Thursday, April 24, 2008


We took our first exam for this semester today. Con Law. I may have failed it.

Now, my predictions on exam grades have not been accurate in the past, so maybe I'm wrong this time too. Law school exams are meant to be taken under pressure -- they're written so that most students barely finish on time, and some don't finish at all. In all the law school exams I've taken, I've always furiously typed up until the very end. Except for this time.

This time, I ran out of issues to analyze with about half an hour left. That's a bad sign. I didn't turn it in early -- I sat there and came up with a couple more useful observations -- but it still worries me.

The good news is that it's over; nothing I can do now but focus on Evidence and Property. C'est la vie.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Quote # 11

This quote didn't make it on the Law Week T-shirts, but it's funny nonetheless. Prof. Krier, during our Property review session:
"If you didn't come to class much, then I would either try to find someone who took good notes who will lend them to you, or who will sell them to you, or just kill yourself. In that order."

Clinton Wins PA

CNN projects Clinton to win the Pennsylvania primary! PA has 158 delegates, so this means she'll pick up a majority of the delegates for the state. The exact number depends on how much she wins by. Before PA is added, Clinton has 1,504 delegates to Obama's 1,648.

Considering Cosmetology School

The law school is selling T-shirts commemorating Law Week, which is a week-long string of open bar events that the law school has once a year. Here's the text from the back of the shirts:

Law Week T-shirt: Top 10 University of Alabama School of Law Professors' Words of Wisdom:

1. "I predict universal failure." -- Judge Colquitt
2. "This is law school...and we want you to be happy." -- Prof. Marshall
3. "You don't want to be the turd in the punch bowl." -- Anonymous
4. "It's not too late to drop out of law school and go to cosmetology school." -- Judge Harwood
5. "Guns and ammo only belong at weddings." -- Prof. Durham
6. "There is such a thing as a stupid question. Don't ask one." -- Prof. Andrews
7. "Clicking the button in rapid succession helps sometimes." -- Prof. Marshall
8. "Hard cheese." -- Prof. Marsh
9. "Medicinal marijuana makes Scalia sad." -- Kroto
10. "I am the love doctor. It's what I do." -- Prof. Fair

Law School Rankings

Although these rankings came out a little while ago, I didn't write about them for some reason. The 2008 US News and World Report law school rankings are out, and Alabama moved up to number 32 on the list, from number 35 last year. That may not seem all that great, until you consider that we beat out schools like the University of Wisconsin-Madison (number 36), Chapel Hill (number 38), and Wake Forest (number 42). Roll tide roll!

Monday, April 21, 2008

CNN Selling T-Shirts? is selling T-shirts now. Check out the little shirt icon by some of the headlines. Weird.

Inadvertently Appropriate

Our first exam is Constitutional Law, on Thursday. I'm preparing for it, and I just ran across a Virginia case that addresses the rights of gay parents to raise children. This is horribly immature of me, but I totally giggled when I saw the name of the case: Bottoms v. Bottoms, 457 S.E.2d 102 (Va. 1995). I hope I get a chance to cite it on the exam.

Newt Gingrich [Hearts] Al Gore

Newt Gingrich is on Al Gore's side for once. Well, kinda. Slate has Gingrich answering questions from readers about global warming. Although Gingrich emphasizes that the private sphere should take responsibility for implementing changes to combat global warming -- as opposed to the government -- it's refreshing to see a Republican acknowledging environmental concerns.

I always thought it was strange how political ideology dictated people's position on a scientific issue. Your politics describe how you think the government should best run (answering the age old question: how can we best live together peacefully?), so it seemed odd to me that being Republican meant you denied the existence of global warming, and being a Democrat meant you recognized it. I'm glad some high profile politicians (and ex-politicians) are changing that.

Gas Prices

How expensive was gas when you started driving?

When I was 16, I drove a 1991 Acura Integra with a tiny tank. I remember paying around $20 to fill it up. I turned 16 in 2000, and this article from that year puts the average gas price around $1.42. The average now, according to CNN, is $3.50 a gallon, and my Explorer costs at least $60 to fill the tank.

What's the lowest price for gas that you can remember?

I remember driving in Georgia with my parents and seeing a station with gas for under a dollar per gallon. Complaining about the current high prices isn't productive, but looking at this in perspective sure makes it tempting to buy a hybrid.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Severn

Valerie Nebbia, a girl I went to high school with, has written a beautiful description of Annapolis and the Severn river.

