Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On the engagements page

As first lines go, this one is a gut-punch. (via)

Monday, October 30, 2006

No Mariner's Revenge?

Other than that, an excellent show. Meloy took someone's camera and snapped a bunch of photos on stage. I hope someone posts it to Flickr.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Random grouse

Any internet discussion that begins as a general one about bras will inevitably focus on the large of boob.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Prestige

You know, I can suspend my disbelief when it comes to physically impossible sci-fi twists, but an English lord who doesn't have an English accent? WTF?

Other miscellaneous impressions:

- At the risk of sounding like any heterosexual male who also saw this movie: not enough Scarlett Johansson. We're supposed to believe that she's angry at being sent away, but we don't see enough of her to become invested in her relationship beforehand.

- David Bowie looked Botoxed within an inch of his life. But he was still hot. Yes, I watched Labyrinth too many times as a kid.

- This was a movie with two male leads. Perhaps both actors should have been of roughly equal acting caliber, so as not to distract the audience with the contrast between Wolverine and a real thespian.

- If I have call to dress up for Halloween next year, Steve and I are going as Batman and Robin. Just because.

Email Update

If anyone, for any reason, still uses ATaylor02@mckenna.edu to contact me, you should know that that address will cease to function soon. Please use the address from the contact link in the sidebar.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Musings on the beast with two backs

Some interesting discussion about bestiality and the importance of consent in sex here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


It's the radical notion that women are people. Not, say, meat.

The full comments are here; via.

This makes my head swim with random metaphors: You ain't nothin' but a hound dog . . . but dogs are unclean. An alley cat? At night, all cats are gray? (At least the shameless hussy-cats.) But that makes women cats instead of the Satanic meat-puppets. Oh well.

He is right about leaving food out, though. I'm going to go wash the dishes so Lily isn't tempted to rape and pillage my dinner plate.

Rumor has it . . .

. . . that Arthur Miller,* currently visiting at NYU, has sold his house in Cambridge and is leaving HLS for good. Can anyone confirm?

* So did he vote on this or what?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tragically unhip

Snape has returned home from the hospital and is hobbling around. Lily apparently decided she liked being an only cat and hisses or growls whenever he is within a six foot radius, but other than that, things have returned to normal.

Because we all need a laugh

Don't you just hate That Guy? I know I always did.

N.B. Steve is emphatically not That Guy. It's one of his many good qualities.

Jeremy Irons!

What a law school classmate called my fascination with "washed-up Englishmen" is given a respectable rationalization here (via).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Say what, professor?

More on the unrest at Gallaudet from the NY Times:
Students at Gallaudet have complained that Dr. Fernandes, who learned to sign only when she was 23, does not communicate well in A.S.L. — a point the university disputes — and that she has permitted professors who do not sign well to continue teaching, putting students at a disadvantage at the one institution where, they say, they should not suffer for being deaf. These students, forced to lip read or make do with poor signing, may not catch every word.
Hearing students have been complaining about this stuff for years.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Damn dirty apes, that's us.

You know, I'd say that I can't wait until the human exceptionalists confront intelligent non-human life, but I'm pretty sure that they are the reason our planet will be destroyed by extraterrestrials.

So cool.

Make your hair glow for Halloween. (via)

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

Via Bookslut. The list is here. My paltry accomplishments are highlighted.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Shelfworthiness redux

Why are modern books so floppy, garish, and hideous?

This is actually a problem with translations, because many of the new ones are much better but the older ones are available in nice hardcover editions. I liked Edith Grossman's Don Quixote, and the volume is not bad looking, but it is very large (I should know; I carried it all over Eastern Europe in a backpack).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Vacherin Mont-d’Or AOC


This may be the best cheese I ever had. Creamy, runny, rich. It smells like a giant lump of mold, but don't let that dissuade you. Eat; it's in season now.

My kitty is broken.

So after two different vets and a set of x-rays, we have determined that Snape fractured the neck of his left femur. On Monday the surgeons here will performing a femoral head and neck ostectomy, which as far as I can tell involves shaving his hind end, cutting him open, removing the now-severed ball of his femur from the joint, sawing off the neck of his femur, and then stitching him up and sending him home the next day. This is apparently a better procedure than just putting the bones back together because it avoids the risk of developing arthritis in the hip joint. It will cost about $3000.

We still don't know how this happened, but I am looking for new housekeeping services, so if you have any recs for maids in the D.C. area, please let me know.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I don't like Ann Bartow

And you shouldn't either.

UPDATE: But it was all a giant misunderstaaaanding, you see . . .

Someone is going down.

I got home tonight and found my hallway full of soapy water and my cat limping.

The only people here between 8 and 7 were the maids.

