Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Things that suck:
  • Chemerinsky's BarBri lectures on Con Law. So many bad jokes . . .
  • Libraries that close at 5pm.
  • Libraries that have half their books in Portuguese.
  • Law school offices that close before you get an email saying you should go there and buy lunch tickets NOW NOW NOW.
  • Continued threats of rain on graduation
  • Dresses that are kind of boring looking.
  • Poky Netflix turnaround
  • Still not having received my Amazon order with gifts for someone's upcoming birthday

Things that rule:
  • Poodles with stereotypical poodle haircuts
  • The Yard actually having grass instead of snow or mud mixed with grass seed and neon green fertilizer
  • Chips and salsa
  • New versions of the Bluebook with revised Rule 18 (internet citation)!
  • Getting to see my boyfriend soon
  • Diet Coke on sale ($2.50 per 12 pack)
  • Books in English


Where do mailmen usually go to the bathroom?

My mailman, who I hate (he started leaving the mailbox open again just in time for the last few weeks of pouring rain), has a key to the laundry room of our apartment complex, where there is a bathroom. I only know this because I ran into him while I was doing laundry. Now I think this particular mailman deserves a pickle jar, if that, but I suppose mailmen on more rural routes, and on routes that take them through neighborhoods solely composed of single family homes, must not be able to do this. (They may not get to park on the side of the road and take naps in the car, as I have also seen my mailman do, but that is beside the point.) So what do they do?

That's my excuse, anyway.

Ann Althouse, in the course of a post on divorcing content from mechanics in writing and legal interpretation, refers to this John Tierney column on the surprising dominance of men in competitive Scrabble. Despite women generally being thought to have better language skills, only one woman has been Scrabble champ, apparently because men seeking victory "play in a manner that disconnects from the meaning of words" by memorizing strings of letters.

I can testify that in my case this is true. In my quest to beat Will Baude on more than a very-occasional basis, I attempted to memorize the two and three letter word lists from the Scrabble dictionary using sites like this and this, but I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to keep it up. What I like about Scrabble is the making of cool words, and if I have a chance to use five letters and make "marmoset" for twelve points or to make "ox" for twenty-five, I really want to pick the former. This is not the sole reason why I lose, but it explains my lack of motivation to memorize such boring tidbits as "em" and "en." Those are not cool words. I get far more utility out of the pleasure of seeing "fogey" or "labile" on the board than I do out of scoring points with boring words. Of course, I also get some utility from winning, but the amount of training necessary for me to beat Will with any kind of regularity would have to be accompanied by a montage and the song "Eye of the Tiger" and would suck all the joy (and free time) from my life.

Monday, May 30, 2005

In praise of AC

I grew up in a part of the country that only took off, population wise, after the advent of air conditioning. I went rapidly from my air conditioned house to my air conditioned car (but oh, the burning of those leather seats!) and tried to be outdoors as little as possible. In Houston, air was the enemy: pollen, humidity, heat.

Upon arriving at college in the desert, my only criterion for a dorm was that it be air conditioned and the first fights with my roommate were over her unsettling tendency to interfere with my 72 degree climate controlled bliss. Growing up in a house without AC on the coast had clearly done something to her brain. (Why on earth would you not want to be nice and cool? What is this "breeze" you speak of? The frosty breeze coming out of the vent is all I want.)

Moving to Boston marked the first time I'd lived in a place without AC, period. No window unit, no nothing. Just me and my fan. Luckily (I thought, at least, before the cumulative effect of three years of winter heaters had desiccated my skin) Boston does not really require artificial cooling during the months of the school year. But there's always a few weeks when it starts to get, if not hot, stuffy. I begin to appreciate breezes. But there's something else great about AC, something I only noticed recently. It gives you privacy. The ability to stay cool without opening windows means you can shut out noise, not just from outside, but from inside the houses of neighbors with open windows. You don't have to sleep on your porch. You can wrap yourself in a bubble and never worry if you closed and latched all the windows before you went out.

Some people might think this is just part and parcel of the greater sense of isolation in American life. Crying babies, whooping kiddies, and neighborly conversations should be tolerated, even appreciated. But the sound of silence, marred only by the gentle huff of the air conditioner, is something beautiful.

Cry Cry Cry

The admittedly whiny Neal Pollack whines some more, this time about how mean people wrote him nasty letters in the wake of his Salon article documenting the horrible prospect of having to care for his own cannibal child for an additional 2.5 hours per day. Again, it's all about him. Still no mention of why other children (and child care workers) should have to put up with daily injury from his kid. I continue to be unsympathetic.

UPDATE: Apparently Salon has edited the article post-publication without notice. A quote by the child's mother calling her biting son a "little shit" has been excised.

There's a fair amount of criticism for Pollack in that Table Talk thread, although the site with the really incensed commentary is here. Some of it's a little over the top, but many fair points are made.

UPDATE II: Salon's Letters to the Editor offer many constructive suggestions, but also do not let the Pollacks off the hook. There's one really angry letter which sounds like it might be from Sophie's dad.

Ted Frank seems to think that the objections can be deflected by the fact that the piece was intended to be satire. I would buy this, except the piece does not effectively satirize any particular experience. Even if some of the dialogue is exaggerated in an attempt at satire, that doesn't change the facts which can be discerned from Pollack's website and the focus of the piece, which are 1) Elijah hurt other kids and terrorized one kid in particular for weeks, resulting in his expulsion, and 2) this is supposed to make us have sympathy for his parents. I save my sympathy for the children who were unnecessarily subjected to injury and fear on a daily basis because the Pollacks put their inadequately socialized and poorly disciplined child in preschool so they could get back to their chosen careers.

A long-delayed feast

It is about goddamn time.


Via Radley Balko, a moving story about the power of broken hearts. The thing about law school is that I read this and immediately thought that it would be a great way to prove damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress.


Senator Obama may be nice to his constituents, but he was cold as ice to the Harvard Law Class of 2005. Thanks to the retroactive effect of his commitment to not make speeches outside Illinois, we were forced to find another Class Day speaker.

Bush's Radar O'Reilly

One-time CMCer Blake Gottesman is profiled in the NY Times.


Why I have the lyrics to this song stuck in my head is anyone's guess.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Again with the unflattering photos . . .

. . . of conservative and libertarian lawyers! The recent piece in the NY Times on the closing of the Olin Foundation features a terrible picture of Eugene Meyer. I could take a better one with my temperamental digital camera. Of course, this isn't the first time they've pulled this little number.

Dressing Up

I already have a graduation outfit. I already bought a bunch of cute, casual dresses for summer. But I am totally in love with the dresses on this website. So cute! So classic! So delightful! So flirty! Can I get some old patterns and make these myself? Can I sell some plasma and buy them?


-My sister decided not to come to graduation and didn't even bother to tell me she wasn't coming,

-It's supposed to rain for the next four days,

-And my screenplay idea is utterly ruined by the fact that they are making a movie about Gustav Klimt already. My screenplay was to chronicle the life of Klimt pupil Egon Schiele, who is being played in the new film by this guy. There's probably not room for one movie in the American marketplace about early 20th c. Austrian painters, much less two. Alas.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Articles, Articles

The final issue of the Journal is slowly coming into shape. I'll be so glad when it's done.

HLS is poky.

Why does Harvard take so long to give out grades? Despite specially labeling our exams as those of graduating seniors, we won't get our grades until June 6, a mere two days before graduation. How is this possible? Don't they have to print programs with Latin honors in advance? Other schools have already given out grades to non-graduating students, despite their exam period ending a week later than ours. Grr.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I punch one kid in the nose . . .

