Archive for April, 2008

You broke my heart… You broke my heart!

Over the course of this quarter, my roommate (will have to come up with a name for him) has sparked my interest in the beautiful game. Naturally, I’ve taken an interest in the team that he follows… Partly in the interest in keeping the apartment free from strife, partly because they’re a fantastic team to watch, and partly because of an amazing article by Bill Simmons awhile back that helped me make my decision. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend it. It’s a great overview on the English Premiership (essentially one of the top leagues in the world, if not the top), and helped solidify my fandom.

I have become a Liverpool FC supporter. Through and through, I’m a red.

I have a hard time NOT getting into the teams I support. Just ask anyone that knows of my support of the Stars or the Cowboys; heck, even of my Baylor Bears. I get into it. So, here I am, having been drawn in, tasting the greatness that is Liverpool football, and being devastated by someone who has become the newest man to hate… Didier Drogba. He’s one of those excellent forwards that, anytime someone breathes on him, falls down as though he just lost a leg, then pops right back up once he’s assured his foul. He had an excellent match today against Liverpool. It was utterly heartbreaking.

Drogba

Curses.

Regardless of the heartbreaking loss today, I’ve enjoyed the quarter of getting into football. It’s a strategic, methodical, interesting game. Some may call it boring, but I find it very interesting. Of course, others say that about hockey too, and I cannot see that for the life of me. At any rate, I want to thank my roommate and Scotty (need to come up with a name for him also) for getting me excited about this sport. I’ve had fun watching it, and look forward to enjoying many matches in the future.

(sorry about the mislink!)

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It’s Just a Flesh Wound!

Today I “did battle” with the Civil Procedure exam. I felt pretty good about it. I saw what was there, and I took my best shot at it. On the upswing, I had fun. Seriously. K was fun in its own right, but in that one, the pace was frenetic. For CivPro, I came face to face with a challenge and met it head on. For the first time in my life (I think), I had fun on an exam. Judging how I’ve been feeling the rest of the day though, I’m pretty sure that it wounded me. I’ve felt a sense of letdown, and disappointment as the day has gone on. As much as I’ve tried not to, I am looking back, and wondering whether it ’twas “but a scratch.” The more I think about it, the more I wonder if I look how he feels.

I suppose I’ll find out some time before next quarter’s finals.

Serenity Now!!!

On the eve of my Civil Procedure final, this is the picture that’s popped up for my wallpaper (it rotates). This picture was taken on our most recent trip to the Masai Mara in Kenya. A simply amazing sight. And quite calming too, because even if I can’t see a real sunset, this one’s prettier anyhow.

Sunset on the Mara
(click the thumbnail for a better view)

I need your help. I’m going out to find our friend with the beard.

Beardtastic!(Author’s note: Mr. Running Down a Dream has inspired me. I’m going to try and find quotes from either movies or TV shows relevant to the topic at hand to be my post titles. If someone actually reads the post and guesses the title, I’ll acknowledge their quotation prowess in my next post.)

It’s playoff time. In my opinion, playoff hockey is an unparalleled event in the world of sport. Sure, it lasts about as long as the regular season, but that time is chock full of exciting, suspenseful and agonizing moments. If you want to become a fan of hockey, the playoffs are the best place to start. But, my point today isn’t to extol the joys of playoff hockey. There was a fantastic article in the Dallas Morning News several years ago that talked about the greatness of playoff hockey, I’ll try and dig that up for a later post. This post is all about the beards.

Once the playoffs begin, various players have their own superstitions and rituals that they like to follow. Of course, some superstitions have reached urban legend status, such as not changing underwear or socks throughout the playoffs. But, a little less “celebrated” but a lot more noticeable is the annual “growing of the beard.” Many players cease shaving during the playoffs, growing beards that aren’t the most attractive facial growths you’ve ever seen. One of my personal favorites has always been Ken Daneyko, of the New Jersey Devils. The man could (or couldn’t, depending on your perspective) grow a beard to strike fear into the hearts of any opponent. Check this thing out:

fear the beard

If I think about it, during the course of the playoffs I’ll try and bring you snapshots of some of the more excellent beards of the playoffs. I welcome your beard submissions also.

Some of my fellow 1Qs have recently discussed growing out beards in preparation for finals. I’ve never grown out my beard before, partly because I don’t think I quite have the thickness for it, but mostly because my lovely wife prefers me clean-shaven. I’ve been just fine with that. But, given the fact that finals time is rapidly approaching, I think I might have to partake in some beard-growing, just to see if I can do it. I’ll keep everyone up to date on that, too. Perhaps I’ll post a picture, if the beard is worth it. Who knows? I might not even survive the “itchy” stage, though.

At any rate, I have begun to think of finals as my own personal playoffs. Everything that I’ve done this quarter has been in preparation for this time. None of what happened before matters one bit if I don’t bring my game to a whole new level. Just like a team in the regular season that destroys everyone yet fizzles out in the first round of the playoffs, I could have been the most prepared student during class, but if I’m not prepared for finals, none of it matters. I have a thousand more playoff metaphors and clichés I could toss out there, but I think I’ll stop here: It’s go time.

Bring on the beards.

Crushing the Competition

Of all the entertaining things said by our professors this quarter, one piece of advice has taken on somewhat legendary status among the 1Qs this spring. Professor K has mentioned on several occasions his practices while in law school. He told us that he was always quick to point out to his fellow students how late he stayed up studying and how early he got up, just so that they would know that it was he that was “crushing the competition.” Then, before Spring Break, he drew a distinction for us. There would be those that planned trips and fun activities during Spring Break, and there were those that would be studying 8-10 hours a day, getting a week ahead in every class, and fully outlining each topic. The second group would be well on their way to “crushing the competition.”

