Friday, April 30, 2004

Not that it's really necessary in order for me to post one, but it is Poem on Your Blog Day. I choose another poem about a painting.

Nude Descending a Staircase
X. J. Kennedy

Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.

We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh--
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.

One woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape.

Now I must go purchase some sort of suitable dress for this banquet. Short girl + long dresses = shopping madness.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Because I have RSVPs on the brain right now (getting people to come to this banquet is like herding cats), when Geoffrey showed me the response card for his friend's wedding today it struck me quite strongly. The reply options on the card read:

____ Cannot wait to attend

____ Cannot attend

Now this is both confusing and technically duplicative. I'm sure they thought they were being very cute and colloquial, though.

I'm off to listen to Professor Singer play the viola at my friend Angel's party. Hurrah for the Public Interest Auction!
Ryan at pdf chase is mostly right about the stupidity of our online registration system. (I especially enjoy the e-mails it automatically sends, which do not contain a copy of your bids due to "security reasons." Because my choice of Bankruptcy over Antitrust needs to be kept secret.) The whole rigmarole is especially foreign to people who have come from small undergraduate institutions. Although CMC had quirks of its own (nothing online, not even grades, but then HLS just got those this year), everything was refreshingly simple. You showed up at your appointed time with a list in hand, quickly compared it to the oversubscribed courses on the blackboard, dropped and replaced anything that had filled, and told an actual human being to enroll you in certain classes. Stone age, but comprehensible.

The only reason I can see for having such an emphasis on fairness and everyone repeatedly getting a new shot at the top classes is that we only take electives for two years. Getting shafted during registration in undergrad meant one term's worth of mediocre courses, whereas we now have fewer chances to fit in those much sought after seminars. I do hope they switch over to biannual registration, though. Trying to assess whether you'd rather take one class in the spring versus another in the fall is just absurd.

Update: Dean Rakoff just sent us an e-mail with the results of a survey about the registration system. The semester-by-semester registration reform was preferred by a 2/3 margin, but, as is typical, nothing will happen for months while the proposals for change are in committee.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I had always wondered what happened to the photos of me and the other ladies of the HLS FedSoc hanging out with Justice Scalia. One of them appeared in the yearbook today. How nice.
Easily amused: the submission I just finished reading cites repeatedly to the scholarship of one Glenn Reynolds. Hee hee.
Today's goals: set up overdue meetings with faculty assistants. Get in touch with other recommender. Type up tentative list of judges for clerkships. Read and review two articles for the journal. Oh, and go to the last Advanced Crim Pro class.

The pressure is increasing. And we still can't find anyone to sublet our place for the summer!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Probably the only Bush post I will ever make: Is this guy for real? How uninhibited do you have to be to rub a bald stranger's head? Or wipe your glasses on other people's clothes? What possible explanation can there be for his behavior? There's not being self conscious, and there's being out of sync with normal human standards for personal touching. (Via Wonkette and Boing Boing, respectively)
Hypertext version of The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot, via M. Yglesias.
For those of you considering children: food for thought.
I knew this was coming, but am still deeply saddened by the passage of the Oldsmobile. My first and only car, regretfully sold before coming to Boston, was an Olds: a 1989 Cutlass Ciera. It was huge and unwieldy to park, but it was made of metal, not plastic, and I loved it. And it wasn't my father's Oldsmobile, either. It was my grandfather's. (That just meant that it had a distinct cherry tobacco smell for the first few months.) There's one just like it parked by Pound Hall and it makes me nostalgic for the old beater. My poor car . . . I hope Uncle Charlie is taking good care of her.
Two different people have pointed me at this article in the Washington Post about the town where I went to high school, Sugar Land. I really don't know what to say except that yes, there are people like that there, in addition to the huge Indian population, NBA players, and vast hordes of normal suburbanites.
Another list post, this time via In Favor of Thinking. It's embarassing, as all such assessments of cultural literacy tend to be. This is exacerbated by the inclusion of several really terrible books which no person should feel compelled to read (The Last of the Mohicans and Doctor Zhivago, I'm looking at you).

To play: post this list on your blog, putting titles you've read in boldface.

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily - Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey

Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find

O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales

Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac

Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein

Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island

Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard - Native Son

Edited to add Bronte and Voltaire. I haven't the time or inclination to trace the origins of this list, but it strikes me as fundamentally flawed. Only one Austen book? So little poetry? Phooey.

