Friday, February 29, 2008

That's a Wrap!

I just wrapped my first day blogging over at ATL. Whew. Blogging for a living is mentally tiring, but I enjoyed several things about it. I got to write about things that I find interesting, and I liked the fast pace. I get distracted easily, so it's nice to have a forum for writing short, direct posts.

The process starts with reading a vast amount of news and commentary, then filtering what news you do or don't have something funny to say about. After you figure out what you can write about, you have to filter it again for relevancy. Then you write the post. It goes like this over and over again, until the day is over.

It was brutal but exciting. David and I did a tag-team effort today, so he could show me how to use the system. Next Friday, I'm doing it all alone. Talk about pressure.

Overall, people have been pretty encouraging, and I'm ecstatic about the opportunity.

ATL Day 1

Here I am, ready for service. I start blogging at Above the Law in the next few minutes, starting with a little introduction of myself. Here are my goals for today:
  • Get some notoriety for myself as a writer and for my law school as a prestigious place
  • Break some interesting legal news in a fun, accurate way
  • Make y'all stuffy lawyers and lawyers-in-training laugh out loud. Entertain the heck out of you, so your billing hours may be lighter for this one day. Oh well, it's a Friday anyway.
I'll try to cross-blog as much as I can, which will probably include links to ATL. Okay, let's get it started in hurrr!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


As you probably know from reading this blog, one of my favorite sources of legal gossip and commentary is Above the Law.

This has been in the works for a few weeks, but now that it's official I get to announce it. I get to guest blog for ATL! Tomorrow! For real! It's a great opportunity for a little 1L like me to have, and I'm very very thankful and excited.

While I can express my wide-eyed enthusiasm on this blog, I'll have to contain it and put on my "this is no big deal" face tomorrow. Hmm.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Who would you pimp for $25 million?

I ask this because Neverland is for sale, and I wouldn't mind having some more toys. I could ignore the likelihood that the previous owner was a pedophile if it meant I could have an amusement park in my back yard. Talk about a chick magnet.

Speaking of chick (or guy) magnets, my college roommate kept assorted video games for the specific purpose of having a pretense to invite dates back to the apartment. The line "Hey, wanna come back to my place and play DDR?" had a surprisingly high success rate.

But back to my original question: who would you pimp for $25 million? $10 million? $1 million? I would pimp both my mom and Gloria's mom for $25 million. Gloria says she'd pimp her own mother for $250,000; my mom is worth at least $1 million. But you might be able to talk me into pimping my brother for $250,000.

William F. Buckley, Jr. died last night.

The founder of National Review was 82.

At least you're not this guy.

Lvl 8 Ogre Seeks Moon Queen

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why are blogs the current shiznit?

I had this conversation with a friend today. I theorized that the constant updating is satisfying, and since people like to know what's going on, they end up checking a blog that fits their niche 3 or 4 times a day. Kristian said it's all about "attainable elitism": since anybody can create a (free) blog, they often do it and write about their field. They get readers, feel important, and keep writing. Since blogs exist in a community, with symbiotic links sustaining readership numbers, bloggers read other blogs and the links keep the cycle going.

Both theories are probably true.

Prof. Horwitz is back! With jokes!

I have a hard time separating my affection for Con Law from my affection for my professor. I hope this doesn't mean I'll enter a legal field that was awesome in law school and not so awesome in real life.

Everyone who works with Con Law is awesome, right? I thought so.

Sitting Strategy

As I've written about before, there's a strategy involved in attending law school classes. If your professor happens to call on you on a day when you're unprepared, the result is an embarrassing barrage of questions like "Ms. Nichols, why aren't you prepared today? Why don't you know this material, Ms. Nichols?"

So we do what we can to avoid that. Part of my strategy is the pre-emptive strike theory, in which I raise my hand whenever I'm prepared so I won't be cold-called on a day when I'm unprepared. But there's also a way to sit that makes you less likely to be called on. Don't put your arms anywhere near your head; don't play with your earrings, don't play with your hair. Keep your eyes squarely on your laptop, and discreetly try to hide your face while effecting a facial expression like you're concentrating.

It works most of the time. If you are called on and you don't know the answer, I really don't know how to advise you. You're on your own at that point.

Monday, February 25, 2008

We're watching Legally Blonde in Evidence.

