Archive for May, 2008

Whoa… Deja vu.

Who knew that Schoolhouse Rock was so applicable to law school?!

Today Prof. CrimLaw used it when talking about how to determine whether a statute creates strict liability. If the statute has an adverb, chances are it is discussing mens rea, and therefore the statute is not strict liability. Then he referenced this video.


Get Used to Disappointment.

“No one of consequence.”I suppose before you can get used to it, you have to be entitled to even feel it. Or so Prof. K would have us believe. Today we found out that we get our grades for our Contracts Final Exam back tomorrow. Tomorrow is the REAL Judgment Day.

Prof. K reminded us of the things he told us that we had to do to succeed in law school. Of the items that he reminded us of:

(1) Read all cases.
(2) Brief all cases.
(3) Take notes in class.
(4) Review your briefs.
(5) Review your notes.
(6) Create your own outline.
(7) Review your outline.

After reviewing this list, he told us that to even be entitled to feel disappointment about our grades, we had to have done all of those things. If we didn’t do all of those things, then we weren’t entitled to feel disappointment in what we got on the exam.

I suppose there’s a lesson on gratefulness in there somewhere. Buck up, kiddo! At least you get to FEEL disappointed! Those other bums aren’t even allowed to!

I realize that’s not the point he was making, not really. He was saying that if you did all of those things, while you’re entitled to feel disappointment, you’re not going to be at the bottom of the pile, because you prepared throughout the entire quarter, and should have been well-situated to perform on the exam.

Now, being well-situated and actually performing are two different things entirely. Tomorrow we find out just how big of a difference it makes. I suppose I’ll be able to sleep well tonight, knowing that at the very least, I am entitled to disappointment, should I feel it tomorrow.

A hot dog is singing! You need quiet while a hot dog is singing? (or, Moviegoing Etiquette Pt. 1)

I thoroughly enjoy a good moviegoing experience. Especially in the summer, on opening weekend of a major blockbuster movie. I love getting my popcorn with butter and Coke (I’ve never found a theatre that sells Dr. Pepper), settling into my seat and watching the previews. I love the electricity that ripples through the crowd as the intro of a long-anticipated movie begins. It may or may not be good cinema, but no one in the theatre cares. They are all there to be entertained. But with this crowd comes the risk of something or someone ruining the experience. You know what I’m talking about. That’s why I’ve decided that I’m going to do a multi-part series on moviegoing etiquette, and lay out what are Pope’s Rules to Watching a Movie in Public.

Yesterday I went and saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (movie review possibly forthcoming). It was an enjoyable experience, in the “big” theatre at my local movieplex with a packed house. The crowd’s excitement was palpable. There were cheers when the Lucasfilm logo flashed across the screen. And it was very nearly ruined by the guy behind me. This brings me to:

Rule 1. Level and Nature of Discussion and Comment During a Film
(1) Comments and discussion during the movie should be kept to a minimum from the beginning of a film until the credits begin to roll.
  (a) The beginning of the movie is defined as either the first image that appears on the screen or the first text that is related to the plot of the film.

  (b) Opening credits, such as the actors, director, or producers, are not considered plot points of the film.
(2) If comment is deemed necessary, the comment should be made as quietly as possible as to not disrupt the filmwatching experience of those around the person making the comment.
  (a) If the film is at a point where the volume necessitates the raising of one’s voice to comment, the commenter should refrain until the volume is such that the comment may be made.
  (b) Should the comment be absolutely necessary, it must be made as quickly as possible in the moment and with as few words as possible.
(3) Under no circumstances should comments be directed at persons not seated immediately next to the commenter. No comments should be directed towards people in the rows in front of or behind the commenter, unless the comment is made to “shush” another commenter.

Notes to Rule 1. When watching the movie, shut your trap! There’s no need to make a running commentary on the movie. You are not Joel Robinson, Tom Servo, or Crow T. Robot. Your comments are not humorous. You are only destroying the filmwatching experience of those around you. For the love of Pete, keep it down.