Monday, April 26, 2004

I suppose this sort of data is useful, but shouldn't it be adjusted for the size of the graduating class if it is to accurately reflect the strength of each school? This really overstates Harvard's achievement in packing the benches. If you spray out graduates like a firehose you're bound to hit something.
At last: charges have been filed against Kerri Dunn, the visiting professor who faked a hate crime at my alma mater this spring.
It has been looming in my mind of late that sometime soon I will no longer have access to the OED. No more looking up random words and their etymologies, no more lists of quotations, no nothing. Just whatever inferior free dictionaries the web has to offer. Maybe if I am at a firm I can afford the yearly subscription. For less than a dollar a day I can satisfy my OED obsession – it is tempting.
I don't know what to think of this; Greg Weston, the HLS FedSoc's resident disaffected Kerry-supporting libertarian, now has a blog of his own. Does this mean he has permanently ceded Ex Parte to the Bush crowd? Don't make me come over there, boys.
First they came for the cravats and waistcoats, but I said nothing…

Waddling Thunder went shopping for suits this weekend. I heartily approve of any firm that still requires, or at least encourages, its associates to wear suits. Part of this is my selfish desire to have a more aesthetically pleasing work environment (all men look better in suits, as WT observes) and to avoid the treacherous shoals of business casual for women (no one knows what this means, except that it involves guesswork and twin sets). But part of it is based a rebellion against the ceaseless decrease in formality that marks our culture. I may have disagreed with Austin Bramwell about many things, but never fashion. Next thing you know, we’ll all be trundling around the office in polo shirts with the firm name embroidered on the front like a bunch of computer programmers or something. Bah.

Will Baude thinks that business casual has benefits for those of us in hot climates, but there are many light summer-weight fabrics which can keep you cool yet still look professional. And the answer to Amanda Butler’s problem (other than SAS shoes) is to spend a lot on a well made, perfectly fitted pair of pumps. That cheap shoes destroy your feet is one of the great truths of our time.

Update: JCA mentions one of the reasons I left California. She leaves out the tendency of male Californian professionals to wear Hawaiian shirts and khakis to the office. It's making me queasy just thinking about it.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Tiffany and Bill are engaged! Hurrah! And so soon after Dana and Tom's nine year anniversary . . . perhaps there's something in the air at this time of year for Midwestern couples.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

One of the benefits of living with a grad student (besides having someone around who can converse about things other than law or politics) is that he passes along to me any random tidbits of medieval legal knowledge he comes across in his studies. How else would I hear about Visigothic ideas of due process?

If an accuser failed to prove his case by direct evidence, he was permitted to use torture to obtain a confession. However, use of torture was conditioned on an oath that it was not being used maliciously and production of a written description of the crime by the accuser to compare to any confession obtained. Torture was limited to three days. If no confession emerged, the accuser fell victim to whatever penalty would have fallen upon the guilty party, save that in lieu of the death penalty the accuser was enslaved to the innocent accused. If the accuser killed his victim during the course of the torture, he was delivered to the family of the accused to be killed.

I wonder if Dershowitz knows about this?
I'm a bit behind on this one, but the paper was sucking my will to live toward the end of this week.

Neil Gaiman recently won a Nebula award for his novella, Coraline. It's actually a (very creepy) children's book, but one that older people can also enjoy. The author could not be present at the Nebula awards ceremony, though, so he requested that someone else read his acceptance speech in the event of a win.

That someone else was Harlan Ellison.

Now some of you may know that Mr. Ellison, in addition to being an accomplished writer, is something of a strong personality. (CMC readers may recall his lecture at the Athenaeum in 2001. Over the course of the evening, he told dirty jokes, read an entire short story, switched dinner tables halfway through the meal, called a student a bitch, asked for contributions to support his intellectual property lawsuit, went more than thirty minutes over his allotted time, and scandalized the audience. This was a relatively tame evening for Harlan. I proudly admit to being the person who invited him. It was beautiful. But I digress.)

The Harlan Ellison persona, created and manifested over decades, is of being utterly uncontrollable. So who could resist the opportunity to make Harlan Ellison say anything he wanted? Not Neil Gaiman (scroll down for the full text of the speech). An excerpt:

The knowledge that the person reading the acceptance speech will actually say whatever I write here is deeply intimidating. Think about it: for the first time in my life, possibly for the first time in anyone's life, I can make Harlan Ellison say, literally, anything. And he will. Because it's my acceptance speech. He's not going to extemporise here, or suddenly start telling a joke about a duck trying to buy a condom or something. He has to read what I've written. I could make him proclaim his love of the Republican party, or reveal his membership in Al Quaida. I could write down the words "I, Harlan Ellison, am actually a science fiction writer" in my awards speech, and he'd have to say them. I wouldn't actually do any of this, though, because Harlan's revenge would be swift in coming and incredibly funny whenever he told people about it. Well, incredibly funny for everyone except me, anyway. I'd still be in Hibernia, pursued by enraged lascars and apothecaries.

