, since I feel guilty every time I turn it on.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

An interesting e-mail I just got, in response to my post below. Read the e-mail and then I'll comment.

I'd like to recommend a book to you, Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It, by Thomas De Zengotita ( ). The reason why I'm bringing this up is because there's something in the book that is germane to the way people are reacting to the terrorist attacks in London today.

Basically, what De Zengotita is saying is that our society has been conditioned to be self-oriented by the media, so that when a world event occurs, one of the immediate reactions, especially when being interviewed by tv news on the street, is how I am reacting to this event or that. One of this book's observations is that people are used to being filmed and their egos stroked when a tragedy occurs - they're expected to cry or show sorrow because, on some level, they're performing on the world stage.

This is supremely evident in the blogosphere, where any Joe Schmo with a blog is reflecting to an event that, in the abstract, affects us all, but is only personally pertinent to a small percentage of the population. That begs the question: why do we feel compelled to react and comment about an event that doesn't personally affect us?

Another way of looking at this is when you hear the question: Where were you when (Kennedy was assassinated / 9-11 / other world event)? You never hear this question about Pearl Harbor or Hiroshima. That was a different generation, before the rise of TV and the self-oriented media that targets ME, the consumer/viewer. Nowadays, every person's viewpoint on the street is relevant, no matter how banal such an exchange may be.

I guess the implicit criticism that I'm making is that when we're conditioned - inured, even - to give a 30 second reaction on the 6 o'clock news (or a blurb on our personal blog), we somehow diminish the gravity of said event by making it about us, our reaction, and how well we can portray sorrow in front of an audience composed of our like-minded "mediated" peers.

Your thoughts?

Well, wait a second. This is mixing two different things, I think. TV news clips that ask people unaffected by tragedies what their reactions are -- yeah, pretty useless. But weblogs are by nature about people and their reactions to things, no matter how banal those reactions are. I really don't feel like my paragraph about what happened in London being frightening is particularly inappropriate or diminishes the gravity of what happened. I think it's really cynical to say that people's reactions to things like this are staged. Terrorism is a legitimate fear. I don't think it's illegitimate to feel slightly more afraid today than yesterday, whether you're in London or you're in New York, or Washington, or anyplace else that is a conceivable target of stuff like this. I think there's a real difference between this and the tsunami from a few months ago. I think most of us have no fear of a tsunami, but, at least in New York or other big cities, I think there's a legitimate low-level background fear about terrorist attacks that's not illegitimate to have, and certainly not to blog about. And I don't mean that specifically about my post, which was pretty inoffensive, I think. But if someone felt something today that moved them to write some 2000-word piece about how it affected their life in Des Moines -- self-indulgent, maybe, but not illegitimate. For TV news, sure, I don't necessarily think everyone has a point of view worth sharing, on a medium with limited space and where people have expectations that the things being said have some level of relevance. But on a weblog? This is why weblogs exist.
Frightening stuff in London. I guess it's never really safe to feel safe in today's world. I watched a press conference that Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki gave earlier. Extra police on mass transit today, random searches, extra vigilance. I'm going into Manhattan for dinner with some friends. I have an instinct to avoid the big interchanges -- Penn Station, Times Square, Grand Central -- not because I really think anything will happen but because at least it's a way to rationalize using the subway and feel like I'm making some active choice to try and make believe I'm safer than I'd otherwise be. I don't know if that makes any sense at all. It probably doesn't.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Interesting Times article about chefs who hate certain foods and won't serve them.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

This is a fake timestamp. It's really like 2:45 in the morning. The subway is slow late at night. Here's a random sketch that desperately needs a rewrite and a better ending.

The Neighbor

(Two guys sitting in a living room. One is reading, one is watching TV. Suddenly, a knock at the door. They both freeze.)

(sighs) Crap, not her again.... We’re not here.

We are here.

This is the sixth time this week. And it’s only Tuesday.

She just wants to be our friend.

But how nice do we have to be to a neighbor we both can’t stand?

Maybe you can’t stand her. I think she’s... fine. She’s... fine.

You like her?

No. But I don’t hate her.

That’s a pretty low threshold for being willing to spend time with someone.

(Another knock. They lower their voices.)

We’re not here.

We are here. This isn’t nice.

