Saturday, March 31, 2007

Cue Sir Mix-A-Lot

The tailor came back with my custom-made suit. It is lovely, but the pants are too big and have to be taken in. He attributes this to a slight mismeasurement on his part in the waist and seat. As he put it,

"Most people go like this *brings hand straight down with a slight bump* but you go like this *waves hand in dramatic s-shaped motion* and so the pants are too big at the top."

And this is after I've lost ten pounds! I shudder to think of my Little Rock rear. Five more pounds and I will be down to my high school fighting weight.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

No accounting for taste

Maybe I'm just prickly because I like Secessionists, but this whole conversation about how people with Klimt prints are undateable reminds me of Howard from On Beauty, and how he refused to let Kiki hang representational art in their home. Howard was an ass and so is anyone who would drop a perfectly good person on the basis of their liking a well-known painting. One can be sophisticated and still enjoy popular things. And it's often very difficult to obtain prints of one's actual favorite paintings. I collect postcards of the paintings I see and like, but often those that strike me hardest are not available as cards, much less prints. Buying a more famous but less enjoyed painting is apparently enough for some to scorn. But is the better course to have bare walls? Not everyone can afford original art.

Then again, maybe this species of snobbery is a good signifier of attitudes, even if the presence of popular art in a home is not; a guy who dumps you for liking Schiele would probably spend a lot of time dragging you to shows by (deservedly) unknown bands and complaining about how much it sucks that his old favorite band got popular and now he can't listen to them anymore. No great loss.

Quickie Movie Review

O. Henry + Kill Bill = Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

The entire panoply of death could potentially have been avoided with the implementation of paired kidney donation programs at the hospital.

Long, deliberative movie review by someone else: why 300 is anti-American.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Legal recruiting faux pas

On the list of dingable offenses: putting your LSAT score on your resume (check out the comments)

Monday, March 26, 2007

"Scrupulous editing abilities"

Please let this be fake. Please. I don't even want to think about this guy's student loan debt otherwise.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A lot of guys wonder why girls go out with hot jerks.

Wet Hot American Summer is a terrible movie, but it's redeemed entirely by this scene at the end between the nerd guy and his hot girl crush:
Listen, Coop. Last night was really great. You were incredibly romantic and heroic, no doubt about it. And that's great. But I've thought about it, and my thing is this. Andy is really hot. And don't get me wrong, you're cute too, but Andy is like, cut. From marble. He's gorgeous. He has this beautiful face and this incredible body, and I genuinely don't care that he's kinda lame. I don't even care that he cheats on me. And I like you more than I like Andy, Coop, but I'm 16. And maybe it'll be a different story when I'm ready to get married, but right now, I am entirely about sex. I just wanna get laid. I just wanna take him and grab him and fuck his brains out, ya know? So that's where my priorities are right now. Sex. Specifically with Andy and not with you.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Just tell that drunk frat boy that true love waits and he'll back right off.

What is it with Ivy League conservatives and the idea that abstinence protects you from rape? It surfaced first at Princeton and now has sprung up at Harvard.

Yet Another Fashion Post

I was talking tonight with another blogger about what kinds of posts get the most comments. He cited pop culture posts about things like Buffy or Star Wars. I think the record for most comments here is probably something sex-related, but I always enjoy how the fashion/style/beauty posts attract entirely different commenters than do the run-of-the-mill political or legal snark. With that said, here are some more things I am convincing myself not to buy:

- Black Nanette Lepore suit with tie belt

- Excellent Korean wrap dress in turquoise or purple print

- More excellent imports, this time in polka dot chiffon and silk

- Red washes me out, but I want this notch-collared crepe anyway. Such neat pleats!

- Jaunty black and white floral skirt (I already have one skirt answering that description)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

TSA Hate

Megan really hates the TSA.

Megan goes further than I would: constant headaches, heart attacks, and respiratory disease seem overly cruel when directed at your average polyester-clad wage slave who spend his days moving plastic bins from one end of a radiation-emitting device to the other. They deserve at most a painful boil or two, with carbuncles for bad behavior.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Buck up, CA bar takers

There is one exam harder than yours.

Historic Law Rankings

Are old law school rankings available anywhere online? I know Michigan used to be more prestigious than it is now and NYU ranked lower before the Sexton era, but is this systematized anywhere? For example, what were the most highly thought-of schools in the 1980s?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Women are just like sandwiches, part deux

An argument once articulated by this blog's favorite Army officer/troll in the comments to this post reappears in the fever swamps of academia.

Thin Line Between

I didn't know what to think about this story. Doesn't everyone have little mysteries, though? I do.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I have always wondered (probably because I don't smoke) why people don't use nicotine patches for weight loss. It wouldn't work as well as smoking, but it would be cleaner and more healthful.* And although the grossness of actually smoking keeps me away from cigarettes, the psychoactive effects seem desirable. So the first thing I thought when I saw an ad for nicotine hand gel in Vogue was, "wow, I want that." (The second thought being "combine this with Purell and every Starbucks in NYC may go out of business.")