I would have paid a great deal of money to see this.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Off to have dinner and play poker with the Coopers! No doubt my abject humiliation at being trounced soundly will be compensated for by amusing Texas stories.
The new phone books computers are here! The new phone books computers are here!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Halfway done with this horrid paper. How I wish I'd taken only courses with in-class exams.
Mr. Sandefur is Brueghel blogging. Two can play at this game.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted the wing’s wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

- William Carlos Williams
Jeremy is giving advice on how to prepare for law school, which is not to. My advice to those of you about to start in the fall:

- Don't read One-L or any of those other stupid law school tell-alls. No matter where you go, it's never like that.
- Don't watch The Paper Chase. It's a product of its time and has not aged well.
- Do something fun this summer that's not related to the law. Your law school summers will probably be spent at some poorly paid public interest job or in a firm. Have you always wanted to take an art class? Travel to Asia? Do some full time volunteer work? This is your chance.
- Relax. You will be a giant ball of stress once classes begin and so will everyone else. Why start working on your first heart attack now?
- Socialize with friends and family who you may not see once you start law school. Having a strong personal network is key when the first inklings of exam-related despair set in around November.
- To second Jeremy and Waddling Thunder, don't waste your money on a prep class. Your school may send you a list of helpful or recommended reading. There is no need to actually read any of this. In fact, read whatever you like best. There may not be as much time for pleasure reading in law school.
- Find a good place to live and settle in before classes start.
- Don't Panic!
Fake Hate Crime Update:

Kerri Dunn, the visiting psychology professor who was seen faking a hate crime at the Claremont Colleges this spring, is soliciting students for assistance with her legal defense. One student who sent her a supportive email in the immediate aftermath of the crime (before her exposure as a hoaxer) received this message:

I have contacted many of you by e-mail. Although I have not formally been charged yet, the possibility still exists. If I am charged I will fight this till the end. Remember one thing...if I am charged, that means the investigation has ended and the person who did this, and the other hatefully acts are still on the loose.
Anyway, please e-mail me back if you think you would be interested in helping raise money for my defense. I simply need people to make a flyer and distribute it. Please let me know if you know others who may be interested as well.
Finally, thanks to all of you for continuing to believe in me. It has helped me from drowning.
Best regards,

--- Kerri Dunn

Has she no shame?

Edited to remove the offender's personal email address. I am torn about posting this, but I am deeply offended by this woman terrorizing a student community by making it look as if there are violent racists in its midst and then asking those same students for help to dig out of the legal hole she put herself in.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The Slithery D is out to get me. Not only is his new personal crusade to convince me to procreate, he also decided to bash secondary journals. As a satisfied childless individual and the Editor in Chief of a journal, I am more than a little grumpy about this.
"I always make it clear that I consider myself a science fiction writer." - Neal Stephenson

If it weren't for this damn paper on immutability I have to write, I could already be reading The Confusion.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Elizabeth Bishop has been getting fresh attention of late, according to this piece in the New Criterion. Her predecessor as Consultant in Poetry, Léonie Adams, remains relatively obscure. Her works are out of print and only a few are available online.

April Mortality

Rebellion shook an ancient dust,
And bones bleached dry of rottenness
Said: Heart, be bitter still, nor trust
The earth, the sky in their bright dress.

Heart, heart, dost thou break to know
This anguish thou wilt bear alone?
We sang of it an age ago,
And traced it dimly upon stone.

With all the drifting race of men
Thou also art begot to mourn
That she is crucified again,
The lonely Beauty yet unborn.

And if thou dreamest to have won
Some touch of her in permanence,
'T is the old cheating of the sun,
The intricate lovely play of sense.

Be bitter still, remember how
Four petals, when a little breath
Of wind made stir the pear-tree bough,
Blew delicately down to death.
A few months ago I read a short story about William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway that took a "Return of Martin Guerre" angle on the Kit Marlowe authorship theory. The problem is that I cannot remember who wrote this story or even where I found it. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Monday, April 19, 2004

Jeremy is all riled up about a Career Services talk in which we were told to be lying, disingenuous, and sneaky in order to get an offer at the end of the summer. Waddling Thunder thinks the consultant was just off her rocker, but evidently someone at OCS thought this would be useful enough to bring her in and set up this little talk, so it does not bode well. The perspective here is essentially to view the entire summer as a giant interview in which we can never stop smiling, never show the real person beneath the facade, and never stop maneuvering to get ahead. I went through the entire fall OCI/flyout week process with the attitude that honesty would produce a better result than plastic fakeness, especially since I'm a terrible liar and thus the interviewers' first impressions would have been that I was deceitful yet incompetent. I was not exactly overwhelmed with job offers. Maybe this sort of practiced manipulation is standard.

Then again, maybe this just meant I found the perfect fit for the real me and I can let my hair down this summer while everyone else is striving to repress their instincts and be good little worker bees. We shall see!
On Sunday afternoon, during our traditional post-shooting lunch at a Texan-themed steakhouse, we were talking about elections. In the course of our discussion, one person stated that he could not vote for a candidate who did not like sports. An indifference to sports, he claimed, meant that the individual did not enjoy competition and thus would not be a good politician. The example someone cited was the President, who has a simple and honest appreciation for, among other things, open-roofed stadiums. (The dastardly Al Gore, by this account, approaches sports in the same technocratic way he does everything else and thus has less of this valued quality.)