You can screw up polishing my furniture and I'll just grumble, but NOBODY messes with Snape.

Fish IS brain food

Eating omega-3s reduces violence in certain populations. I was particularly interested in this passage, given the surge in depression diagnoses in the last decade or so:
Animal studies have shown that those deprived of omega-3 fatty acids over two generations have offspring who cannot release dopamine and serotonin so effectively.
When did mothers stop forcing cod liver oil down the throats of their children?

The past is a foreign country

The past of a foreign country doubly so. I've been reading My Name is Red and the characters are even more unnatural and unrelatable than aliens in the science fiction novels I enjoy. The part where Shekure casually refers to her universal desirability as a twelve-year-old, the ongoing plotline about how depicting objects in a realistic manner inevitably leads to idol worship . . . I'm having trouble relating to the book.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why I don't play computer games.

They eat your life.


You know those scholarship services that had you fill out a huge questionnaire asking if you are left-handed or a coal miner's daughter or from a particular county? And then they emailed you updates on various things that you could apply for? Could you have one of those for class actions?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ah, to be back in DC

Pitzer : CMC :: Gallaudet : _____?


Nate & Hayes is on DVD.

I found this out from Geoffrey, who was much less excited than I am.
I have just seen the greatest possible evidence that Netflix is a bunch of lying scoundrels, with as little regard for the truth and human decency as the basest blackguards who ever shot a man in cold blood.

I was looking for movies, and Nate & Hayes was one of the ones that came up on a page. They claimed that based on my recommendations, I would probably rate it a little over 3 stars.


Monday, October 16, 2006

The Ghost Brigades

I recently finished John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades. I found his previous book quite enjoyable, and although The Ghost Brigades is a sequel to that book, it also can stand alone.

The Ghost Brigades is a more obviously philosophical book than its predecessor, with an extended meditation on self. This focus posed a certain problem for me; I found it difficult to grasp the distinctions the characters were trying to make between the mind and the consciousness.

SPOILERS: Although my recollection of Old Man's War is shaky, why should there be, even under the rules of Scalzi's world, a substantive difference between transfering the conscious mind of an old person into a new body and transferring a computerized pattern of the same to a new body? Shouldn't the new bodies in the first instance also have burgeoning consciousnesses of their own, just as the Special Forces bodies do?

I like to think of myself as a smart person, and I feel quite irritated at being baffled by a book. What am I missing?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday Dinner: Spicy Chicken with Lemongrass and Lime

Tonight I made a very tasty dish from this cookbook. It was easy, fast, and filling.

Spicy Chicken with Lemongrass and Lime
(serves 2)
1 tbsp peanut oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/2 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, depending on heat
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cilantro
1/2 tsp sugar
Lemongrass (see note below)
Two skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt and black pepper
1/2 tbsp lime zest
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp cilantro for garnish

IMG_1256First, saute the red pepper, ginger, garlic, and shallots in the oil until pasty, then add the turmeric, sugar, and cilantro and cook for one additional minute. Then add the lemongrass and 1 cup of water. (On lemongrass: the recipe called for 1 stalk of the fresh kind, but I only had dried lemongrass. I used two large pinches of 1/4 inch in diameter.)

Then add the chicken, salt and pepper and make sure the chicken is bathed in the sauce before you cover the pan and simmer it until the chicken is cooked (10 minutes for whole breasts, less for smaller tenders or cubes). Then uncover and turn up the heat so the liquid can evaporate and the chicken can brown on the bottom (I was too impatient for this part). Add the lime zest, fish sauce, and cilantro (this last I forgot), dump over some jasmine rice, and eat!

I think this could use a touch more lime flavor: maybe a small spritz of lime juice at the end. Lemongrass is tough and you will want to pick it out as you are eating.

Interesting question

Are psychopaths homo sapiens?

Taste in fictional men

No Spock? No Picard? Heretic.

Then again, I had a years-long crush on Tyrion Lannister, so who am I to talk?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The criminal mind

Being put in jail: insufficient deterrent.
Having your masculinity made "questionable" by wearing pink: sufficient deterrent.

Is it not sad that Texan men are more afraid of having to wear a traditionally feminine color than they are of confinement? (via)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Review: Mark's Duck House

Unlike Tyler Cowen, I liked the duck at Mark's Duck House. Of course, ordering the half duck spoiled my diet, and if it had been just a bit more savory it would have been perfect, but rarely do I order something in a Chinese restaurant that has only ingredients I like (here: duck, scallions, pancakes, sauce). A simple pleasure.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Veronica Mars Legal Point

Taking into account California law, didn't the sorority house have more pot plants than are permitted for personal use?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I should drive to work.