Then I realized it would be really pathetic to start smoking because you're a nicotine addict who is out of hand gel, which is exactly what would happen to me.

* You would, however, have what amounts to a dirty Band-Aid stuck to you at all times: hardly glamorous. See also the birth control patch, the recommended placement locations for which seem like they would be oddly conspicuous while actually doing anything naughty.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Travel Charger

This is pretty cool.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fashion Bleg

Should I buy this? Or this? Or nothing at all (probably the right answer)?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Foreign Food

Over the weekend Steve and I headed out to Alexandria for some more tasty food from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I highly recommend the cheese burek. Cheese was my favorite thing about Serbian food also. Actually, cheese is probably my favorite thing about most cuisines. While we were waiting for them to cook our food, we bought some imported snacks from the market next door. Unfortunately, Serbian honey cakes are seriously inferior to Polish gingerbread cakes.

Unrelatedly, I made osso buco and risotto milanese the weekend before.

NYT for .edu

If you have a .edu e-mail address, you may be able to access TimesSelect for free.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I want this.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Rat Mind.

Bangles + Nimoy = Awesome

The only thing that could make this better is if one of them were riding in his lap. (via Karl)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Norm Shifting in Civil Society versus Government

"But, after all, I did break one of your laws."

"Well, what do you think they're for?"
anamak says, in the course of our discussion of the dying private/public distinction and the issue of whether this will lead to a change in social norms,
in most societies there is a strong and often not completely logical set of norms and unwritten rules laid down by social and cultural consensus. What often makes some of these norms and rules bearable to an individual is her ability to maintain a certain degree of separation between private and public spheres. To this extent, I am not sure that the erosion between public and private personae is a good thing.
This highlights the problem I have with many current social norms: They can make common, harmless behavior seem deviant and rare, and thus when a private transgression comes to public light, society can come down on the individual with great force, either due to hypocrisy or ignorance. And the narrower the scope of acceptable social behavior, the more likely it is that we have transgressed in some way.

This puts civil society on the internet roughly in the same situation as the legal world is with respect to the increasing ease with which violations can be detected (in the latter, through pinpoint searches). I agree with Whitman that it's likely that selective enforcement by government is a bigger threat than before under these circumstances. But because there is no monopoly on social pressure as there is on force, a "groundswell of support for changing the [norms] in question" seems to be a more likely outcome in the non-governmental context.

Monday, March 12, 2007

PostSecret of the Week

Okay, so which of these guys has the secret baby?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A few thoughts on student speech

I've been meaning to write this post for some time, but I keep getting distracted. The recent decision to vacate Harper v. Poway Unified School District reminded me that I still hadn't done so.

I do find it amusing that student speech has such a wide variety of detractors and advocates. The gruff conservative who affirms the right of a school to bar the word vagina throws a hissy fit over a school that bans anti-gay t-shirts. The same liberal who supports the right of students to discuss atheism might get the vapors over students distributing religious pamphlets to other students.

That said, I don't disagree with Bethel's broad thesis that
The undoubted freedom to advocate unpopular and controversial views in schools and classrooms must be balanced against the society's countervailing interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior. Even the most heated political discourse in a democratic society requires consideration for the personal sensibilities of the other participants and audiences.
But I'm very hesitant to allow Bethel's holding that schools may restrict students from certain "modes of expression" (there, sexual innuendo used for the purpose of titillating other students) to swamp its apparent protection of the ability to advocate for certain ideas. What is to happen when a particular idea, be it the wrongness of homosexuality or the superiority of the high-IQ set, is deemed offensive and socially inappropriate? Without vigorous protection for students' First Amendment rights, expression of any idea so characterized could be banned. The highly parochial nature of locally-controlled school systems makes them particularly subject to exercising this sort of control. Thus the existence of both liberal and conservative pet cases in this area.

By allowing locally-controlled school districts broad authority to suppress student speech, we make it unlikely that students will hear the very kinds of ideas that they are least likely to hear elsewhere in their community. Schools should not be echo chambers. The purpose of schooling is to educate students and prepare them for a life in our society. Once attaining the age of majority, they are expected to exercise political and civil rights in an informed manner. My perception is also that one's school peers, now more than ever, are the primary social group for students; few students are exposed to people outside that set, and nearly all social interaction takes place in school or in after-school activities. By restricting students' ability to express themselves in school, we take away nearly all of their effective capacity to exercise their right to speak, and thus impede them from learning to exercise that right responsibly.