. . . and get kicked out of preschool. This little brat bites and draws blood every day for weeks before he gets booted. (Salon cookie) But should his parents have even had kids at all?
now we've been forced into the challenge of caring for a smart, stubborn, high-strung 2-year-old. We love him very much, but that's not the kind of work either of us wants, at least not full time.
They live in America, where both abortion and birth control are legal and relatively easily available. Who the hell intentionally has a child but only wants to care for it part-time? There are names for part-time caretakers for children: aunts and uncles. But these parents can't handle 5 hours of extra time with their son per day. That's 2.5 hours each with a person they chose to bring into the world. But no, let's make laws against expelling violent children and force other two year olds to be bitten so you can have your precious 2.5 hours, Pollack.

Grad versus Undergrad

Phoebe wants to know why I cite the omnipresent Harvard undergrads as one of the downsides of Cambridge. I confess to not having good reasons. Ways in which they get on my nerves:
  • Their frolicking in the Yard. There is a group of guys that aims a giant speaker out the window and plays poker at a card table in the Yard, every week, rain or snow. Are they incredibly affected? Just attention whores? A public nuisance, due to the loud music? I pick all of the above.
  • The self-important college paper, headlines from which (no matter how banal) tend to percolate into real media because, well, it's Harvard. Dirty snow sculptures are news!
  • The never-ending parade of famous but probably dumb celebrity undergrads (although I've heard Ms. Portman was well-read).
  • The kids who constantly badger me with flyers and protests outside the Science Center. Shut up, shut up, shut up. Your cardboard costume and rows of deeply symbolic American flags just make me want to smack you.
  • Undergrads get decent housing and we get the Grope.
  • The overpriced "edgy" stores that cater to them push out places with things I can actually afford.
  • Their rampant grade inflation, which may be part of the reason there are so many double Harvards at the law school. Save some room for the rest of us!
  • Their rabbity little faces with their multiple nose jobs.
  • They pee on a statue of John Harvard even though they know tourists touch it.
  • They apparently steal books, since every undergrad library searches your bag before you leave. The law library, by contrast, does not. Lawyers are more honest than college kids.
Mostly I dislike them because I can. What are they going to do about it? Why would they even care? If this personally offends any Harvard undergrads, they can cry themselves to sleep on their organic buckwheat pillows.

Friday Spies: Show Your Work Edition

More fun from the guys at BTQ!

1. What is the best thing about the city in which you live? What is the worst?

The city in which I live (for the next two weeks) is Cambridge. It is cold for eight months of the year, hands out parking tickets like candy, my local branch library is closed, it has tons of homeless people, and it's stuffed to the gills with Harvard undergraduates. All those things are pretty wretched, but the weather is probably the worst. I laid in bed this morning and the sun came through the window for the first time in a week. I got so excited. Then I realized how pathetic that is.

The best thing about Cambridge is you don't have to stay here very long. And it has good hamburgers.

2. Describe an idea or invention of yours that you would like to see turned into reality.

Years ago I wanted to make stained glass reproductions of famous abstract paintings. It would be easy to do, probably lucrative (people will pay tons of money for copies of their favorite art, as any museum gift shop will demonstrate), and rather satisfying. Stupid intellectual property laws.

3. Name an overrated author, musician, and movie. Name an underrated author, musician, and movie.

Overrated: Hemingway, Richard Cohen, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Underrated: Connie Willis, Dar Williams, and Nate & Hayes.

4. If your life were a sitcom slated to air in the fall, what would the show be called? Who would you cast in the starring role? And for extra credit, give us a brief treatment of the show.

My life up to this point or my future life? A sitcom about law school would probably be more entertaining than a sitcom about clerking. "Legal Eaglets" sounds suitably cheesy. It would be nice to get Maggie Gyllenhaal, but she's not in television. I'm sure Will would watch if Alexis Bledel was playing me, though. It would document the frenzy and foibles of a new law student plopped down in the midst of snooty northeasterners, mean and/or lofty law professors, and snow. There would be romantic plotlines. There would be courtroom scenes (mock trial and clinicals). And I would have a talking robot friend.

5. When is the fun supposed to start?

Uh, I never saw that movie. But the fun better start soon.


Another one bites the dust.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Prudie lives up to her name

Since when is it acceptable to throw out expensive belongings that houseguests inadvertently left behind? Prudie shows her ignorance in more than the usual ways here.

Rain Poems

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

the never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent -
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be, for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.

- Robert Creeley

Flushing the evidence

Perhaps someone taking the Florida bar exam can correct me, but isn't this just a fairly standard case of evidence tampering? A court order is not usually required to establish a duty to refrain from destroying evidence of a crime.

The thrill is gone

Making Light and Not Yet Enlightened (no relation, I think) highlight one of the more painful parts of being a reader: the moment when your favorite books suddenly lose their luster. This seems to happen most often with rereading something you loved when you were younger, although it's also a familiar feeling with books in a series; sometimes I've finished up a quartet or trilogy more for the sake of completeness than out of any real desire to press on.

Any Perez-Reverte defenders out there? What books and authors did you once love but no longer do?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Card Collector

See, this is why I collect library cards. Library personnel are a pain in the butt sometimes, so once I can get a card somewhere I do and I never let it go. My current library card stash: Arlington County, VA; Washington, D.C.; Fort Bend County, TX; Upland, CA; Los Angeles County, CA; Cambridge, MA; Brooklyn, NY; and the Library of Congress. (I am not certain if my LOC researcher card is still valid; do those things expire?)

The Brooklyn one was the most irritating to get. They only require a piece of mail addressed to you, but I wasn't getting a lot of letters that summer and so I had to schlep back home (only ten minutes) and bring them a moving box I'd mailed to myself. Charming.

For those of you in the D.C. area, only a rent receipt is required, although it sounds like a bank statement might do. Happy reading!

Kill the Bar Exam

After attending my first BarBri class, let me just say that I agree with Daniel Solove. What was the point of three years of overpriced education when we must now spend two agonizing months cramming our heads full of still more useless knowledge? What does any of this have to do with the day to day practice of law? Why must we be tortured? And why didn't I start doing practice questions a week ago?

Special thanks go to my Property professor, who like many law school profs would have much rather been teaching Con Law--so he did. I look forward to many hours of learning the ins and outs of title transfer and deeds for the first time.

On the bright side, my Wills and Trusts class project gave me a taste of California will requirements, so I am one baby step ahead in that area.


This Salon story by Rebecca Traister struck a chord in me, despite my difficulties in finding very close female friends. No matter what your gender, the loss of a good friend is just as traumatic as a break-up, and often more so; our lack of social protocols for ending friendships often means there is no closure, only an uncomfortable drifting apart. Other readers were similarly affected by her exploration of friendships, although many were disgruntled by the focus on women. But friendships between men have been the focus of fiction and philosophy since the ancient Greeks--shouldn't women get their turn?

I got a phone call last week from an old friend. I've known her since sixth grade, but after I left Texas we have grown further and further apart. She had a long term boyfriend I didn't approve of (not good enough for her); she's been busy teaching and pursuing a master's since college, while I've been consumed by law school. She still hangs out with some of our more troubled grade school friends and I get occasional updates, but we have so little in common now. It would be more emotional effort to end the relationship than to continue it, though, so we both keep a tenuous sort of contact.

My best male friend from college I hardly hear from anymore. His girlfriend doesn't really approve of us hanging out (we used to date), but I'm not sure if that's a reason or an excuse. He's always been a little flaky, but nowadays I wonder if it's worth the repeated emails and broken appointments. Sometimes I kick myself for being hurt; apparently my friends who said our entire friendship was about his attraction to me were right. I still believe in the ability of men and women to be "just friends," but this has been a blow.

(If you have trouble reading the links, google "salon cookie.")

Random roundup IX

PG's read Nozick, but I've read the Bhagavad Gita. We should swap brains.

Timothy Sandefur is closing Freespace.

Zombie attack in New Hampshire.

I wore a white suit to some of my on-campus interviews. While I did get callbacks from some of those firms, I did not get any offers. I was, however, called "the girl in the white suit" by an HR person when I showed up for a callback.

Can I convince the judge to participate in this holiday next year?