The "gay scene." (The scene about Elle Woods calling out the gay guy in court; I'm not calling the scene itself is gay. That would be a compliment in my book.)

Classic Quote

"Thank you for not impregnating her." -- My mama, to my brother, about a pregnant girl.

Stuff White People Like

My fellow law student bloggers at All Against All have discovered a wonderfully funny blog called Stuff White People Like. It's written like a textbook describing a rare critter, like a series of National Geographic articles discussing the habits of the Dodo bird. If you're in class and there's a reasonably good chance you won't be caught goofing off, check it out.

"I feel like..."

Pet peeve: When you start an argument with "I feel like..." When you start an argument that way, I'm not listening. I've already concluded that your argument is more about feelings than logic. Stop saying "I feel like" to introduce a discussion of facts.

It's especially aggravating because women tend to use this phrase, and I'm a woman, and they are not representing their sex well. If they have one, they're not representing their client well either.

The (first draft of the) brief is finished!

Thank goodness. Legal writing is my strongest class, but I find it such a chore to do first drafts. My lowest score last semester was on Bluebooking, which is citing cases and authority in the correct form. What can I say? I'm not a details person. This time, though, I Bluebooked the heck out of that brief. If I get a mediocre grade, it won't be because of Bluebooking.

An appellate brief is very different from the inter-office memo that we wrote last semester. Last semester, legal writing was all about being logical and objective. This semester, logic is still a requirement, but we get to write persuasively, and writing persuasively is SO much easier than writing objectively. I think the mind naturally sympathizes with one side or the other, so (if you're advocating the side that you naturally sympathize with) it just makes more sense to write persuasively. It's natural.

This was just the deadline for the first draft of the brief. After our final drafts are turned in (in April), we get to work with partners and present an oral argument for moot court. My partner rocks, and I'm looking forward to that part.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blame the Brief

Blogging time is sparse until tomorrow after I turn in my appellate brief for legal writing. Blame it on the brief.

The brief also caused world hunger and bird flu and bad hair days. Also! This isn't confirmed, but I heard the brief was Saddam Hussein's mom.

Blame it on the brief.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Slip that in there. Nice.

"Mrs. Huckabee hoisted one of CNN’s 25lb cameras with impressive ease while the former governor of Arkansas dropped to his knees with the CBS producer’s camera to make sure he got the upward angle as she heaved the ball."

I hope CNN producer Alexander Marquardt, who wrote this sentence, is giggling right now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You want the truth?

Inevitable, but still chuckle-worthy, parody of the Congressional Steroids hearing. Who knew professors could have such senses of humor?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Silly CNN

From a CNN article about John Grisham:

Reviews of "The Appeal" have been generally positive, though some can be reduced to previous assessments of Grisham: fine storyteller but not a particularly good writer.

"The Appeal" is Grisham's newest book. He's appealingly (heh) humble in the article, talking about how he doesn't expect his work to be treated as fine literature. The alternative, he seems to say, is the label "popular fiction." But I don't see the logic here. Is a story not "fine literature" because it's popular? Does popularity negate quality?

I'm not saying that John Grisham is my hero, but "fine storyteller but not a particularly good writer" doesn't makes sense. The medium that he tells stories through is writing. If he's good at telling stories in writing, doesn't that make him a good writer?

Is sexism less offensive than racism?

Should it be?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Prof. Horwitz has a new cane.

And it has FLAMES on it. He's also taken to pointing with his cane, which is exactly what I would do if I were cool enough to have a pimp cane.

He also posed one of the funniest hypotheticals I've ever heard today. It started out with "So Canada invades Vermont..."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Teacher duct-tapes boy to desk.

Except for the impending lawsuit, it sounds like an efficient discipline strategy to me. Duct tape is cheap, and the boy will probably never back talk again.

[Oops. I just read the story and realized that the teacher did it as a joke. Somebody get out the duct tape -- you can teach me not to comment on news stories without reading them first.]

Congress on Steroids

I'm watching the baseball steroids fracas on CNN, and it's giving me the same entertained-but-stalkerish feeling that reading about Britney Spears on Perez Hilton does. It just seems like an inappropriate level of coverage for the subject matter. Why is Congress (and CNN) spending time on this?