To the girl who sneezed a three-inch gobbet of snot on my pants leg on the Metro: thanks for waiting until the departing woman in the next seat informed me of it to apologize. Also, thanks for offering me a napkin to remove your bodily fluids and then refusing to take back the napkin once I managed to clean off your little present. I do so enjoy holding strangers' snot until my stop.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So . . .

. . . when do we get the elephant equivalent of Batman? (h/t)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Schmenternational law.

I would have chosen Columbia, NYU, or Chicago over Harvard had this travesty been enacted before I attended law school. (I refer to the focus on international law, not the mock-litigation format, which sounds like an interesting idea. However, the two changes in tandem are absurd; HLS already teaches the law of no particular place in a vague way; soon it will teach the law of a vaguer area in a more specific manner. Hmph.)

Arthur Miller already left HLS in a huff when they changed Civ Pro from a two-semester class to a single semester. Even if he went along with the faculty vote, I can't imagine he's pleased at the prospect of reducing Civ Pro's class hours.

Start Date

While my old compatriots in government take the day off, I'll be having my first day at The Firm. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Last King of Scotland

I was going to write a review of The Last King of Scotland, but Steve wrote one for me so you can just read it instead.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dahlia Lithwick is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

Dahlia Lithwick claims to have the solution to the problems plaguing the institution of judicial clerkships: chiefly, that they are elitist and that clerks wield undue influence over their judges. She asserts that clerkships should be limited to one year per person. One could be a federal appellate clerk or a Supreme Court clerk, but not both, as is commonly the case at present.

This is perhaps the stupidest thing Lithwick has ever said. Her solution will exacerbate at least one of the problems she attempts to remedy, and it will have little or no effect on the other. Additionally, it may have an adverse effect on the quality of legal decisions. Setting aside how effective such a rule would be (if it's anything like the clerkship application moratorium, it will be adhered to only to the extent that the judges find it beneficial) and how we'd deal with unpaid summer clerkships and externships (which of course would probably be viewed favorably by judges and which are more likely to accrue to wealthy students at wealthy law schools), let's look at what would happen under Lithwick's plan.

The amount of clerking experience held by Supreme Court clerks would decrease by at least 50%. Judge Posner claims that the modern clerkship has brought no improvement in the quality of legal decisions. But does it necessarily follow that a dramatic reduction in the amount of relevant experience each clerk has will have no effect? Previous clerkships hone legal research and writing skills that are valuable to those who choose to clerk at higher levels. And given the immense stakes involved in Supreme Court litigation, shouldn't the clerks working on those cases be doing as little on-the-job learning as possible?

Lithwick means well when she notes that her proposal would result in more people clerking. However, at present it is possible for nearly all people who are interested in clerking to do so; they may not get their first choice of jurisdiction, but it is usually possible for qualified applicants to obtain some clerkship. Lithwick assumes without evidence that there is an untapped pool of interested, qualified applicants for clerkships. I question this, and ask whether less motivated, less fit applicants should clerk.

Without question, though, there are some very intelligent people who are not justly served by the current clerkship application process. As observers of recent Supreme Court clerkship hiring may have noted, a few schools and feeder judges predominate. But Lithwick's proposal will replace the weight given to feeder judges with even more weight given to schools, and perhaps to professors within those schools. People lucky enough to be able to ingratiate themselves to a prominent professor or former colleague of the Supremes (most of them have taught and presumably retain relationships with faculty) will have an advantage; applicants from other law schools will be left out in the cold. The current clerkship process, which permits multiple clerkships, allows candidates from less well-known schools to distinguish themselves. Under the regime Lithwick proposes, such persons would probably be passed over in favor of yet another Yale or Harvard student.

Lithwick also claims that limiting clerkships to one year will address the problem of clerks' undue influence over judges. It seems to me that this ignores the strongest determinant of whether this will occur: is the judge smarter than the clerk? If the judge is smarter, then one additional year of clerking experience (under an entirely different person, with an entirely different psychology) will not allow a clerk to exercise Svengali-like influence over him. If the judge is not — well, perhaps we'd be better served by appointing smarter judges? It seems to me that along this dimension, the success of Lithwick's plan depends on its ability to reduce the IQ of the average Supreme Court clerk. For the reasons I've already mentioned, this is undesirable.

In effect, Lithwick proposes to reduce the amount of information available to judges in making their clerkship hiring decisions, to constrain the ability of law students to clerk at varying levels and obtain different experiences, and to decrease the amount of knowledge and experience wielded by people inextricably entwined in the highest levels of the practice of law. In exchange, we will get little of the benefits she claims will follow. This is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea.

Sky above me like a full recovery

Does this hoodie not rule?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I wasn't this bad as a 3L.