Now there was some agreement at the table which could be uncharitably attributed to traditional macho attitudes about what constitutes a "real man" who we can trust to lead the country. However, I will give the shooters the benefit of the doubt, despite the obvious weaknesses in the argument: the assumptions that only competitive people should be in politics and that enjoyment of sports is the best way of determining if someone has a competitive nature. "Sport" was also defined broadly to include individual pursuits such as golf, so the possibility that love of sports acts as a proxy for ability to work in a team or the like was eliminated.

They were not impressed by the argument that competitiveness could be manifested through pursuit of excellence such as art or literature, even if those were undertaken in the same spirit of seeking to improve upon one's own prior achievement. So I throw it open to you all: would you vote for a presidential candidate who professed a dislike of sports? Why or why not?
It looks like the EFF is doing some great intellectual property work. Dana should really enjoy working there. (And she should enjoy going to Stanford, which has lovely weather like we experienced today more than a few times a year!)
Kill Bill Vol. 2 in brief (minimal spoilers):

I'm not usually one for interpreting film through a feminist lens, but the Flick Filosopher has distilled the main misgiving I had with the movie:

Women belong to men or to babies, and the change in ownership happens in an instant. Women do not belong to themselves.

My impressions: Budd got the drop on her far too easily. The deadliest woman in the world can't do better than peer under a door when she's about to break into her enemy's home? It was out of character. The fight between Elle and Beatrix helped make up for it, though.

On weapon usage: The Bride uses knives (Vernita Green), samurai swords (O-Ren, Budd, Elle), and ancient kung fu secrets (Bill), but (if I recall correctly) only uses a gun during her entrance to Bill's house. Why? What is her motivation for abandoning her warrior ethic? She did use guns as Bill's assassin, but not during her "roaring rampage of revenge." It is a curious pattern.

I suddenly want to reread Gentlemen's Blood, a very amusing history of dueling.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

My Capitalist Childhood

When I was in elementary school, my entrepreneurial spirit bubbled over. My first job was a freelance gig: writing love letters on behalf of the boys in my fourth grade class. They all had crushes on the new girl but didn't know what to say to her. I filled that need with my Cyrano sideline: only a quarter for a custom written stream of flowery compliments. Unfortunately for them, she never fell for any of the boys. Then again, she never seemed to notice that all the notes she got were in the same handwriting, so they were probably better off without her.

I moved back to Houston for fifth grade and promptly went into business again. Now everyone knows that grade school kids are always asking each other for pencils. But why lend when you can sell? In the hall outside our classroom door sat a pencil vending machine; two unsharpened ones went for 35 cents. I made an small initial investment of piggy bank change, sharpened a couple dozen pencils, put them in a bag in my desk, and then sold them to my whispering classmates for a quarter apiece. This seemed like a fair return for my capital and labor. No one complained. I offered them a choice of several different designs (dispensed at random from the machine). Everyone wins, nobody has to leave the room due to lack of a writing implement, and I make a tidy profit.

Of course, such endeavors are always crushed by the cruel hand of the regulator (in this case, my nasty-tempered teacher). I was sent to the principal's office and my mother was called. Something about exploitation and lack of proper license. The pencil machine in the hall regained its monopoly position and my zeal for starting small businesses was destroyed. Alas.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

My Schedule

Today: attempt to read crim pro and wallow in migraine pain. Stagger over to campus and make fifty copies of senior editor competition materials.
Tomorrow: wake up early, go to Manchester for our final shooting event of the year, and then go meet and greet admitted students at the activities fair.

Thoughts on Kill Bill Vol. 2 will be posted once brain function has returned to normal.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Sua Sponte has a piece on old school Socratic professors that is mostly approving of the method. (Waddling Thunder weighs in as well.) Perhaps I am succumbing to the apathy WT mentions, but at this point I can only force myself to prepare for class to the same standard as I did last year for those courses where the professor uses the Socratic method. Fear is a powerful motivator.

The panel system of preparation, in which one is called on once, perhaps twice, all semester, and asked to only know a predetermined set of cases, is the bane of my existence. It allows one not just to coast by with the hope of not being called on (a state of anxiety that punishes the lazy student), but to skip class altogether and only do one week's worth of reading at its scheduled time, cramming all other assignments at the back end of the semester. The incentives are bad. Bring back the Socratic profs! They could whip us into shape, or at least make our steadily increasing disaffectedness and sloth costly.
Another one bites the dust: the Slithery D reveals his inherent unsuitability. Where are all the men who don't want kids, anyway?
Old but still cool: the Harvard dialect survey results show you how different people across the USA pronounce certain words. In the South, for example, I will be a "law-yer," whereas in the North I am more likely to be a "loy-er."
First, I would like to congratulate Eric, the new majordomo of Ex Parte (although that's such a Bramwellian title). I may be posting more on Ex Parte in the future. However, this blog will still be my main focus for the following reasons:

- I like talking about books and movies and general law school life more than arguing (or worse, agreeing) about how Bush is doing in Iraq
- If I say stupid things here, A) maybe people will only pile on me, and B) maybe the entire FedSoc won't pile on as well
- It's too tiring to be Greg Weston and post the opposing view all the time
- Never could get into that penguins game and am hiding in shame
- The place for my random internet flirtations is here, not contaminating political discourse on other websites
- Massive ego and aversion to sharing
- No room on Ex Parte for Ahab-based taglines