My housemate just asked me if my new cleanser is made from whales. I said no. But whale is tasty.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

BarBri question

What book or books, if any, should be brought to the introductory class? I'm doing the California bar, if that matters.

Barbie says, "Math is hard!"

Ditzy starlet Jessica Alba may have her heart in the right place, but she can't do math. Although she is reportedly paid $3 million per film, she recently agreed to star in a Weinstein production without pay in return for a $100,000 contribution through an auction for AIDS research. But wouldn't it have been smarter to just star in the film and then donate her salary to charity?

UPDATE: Apparently there is some confusion as to the events which led up to Ms. Alba's offer. From the article:
Alba caused the greatest stir by vowing to star unpaid in one of . . . producer Bob Weinstein's movies, if he agreed to bid $100,000 for tennis lessons with sports stars Monica Seles and Boris Becker.

Spa experimentation

Although I am not very good at being girly, I gave the spa facial experience another shot today. Ever since I moved to Boston, my skin has gotten progressively more dull and breakout-prone.

This time I was not jabbed with sharp metal objects, although my skin was squeezed in uncomfortable ways. I was informed that my cleanser is all wrong and that I need more facials. I would chalk this up to mercenary motives, but I had already said that I'm leaving Cambridge soon, so unless there's an interstate aesthetician mafia maybe she was sincere. My face is red and covered with some kind of Vitamin K and collagen creams that aren't supposed to be washed off for 24 hours. This is way too complicated. Why can't skin just do its job without complaint?

Books I should have read

Will Baude passes me the baton and asks for five books I am vaguely embarrassed not to have read.

1. Moby Dick. It's the source of the tagline for this blog and I don't even think I've ever read a word of it. Even worse, I didn't even get the specific meaning of the allusion in the first line until last month.

2. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason. As a former Randroid, I swallowed the Kant = evil bit, but even in my most orthodox days Rand's criticisms unsettled me because they didn't sound anything like what I understood Kant to say. The dozen or so pages of Kant we had to read in Civ 10 didn't sound that bad either. But even after I discarded my Objectivist prejudices, I was still too lazy to buckle down and read Kant just for fun.

3. Mill, On Liberty. I've read pieces of this, but despite owning a copy and believing that the harm principle should be ensconced in the constitution, I have never sat down and read the whole thing.

4. Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia. A popular choice in this game. I had to use this book for my senior thesis, but I just flipped straight to the parts I needed to cite (yay for indices) and didn't bother reading the rest. Bad me.

5. Any Russian author, Any Russian novel. I studied Russian in college. However, I could not get through a single Russian novel in English and thus the prospect of spending my junior year reading them in Russian was awful. Anna Karenina? The Gulag Archipelago? Crime & Punishment? All dropped partway through. The closest I've come to reading a Russian novel is Nabokov, and he hardly counts.

I pass to CM, cd, and PG. Don't stand me up this time, Christiana!

Monday, May 23, 2005


Both a post and a comment of mine are referred to in Cathy (sorry, Catherine) Seipp's NPR commentary on blogs. (h/t Onanism Today)

I no longer read anything Ms. Seipp writes. For my regular dose of infuriation I now turn to Althouse.

(Okay, not really fame. My name or the name of this blog is not mentioned.)

Packing in Cambridge

Why do I have a box addressed to Jeremy Blachman? From where would I have scavenged Blachman's box?

Thou shalt not contradict the OED.

Per the debate in the comments to this post on the definitions of podium and lectern, I give you the OED definitions. Down with Webster's. OED forever!

Pl. podia, podiums.

1. Arch. a. A continuous projecting base or pedestal, a stylobate. b. A raised platform surrounding the arena in an ancient amphitheatre. c. A continuous seat or bench around a room.

d. A raised platform or dais at the front of a hall or stage; spec. that occupied by the conductor of an orchestra.

e. A projecting lower structure around the base of a tower block.

2. Anat. and Zool. a. The fore or hind foot (manus or pes) of a mammal or other vertebrate; in birds, the junction of the toes, or the toes collectively. b. In compounds denoting parts of the foot of a mollusc: as EPIPODIUM, MESOPODIUM, METAPODIUM, PROPODIUM.

3. Bot. A footstalk or other supporting part. (Chiefly in compounds.)

1. A reading- or singing-desk in a church, esp. that from which the lessons are read; made of wood, metal, or stone, and often in the form of an eagle with outspread wings supported on a column.

2. Chiefly Sc. a. A reading-desk in a private house. b. A writing desk; an escritoire. to be bred, sent to the lattern: see quots. 1825-80, 1888.

{dag}c. (a) A music-stand; (b) see quot. 1612. Obs.

d. Sc. (in form lateran). The precentor's desk in a Scotch Presbyterian church.

50 Book Challenge #30: A House for Mr. Biswas

Yet another book about a man with a congenital defect of the spine. I'd never read any Naipaul before because this was supposed to be his best book and I could never get a copy. It is well written, if overlong, but did not live up to my expectations. A little judiciously distributed birth control could have solved many problems in the book.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The word you are looking for is "filly."

Instapundit has reminded me of one of the things I love best about the English language: the immense number of specialized terms. In this post, he states:
PHOTO-FOALBLOGGING: Here's my sister's new foal, a lovely female who is, as of yet, un-named. She was born last night without incident, much to my sister's relief.
There is a word which means female foal. That word is filly. A male foal is a colt. I am in the middle of A House for Mr. Biswas. The title character often refers to his mother-in-law as a "Roman cat" or a "queen." A queen means a female cat, of course, in addition to conveying the sense in which Mrs. Tulsi presides over her extended family.

One of the most sad things about modern language is the loss of English words with unique meanings. Friends of mine are familiar with my insistence on differentiating between a lectern and a podium. I am also rather pedantic in my usage of nauseated and nauseous (although according to the usage panel I should say nauseating instead). If there is a perfectly good word that means exactly what you want to say, why muddy the waters by using a more general term that results in a loss of clarity or the addition of superfluous adjectives? English is full of deliciously precise accurate precise words. Use them!

Random roundup VIII

In the wake of my return I have found several noteworthy posts while making a circuit through the blogosphere.

Raffi divulges that he spends about $90 a week on food. Wow! I usually read his recipes and think that I am just too lazy to do all that stuff, but apparently it also turns out I am too cheap. My weekly grocery budget is $50, and I usually spend less than $20 per week on eating out. Some weeks I do not eat out at all. Granted, my portions are probably smaller and he is almost certainly orders of magnitude better nourished than I am, but still. Ouch.

Ms. Fowler has some important information for law students and those considering law school. I will add one more bit: law firms may lie to you. They may lie to your school. They may submit false recruiting statistics that make it look like everyone who gets a callback gets hired. You may only be able to ferret out such a lie by finding out about the other shadow-callback rejects from the previous year and their hatred of lying firms. So be wary.

Interesting post here on cattiness. I am ashamed that some of the choices I have made have been motivated not by what I wanted but by what would produce maximum male approval. But is there anyone who has not erred so?

Calvino lovers may enjoy this Metafilter post on Invisible Cities. Fans of old school country music and anyone who appreciates a good story may like this post on the many exploits of Kris Kristofferson.

Oh, and J. Crew's sizes are getting bigger. I bought a pair of 2P cropped pants two years ago and they are snug. I tried on a pair of 0R pants today and they were almost baggy. I did procure some dresses from H&M, so not every store is against me.

You can call me Darth Mala.

I have returned from a weekend sojourn to New Haven which consisted largely of Star Wars and packing. I've been converted to the Dark Side; Tyler Cowen had me more than half convinced before I even saw Episode III, and in the wake of that I have written off the Jedi completely. And George Lucas, how did you manage to make the divine Natalie Portman look so awful? Between her shiny face, frightful wigs, and those nightgowns (no woman in her right mind would sleep in a nightgown with beads that would dig into your arms like that), she spends half of the movie looking like garbage and the other half dying in dream sequences. Bah.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Chicken Tonight

That Will Baude does make a fine roast chicken.