Great thread on lazy law students at Prawfsblawg. (h/t Dylan)

Inequality along a new dimension

We hear a lot about income inequality, but I don't think this particular manifestation is going to get a lot of energy directed towards solutions. It's probably easier to publish op-eds on universal health care and taxing the rich. (h/t Karl)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Wire: Political Philosophy

Jackmormon asks whether Omar is a libertarian. Since he clearly believes in the initiation of force, I call BS.

Question Time: What I'm Watching/Reading/Etc.

HC inquires:
What are you reading? Or watching? Further thoughts on Rome, or Veronica Mars, and the like.
Re: TV: I am catching up on The Wire and TiVoed the Veronica Mars season premiere so Steve and I can watch it together tonight, so no thoughts on those yet (except: Prez! yay!).
UPDATE: I have seen the Veronica Mars season premiere; discussion in the comments.

I spent altogether too much time reading the Television Without Pity Rome forums and dug up some more historical fiction and nonfiction book recs from that. Thus, my pile of library books at present looks like this:

I also have an audiobook version of Arthur & George for listening while exercising and a Mark Bittman cookbook which I am using tonight to make shrimp curry.

My recent reads include Wild Cards 1 & 2 (meh), 75 pages of the first book in this series (soporific), and Longitude (should have been a New Yorker article, not a book). While I was in Japan, I read Middlemarch, The Master and Margarita, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and all but the last 50 pages of The Portrait of a Lady. The trouble with reading classics is all too often the introductions give the whole plot away. In the case of this last book, I already know the ending, so I haven't been passionate about finishing.

Reading TMaM and WUBC back-to-back was a bit more magical realism than I could bear. I typically dislike magical realism and was shocked that I enjoyed either book, but even my pleasure in them individually could not overcome my strong bias against the genre in general. Ultimately, I prefer more traditional fantasy, or at least fantasy with more rigorous logical principles. Additionally, in situations in which the setting is not a key element, urban fantasy and magical realism tend to become dated rather quickly. Neither of these books fell victim to this weakness, but I probably won't assume that my liking for them should be extrapolated to other magical realist novels.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's on.

The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy is online. But now so is the Harvard Law & Policy Review.

Eugene Volokh foresees the inevitable submission confusion. It's not this bad, but it's close.

Question Time: Smiles or Nuns?

John puts a choice before me:
(a) smile (wide and beaming) at each stranger you come across every day for a year; or (b) live in a nunnery (abiding by their rules) for 3 months.
Well, I think it would be pretty cool to live in a nunnery. There might be some trouble with the rules; if I bow my head and mutter along, does it matter that there's no belief behind it? If not, I pick B. My wimple would be the starchiest and most spotless of all. (I've worn one before, when I had to dress as the Wife of Bath for part of an AP senior English assignment that rivaled the infamous HLS collage for lack of substance. On top of that, the teacher strongly implied that by assigning me the Wife of Bath she was alluding to my love life. WTF, suburban school district?)

Question Time: Above the Law

huh asks:
What do you think of the "Above the Law" blog? Frankly, I think the guy is losing it. In addition to seeming to be a shrine to its creator's self-aggrandizement, it has lost all semblance of credibility with most of its content. I thought I would enjoy it, since I enjoyed UTR, but I just find it so immature and stupid. What do you think?
I think it's more challenging to amuse readers with self-aggrandizing posts when your identity is known. A3G was not a humble persona either, as I recall, except as pertained to her failure to secure a Supreme Court clerkship. But now that we know the writer's looks, resume qualifications, etc. with precision, we can make more pointed comparisons between the author and his targets. Audience reactions may also be different now that the writer is known to be (like the majority of readers) male. Interpersonal comparisons within a gender are probably easier to make, and readers can therefore measure their own traits against the writer's and judge any braggadocio accordingly.

Additionally, Above the Law has much more frequent posts, as is required by a blog of its type. UTR, being a labor of love, had new material on a fairly intermittent basis, and no need for filler posts on slow news days. I don't particularly care for the posts about lawyerly lifestyles (the houses and such). But I don't think that ATL is much worse than UTR; I think any perceived change is an inevitable result of the shift to a new blogging paradigm.

The comment about credibility puzzles me; does huh mean that the frivolity and personal references undermine the ability of ATL to recite truthful anecdotes? I don't see how this can be so. And how could credibility have been greater under a pseudonymous regime? Meh.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Public Sex on Trial

An Illinois couple faced public indecency charges for having sex in a backyard hot tub. Luckily, they were found not guilty. (h/t Steve)

Question Time

I am at sea w/r/t blogging topics this week, so I'll throw the floor open to questions again.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Discworld wedding cake

This is without question the most awesome wedding cake I have ever seen. (via)

Welcome, LA Times readers

If you are looking for the review of Imperium mentioned in this article, it is here.