Thursday, April 15, 2004

So Yale is having their admitted students' festivities this weekend as well. Bah.
On the status of Max Fischer in the film character pantheon: while I've not seen Ikiru or Grave of the Fireflies, I think that Max's placement on this list is essentially accurate, with the caveat that Amelie was a beautiful and memorable character in an intensely overrated movie.
Weirdness of the day #1: I am not able to figure out which of the random libertarians I know is running the Friendster profile for F.A. Hayek. All I do know is that I am Friedrich's friend. And he swings both ways:

Interested in
Meeting People for: Serious Relationship (Women and Men)

Also: F.A v. Salma Hayek, courtesy of Professor Glen Whitman, IHS seminar god and informative blogger.
A whole bunch of flash movies (via Alas, a Blog).
Today started altogether too early. First, our noisy next door neighbors were thumping around at some ridiculous hour. Then, just as I had slipped back into a drowse, the phone rings. Now when the phone rings early in the morning it is either a telemarketer who needs a piece of my mind or a relative with bad news, so I sling myself out of bed and down the stairs, answer the phone…

And it’s only the fraud division of my credit card company, asking me if I really bought two computers online last night (new machines for the Journal! Yay!) and spent five hundred something dollars at a bookstore. I should have known that buying my class ring and the computers in the same day would set off some alarm bells. I appreciate the vigilance, though.

So all that is just fabulous, but it still means that I got no sleep after about six or seven this morning and now have essentially given the JLPP an interest free loan of *mumbledymumble* dollars. Don’t you just love reimbursements?

Later today we have a meeting with the president of the National Federalist Society and then dinner. Unfortunately, this is not the right time to say that they owe the Journal some money so I can get paid back.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Curtis at Singing Loudly points to a short list of unusual words at the Green Fairy weblog. A more extensive one is found here. Words I must find a way to use:

Basorexia - An overwhelming desire to neck or kiss
Charientism - An artfully veiled insult
Liripipe - The long tail of a hood in medieval or academic costume
Nanophilia - An attraction to short people
Ultracrepidarian - One who speaks or offers opinions on subjects they know nothing about
Better his freaky hipness than his freaky hips, Jonathan. *Sideshow Bob shudder*
I am vaguely amused whenever I see advertisements for Six Flags theme parks. It's a kind of concealed imperial impulse, the spread of these parks. The original was established by a Texas oil baron. The six flags in question are those of the sovereigns who claimed or governed the area which would become the present state of Texas. Therefore, with every new park that opens across the country, the flags of Texas are raised. Somehow I think the folks up here would not appreciate the sentiment.
It seems all the cool kids are doing this, so why not:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

"Thus a nation could use its vessels in one area to raid foreign shores and capture ships and cargoes, while in another area it used them only for peaceful trade or its protection." - Frederic C. Lane, Venice: A Maritime Republic

This book isn't mine, but after paging through it I am rather intrigued and may steal it from Geoffrey.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

As I mentioned, I went to a barbeque potluck hosted by the marvelous Matt Cooper and his lovely wife Lisa this weekend. They have a really fab apartment (with furniture that's not from Craigslist - puts my pad to shame) and make some tasty BBQ chicken. However, the food was only the secondary purpose for this get-together. Coop was showing us all what is perhaps the funniest documentary this side of Trekkies: Hands on a Hardbody. (This is not a porn.)

This movie, which could have only been made in Texas, records a contest in which participants compete to win a brand new truck by standing with their hands on it... for days. They can eat and go to the bathroom, but not sleep or lean on the truck. We meet about a dozen of the contestants in interviews before the competition, and then the cameras record them as they slowly drop out from leg pain, exhaustion, inability to cope with heat and mosquitos, and delirium. The treatment is never mocking, and although we all howled hysterically at the toothless Janis, her equally gnarly husband, and the backwoods philosophizing of Benny, a winner from years before returned to compete again, he was, in the end, right; this is "a human drama thing." If you can get a copy (they go for a lot on Ebay), watch this movie. I've not laughed so hard since Bad Santa.
These posts at the Volokh Conspiracy and Boing Boing have reminded me how much I love cover songs. Weird covers by no name bands, famous people covering old hits, sound-alikes, reinterpretations: there's room for them all in my heart. I have a special iTunes playlist of them. Some favorites:

Momma Told Me Not to Come - Stereophonics & Tom Jones
Get Down Make Love - Nine Inch Nails
You Don't Own Me - Rasputina
Video Killed the Radio Star - Presidents of the United States of America
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Tori Amos
Roxanne - Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
Hit Me Baby One More Time - Travis
House of the Rising Sun - Sinead O'Connor
Everybody Hurts - The Corrs
When Doves Cry - Ani DiFranco
Come On Eileen - Save Ferris

If you know a good cover, leave a comment.
Because I am currently wandering around in a sleep deprivation daze in the rain and am overwhelmed with class/journal/summer job stuff, there is sufficient free brain power only to list the last ten books I've read or reread. More substance later, once I have had lunch and heard back from executive editors.