Friday, May 20, 2005

50 Book Challenge #28 &29: The Lathe of Heaven & The Remains of the Day

A wise man told me that life is too short for bad books. The Lathe of Heaven is not that good a book, but it was short. The premise has promise: what if your dreams changed reality? In the book, the man with this talent, George, finds the power unbearable and tries to chase away dreams with drugs. This lands him in therapy, where his weak character is bowled over by the desire of the well-meaning but power-hungry Dr. Haber and his abilities are directed through hypnotic suggestion such that the entire world is rewritten numerous times.

The main problem I had with the book, other than George's annoying weakness, was the idea that the therapist could notice the world changing but no one else did. This was explained by his being close to George while he dreamed, but surely other people would see buildings melting and popping out of nothingness as well, even though they were not near the epicenter. The distinction between Dr. Haber's perception and those of everyone else was not, to my taste, adequately justified.

LeGuin is okay, but someday I'll realize that even though I find her books interesting, I never enjoy them. Bah.

The Remains of the Day is a beautifully written and perceptive novel. It focuses on Stevens, a repressed butler of the old school who, in the evening of his years, finally reflects on his time in service, especially his awkward relationship with Miss Kenton, the former housekeeper. Although it has some superficial similarities and is also driven by character, not plot, it is unlike Seth's An Equal Music in that the ending provides more satisfying psychological resolution.

The narrator is neither likeable nor sympathetic. That is the cause of my only quibble; what could any woman, especially one as fiery and temperamental as Miss Kenton, find to love in Mr Stevens? He is repressed, unemotional, incurious, and sometimes immoral. His efforts to master "banter" only highlight his lack of native wit. He is exceedingly good at his job, but respect and love are not the same. But perhaps my lack of understanding is feigned. Maybe I do understand, even if such choices are no longer the ones I would make.

Friday Spies: Would You Rather Edition

The Friday Spies questions this week were inspired by the popular "Would You Rather?" game, Each question presents a choice between two possibly unappealing options. Please explain would you rather:

1. Live alone on a deserted island for 10 years or be paid to live at Neverland Ranch with the King of Pop for one year?

How deserted is the island? Are there materials for building a shelter? Food? If so, then I pick that. Although what if I got sick on the desert island? Hmm. And at the end of ten years, I'd just be old and sunburnt, whereas at the end of one year at Neverland I could write a bestselling tell-all. All right, I pick a year at Neverland.

2. Be deaf or blind?

Definitely deaf. Blind women always have bad things happening to them. But I want a hearing ear dog. And I refuse to hang out with those capital-D Deaf people. I will be a self-hating deaf person who acknowledges that hearing is where it's at.

3. Have skin which changed color depending on your mood or visible sight lines?

I already have skin that changes color with my mood. It's one of the reasons I am such a bad liar. But if it turned all kinds of crazy colors like a mood ring that would be pretty neat. Not so hot for a lawyer who has to negotiate in person or be in court, though.

4. Spend a year in prison or a year on tour with Celine Dion and John Tesh?

A year on tour, of course. I've been to a prison (on a visit! for my job at the U.S. Attorney's office!) and it's very, very bad.

5. Have threesome with your close friends or with total strangers?

If I had to pick: close friends. Who knows where total strangers have been?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Random roundup VII

The eye meme is taking off, with contributions from Kristine, E. Spat, Mr. Poon, and Fitz-Hume. Let me see your eyes!

UPDATE: more sparkling eyes from my friend Melinda.
MORE: E. McPan shows one eye.

Do you eat the rind or leave it behind?

My dear Will Baude is incorrigible.

Don't mess with Russian Tolkien fans. But was it a hidden coat of mithril mail?

If you're a responsible young professional in need of housing in D.C., I may be able to put you in contact with someone. Send me an email.

Anonymous sperm donations: I'm for 'em. Unlike this guy, I am not troubled by the horrible prospect that some kids might be "haunted" by the prospect of not knowing one half of their biological heritage. Gamete contribution does not a parent make. It's nice to have some medical information (but requiring that wouldn't necessitate revealing the donor's identity), but some kids who aren't the product of sperm donations also lack that knowledge and they aren't so bad off. Besides, medical information is only as good as what the sperm donor knows. I don't know the history for my father's side of the family much at all. Even for relatives on my mother's side I don't actually know what specifically killed them. Is this atypical? Does everyone else have a detailed mental list of the causes of death or major illness for every person within three degrees of consanguinity?


I have an apartment in Clerkshipville!

No class

When I first came to law school, the Alliance of Independent Feminists organized a discussion about "dating down" as an option for highly educated women. I thought this sounded interesting and went. What actually happened in the meeting was enough to put me off the organization, although I did participate in their women's dessert party twice. (After the second year in which Federalist men were brought in to judge who made the best dessert, the whole thing soured.)

The discussion, which had the potential to ask interesting questions about whether white collar and professional women undervalue blue collar men, devolved into a bragging contest for a couple of the women who had already found their men. In both cases the woman would be the higher earner in their marriage, but they didn't seem to think this was important since both of them planned to drop out of the workforce after having kids. One woman was particularly nasty; her PhD candidate husband was already looking forward to being the primary caregiver, due to his lower salary and more flexible work schedule. She, however, was having none of it and gloated that she was quitting work no matter what he wanted, which would make him the sole breadwinner despite her huge earning potential. I found it disgusting.

Anyway, the NY Times's recent series on class takes note of something that might have been good fodder for the discussion that should have happened that evening:
Even as more people marry across racial and religious lines, often to partners who match them closely in other respects, fewer are choosing partners with a different level of education. While most of those marriages used to involve men marrying women with less education, studies have found, lately that pattern has flipped, so that by 2000, the majority involved women, like Ms. Woolner, marrying men with less schooling - the combination most likely to end in divorce.
I was never that conscious of class growing up, but three years at HLS have made me very aware of the gaping chasm between rich and everyone else. I was never aware before that the punditocracy is a hereditary caste. Hurrah for blogs, where you can make your opinions known regardless of your parentage.

UPDATE: An emailer notes that race may also play a role in dating up and down, since more degrees are awarded to black women than to black men. I think that may be the case if we assume a preference for intra-racial dating.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Changing Names, Continued

Apropos of the continuing discussion at the Volokh Conspiracy on name changing at marriage, I was interested to learn that the new mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, has a blended name. It is the combination of his birth name, Villar, and his wife's birth name, Raigosa. (h/t Hugo Schwyzer)

"We therefore most solemnly and earnestly repudiate, abjure, and reject the authority, the rites, and ceremonies of church and state in marriage."

History News Network and Ampersand have called my attention to the case of State v. Walker, 13 P. 279 (Kan. 1887). Do check it out.

50 Book Challenge #27: Thinking in Pictures

I read one book about autism for the challenge already, but Thinking in Pictures is a look at autism from the inside. Temple Grandin, the author, is a high-functioning autistic woman best known for her work in designing slaughterhouses. She lays out the way in which she and other autistics perceive the world in clear terms and in doing so forces the reader to analyze his own thought processes. Her visualization-based thinking, she believes, gives her special insight into the non-linguistic brains of the animals she works with. She also discusses her identification with Mr. Spock on Star Trek and her limited emotional life.

The best parts of the book are those which explain how radically different an autistic perception of the world can be. What looks like inexplicable or illogical behavior becomes a reasonable response to a life trapped in a body that provides sensory input in unusual and sometimes untrustworthy ways. The least interesting parts were Grandin's discussions of her own spirituality, but I confess to personal bias on this point.

If her latest book, Animals in Translation, had not been checked out, I would have read that instead. However, this book is worth checking out if you're interested in different modes of thinking and perception or in understanding autistic behavior.

