Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mrs. Dumford

I heard you read my blog, and I just wanted to thank you for pre-ordering the book on Amazon. And thank you for this awesome tea you sent Josh. It's pretty amazing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Alabama is recruiting Jewish families. [CNN]. Dothan, a small town in SE Alabama, is offering up to $50,000 per family for Jewish families to move there. I'm not Jewish, but even if I were it wouldn't be worth it to move to Dothan for $50,000.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Idaho Cheerleaders Ditch Skimpy Uniforms

But WHY?!

Also, they're called the "Idaho Vandals." Anyone know the history on that?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I judge you when you use poor grammar:

The book is available for pre-orders on Amazon.

(This is SO cool!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drink the Kool-Aid

Prof. Horwitz's advice to 1Ls. I particularly like number 6: Drink the kool-aid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Dr. House: "Gorgeous women do not go to medical school. Why do the work when you can get paid for just showing up?"
I wonder what House's opinion on gorgeous women in law school is.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Print v. the Web

I'm not sure I like the new format, with the more prominent photo at the top of the page. It seems like a move towards even more sensationalism -- grab the readers' emotions, then maybe they'll be more likely to click the headline. Is it working on you?

The other day I had a conversation with my friend from college, Katie Abney, who works as an assistant editor at Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine. She works on the print edition, while I'm more interested in the web side of journalism. She spoke about how there's some tension between the two sides. The print people believe that a better narrative can be told through the print version of a magazine/newspaper, because you have almost full control of the layout.

It's an interesting argument, but it seems inevitable to me that journalism is moving towards the web for good. There will always be print editions of books, newspapers, and magazines, but the speed of posting and receiving information on the web is a huge draw, and I think we'll eventually change over to getting the majority of the information we read from the web.

Bipartisanship...on SNL

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton:
Clinton: I believe in global warming.
Palin: And I believe that it's just God huggin' us closer.
Check it out, yes, on Perez Hilton. Here's some analysis from the LA Times Blog, the Dish Rag.

(After you've watched the skit: it's about sexism, and the LA Times is talking about it on a blog called the "Dish Rag"? There's some irony there.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How to Write the Dedication and Acknowledgments for a Book

This morning my editor asked me to write the dedication and acknowledgments for the book. I hadn't given it much thought until now, and now I'm terrified that I'll leave someone important out by accident.

Has anyone done this before? What's your advice on approaching this?

So far, here's what I have. I'm dedicating the book to my parents, brother and sister. For the acknowledgments, I'm thanking:
  • God
  • My agent and editor
  • Friends who helped along the way
  • My grandparents and extended family
  • The law school, and several specific people here who have given advice and coached me through the process, and
  • The members of the Facebook group.
Am I leaving someone important out? If you think I might be, leave it in the comments.

September 11th

Remembering. Here's my post from 2006 on 9/11.

Most of us have friends or family members who are serving in the military right now. We love you, we miss you, and we're very proud of all of you. Come home safely.

Leave your thoughts, memories, analysis or reactions in the comments.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Changes in the Law School Career Services Office

Tom Ksobiech is the new Assistant Dean for Career Services at the law school. He worked in admissions before that, so he's been at UA for a few years. I'd never met Mr. Ksobiech before this weekend, when we had a wonderfully encouraging conversation.

I met with someone in the CSO in the first semester of my 1L year, and the meeting didn't go very well. At the time the book deal wasn't final yet, but I was hopeful that it would work out and had started thinking about the possibility of not practicing law when I graduated and trying to make a career out of writing -- possibly writing about the law and legal decisions. When I proposed this to the person I met with in the CSO, they responded with "Well, then why are you in law school?" The tone of the entire meeting was negative, and I left feeling that they didn't have much confidence in my ability, weren't interested in helping me achieve my goals, and that I probably didn't belong in law school to begin with. Needless to say, I left the meeting very discouraged.

Mr. Ksobiech, however, has a very different outlook on his job. When I talked to him at the tailgate before the football game this weekend, he spoke about how he wants to change the reputation of the CSO and help the students achieve their goals after graduation, even if we didn't want to follow the typical route and practice in a law firm. That's great to hear, especially since the market for lawyers is pretty saturated right now. We need somebody who can think outside the usual parameters to help us get the jobs we want, and I'm glad Mr. Ksobiech is there now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Baltimore Sun

Here's the Baltimore Sun article that I interviewed for last week, and here's an excerpt:

The founder of the wildly popular Facebook group called "I judge you when you use poor grammar" grew up in Severna Park and graduated from Annapolis Area Christian School. Now in law school at the University of Alabama, Sharon Nichols, who's 23, laughs when she gets hate mail from the grammar poor (perhaps from the competing Facebook group "I judge you when you judge people who use poor grammar, you elitist wankers").

She can afford to laugh - she's got nearly 300,000 like-minded people on Facebook, a book inspired by the group's exploits that's due in December and the timeless rules of grammar on her side. "It's not necessarily a bad thing, to have standards," she says.

Where's the political commentary?