1. Virtually Normal - Andrew Sullivan (for a paper)
2. The Aeneid - Virgil
3. I, Robot - I. Asimov
4. Advanced Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell - some law professor
5. Legends II - R. Silverberg, ed. (for the George R.R. Martin novella)
6. His Dark Materials trilogy - Philip Pullman
7. Liberal Constitutionalism, Marriage, and Sexual Orientation (for a paper)
8. Gates of Fire - Steven Pressfield
9. The Silmarillion - Tolkien
10. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

Monday, April 12, 2004

Hurrah for the unnamed scholar discussed here. The more it is emphasized that the FedSoc is a big tent with many dissenting viewpoints, the better.
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, 1. Class, 0.

Thoughts, in no particular order:
- I'd not understood the purpose of casting such charismatic actors as Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, and Kirsten Dunst as technicians from the previews. it seemed like a waste of talent. I should have trusted. The interactions between the Lacuna staff members were nearly as poignant as Joel's attempts to cling to his memories of Clementine.
- There are going to be a lot of young women quoting Clem's "I'm not a concept" speech.
- Jim Carrey is getting old! When he plays a scruffy 30-something on the LIRR, he looks like the real scruffy men on the LIRR, and not in a good way. (The IMDB reveals that he is 42.)
- This is the sort of movie that will only improve with repeated viewings, not because it's especially complex and you miss a lot the first time around, but because it has a certain bittersweet nature that is meant to be savored. Two hours is not enough.
- I am going to dream about it tonight. It's also that kind of movie.
- How many of the people Mary notified will be angry, and how many will return to Lacuna to have the memory of the tip-off erased?

All in all, a wonderful film. I may have to rent Being John Malkovich and see which is better (although Eternal Sunshine is not as quotable; I constantly find ways to say, "nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economic climate.").
One of the HLS FedSoc members was wearing this shirt around campus last week. And he's not even in the Target Shooting Club!

Cambridge is one of the most gun-unfriendly jurisdictions in the USA; New York City may top them. Even mere possession of a gun requires a license, which the local police chief is loath to issue (I hear the Somerville police chief is more accommodating). Of course, even if I was able to get the requisite paperwork and permits, I could still not have a gun, since Harvard does not permit firearms or ammunition in apartments it leases. It's quite unfortunate.

Edit: This post has been corrected for glaring factual errors. Will Baude calls my attention to Washington, D.C.and Chicago's flat bans on handguns. These are, of course, more restrictive than the Cambridge and New York laws, which I believe have discretionary permit schemes but not flat bans (although they amount to the same thing if they refuse to issue any permits). I can only blame the prior exaggeration on my irresistible urge to complain about Cambridge and cognitive bias toward places where I have lived. At least if you work in D.C., you can live in Virginia and have a gun if you please. Poor Chicagoans.
Belle Waring's sister is my new hero.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Finally finished my taxes and financial aid paperwork for next year (no thanks to my @*#%^& Comcast internet connection, which crashed repeatedly and made me reenter information on web forms three times). HLS makes you reapply every year for financial aid. This would be bad enough, but they also require the Need Access form, which asks you about 300 incredibly detailed questions about your finances, your parents' finances, how much money you and they will make next year, the number of pennies you have in the couch cushions, etc. At the end of the whole process it charges you a $15 fee to file the form. We *pay* for the privilege of applying for financial aid. It's galling. And don't get me started on the Seven Year Independence Policy. The financial aid office here had me in tears before I even arrived at HLS, so much so that I didn't even want to come. I hate this entire process with the burning fire of a thousand alien suns.
Random fact: Pinkerton's (the best known American private security company and a main subject of my senior thesis) is now owned by Swedes.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

A vintage HLS moment. Jeremy was a lot nicer than I would have been.
The new Hugo nominations are out. Dan Simmons's Ilium is on the list. I've not read it yet, as the dust jacket made it seem a little too SF for my mood at the time, but it may be time to wander over to the library and grab it. Simmons wrote Hyperion, which made me fall in love with a cloned John Keats, so it's almost certainly a good read.
And now, a daily affirmation for depressed and lonely lawyers out there.

Friday, April 09, 2004

If this is a fake, it's a damn good one. Read about her recent combat experience and see if your throat doesn't tighten up.

A View from a Broad

Update: the specific entry has been locked, but excerpts are available here.
I have a very nice apartment. It's Harvard Affiliated Housing, which means that uniformed fix-it men come at a moment's notice to repair our broken heater and shoveled our sidewalks and streets multiple times per day when there was heavy snow. We're looking into subletting it for the summer, and it's not hard to find good things to say about it. "Lots of light" the ad says.