Jeepers Creepers

Because I like memes, and because I need to go back to the journal office (again!) and thus will save any ideas for substantive posts for procrastination fodder, I present you with my contribution to the eye photo meme:

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Singing my song

I was excited by the prospect of trying to figure out what the theme song of this blog would be until I realized that I am on Milbarge's blogroll but not Fitz-Hume's. On the off chance that he'll add me, or merely for the purposes of my own amusement, what should the theme song of this blog be? I was thinking something by Liz Phair, like "Baby Got Going," but am open to suggestions.

Alternative question: last night we were trying to name songs that are perfect for drunken singing by groups of five or more. The contenders: Margaritaville, Friends in Low Places, American Pie, and Piano Man. Any other suggestions?

Please indicate which question you are answering in your response.

Changing Names

Eugene Volokh is seeking testimonials from women who changed their names after marriage. This recent Ask Metafilter question provoked a long discussion with many interesting personal stories from changers and non-changers.

I previously discussed the name issue in this old post. Additional discussion can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here (other links within those links, but I must run to the journal office).

Graduation draws nigh

Many thanks to Orin Kerr for the link and the good wishes. Last night with some friends, we were discussing what it feels like to be done with law school. To a woman, we felt that it didn't seem real, the thought of never coming back here. After leaving and returning so many times, this is just one more in a long line of departures. It hasn't sunk in at all to me, but that's partially because I haven't received final (passing) grades. Grading professors, be kind!

If my judge is willing, I plan on continuing to blog through my clerkship next year, although the range of topics will alter somewhat. I hope many of you will keep reading!

Monday, May 16, 2005

My world view

Via Energy Spatula, yet another quiz.

You scored as Materialist. Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.













Cultural Creative




What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com

Just deserts

There is something oddly satisfying about getting just the grade you deserve.

100 things about me: 1-20

1. I watch no television programs of my own volition.
2. I have taken exactly one drag from a cigarette, ever.
3. In high school I had waist-length, perfectly straight hair.
4. Chocolate gives me migraines.
5. I never want to have children.
6. Despite years of video poker playing and teaching my Baptist cousins how to play five card stud, I am the worst gambler ever and lost my entire $100 in less than forty-five minutes the one time I went to a casino.
7. My favorite place in the entire world is Vienna.
8. When I was fifteen, I started a protest within my writing workshop group to try to stop the instructor from turning the class over to the students for one day. I felt like this was cheating us because we'd paid to be taught creative writing by a professor, not by other amateurish high schoolers. This failed.
9. I have a large scar on the top of my foot and a small one above my eyebrow.
10. I was kicked out of nursery school for fighting.
11. Most contemporary fiction set in the last fifty years interests me not at all.
12. My favorite poem is probably The Greater Cats.
13. I would rather have one dynamite week-long vacation than do something every weekend for a year.
14. I have never been hunting, but I would like to go once.
15. I don't see the point of bracelets. They just slide around and get in your way.
16. I sing songs that I make up almost constantly.
17. My birthday is July 17th.
18. I am overly self-critical.
19. I know no grammar.
20. I wish I were a more avid gamer than I have ever had the opportunity to be.

50 Book Challenge #26: The Stars My Destination

With such a hopeful sounding title, this piece of classic SF had me excited. However, the book itself is disappointing. Most of the plot comes from the Count of Monte Cristo: our anithero is Foyle, a spaceman out for vengeance against whoever gave the order not to pick him up when he was abandoned in the husk of a ruptured ship near the asteroid belt. I am pretty sympathetic to desire for revenge, but Foyle is needlessly brutal as well as obsessed. He lost me when he raped a helpless schoolteacher.

The sexual politics in the book lag centuries behind the technology, sometimes to the point of irrationality. Much of the travel takes place via "jaunt," in which one can teleport by an act of will to anyplace you've seen. The advent of jaunting is blamed for the sequestration of women, since only keeping them in concealed bowers can prevent strangers from jaunting right into a woman's bedroom. But if nearly everyone can jaunt (unless they've suffered a head injury), why wouldn't women at risk just jaunt right out of a dangerous situation? It's silly.

Bester's book was marginally better than the part of Mirror, Mirror that I started to read last night (which is utter crap), but mostly made me feel like I needed a shower.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

50 Book Challenge #25: The Little Friend

After a long hiatus, I am back in the 50 Book Challenge, thanks to a trip to the Cambridge Public Library. I wasn't able to find more than a half a dozen good books, though, and was shocked to learn that the collections of each branch are static; books borrowed from other branches are immediately returned to their homes, making successive trips to a given branch a bore. Pah. But anyway, I picked up The Little Friend and started reading it right away. My boyfriend said he enjoyed The Secret History quite a bit, but after three years at Harvard I have had enough of pretentious northeastern upper class college students and didn't feel like reading about more of them.

The Little Friend is like a strange mix of Harriet the Spy and To Kill a Mockingbird. I could tell right away that Tartt was from the South; her grasp of Southern social dynamics is acute and her characterizations neatly done, if not overly complex. However, it suffers from a lack of satisfying resolution; as Chekhov might have said, if in the first act you have a (spoiler) nine year old boy hanging from a tree, in the third act we should find out who hung him there. I enjoyed the novel and look forward to future Tartt offerings, but hope that she has not exhausted her store of inspiration after having written one book set in the milieu of her childhood and another in that of her young adulthood.

P.S. Her jacket photo is very beautiful. It reminds me strongly of this portrait, which I love.

How to justify a questionable Netflix queue

Sometimes I watch bad movies. Sometimes they are movies I know will be bad, or at least subpar; But I'm a Cheerleader was just as hit-and-miss as the critics said, although I enjoyed parts of it (the casting was probably the most well done part; RuPaul as an ex-gay, Bull from Night Court as an ex-ex-gay, and Clea DuVall as a rebellious young lesbian were all excellent choices, courtesy of Christopher Walken's wife). If I know something's likely to be mediocre but I am curious about it anyway, I'll watch it, be moderately pleased, and then never speak of it. But sometimes I watch bad movies, or flawed movies, and they get under my skin. My boyfriend makes fun of me for this; he cannot understand why I devote significant mental energy and time to picking out all the reasons why the American version of The Ring is inferior to the Japanese version. (The cinematography of the former is excellent, but it is, as far too many Americanized films are, much stupider and more clumsy.)

But the experience of being disappointed by a film is enough of a goad to require that I get to the root of the matter: why is this movie bad? It's no fun to do this with movies you already know are awful; usually you can say why certain movies are bad without even watching them. But when you're expecting something to be good, or at least a fair bit of workmanship, and then it all falls apart, there's a sort of satisfaction that comes from figuring out what bits unravelled. And so I spend half an hour or so analyzing exactly why something (usually a horror/thriller flick, because I am a sucker for those and so many of them are terrible, buckling due to an inability to remain internally consistent to their puzzle-box narrative) bites. Alas for the tyranny of expectations.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Life, post-law school

I'm spending the day sitting on my butt reading a Donna Tartt novel and eating ice cream.

How about you?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Feeling very Yoda

Jeremy has some advice about law school. He's mostly right, if only because it's easy to be right if you take both sides. But this part is way off:
the standard advice you hear that law school is to train lawyers and if you aren't sure you want to be a lawyer, don't go to law school. It's good advice. Sort of. It's true. Sort of. But it's also kind of stupid. As much as anyone wants to argue that law school is of value primarily if you want to be a lawyer, it's hard to deny that the law degree has value beyond that. It's a set of skills. It's a credential that sets you apart. If you go to a "name" law school, it's another name on the resume to help impress, it's another set of alumni and possible connections, it's an education that can help in a whole variety of fields -- government, policy, even just being an informed citizen -- not just the law.
These are reasons to go to Harvard, not reasons to go to law school. Going to HLS can help you in a lot of fields because it is a national law school with a impressive reputation in all the circles where government and policy wannabes will flock. It is able to do this because it minimizes the extent to which law school is a trade school. Every damn class wants to be a Con Law class. Every course spends a huge amount of time discussing policy. This is because we don't learn much black letter law or practical lawyering skills. If we had spent three years learning the law of some specific place instead of reading Restatements and trying to make a federal case out of everything, we would not have the sort of education that would apply as broadly as Jeremy's saying.