Of course, everyone adopted this as their mantra; some students even began to refer to studying as “crushing the competition,” or simply “crushing.” I too did this for a bit, until I realized that the phrase was in danger of overuse and losing its meaning altogether. We won’t find out who is really crushing the competition until two weeks from now (more, actually, depending on how quickly our professors grade our exams). In the meantime, though, The Gentleman referred me to a video that perfectly describes Professor K’s idea of “crushing the competition,” right down to hearing “the lamentation of the women.”

Now if we could just show him what YouTube was, perhaps he would see and appreciate the greatness.

You’re nuts. N-V-T-S, nuts.

Nuts!Over at the CivPro Prof’s Blog, today’s post is about Scalia being on the promotion trail for his new book, co-written with Bryan A. Garner (the hero of many scholarly exploits, as well as being the evil genius behind “The Redbook”). Apparently, the tour is creating some blog-worthy quotes, including one regarding the separation of church and state. If you want to read the CivPro post, go here to check it out. I won’t steal the blog’s thunder by reposting the quotes that I’ll reference.

I’m interested by the juxtaposition of the two quotations. Is Professor CivPro insinuating that Scalia is in fact, a nut, because of the next quote? I’m not exactly sure what the insinuation is there. It’s clever, one way or another, because it’s got me thinking about it, and posting about it.

Now, I think I much prefer this quote by Justice Scalia, from one of the linked articles. “I have been a centrist jurist,” he said, “at least, by my standards.”

Now that’s funny.

It all starts with Pennoyer v. Neff … Seven weeks later, she’d understand what a genius I am.

Over the course of the quarter, I’ve come to the conclusion that Civil Procedure is my favorite class. It’s not that the other classes I have are less interesting; they are all really interesting, but if I had to choose a favorite, CivPro would be it. I think I’ve known that for awhile, but I haven’t really been able to put into words exactly why I feel that way. That is, not until last Tuesday, when Professor CivPro explained perfectly the sensations that I couldn’t quite put into words.

Before I get into that, I suppose it’s worthwhile to state that Professor CivPro is an excellent professor. Indeed, all of my professors are brilliant and engaging. Prof. CivPro took something that everybody said would be like learning a foreign language and made it understandable and manageable for us. He’s the most “intimidating” of the 1L professors probably, but to me, it seemed that all he wanted from us was to fully prepare for class, to “bring our A game,” so to speak. I have no problem with that, because it’s the same that I expect from myself. At any rate, his stories and examples explaining the concepts were fantastic, both informative and entertaining at the same time. His passion for the subject was evident in his classes. I think it would be easy to say that Prof. CivPro’s lectures and style were what made it my favorite subject, but I don’t think that’s a complete analysis of why I love it. I think there’s another element to it that sparks my love for the subject.

Why then? To borrow a line from Prof. CivPro, “This is ruin people’s lives stuff.” If you don’t know the procedural rules of the courtroom, you can royally screw your client over. Back to last Tuesday. Before I get into it, I suppose it’s worth setting the stage for you. The case we studied involved a transfer from one federal district court to another. The interesting thing was that the plaintiff’s lawyer used the other forum to gain an advantage that he wouldn’t have had in the original forum. Before class, the gentleman who sits next to me and I were discussing the case we were about to cover in class, talking about whether we liked the outcome or not. Gentleman didn’t like it, if I recall correctly. I said that I did… To me, the case was a good example of how a thorough knowledge of Civil Procedure can give someone major advantage over his or her opponent.

More background. In the past, Professor CivPro has told us that one way to tell if you have “crossed an ethical line” is the sleep test. Essentially, when contemplating whether an action would be unethical, ask yourself whether you’d be able to sleep that night after making that decision. If not, then it is probably a safe bet that the contemplated act is unethical. On several occasions, he’s asked us whether we think some decision or other of the Supreme Court is right, and after we gave our answer, he told us that he isn’t comfortable with it. That’s the context for the situation at hand.

In our case that day, the plaintiff was barred from recovery in federal court in the plaintiff’s home state due to the statute of limitations. So, the plaintiff’s lawyer files suit in federal district court in Mississippi (Mississippi has a longer statute of limitations), which allowed the plaintiff to state his claim. Then, the plaintiff moved to transfer the case back to the plaintiff’s home state. He was allowed to do this because the statute of limitations “follows” the suit to the plaintiff’s home state, enabling the plaintiff to recover.

At this point in the class, Professor CivPro paused. His voice got quieter, and he looked at the student who was reciting the case. He asked the student, “What do you think about that? Would you be able to sleep that night if you did that?” The student replied, “I think it wasn’t right.”
Professor CivPro responded softly, “I wouldn’t have been able to sleep that night,” then in his usual, dramatic flare, “because I couldn’t get over how smart I am! This is BRILLIANT!” (At this point, Gentleman and I look at each other and exchange a knowing nod.) “I’d be waking my wife up, asking her, ‘Do you know how smart I am?’ I’d explain to her what I had just done, and she’d say, ‘I don’t really understand, how is that brilliant,’ to which I would respond, ‘Well, it all starts with a case called Pennoyer v. Neff….’ Seven weeks later, she’d understand what a genius I am.”

Now, this was the perfect example of why I love that class. The anecdote is certainly humorous on its own, but in it is evidence of what I’d spent several weeks trying to put into words. A lawyer that knows the ins and outs of procedure can use it in extremely advantageous ways, just like the lawyer in that case did. He had no cause of action due to the expired statute of limitations, yet he was able to use the procedural rules to find a way “around” the limitation of the state and obtain relief for his client. To me, that is the sign of a good lawyer. It’s not just that he knew the rules and could recite them, it was that he knew how to creatively use them to create an advantage for his client. Like Professor CivPro said, it’s brilliant. Just a touch of the evil genius, but not enough to lose sleep over.