I've been waking up earlier and earlier over the past week without the benefit of an alarm clock. I blamed stress, poor time adjustment after traveling, random morning sounds. The obvious culprit only was found this morning: spring. The gorgeous dawn streams into my room at ever earlier times each day, penetrating my cranked-shut-within-an-inch-of-their-lives miniblinds, bouncing off the mirror on my door and searing into my eyes. The yellow face, it burns us!

So, half asleep at 7:30 this morning, I tacked a dark blue sheet over my two huge windows, casting the room into a cool shadow and allowing me to finally get some sleep. I just woke up, I'm not going to class (not sure if we are supposed to go anyway, since we wrote our brief on the subject Rosenberg is conferencing on today) and it's wonderful.

I will, however, be joining some FedSoc types for a barbeque tonight. It's not one of those bait and switch affairs some people call a barbeque that really only has hamburgers and hot dogs (we call that a cookout, friends; a barbeque requires meat and sauce). I asked my mom for her potato salad recipe, but we'll see how it turns out; as I might have known, the measurement is "to add a little at a time until you feel it's right."

Edited because I am dumb.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The State of Utah avoids directly addressing the issue of whether women can be forced to undergo Caesareans by dropping charges against Melissa Rowland because she isn't mentally sound.
Lawyers are such sad people. This is my future? (Via Life, Law, Libido)

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I need a dog. It doesn't have to be a skateboarding bulldog, but that would be okay too. (Windows Media links, via Metafilter)
Foodblogging: These crazy Yankees think chili has beans. Dean Esmay defends the true essence of chili, which is all beef, all the time. Mmm, must try this recipe.

I admit to using Wick Fowler's chili kits, which appeal to my childish mad scientist tendencies with their many packets of spices. They do, however, use the non-essential tomato in the form of a small can of sauce. But no chili of mine has ever been contaminated with that poor man's excuse for a meat extension, the bean!
Anthony Rickey comes out in favor of dating across party lines. It's a fine thing to do and sometimes an impassioned and exhilarating discussion between opposites is rather sexy in itself.

However, I think Mr. Rickey underestimates the difficulties of such relationships. Being with someone with whom you disagree on fundamental issues puts obstacles in the path of the relationship that need not be there, and other people are difficult enough. I venture to say that most of the people on Act for Love don't just think that Republicans are wrong, but that they are bad: a morally deluded or intentionally wicked force for evil. It's hard to date someone you think is attempting to destroy the country. If you are looking for a long term relationship, then the issues multiply and take on greater weight.

If you seek mere bed partners, a willingness to date your opposite political number may broaden your pool of potential dates and open you up to a heady clash of opinions. However, for those of us who are in search of a life partner, it may be wiser to choose someone who will support you in your ambitions and aid you in your endeavors without feeling he is betraying his dearly held principles.

On a side note, I am not sure defining tolerance as the ability to separate feelings about a person from feelings about their ideas is good. Other than your essential humanity that makes you worthy of individual respect, your personality is largely defined by your actions and beliefs. If a very sweet and intelligent person holds morally repugnant beliefs, I think they should be held accountable for those beliefs instead of given a pass because they are "nice." Of course, not everyone ties goodness to acceptance of proper philosophical positions as I do.

Edited to add that I am thinking particularly of dating activists; there is a sharp demarcation between dating someone who simply subscribes to different beliefs and someone whose identity and existence revolve around changing the world to bring it in line with those beliefs (Amanda Butler outlines the distinction nicely here). Such behavior repeatedly remphasizes the conflict in the relationship and puts the disagreeing parties in more uncomfortable situations. If I ask a Democratic boyfriend to come to the Christmas party at a heavily Republican firm, that is a whole other kettle of fish from asking him to accompany me to a pro-war protest, say. There is the pleasant frisson of "dangerous belief" and there is the cold and annoying reality of having to sanction or support causes you find highly objectionable to satisfy the emotional needs of an activist significant other.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Photoblogging: I give you photos from the exotic land of Turkey, aspiring EU member and home of many carpet dealers.

The majestic Blue Mosque, which makes the Hagia Sophia look like a homely older sister:

The Trojan plain, site of the famed battle in the Iliad:

The walls of the Homeric city of Troy: imagine them teeming with Greeks!

Reasons I am a crotchety old woman:

- Excessive cranberry juice consumption
- Complaining about that darn kid down the street on his skateboard and threatening to go talk to his mother
- Ongoing feud with mailman
- Aching bones
- Have been waking up early without an alarm clock, which I only hope may be due to jet lag
- Emergent gray hairs (!!!)
- Grumbling about loud children in house across the street
- Row of pill bottles (they are only calcium supplements and vitamins, but still)
- Newfound appreciation for comfy shoes
- Two piece pajamas (okay, maybe this is more old man like)

I'm sure Geoffrey could think of more. He finds my premature granny habits amusing.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Waddling Thunder admits that he is a status obsessed lunatic. So am I, or I wouldn't be at HLS. The choice between here and UChicago was the most difficult one of my life. I objectively knew that the latter was filled with more interesting people, professors, and classes, that I would be happier there (with the possible exception of the depressive potential of the neighborhood and ubiquitous looming gargoyles), and that it was more affordable. If I turned down HLS, though, it was certain that at any point in my career when I didn't get something, I would be haunted by the suspicion that a Harvard degree might have tipped me over the edge. This awareness of my own capacity for years of self torture, coupled with a generous family member, made me choose HLS. Also, my undergrad is relatively little known and attending Harvard would avert any future need for explaining that yes, both my B.A. and J.D. were obtained from rigorous and well respected schools, even if you've never heard of them.