But if we keep letting her in, she’s just going to keep coming over, and before you know it, one of us is married to her.

I guess you mean me.

Well it’s not going to be me.

I don’t want to marry her. But what’s the harm? She’s new to the city, she’s lonely, she wants friends. What’s the difference if she watches TV with us?

It sets a precedent. It’s the principle of it.

Not everything is about the principle.

No, you’re wrong. Everything is about the principle. Otherwise you start to slide down a very slippery slope.

This is like the dishes. Just because I leave one dish in the sink overnight doesn’t mean that one dish is going to suddenly become twenty dishes---

But it’s the principle---

No. There’s no principle. She’s not a bad person, she’s knocking on the door, we’re letting her in.

(Paul starts to get up. Gary gets up and pushes Paul back down to the couch.)

No, we’re not. We’re not here.

We are here. I told her we’d be here.

You told her we’d be here? When did you tell her we’d be here?

When she e-mailed me at work.

She e-mailed you at work? How did she get your e-mail address?

I gave it to her.


Because she asked for it.

And what are you going to say when she asks you to marry her?

I’m going to say no.

No, you’re not. Because you’ve established a precedent. You say yes. You need to say no. It’s the principle of it.

Again with the principle. I’m not going to not be nice to her just out of principle.

(Another knock. They lower their voices.)

We’re not here.

We are here.

(Paul starts to get up. Gary gets up and pushes Paul back down to the couch.)

If you open that door, I’m going to screw your sister.

You don’t even like my sister.

It doesn’t matter. It’s the principle.

(straining to come up with a response) Yeah, well… if you don’t let me answer the door, I’m going to... punch the TV?

Why would you punch the TV? It’s your TV anyway.

I don’t know. The principle?

What principle?

(exasperated) I’m not as good at this as you. You don’t worry about being nice to our neighbor or giving a minute to help the environment or recycling our cans and bottles. But I can’t do that. I’m jealous of you. You could punch our neighbor in the face and it wouldn’t eat at you at all. But she asks me to borrow my toothbrush and I’m powerless to say no.

She borrowed your toothbrush?

Only once.

That’s disgusting.

What was I supposed to do?

You were supposed to say no.

I can’t.

You have to.

(Another knock. They lower their voices.)

We’re not here.

We’re not here.


(yelling) We’re not here.

(Gary gives him an angry look.)

VOICEOVER (Chinese accent)
Okay, you no want your food, I leave.

Wait, that was the delivery guy.

Crap. Now what are we going to eat?


Monday, July 04, 2005

A random walk through the Conviser Mini Review

No, I'm not actually studying for the bar yet. But I've got this big book everyone is telling me is completely useless, so I figured I should at least try and wring some humor from it.

"incompetents... cannot be principals." Tell that to my elementary school.

The right to counsel in New York is called the Arthur-Hobson rule. According to Amazon, some guy named Arthur Hobson wrote a book called "Yorkshire Folk at Home." It's currently unavailable and its binding is unknown.

A special prosecutor is an inferior officer, under the Ethics in Government Act. Looks like the Ethics in Government Act is mostly about filing reports, and not filing false ones. That's less interesting than I imagined it could be.

An acronym for remembering when a writing is not required in the statute of frauds context is SWAP. Specially made goods; Written confirmation by merchant; Admission in court; Performance. An acronym for remembering the answers to the first ten questions of the bar exam is ACCDBAABCA.

Exam Tip: For purposes of the multistate bar exam, exclusion of minorities is about the only defect sufficient to quash a grand jury indictment. In case you were wondering.

Exam Tip: Bring lots of pencils.

Negative covenants touch and concern the land if they restrict the holder of the servient estate in his use of that parcel of land. Example sentence: Although the covenant barring the priest from touching and concerning the children continues to touch and concern the land, the priest has stopped touching and concerning the children and instead merely touches himself, while on the land, which concerns his neighbors.

"Deed in Chain" just released its latest album, "Imparting Constructive Notice."

A lapse occurs when a beneficiary of a gift in a will dies before the testator. So, if you leave your Lhasa Apso to your aunt, a lapsed Catholic, and she dies before you do, there is a lapse regarding the Lhasa Apso and your lapsed-Catholic aunt, whose lap you used to sit on when you were little.