Look, I'm glad that some people who went here after very little thought and with no particular desire to practice law are leaving happy. But coming out of HLS with 100K in loans and the assurance that some Vault 100 firm will hold your hand while you actually learn the law some people spent the last three years studying is not the same as going into a similar amount of debt, spending three years learning the ins and outs of the law of a particular state, and then being left in the lurch when you decide that you don't like this law thing after all. The skill set is not the same, and not as valuable. Or maybe it's more valuable than what we're coming out with, but the name is pulling us out of the hole. Either way, going to law school for networking and a skill set sounds like a bad way to spend $100,000.

But Jeremy's right about making yourself miserable. I spent a lot of time unhappy in this place because I kept forcing myself to do the things I thought I should do, irrespective of how I actually felt about those things. A couple of weeks ago I sat next to a guy at dinner who basically started law school in the same place I did. And when he found out he didn't like some of the things he was doing here, he quit them. He took classes he liked. He hung out with different people. I could have done this, but I am too stubborn for my own good and so I spent a lot of law school doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons, taking the wrong classes, looking at everything backwards. So don't do that.

P.S. Do not always go to the best school you get into.

"we do a visual"

Great post at sunny side up on being put in an ethnic box without your knowledge. Being rather pasty, I don't really encounter this issue, but I have always wondered how firms decide to do this stuff, though. Whose idea was "doing a visual"? Why did one D.C. office I know give their one gay male associate a female mentor? Will they "do a visual" for sexual orientation? And if not, how will they ask? I think if HR asked me who I like to sleep with my answer would be "none of your damn business."

Unrelatedly, a reader send me this link to the story of a high school girl who nearly was barred from her graduation ceremony because she wanted to wear slacks instead of a dress. Fortunately, the school district was reasonable and backed down. It reminds me of this post on Prawfsblog about people who practice religion without belief; surely school districts with dress requirements would accommodate someone who thought pants were more modest and in keeping with her religion, so why not just do away with the silly rule and just ask that everyone dress well?

Friday Spies: Holy &$#@ I'm Done With Law School Edition

Fitz-Hume sent me these last night but the Fed Courts exam of death kept me occupied most of the day.

1. If you could change any element of your physical appearance, would you? If so, what would you change? If you could change any aspect of your personality would you?

I would like to go up a cup size, if only to make finding clothes a little easier, but I don't think breasts should have to be replaced every 50,000 miles like a set of tires. I wish my left eye wasn't weak. I would make myself a little cheerier, personality-wise; I get down in the dumps too easily.

2. Name a good make-out song (I believe the kids these days would call that "baby-making music").

My junior high school friend Lori once said that Mazzy Star's Fade Into You is the perfect lap dance song. It's a good smooching and nuzzling song, too.

3. What did Britney say to Kevin when she found out she was pregnant? What was his response?

She probably screamed incoherently and shoved the tester in his face, which it took him entirely too long to figure out was covered in pee. They're like a disgusting sitcom couple. I guess that's supposed to be the premise of her new reality show.

4. Did Oswald act alone?

Oswald? a mere pawn! Nah, sure.

5. Are you superstitious? Do you believe in luck, karma, fate, the
supernatural, etc?

Not really. I do have this ominous sense that bad things are on the horizon just about all the time, but that's more relentless negativity than superstition.

Fed Courts: The Gathering

I got all excited thinking that this was the last exam of my natural life, but there's always the bar (and probably more than one bar, since I have no idea where I want to spend my time). There were so many people who put this exam off until the last day that there had to be a separate line at the take-home window just for Fed Courts. How sad.

A more sauce-friendly person might think this would be a good evening for a celebratory drunk. I am debating.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fed Courts will be the death of me.

So much better than the real Huffington blog.

IRRELEVANT UPDATE: Arianna came to speak at my college a few years ago. I went to the dinner and lecture with a group from my campus job. The older British fellow who ran the place could not get enough of Arianna. He thought she was the most deliciously sexy and beautiful woman ever and could not stop talking about her for days afterward. I was less impressed.

This professor also had a great meet-cute with his wife. Apparently he was climbing out of a girl's window at Oxford when the trellis/drainpipe/whatever collapsed. He woke up to the gaze of a disapproving young nurse. He later married the nurse. She was much nicer than Arianna, in my limited experience.

Student in Drag Ejected from Prom and Fined

This story sums up part of the American public school experience that I always found baffling: the enforcement of conformity for its own sake. A straight male student accompanied a gay male friend to their prom. He went in drag. For this, he was removed from the prom and fined $249 for disorderly conduct.
School administrators warned Lofy not to ruin prom for others, Lofy says. "It's not your prom," he says the associate principal told him.
How does one guy in drag ruin the prom for others? The prom, as the student pointed out, is not a learning environment. Attracting a lot of attention is what people try to do at prom. The previous year the same student wore a duct tape tuxedo. Surely every prom has its own scandals: the girl who shows up with another girl's boyfriend, or the improbable couple no one knew about. And what's more, this was his prom. It was everyone's prom. It was his date's prom, who apparently was too embarrassed to go alone.

How wearing women's clothes is disorderly conduct is beyond me, especially compared to the normal stuff that teenagers do.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

R.I.P. Isabel

This post comes just in the wake of an ongoing discussion I've been having with Will Baude on how to address dangerous dogs, as well as defining just what is a dangerous dog, anyway. My family had a pit bull when I was younger and she was a great companion animal. She did have protective instincts, but I'm generally of the opinion that a dog that defends its mistress when she is physically attacked in her home is a good dog, not a bad one.

Anyway, I spent some time Googling around, and apparently there is one trait that is overwhelmingly common in dogs that fatally attack humans: whether the dog has been spayed or neutered. Non-neutered male dogs are overwhelmingly more likely to fatally attack a human than any other kind of dog. But although it's a lot easier to tell if a male dog is unaltered than it is to identify a pit bull, we have breed bans instead of strict requirements to neuter your pet. Instead of picking up someone's illegal dog and taking it to be gassed, why not fine them an amount equivalent to the cost of the surgery and take the dog away to get fixed?

Will seems to think our reluctance to impose this type of solution ties into people's anthropomorphization of their pets, especially men's empathy for their male dogs. (He also linked it to our growing reluctance to see castration as a form of appropriate punishment, since now chemical castration, a medicalized treatment more than a medieval sanction, has become the norm for castrating sex offenders.) But wouldn't any caring pet owner rather see his dog neutered than killed?

I've got little stake in this; my dream pet is a rescued greyhound. But I do know that pit bulls can make good pets, that there are thousands of them that need homes, and that blaming breeds for aggression blinds us to everything owners should do to make all their dogs safe for the rest of us: neutering them, training them, and loving them.

A summer meme

It's not summer yet, of course, this being Massachusetts. But spring will fade into summer, which brings delightful things. Such as . . . these.