The smell - that nearly rotten brackish smell - twists through the stray wisps of my hair as I peddle my Schwinn down past the large water-front homes and through the tall trees to the edge of the peninsula.

Now I see the water-logged stars and breakers go about their usual business. Fishermen still sit with their poles beside them though time nears mid-day and the chances of making a good catch slim rapidly. They hesitate to leave lest the perfect fish should pass and never return.

A blue heron shoots a suspicious eye in my direction and launches in, to safer and quieter ground. This native celebrity has no tolerance for interruptions. You will never find her sunning at the community pool nor venturing out to the super market. No, she keeps to herself and considers it an offense when others do not as well.

In the distance cloudy-white patches of fabric rise from barely visible ships beneath them and labor to pull their vessels against the tide.

I was born out of this river. My hem eternally pinned to its shores by the warning lights that spear deep into its body along every inlet. I am tied to its docks. I am forever bound by this place for it holds captive the root of my peace - an unbreakable chain and the origin of its lock unknown to me to this day.

Whenever I leave, I feel as though I am a ghost, a breathless and inadequate print of my true self. Always the sweet melodies of the Severn call me home. And when I return my heart beat slows and steadies as the water against docked boats in the harbor.

For truly my wholeness is here - my heaven.
Annapolis is one of the three places I call home (along with Tuscaloosa and Charleston, SC). If you're at home around the water, this may resonate with you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Like Your Enthusiasm

This is our last week of classes, so students haven't been particularly meticulous about doing the reading. We're just more focused on finals, which start next week. In Con Law, Prof. Horwitz mercifully stopped cold calling students for this week. But his enthusiasm for the material remains. He started class today with this:

"I am SO glad to be here, and I am so FREAKING excited to cover this material!"

Last class, apologizing for being a minute late, he opened with:

"Hey guys, I'm sorry I'm a few minutes late. I started looking in the mirror and just lost track of time."

Free Coffee and Jobs

The law school's career services office sends us emails every day about the treats they're handing out to persuade us to come by their office. Usually, free coffee and donuts are on the menu. We received one such email today, and here was the response I overheard:

"Free coffee and donuts? How about 'free coffee and jobs'?!''

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Best. Campaign. Poster. Ever. Period.

Elections for the new SBA members were held last week. Although the rules prohibit most campaigning, the candidates were allowed to submit one-page posters that were hung on a wall in the law school. My hilarious friend Robert, whose poster is depicted in the grainy cell phone picture below, wins the Funniest Flier contest.

It reads "Robert Wadkins: NOT a registered sex offender." Not only did he win the best poster award, he also won his election. Congratulations, Robert.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Frivolous Classes and Football Tickets

The law school decided that rising 2Ls should register this morning -- the same morning that football tickets went on sale. Now, football tickets might not seem like a big deal to you. If they're not, then you don't go to a big SEC school. Getting football tickets at Alabama is at least as exciting as landing a well-paying summer job, and twice as exciting as getting into the classes that you want for next semester.

The good news: I got football tickets AND into the classes I wanted next semester. The bad news: most of the classes I wanted were frivolous, and although my schedule for next semester is awesome (Sports Law!), I'll end up having a boring schedule in the spring.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Love it When Cell Phones Ring in Class

A student's cell phone rang in Property today, and the ring was an old Lauryn Hill song. Unfortunately for the student, but fortunately for everyone else, the phone was buried in his bag and took a while for him to find, while Lauryn Hill loudly played.

The best part, though, was the professor's reaction: he danced! And not only danced, he then told the student "Lauryn Hill? I thought you were cool, man. Get with the times. Give me something good to dance to."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Possibly the Most Disheartening Thing I'll Hear all Day

The first thing my professor in my 8:20 am class said today was this:

"Nothing we cover in this class today will be on the exam."

I even did the reading! Why the heck did I come today?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Affirmative Action

We're doing the affirmative action cases in Con Law this week, especially the U of Michigan cases (Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger). The discussion is much more lively than when we read the abortion cases, which surprises me. Affirmative action is an incredibly touchy area for a lot of people, and in a class of mixed races, it seems like the sensitive nature of the subject would silence a lot of the debate, like it did when we talked about the abortion cases.

There is a big difference in the issues. People who are pro-life view abortion as murder, as the definite ending of a human life. Affirmative action isn't interpreted an issue of life and death. Also, I think we're at the age when it is convenient to be pro-choice. There are certainly some people here who are pro-life, but they didn't speak up, so there may be a general pro-choice consensus that contributed to the lack of debate. The reticence did surprise me, though.