Yep, that’s what happened yesterday. The guy behind me had to make loud comments throughout the entire movie. Why he did it is a question for the ages. I first knew he was going to be trouble when, right after the robot says the name “WALL-E” in the preview for the new Pixar movie, he repeated it in a bad impersonation. It was horrible.
It continued throughout the entire movie, and I mean nonstop. One of the characters would make some declaration followed by a split-second of silence, and the guy behind me would interject a, “Yep.” As if it added something to our experience. Heck, it didn’t even benefit him! He would make obvious plot observations, too. At the climax of the film, as they perform the action that will put them in mortal peril, he states, “Well, they’re in for it now.” Oh really, you think?!

It really made me wish that the Eigth Amendment to the Constitution was actually Dave Barry’s version:

The Eight Amendment states that if you are seated directly in front of a person who has to comment on every single scene of a movie—and we are talking here about perceptive comments, such as when a movie character is getting into his car and the person behinds you says, “He’s getting into his car now”—then you have the right to go “SSSHHHHH!” two times in a warning manner, after which you have the right to kill this person with a stick. (Barry, Dave. Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States. 47)

If you like to discuss the movie as you are watching it, please, PLEASE do it quietly, lest you ruin the experience for those nice folks around you. It will make everyone happier.

Profiling the Stanley Cup Finals

(Note: Just so that we’re clear, I am a huge Dallas Stars fan. I had low expectations for this Stanley Cup playoffs given their past performance, but they shocked everyone, including me, with their run to the Western Conference Finals this year. I was at Game 6 of the Western Conference Semis against the Sharks, and it was the best game I’ve ever been to. They just didn’t have enough left in the tank for Detroit. I’m proud of them, and I hope that they continue their winning ways next season.)

This year’s Stanley Cup Finals has potential to be an attention-grabbing Finals for the NHL, with some caveats and provisions. But what about it makes it so tantalizing? A few things.

Detroit Red Wings1. The Detroit Red Wings. This team is the most recognizable team in the NHL. Though friends north of the border may see it differently, here in the States the team with the largest following is, without a doubt, the Red Wings. Their logo is clearly the most recognizable, and is worn in several films and television shows (think Cameron in Ferris Bueler’s or Dr. Cox in Scrubs). They have the largest fanbase of any team in the league. Think New York Yankees of the NHL. That’s not such a huge deal until you can clearly hear the opposing fans taunting YOUR goalie by chanting his name and see their octopus on the ice in YOUR arena. That starts to grate on the nerves after a bit. They inspire strong emotions, either for or against.
They are intimidating: fast, talented, hard hitting, yet defensive at the same time. For some reason, the all-red home sweaters/uniforms are intimidating.

Pittsburgh Penguins2. The Pittsburgh Penguins. This is a team that has been in the cellar of the NHL for the past decade. They have some history, winning back-to-back Cups in the early 1990s with Mario Lemieiux, but since then have been to the Conference Finals twice, losing both times. But this is a different team and a different time. They have one of the youngest rosters in the NHL with some of the most explosive talent. It starts with Sidney Crosby, the Captain, and purported next “Gretzky” of the NHL. Crosby is the youngest Captain in NHL history, and last year won the NHL’s Art Ross Trophy (NHL’s scoring title), the Hart Trophy (MVP as voted by the NHL Writers’ Association), and the Lester B. Pearson Award (MVP as voted by the NHLPA). Folks argue that he is the future posterboy of the National Hockey League due to his remarkable talent.
Next you have Evgeni Malkin, another jaw-dropping talent. He put together a 106 point season with the Penguins, scoring forty seven goals and fifty nine assists in eighty two games, good enough for second league-wide. Throw in Marian Hossa, another scoring talent, and the Pens have some strength at the forward position. Add to that Marc-Andre Fleury, a young, talented netminder, and you have a young team with solid talent that is on its way up and not going anywhere.

3. The Styles of Play. Both teams feature a puck-possession style of play that makes for exciting hockey. These two teams can be expected to hold the puck, make lots of passes that will result in some impressive scoring chances. That gives the goaltenders the chance to shine.