Favorite summer flower: crape myrtle. The summer after my junior year, which was probably one of my worst summers, I was living in a lovely studio apartment which was totally isolated from everyone. It had a vaulted ceiling and no overhead lights, so I lived in shadow. But there was a little window near the top, out of which you could just see the top of the crape myrtle on the patio, white flowers on blue sky. It was a tiny bit of cheer.
Flavor of ice cream: coconut gelato.
Mode of transportation: A car with air conditioning. I hate having to drive with the windows down because my hair always ends up half matted and half in my mouth.
Music: Last summer I was listening to a lot of Cole Porter. It was an excellent soundtrack for my best summer on record.
Food: salads, preferably with fruit and nuts and a light dressing. Perfect for eating in patio cafes.
Favorite game to play: Settlers of Catan, but that's a year round thing.
Earliest childhood summer memory: My sixth birthday party. My friend Ginenna twisted her ankle running around the Slip'n'Slide.
Favorite Drink: Diet Coke (again, year round)
Favorite Snack: Two summers ago I was living in New York. The apartment had a window unit but it was in the alcove on the far side of the apartment from the bed and the place was always stifling. The woman I was subletting from had left a bag of miniature Twix bars in the freezer. Those were the most delicious frozen snack, all brittle caramel and frigid crumbs of cracker. Mmm.
Place to read: Stretched out in bed, with no body part touching any other.
Most annoying: Walking in the heat, dripping with sweat. And bugs. The one nice thing abot Boston is it is too cold for bugs most of the year.
How I handle the heat: Living in air conditioned buildings. Intraveneous Diet Coke.
All-time favorite bathing suit: I had a really great suit with a halter top and boy-style bottoms. I wore it to the beach one time and then it was stolen from the dorm bathroom by pranksters out to get the senior class (they stole everything from the common bathrooms so no one had any toiletries for graduation: cute, jerks). Who steals a bathing suit? Especially one that's been worn?
Best Time of Day: Any time the sky is purple.
Most romantic: Any time you're standing outside saying goodnight.
Summer movie: Any movie with Will Baude.
Best for sex: See, this is how people get behind: quarreling about times. No comment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Strange Days II

In what may be the polar opposite of International Kissing Day, a town in Brazil has declared May 9 to be "Orgasm Day." What, like they aren't already popular enough?

IRRELEVANT UPDATE: How sad is it that my first thought upon seeing pictures of Mariah replacement and Mexican actress/singer Thalia was, "wow, she doesn't have implants! Yet." Petite ladies can be hot too! Stay real, Thalia.

Oh, and thanks to Amy for recommending Isabella Bird. I ordered a dress from there and it's very swingy and feminine. I also went to the Gap with Tiffany after my exam today and picked up a white cotton skirt and a couple of camisoles. Now, Fed Courts.

Happy Birthday, Pill!

Aaaand I was right: pointless.

In other news, today is the 45th anniversary of the birth control pill in America. It was only legalized in Japan in 1999.

Other contraceptive options you may not have heard about:

Essure: permanent sterilization for women without abdominal surgery

Gynefix: a frameless IUD

Seasonale: have 4 periods per year

The Morning After Pill You Already Have: how to use standard birth control pills as emergency contraception

P.S. There is now a warning on Depo Provera that it may cause irreversible bone loss. If you're a Depo user, consider switching.

The most pointless exam ever

Today I have my Legal Profession exam. I was informed over the weekend that some schools (or maybe it's some states) don't require both the MPRE and a passing grade in Legal Profession. Can we jump on that bandwagon, please? For the sake of future generations?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Teen Girl Squad, Crimefighting Edition

A bunch of schoolgirls turned the tables on a subway flasher by snapping his picture on their camera phone and going for help in the station. The token clerk they talked to first had this to say:
"For a grown man to be exposing himself to children at 7:30 in the morning, it's terrible."
All the qualifications in this statement, inadvertent though they may be, are pretty funny. If only he had waited until nighttime, or been a teenage boy!

Man's Woman?

I'm definitely not in the same blogging league as Belle and Amanda, but I've usually thought of myself as more of a man's woman. This is mostly a hangover from grade school, when I had no female friends at all. As I've gotten older, it's become easier to relate to other women, but I'm still not very good at it. Last summer, the most fun I had at a firm lunch was with two young-ish male associates and my guy officemate. They were a little raucous, willing to push the envelope, confrontational. My mixed and all-female lunches were a lot more subdued. I am more bold and brassy when I am around only men. Women intimidate me with their silences.

Then again, the most-commented post on this blog of late was one on where to buy sundresses, so maybe I'm kidding myself.

Department of D'oh

I had it in my head that this morning was my Legal Profession exam. So imagine my surprise when I looked up the location last night and discovered that it's actually tomorrow. Better mistaken this way than the other way 'round, I suppose.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Problem of Susan

I devoured the Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid, my enjoyment of the books in grade school only equalled by the deep feeling of betrayal that dawned with the realization that they were clever propaganda for religion. I'm still going to see this movie, but the angry teen in me couldn't help but still feel a rush of anger at what he did to Susan.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Take dead aim on Luxembourg.

Via Matthew Yglesias, I am redirected to this recent music video. I saw it a few weeks ago and was rather nonplussed; I am always happy to see Rushmore references in pop culture, but such a bastardization of the Max Fischer character could hardly be borne. Now it is starting to grow on me, although I only like the song as accompanied by the video. Political rock songs mostly bore me. Oh well.

Don't fence me in?

In the course of reading this Slate story on GPS monitoring of criminals, the following passage struck me as almost absurd in its juxtaposition:
One hundred state and local jurisdictions are reportedly using GPS to track nonviolent juvenile offenders. . . . And consider the alternatives. Some kids in the California youth system have been put in cages. People living near a juvenile delinquent "ranch" in Santa Clara County want a fence to keep kids inside. Officials there hope GPS can solve the problem less drastically.
Those cages sound pretty bad. The linked article seems to point to serious abuses within California's juvenile system. But what is so outrageous or drastic about a fence? These are kids who have already been convicted of crimes and they are supposed to stay put so they can be rehabilitated. This is not like building a fence along the Mexican border Pat Buchanan style. Hell, even some of the high schools in Alief had fences around them when I was growing up; the kids weren't allowed off campus, and the schools are in a pretty urban setting. So what is the big deal about putting a fence around criminals? Crikey.

Weather Induced Sloth

I usually wake up to the bright rays of sun coming through the windows near my bed, so on rainy days I always sleep later. The rain is falling in heavy but irregular rhythms and the gusting wind provides a low accompaniment. I miss thunderstorms. Give me the excitement of crashing thunder any day. This low key storminess just makes me want to sleep.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday Spies: Seis de Mayo Edition

1. What is a food you have tried but will never eat again, and what don't you like about it?

Like George H. W. Bush, I hate broccoli. It's mostly the smell, which all by itself can start my mouth watering in that about-to-vomit sort of way. But the combination of fibrous stems and mushy little pilly bits with the smell . . . *heaves*

2. What are your five favorite possessions?

My laptop, my contact lenses (vision good!), my box of postcards and old photos, my Rushmore DVD, and my Kermit the frog playing the violin.

3. How do you deal with confrontation? Do you seek it out or do you avoid it? Are you more apt to be the confronter or the confronted?

Depends. With certain people, I relish confrontation, but those are usually friends I know well and who are accustomed to a combative style of interaction. Most of the time I dodge other people and mumble under my breath like Milton in Office Space. However, I am more likely to confront than be confronted because I am very good at evasion.

4. What will Michael Jackson be doing five years from now?

Well, it doesn't sound like he's going to be in jail, so I'd guess that he'll be manuevering to get some other middle school boy with profoundly stupid parents into bed with him. Just to sleep. Sure.

5. What is the worst movie sequel ever made, what is the best sequel ever, and what movie should have had a sequel but didn't?

The worst sequels ever have to be the Leprechaun movie sequels. Most other painfully bad sequels at least have the redeeming aspect of hope: someone thought they could recapture the magic of the first (good) movie. Sequels to bad movies are automatically worse, since they don't even have good intentions to excuse their existence. Some films are acts of malice against the human race and Western culture.

The best sequel ever is probably The Empire Strikes Back. I know Godfather II is a popular choice, but I hated Diane Keaton in that movie. Oh, wait, I hate Diane Keaton in every movie.

They really should make a sequel to Leon (The Professional) with Natalie Portman as a hit woman. Enough of this schmucky being in love with Hayden Christensen nonsense. I want to see Natalie turn to the Dark Side.

Let the games begin?

There is a guy just behind me talking on his cell phone in the library (not allowed!). To add weirdness to inconsiderateness, he just had a two minute conversation with someone about the location of his bat and his gun. There was also something about a hockey stick. He is in a final until 4:30, but afterward it appears he is doing something "fun" that requires these things. Has an HLS student gone postal? Does he plan to start a riot in Harvard Yard? What the hell?