Often the choice to go to the high status school seems like the wrong one, but time will tell if the future benefits will be worth the grinding unpleasantness that makes up far too much of this experience.

I didn't even apply to Yale until right before the deadline, once I had been surprised by my admittance to all the schools to which I'd applied in October. It was sort of a lark, since I knew that if I wanted a academic law school experience I would choose UChicago and if I went for prestige Harvard would win out. Maybe they could tell I wasn't particularly enthusiastic, since I didn't get in. While the no grades system is appealing, three years in New Haven with Yalies sounds unbearable.
Last night Geoffrey and I went to see Hellboy. Movie tickets are up to $10.25, and of course Boston has too many colleges to make student discounts a workable proposition. This means that I have one more movie in the budget this month (maybe), even though Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dawn of the Dead, and the upcoming Kill Bill Volume 2 are all begging to be seen. Augh!

But back to Hellboy, which we saw with a whooping and vivacious fanboy audience of teen and college-age guys who applauded raucously when the credits appeared: it's definitely worth seeing if you like comics, drily humorous action heroes, or giant Lovecraftian tentacle monsters. The plot was not as confusing as some reviewers made it out to be. How hard is it to imagine that the Nazis would ask Rasputin to summon powers from Hell at the end of the war in a last ditch to defeat the Allies, resulting in the emergence of a red baby demon with a stone hand and the mysterious disappearance of Rasputin, his Eva Braun lookalike girlfriend, and an immortal Nazi ninja-style assassin? Come on, people!

The movie also has a sped-up cover of Nick Cave's Red Right Hand, which pleased me.

Update: two interviews with Guillermo Del Toro, the director. Bad news: Hollywood suits wanted to give Hellboy a red hellhound pet and a Hellmobile. Good news: the exchange between Hellboy and his love interest is taken directly from Del Toro's courtship of his wife. Aww. What woman would not want such things lovingly immortalized on film (even if your husband's part is played by a huge red demon)?

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Over break, the registrar sent an email on the upcoming course selection process. I thought about using today to flip through the catalog and figure out what to take, but these course descriptions are probably more accurate. The entire document is here. (Found via Life According to Jordan, which also is apparently monitoring Ex Parte.)
Thinking woman's sex symbol watch: Jon Stewart officially replaces David Duchovny, who has been in a downhill slide ever since he married Tea Leoni and Mulder kissed Scully on the X-Files. Duchovny is currently making vanity movie projects with Erikah Badu. How the sexy have fallen.
Heard in Turkey:

- The "no Jews died in 9/11" canard
- "Turkish girls are not so friendly... we like white girls."
- "I will not tell your father." (!?!? And in a ceramics store, no less. There is no escape from being propositioned.)
- "Life is simple; people are difficult."
- People in Istanbul do not like to use the traditional Muslim greeting "Salaam alaikum," evidently feeling to do so is not cosmopolitan. This was a profound disappointment to my traveling companion.
Number 2 Pencil has the story on a sixth grader suspended for wearing a diamond nose stud.

It gives me flashbacks to my suburban high school, which had similarly inane dress code policies, including one banning hair dyed "unnatural colors" that was enforced on a racially disparate basis (it was potentially natural for a white girl to have red hair, but not a black girl). The justification was that dyed hair "promoted low self esteem." No consideration was apparently given to the impact on teen self esteem caused by authority figures dictating your hair color and telling you it was wrong. It now appears that they have changed that policy, although boys still may not have hair longer than the tops of their shoulders. No long haired hippies in this school district!
Slithery D on dating:

While most men have learned to their sorrow that beautiful women were put on this earth simply to cause misery to men, it is not sufficiently appreciated how painful women of exceptional intelligence or fascinating hobbies can also be. Nothing is more disturbing than maintaining a romantic relationship with someone unnaturally fixated on mountain climbing, political advocacy, or a particular art form or sporting event, particularly if she pursues her unnatural passion with unnatural talent. Whether you'll ever admit it consciously, you never really believe she finds you more interesting than her job or hobby.

This is not exclusive to women, as anyone who attempts to date within the rarified atmosphere of HLS will find.
The Smoking Gun has a very interesting search warrant application. Evidently the Carlsbad, CA police thought that putting your trash out the morning of pick-up day instead of the night before, a single drug dog alert near the premises, and using lots of electricity were sufficient grounds for searching a family home. No evidence of the expected large scale growth operation for "Devil's Weed" was found. (Via Hit & Run)