Students from schools in which the powers that be have restricted speech will be sheltered from exposure to peers with controversial points of view. This in turn makes it more difficult for those students to effectively analyze such viewpoints when they do encounter them. Without whetting, critical thinking skills cannot be sharpened. Thus, student speech restrictions may injure the student body as a whole in addition to suppressing particular students' dangerous ideas.

This is not to say that time, place and manner restrictions on student speech are not necessary for the educational mission of the public schools to be fulfilled; they are. But just as students have a right to pray in school, given that they do so at appropriate times, they should have a right to express themselves and their ideas. The school years are when many aspects of personal identity are formed. Preventing students from having discussions with their peers about political, social, or philosophical issues of import stifles them just when they should be forming a sense of their place in the world and their beliefs about it.

Online Beauty Contests in the Legal World

Dan Markel makes a very perceptive point regarding the controversial practice of certain posters on a law student message board: If linking to pictures of law students and commenting on their looks (or even holding beauty contests in which people are enrolled without their consent) is outside the bounds of decent society, why haven't we seen more ire directed at Above the Law? ATL regularly solicits nominations for its "hotties" contests from the ranks of librarians, attorneys, and other persons who are, like law students, not public figures in the conventional sense. Photos are linked for all to see. The comment threads on the contests regularly contain cutting personal remarks about the subjects' looks, although they are not as dirty as the threads at AutoAdmit that I have seen. And ATL has refused to remove nominees from a contest if the nominees so request.

I enjoy reading ATL, and I don't mean this as an attack. But isn't the difference more about the different modes of expression (childish profanity and insults versus more restrained discussion) than it is about objectification or what have you? Why is talking about 2Ls terrible if ERISA associates are fair game?

Something I had forgotten

The badass Spartans were dealt their first military whupping by the Sacred Band of Thebes. Chew on that, homophobic young male moviegoers.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Privacy is dead.

Randy Barnett complains that he can no longer say one thing in public and another in private due to the propensity of others to blog about his remarks bemoans his inability to keep students from blogging conversations that he'd rather keep private. I think that the ever-increasing documentation of our lives, whether it be in purchasing records, blogged content, or forwarded photos from Facebook and MySpace is inevitably leading to a death of the public/private distinction, at least with respect to public and private personas.

Most people, presently and in prior generations, had one face for public consumption and another for private (sometimes more than one for each, depending on the variety of audiences). But the vast amount of information recorded about us through modern technology makes it less and less possible to maintain clear separation of our private and public utterances and activities. Someone who wants to investigate you will be able to find a wide array of sources in moments, and not all of those will jibe with the persona you present on a resume.

I'm inclined to think that decisions are best made with the maximum amount of relevant information, and thus am not overly concerned about this development. If you have grandiose ambitions, your employers might want to know that you view them merely as a stepping stone. Discussion of someone's character might be good for future lovers or professional associates to know. And I think it's always useful to know if someone is a two-faced liar who advocates one thing among Circle A and another in Circle B. The more of your life is online, the more likely it is that others will be able to access this important data.

Some information is, of course, not relevant for making certain decisions; the size of one's breasts, for example, is not important to whether or not someone will be a good attorney, and thus only idiots would be motivated to make employment decisions based on online discussion of such things. But the more accustomed people get to sifting through this array of information, the more experienced they will become at culling the useless from the useful. Anonymous attacks could be discounted, but they might also be an indicator that people feared to criticize openly for good reason. Decisions about love, work, and play can be made holistically, with less fear of surprises.

And the more formerly-private information becomes available and openly discussed, the more norms will shift. In the last hundred years, we have embraced the privacy norms of an industrial, urban society in which people know little about others, aside from the content of their carefully constructed public personae. The collapse of one's ability to self-define a persona and manipulate other people's perceptions will thrust us back into a more natural social dynamic, in which we are aware of the reality behind the masks and can make our decisions about morality, social standards, and interpersonal relations on a more accurate idea of baseline behaviors. Viva MySpace.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I chopped off most of my hair yesterday in preparation for a special event at Steve's job. Unfortunately, the stylist interpreted "pixie cut" as "I'd like to resemble Laura Bush" and even Steve, who is not into hair, was put off. Fortunately, I was able to get it partially repaired today, although I have to wait for some of the face-framing pieces to grow out more because there wasn't much left after the first cut. Le sigh.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Getting Bikini-Ready in Olden Times

Historians are good friends to have because they are always finding the most bizarre things. Via Geoffrey, a passage on cross-cultural grooming history from this book:
We had with us a bath-keeper named Salim, originally an inhabitant of al-Ma'arrah, who had charge of the bath of my father (may Allah's mercy rest upon his soul!). This man related the following story:

'I once opened a bath in al-Ma'arrah in order to earn my living. To this bath there came a Frankish knight. The Franks disapprove of girding a cover around one's waist while in the bath. So this Frank stretched out his arm and pulled off my cover from my waist and threw it away. He looked and saw that I had recently shaved off my pubes. So he shouted, "Salim!" As I drew near, him he stretched his hand over my pubes and said, "Salim, good! By the truth of my religion, do the same for me." Saying this, he lay on his back and I found that in that place the hair was like his beard. So I shaved it off. Then he passed his hand over the place and, finding it smooth, he said, "Salim, by the truth of my religion, do the same to madame [al-dama]" (al-dama in their language means the lady), referring to his wife. He then said to a servant of his, "Tell madame to come here." Accordingly the servant went and brought her and made her enter the bath. She also lay on her back. The knight repeated, "Do what thou hast done tome." So I shaved all that hair while her husband was sitting looking at me. At last he thanked me and handed me the pay for my service.'
Relatedly, I heard Bernard Lewis speak tonight. He does not anticipate a future of bath-time bonding for Muslims and Westerners.

You got another woman somewhere around

Megan needs a hug. And the love of a good man. Good men, go over there.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Warning: May Provoke PTSD in TTT Grads

They made a movie about the California bar exam. (via Melinda)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Three Years of Snark

Happy third birthday, blog.

Crying over spilt wine

On page 98 of Supreme Conflict is a little story that highlights one of the most infuriating things about the South: namely, that Southern hospitality is largely crap and that the true basis of many, if not most, Southern social relations is in fact passive-aggression.*

Then-Judge Souter is brought down to D.C. to audition for the Supreme Court. He is secretly stashed at the Luttig house the night before his interviews. The passage starts here:
At dinner that night, Luttig found Souter gracious and confident, though a bit socially awkward and unable to read his southern hosts. Elizabeth [Luttig] offered Souter a glass of wine, even though the Luttigs don't drink.

"That would be nice," he said, and Elizabeth went off looking for a bottle.

She returned . . . . "The only bottle we have is one Chief Justice Burger gave Mike to have on a special occasion," she said with a rueful smile, waiting for Souter to politely decline, as would be expected of a man raised with southern traditions. [Bunch of stuff about how Luttig was like a son to Burger.] Luttig had been saving that bottle.

New Englander Souter missed the cue. "Oh, well, that would be nice," he said.

Elizabeth opened the wine, and the three spent the dinner talking about New Hampshire.
If you don't drink, why offer someone wine? Wouldn't that mean you aren't likely to have wine in the house? And if the only bottle of wine you have is one you're saving for yourself (and what are you saving it for if you don't drink, anyhow?), then why tell a guest it's available?
And did Souter drink the whole bottle himself, or did the Luttigs decide that they did drink, after all?

And isn't entertaining the next Supreme Court justice a special occasion? (Souter wasn't a sure thing yet, but it was down to two.) What's more, wouldn't this have been special for Souter? Denying the wine would have required him to say that this was not an important occasion: is this a hospitable position to put a guest in?

So Souter didn't realize that he was supposed to be self-effacing and decline the bottle of wine and this is somehow a great faux pas and evidence of his social awkwardness. But holding on to your resentment for sixteen years and crying over spilt wine to a journalist is perfectly okay and does not in the least undermine your status as great Southern hosts. Whatever.

* I apologize in advance to my judge, for whom this may be second only to Lee = traitor in the ranks of disses to the South.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Money-saving tips for shopoholics

I am a huge fan of the Lucky Rewards program. You have to be a subscriber to Lucky Magazine, which is a "magalog" full of fun and stylish things to buy. A subscription costs $12. My subscription has already paid for itself thrice over. How? Because I use the links on the Lucky Rewards website to buy things I was going to buy anyway.

Take, for instance, the two pairs of spring shoes I bought on They were on sale, so yay. Additionally, Zappos rocks because they have free overnight shipping and free returns: double yay. I get 1% back on my Amazon Visa regardless (not the best cash back program, but okay), but through Lucky Rewards I get an additional 14% back.

Not all the Lucky Rewards discounts are that steep, but they do offer discounts at a lot of different places, and sometimes they can really knock down your total expense., where nearly all of the products for this comprehensive skin care regime can be found, gives a 13% discount. You can also order movie passes for $8 each and get 25% of that back from Lucky Rewards, although I haven't tried that yet. If you have certain things that you buy frequently from vendors on this list, subscribing might be worthwhile.

Another great site that I found recently is The Bargainist. Today I got a $75 book I've been wanting for ages for $56, thanks to a coupon code from The Bargainist and Lucky Rewards.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Hard up for cash?

Don't want to donate plasma? Female? Then you could rent out your vagina to medical students for $200.

Meanwhile, prostitution, even the no-bodily-fluids-exchanged kind, is still illegal (except in parts of Nevada, and indoors in Rhode Island).


This is exactly the kind of exhibitionism that makes me deplore the practice of shelving unread books. (via asg)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Savant Power

Can we put this guy to work deciphering Linear A?

Nice to know.

The testimony of women is not evidence.