BTW, taking a lunch break by blogging but not actually going to get lunch? Bad idea. Soooo hungry.

Church/State Lunch Break

I hate take home exams. First of all, unless you live on campus you're better off not taking them home. Second, I never use all the time (witness this post) and then get bad grades on them, but I genuinely cannot keep up 8 straight hours of furious typing and brilliant idea generation. Some of my classmates can, so: future Supreme Court clerks of the world, I salute you. Third, it's 2 and 2/3 times the exam agony!

So instead of typing my exam, I am taking a little break (and not for the first time this morning) to log on the net and provide you with amusement. Via frequent commenter and fellow exam taker Melinda, who also apparently has less-than-stellar focus today, comes this little link. It allows you to submit email addresses of friends and family so that after you've been raptured they will receive a letter that tells them what happened to you.

Hey, at least it's religion themed. I'm on task, I swear!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Study, Buddy

I think I'm ready for Feldman's Church and State exam at last. Tomorrow it's getting knocked out, then I'm spending the weekend catching up on Legal Profession readings and memorizing the Model Rules. After that it's a solid week of frantic preparation for Young's Fed Courts exam. Ugh. So jealous of the lucky ducks who are all done with this nonsense.

Movie Ads Aren't So Bad

It's nice that Loews Theaters will begin announcing the actual start time of movies, although that they are doing it after being threatened with legislation from big government busybodies is pretty pathetic. Are there no important social and political issues to draw the representatives' attention?

But though I am also moderately annoyed by the advertising featurettes before movies, especially the heavy-handed copyright endorsements that consist of interviews with film industry workers and the absurdly self-important American Express ads, I cannot support this anti-advertising crusade. I like the giant multiplexes that have sprung up in the last decade or so, replete with cushiony, reclining chairs and stadium seating. I like not buying nasty, overpriced movie theater food. I am also aware of the fact that said nasty food is the main money maker for theater companies. Ticket prices are already sky high, with many theaters only allowing matinee discounts for the first show of the day instead of all shows before a certain time, as of old. Movie theater chains are always on the cusp of financial insolvency.

So why would rational moviegoers agitate for the removal of a simple revenue source for theaters? Won't this mean that ticket prices will have to increase? What's so damn hard about showing up five or ten minutes after the printed time, if you're so offended by advertisements? What's that? Hard to find a seat? Yes, that's right, because despite all your silly polls, most people would prefer to stake out their seats early and scoff at the ads and pay a lower price. You may not mind paying for the privilege of strolling in at exactly 8pm, plopping down in a seat, and watching the movie right away, but some of us do. Shut up, anti-ad whiners.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Stuff I Hate

-Peapod, for sending me frozen peas instead of edamame


-Younger abstention

-Sitting in review sessions listening to my classmates ask questions about cases I don't remember even having heard of before

-Changing my email address to post.harvard.edu

-The apartment people, who call me every other day to ask how my apartment search is going. I don't know, folks: you are the only place I'm searching, and now you have proof of my future salary (because I am honest, and put that I am currently a student, they freaked out and said I was too poor to live there at first), so just tell me if you have a vacancy when you know. I feel like I should call them and say, "how are your evictions going? any openings?"

-Still having an entire issue of the journal to crank out

-The mailman (he's doing it again!)

Tort Law Musings

Via my housemate, the following hypothetical:

At some point in the near future gay marriage becomes more widely recognized (say, in at least one of the following states: Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, or Utah). Two men marry, but after years of wedded bliss one is converted by a neighbor to a fundamentalist Christian sect and becomes an "ex-gay." If the neighbor intended to "cure" his neighbor of his sexuality by instigating the religious conversion, can the neighbor be sued for the tort of alienation of affection?

Special of the Day

After discovering that the Whole Foods at Central Square carries tomatillos, I began craving all manner of green Tex-Mex. However, the Peapod people claimed to be out of corn tortillas, which sent my plan to make green chicken enchiladas into a tailspin. However, I rallied and made a reasonable facsimile of Ninfa's green sauce (although it was a bit heavy on the avocado and sour cream; future batches will be lighter and more veggie-flavored).

Today's the final study session for Fed Courts. Off I go.

UPDATE: Dinner was a delicious pair of grilled chicken tacos topped with green sauce, grated cheese, and sauteed onions, plus chips and green sauce. Mmmmexicanfood.

I've found a replacement for the Ms. Message Boards

Like a kid who can't stop picking a scab, I find it impossible to stay away from Ann Althouse's blog. I love how the focus has shifted from denigration of cohabitors and non-virginal couples to bashing the ladies it's safe to hate, Bridezillas. Long, boring, weddings with self-centered brides suck, 'tis true. But that still doesn't mean it's impossible to have a big wedding that's fun and exciting for all attendees, despite the happy couple's living in sin beforehand.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Dress Up

In an effort to procrastinate, I have been trying to figure out a good place to buy a few summer dresses. I love dresses because they require no matching of tops and bottoms, can be super comfortable, and automatically add points to your total appearance; dresses, like button-down shirts for men, just make you look more put together.

But I am foiled at every turn. The Gap has a couple of flattering halter dresses in absolutely hideous prints, but the rest are either dangerously hippie or too funereal for summer. J. Crew, source of my two favorite summer dresses, has nothing in the stretchy, clingy-yet-forgiving jersey knit that makes my old ones so lovely. There's this pretty white number, but $98 is a bit steep, and I want something machine washable. Their spring sale offers nothing in that category, and the intense greens make me wary, if slightly intrigued. Bluefly produced nothing but disappointments, as the only non-hideous dresses I found there were inching toward J. Crew prices. And Old Navy had three dresses, total, and they're all ugly.

What does a girl have to do to find a swingy, comfortable, flirty summer sundress that won't break the bank and can be tossed in the washer?

Nauseatingly Sexist Practices: Kyrgyzstan Edition

Via dgm, I am directed toward what may be one of the most disgusting practices I've heard about in a while: "grab and go" bridal kidnappings. If I were Kyrgyz, I'd go armed, and I'd do more than choke some guy who tried to nab me. Surely exercising lethal force would be justifiable self defense in such a situation--this is nothing but old fashioned rape. Choice bits:
Families use force to keep the women from leaving or threaten them with curses that still have a powerful impact in this deeply superstitious land. Once a girl has been kept in the home overnight, her fate is all but sealed: with her virginity suspect and her name disgraced, she will find it difficult to attract any other husband.

Brutal as the custom is, it is widely perceived as practical. "Every good marriage begins in tears," a Kyrgyz saying goes.

In Kyzyl-Tuu, a village not far from the capital, even the head man, Samar Bek, kidnapped his wife, Gypara, after she rejected his marriage proposals 16 years ago. [Samar] said he would not object if one of his daughters were kidnapped.

"If the feelings of the man are stronger than the feelings of my daughter, I'll let him take her," he said. "Love comes and goes."
It was sad but not surprising to read that many of these women eventually accept their fates. Stockholm syndrome, anyone?

Cuddly Vectors

Penguins have malaria? First koalas, now this. Are no lovable-looking creatures from the Southern Hemisphere safe to hug? And what about this kid? Is he doomed or what?

I want one of these.

Via Marginal Revolution, the new frontier of meat production:
"To offset the cruelty of factory-farming, routine implants of smart microchips in the pleasure centers may be feasible," says David Pearce, associate editor of the Journal of Evolution and Technology. "Since there is no physiological tolerance to pure pleasure, factory-farmed animals could lead a lifetime of pure bliss instead of misery. Unnatural? Yes, but so is factory farming. Immoral? No, certainly not compared to the terrible suffering we inflict on factory-farmed animals today."
Couldn't we just shoot the cows full of heroin or something and save the electronic Soma for humans?

No Pants Day

Via Dana Johnson, I am alerted that this Friday is No Pants Day. Alas, I cannot celebrate as I have scheduled my Church & State exam that day. But for those of you who will spend the day home studying: consider doing so sans pants.