I've been getting emails asking why I'm not writing about the election. It is, you know, a big year for politics.

I started out writing this blog on politics because that's what I majored in in college (and philosophy) and I was interested in politics. I'm still interested, and I follow elections pretty closely.

Here's the deal. The more I learn, the less informed I feel, and the less qualified I feel to comment on it. I can write about my thoughts and predictions, but besides a college degree in political science, I don't have any guarantee to offer that my thoughts or predictions are accurate.

It's kind of like that Socratic quote: something about how the wisest man is the man who knows that he knows nothing. I'm wondering if I'll get to a point where I feel confident in my political analysis again, but I don't right now.

That's just an explanation of why I haven't been commenting. But since you guys seem to want me to start writing about politics again, I will. Just keep all of the above in mind.

Monday, September 08, 2008

College Sports Statistics

Interesting things I learned in Sports Law today:
  • Between 16 and 19 out of the roughly 4,200 universities in the country have athletic departments that make a profit in the average year.
  • U of Alabama is one of those universities.
In the first statistic, the 16-19 schools whose athletic departments actually make money were evaluated after receiving a supplement from the main university. Remember in college how, even if you weren't an athlete, they charged you a $50 sports fee? Those 16-19 schools make money after receiving that $50 from every student enrolled in the college. I wonder what that number would be without those fees.

The teacher of this class is Professor Marsh, and here's an excerpt from his bio on the law school site:
[Professor Marsh] was the Faculty Athletic Representative at Alabama from 1996 to 2003, has served on numerous NCAA and Southeastern Conference Committees, and is a past the Chair of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions. He has been a member of the Committee on Infractions since 1999.
Anyway, the point is that Prof. Marsh knows what he's talking about. I took a Sports Ethics class in college, and we talked about how few athletic departments actually make money each year. In the south during football season, with a hundred thousand people crowding Tuscaloosa each weekend, it's pretty hard to believe that athletic departments don't generally make money. Whenever I've raised that point, I've been shouted down by people who've seen the spectacle of big time college football, and I understand why it's hard to believe.

Fortunately, Alabama is one of the schools that operates at a profit. But the statistics are surprising, eh?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Mass Email Mischief

The law school mass email abuse has begun again.

If you're new to this blog (or to law school), here's how it works. UA allows any law student to send mass emails to the entire law school -- faculty, students, the dean -- everyone. As you can imagine, this often leads to mischief. Right now, students are primarily using mass emails to buy and sell football tickets. In the past 2 days alone, there have been at least 30 emails sent about tickets. Today, one student found a creative way to state his annoyance with the football emails clogging our inboxes. Here's the email he sent to everyone:


I am trying to sell the turkey sandwich that wife made for me last night. I initially thought that I was going to eat the sandwich, but then I noticed that I am in the mood for bbq, so I would like to get rid of it. I plan on selling it for face value, not including the value added by my wife’s magic hands. Therefore, with Wheat Bread, Turkey, Lettuce, Tomato, Spicy Mustard, and the real problem, Mayo, I am offering this delicious treat for $2.75 O.B.O. I swear I don’t know what is going to take for my wife to realize I hate mayo and the ballet. Nonetheless, I thought this would be an appropriate forum to sell my sandwich. The spoils go to the first taker.

Your friend,


Then the replies started coming in. Reply 1:
I may be interested, however I see the sandwich was offered on Tuesday, has it been kept appropriately refrigerated since that time? I am particularly concerned about the Mayo, as such condiment has been known to go bad in the past. Thanks!
Reply 2:
I want that turkey!
Reply 3:
Looking to trade a weeks worth of cold sandwiches for a cheeseburger.
And finally, reply 4:
These are so clever. I was so worried I wasn't going to get witty banter in my law school inbox. Thank God. Parker told me he says he wants to exchange knuckle sandwiches with everyone on here.
Personally, I love the mass email function. I think the amusing nature of the mischief far outweighs the annoyance of getting 30 emails about football tickets.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


This morning I finally finished the book and mailed it to my editor. What a great feeling! (Here's the background on the book if you're a new reader.) This weekend is the first home football game, and it'll be the perfect time to celebrate.

I also did an interview with a reporter from the Baltimore Sun yesterday. That article will be out on Tuesday, and I'm also interviewing with the Columbus Dispatch tomorrow. I'll let you know tomorrow when that article will be out.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Football Season Opens with a Beatdown

Football season began with a hurricane and a bang. The hurricane was Gustav, which ended up not interfering with the Alabama-Clemson game. The bang was the beatdown that Clemson received when we beat the 36-10 in the first game of the season.

I was never a huge football fan, but growing up in a house in MD with an Alabama room, the creed of Alabama football reached me. I still don't know the intricate rules, but I cheer when other Alabama fans cheer, I go to the games, and I'll do my darndest to sneak some bourbon into the stadium.

It's begun, everyone. It has begun.

IN THE COMMENTS: Yes, I do make the occasional grammatical mistake. Feel free to judge me and then correct me for it. Hey, I'd do it to you.