The Caveats
1. The Coverage. Games 1 and 2 are on Versus, with the rest on NBC. The Red Wings won Game 1, and if they win Game 2, the series could be nearly over before it even reaches a national audience. That alone could mess the whole thing up. But, if the Pens can even the series going back to Pittsburgh, it could make for an interesting situation.
The question is, though, will NBC capitalize on it? This is the dream matchup for the NHL, but whether it brings interest to the sport depends entirely on marketing. Will the networks market it properly? The sport has always been the unwanted stepchild of whatever network it has been on (save Versus, who have done a good job making it their flagship sport but are hindered by limited market penetration and recognition), and NBC hasn’t done a smashing job in this arena. If they were to embrace the sport and market this series for what it is, they might be able to drum up the interest that the sport so very badly needs.

2. The Games. Will the games actually go the way that the league hopes? Will it be a pitched battle, with lots of scoring, exciting plays, and a showcase of tantalizing talent? Or will it be an uneven series tilted towards the Red Wings? The Wings won Game 1 in convincing fashion, destroying the Pens 4-0 and dominating the game. If that continues, this series could be done in four games, and won’t live up to the hype or hope of the NHL.

Personally, I hope that the series is epic. I would like a six or seven game series with lots of exciting play. I’m rooting for the Penguins, but more than anything hope that it’s a close, exciting series that draws interest back into hockey.

Sage Advice from Prof. Research

We have two LARC professors, so I’ve dubbed them Prof. Writing and Prof Research. Original, I know. Friday in LARC, Prof. Research said something that for some reason, I found completely hilarious. While statutory research, he stopped and asked us if we were all familiar with how a bill becomes a law. Then he said, “Well, if you’re not, you can refer back to School House Rock as a good refresher.” I almost lost it.

This man is detailed to an extreme. He can recite Blue Book and Green Book Rules off the top of his head and knows where virtually everything is in the library. The man is definitely a genius. Instead of pointing us to some reference in the library, on WestLaw or LexisNexis, he sends us to School House Rock. Awesome.

My Dog Ate My Homework!

Um...  ProfProperty?  I don\'t have my brief today because...  well, my dog ate my book.Ok, maybe not my homework, but my Property book. Take a look at this photo. My dog, Bailey (who really is a sweet little guy for the most part), seems to have an affinity for high-dollar textbooks. This past weekend, I discovered him under our recliner, going to town on one of my LARC books. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad, just some scratch marks on the outside cover. As a precaution, I made sure all the rest of my books were tucked safely away in my backpack so he couldn’t get at any my casebooks.
Little did I know that apparently Mr. Bailey can open backpacks. The next morning while getting ready for church, I walk into the living room and find him with his head stuck into my backpack, chowing down on the corner of my Property casebook! I was livid. Thankfully it seemed, there wasn’t much damage to the actual pages, just to the cover. But it had me muttering to myself about all sorts of Tort actions that I was barred from using because of contributory negligence on my part, pet immunity, and the like.

The damage was a bit more severe than I thought. Today, while in Property, I pulled out my case brief and casebook while discussing one of the cases. While the 1Q recited the facts, I listened attentively. I did a double-take when she gave the holding, because it was exactly opposite of what I had in my brief. Apparently two of the pages had stuck together at that corner, and I had turned past a full page of reasoning and had copied the Dissent down as the majority view. Genius, Pope. Really nice.

You’d think I would have caught that, right? Well, the page break was at the end of a thought, so while a little curious, it wasn’t enough to cause suspicion. I didn’t notice the page numbers, because I don’t typically pay attention to page numbers while in the middle of the case. Then there was the final statement of the case, which was a bit odd, I thought… “In my opinion the judgment of the courts below was correct and I would affirm.” Not the strongest language for a holding, but it was towards the end of my study period and I was tired. Put all of them together and you think I’d figure it out. Hindsight is 20/20, I guess.

I guess I’ll get a new book. Or just pay closer attention to the stupid page numbers.

[5/21/2008] UPDATE: In an unsurprising twist of fate, I got called on in Property today. Thankfully the cases were all from our Supplement. The downside was that I had a hard time understanding the first case, so I got kinda nervous. About halfway through it clicked, though, and I felt better. Hopefully next round will be a bit better.