Anyway, I'm glad that reticence has disappeared. It makes for a much more interesting class when people participate.

Creepy Mascots as a Marketing Trend

There's a recent marketing trend in which companies turn their traditionally wholesome mascots into funny-creepy CGI approximations of the old versions. Cheetos did it with their "Orange Underground" campaign, in commercials such as this one, in which the sinister Cheetah encourages a girl to dump the bright orange Cheetos in a woman's white laundry.

Now, M&Ms (I accidentally typed that as M$Ms, which will be the way I refer to them from now on) has done it in this spot. In the M$Ms commercial, a big blue M$M with a chimo -- child molester -- hairpiece sits on a couch in a suburban-looking living room, licking himself. The voice over says "When you're an M$M, you'll really enjoy the way you taste." A motherly looking woman walks in and says, with alarm, "Are you licking yourself?" The blue M$M says "What? What'd you say?" while he continues to graphically lick himself.

If you read, you will understand my association of Cheetos with Britney Spears walking barefoot out of a public restroom. Because of that association, I will never buy Cheetos. But I will laugh at their commercials, and I'm on my way to get some M$Ms right now.

I hope this trend continues!

UPDATE: An anonymous commenter has pointed me to the Burger King, who is absolutely creepy. In fact, he was probably the first mascot reinterpreted as creepy. I can't think of an earlier one.

Check out this commercial, the one in which the Burger King peeps through windows.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


That last post reminded me of my favorite made-up word: "strategery." It came from a presidential debate SNL skit between Bush and Gore, in which the moderator asked the candidates to sum up their platforms in one word.

Mr. Gore: "Lockbox."
Mr. Bush: "Strategery."

Strategic Public Speaking

Yesterday was the moot court competition finale for the older students. Our legal writing class required us (the 1Ls) to attend, and I'm glad we went. We'll have to do our first moot court trial in a few weeks, so it was good to watch one so we'll be familiar with what we're doing.

My father is a pastor and a great public speaker. Unfortunately, public speaking skills do not seem to be genetic. (Neither do math skills.) Watching my father speak every Sunday for the majority of my life has given me a little habit while listening to other people speak -- I notice the differences, the strengths and weaknesses, the tactics of speaking which are effective and which aren't.

I've also listened to Supreme Court cases on my iPod (If you're a huge dork like me, you can find these at Because you can't see the person speaking when you listen to these, the tone of the person's voice especially important. If the tone is condescending, un-authoritative, or just plain annoying, they're not likely to be persuasive.

The students who represented parties in the moot court competition yesterday were wonderful. It's a very difficult task to stand in front of a crowd -- as a student -- and argue with real judges on legal issues. They had to be prepared to answer the judges' questions quickly, accurately and succinctly. I took some notes during the competition, and here were the strategies that I thought were most effective:

  • Anticipating questions and having authorities to quickly cite to back up your own argument;
  • An authoritative, but respectful tone of voice. Paradoxically, when an advocate said "respectfully, your honor" too often it came off as patronizing.
  • Telling the court how many points you are immediately about to make. If you're answering a question, it helps your answer to be coherent and effective if you preface it by saying "This argument does not hold for 3 reasons." It may seem robotic in writing, but it really helped when they were making arguments yesterday.
These were just my initial thoughts after watching the competition, and I'm sure we'll talk about it in class today.


The Cubs statue's apostrophe is missing no more.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Best headline of the day:

"Real Men With Mancaves"

Well, that's embarrassing.

The Cubs didn't copy edit an engraving, and the missing apostrophe is now immortalized in granite.

[Thanks, Bud.]

"She only drinks Diet Coke and has even admitted she hasn't drunk water in years because she 'hates the taste.'"

Posh, like my mama, doesn't drink water! I think this is so strange. I taught myself to drink water in college, mostly because I was broke and couldn't afford Diet Coke every time I was thirsty. But it's also healthier.

Also, Posh apparently keeps her 24-inch waist by never eating full meals. She only eats snacks -- pretzels and soy beans. That sounds like a sad existence to me. If you're only going to eat snacks, go for ice cream and nuts.

Link Swappage

The Natalie Show gave me this profanity-laced but awesomely emphatic shout out today. My favorite part: the "Did that just happen...?" subtitle.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


How the heck did I survive without OneNote up until now? It is amazing!