Well, I guess the very fact that I find it compelling TV answers both questions. Everybody plays for ratings.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I've recently been enamored by the word "viral." It used to have such a negative connotation -- Get a trash can for that dude! -- but now it has a positive advertising meaning. If something, like a YouTube video or Facebook group, goes viral, it means it gets passed along "virally,"and accidental fame results for the person responsible.

Example # 1: The "My New Haircut" YouTube video.
"Excuse me sir, you have to check in [to the hotel]." "NOT NOW CHIEF, I'm in the f*cking zone."
Example # 2:"Shoez"

"Kelly, what are you going to with your life?" "I'm gonna go get what I WANT."

Example # 3: "Balloons"
"Look at me! This is me being SERIOUS!"
I love the warning for this third video. "What you are about to see may be disturbing for people without a sense of humor."

These are examples of the viral power of the internet to spread things that people don't necessarily want share. But we can harness this power to our own benefit, right? For example, The Facebook group (I judge you when you use poor grammar ) has stalled just under 250,000 members. I predict, if every enthusiastic person harnessed the power of their buddy lists and invited everyone to the group, we'd reach 300,000 by spring break. What do you say?

Shame on you, Mike Huckabee.

I loved you back when you had a chance. Not for your policies -- your policies kinda suck. I loved you for your sense of humor. (This man eats fried squirrel, for crying out loud, and he ADMITS it. He deserves some votes for having that kind of cojones.)

But now? Somebody needs to tell you to stop wasting money. Go feed some orphans.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Interview Season

It's on-campus Interview Season, and more than a baker's dozen of my classmates are in suits. Alas, I have no interviews because of the book, so I don't get to officially take part in the fun. However, I have a plan to unofficially have tons of fun with Interview Season.

The plan starts with dressing up -- business dress -- and adding one slightly nonsensical element, like a tiara or nascar hat. Or maybe some brightly-ugly-crazy colored shoes. (I own both a tiara AND a nascar hat, people. Bright, ugly shoes are not necessarily out of place in my closet.)

Be-decked in my business dress and nascar hat, I come to school. Of course, people will think I have an interview, so when they ask I reply that yes, I do in fact have an interview, and then I'll make up a silly name for the imaginary firm that so sincerely wants to employ me. McWilliams & Sonoma, perhaps. Or Bergdorf, Goodman & Galliano. They both want me pretty badly, I think.

Bad ideas.

Our election system has been criticized for being too polarizing. During the primaries, only the most politically enthusiastic people vote, and they're usually not representative of middle America. We end up with one candidate who is extremely conservative, and one who is extremely liberal. But that's not happening this time, and it's shaping an interesting campaign season.

It looks like we'll have either Clinton or Obama duking it out with John McCain for the presidency. Here's my question. Is it a good thing to have two candidates whose positions on the issues are substantially similar, both to one another and to moderates? Or do we want two vastly different candidates to choose from?

I'd rather the candidates' positions be similar. It encourages a deeper discussion of the issues, because if they agree on the surface, they'd have to discuss the subject further to distinguish themselves. Plus, we may even get a president who represents the country's general consensus, not a candidate who represents the most conservative of the Republicans or the most liberal of the Dems.

Although Pres. Bush said some good things about Huckabee today, here's a quote directly from Huckabee that demonstrates why he'd be bad for the country: "If you look at where our votes are coming from, they're coming from the people who are the most conservative."

BAD idea.


Even Prof. Althouse gets in on the newly academically-appropriate word "pimp". Pimp.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Note to Self: "Being slutty" is not an appropriate self-description.

Although I can't seem to find the article online, I was reading something (admittedly, in Playboy) the other day about a Florida law professor beginning his class by having all his students read their Facebook profiles aloud. [Sidenote: I was just informed that Playboy articles are on Lexis. Nice!] What a great exercise! It demonstrates the importance of public speech, and the content of your Facebook profile is definitely public speech.

I wish one of MY professors would do that. I'm shooting for a different career than most of my co-students; many of them are aiming for high-paying jobs a BigLaw firms, which are generally very touchy about their stuffy reputations. As long as I have internet access and a laptop, I'd rather be a low-paid writer living in a cardboard box. My peers have to be exceptionally cautious about what they put on the internets; I'd rather get laughs. Part of what makes writing interesting for me is the balance between serious, quality writing and just plain being funny. Making people laugh often requires irreverence, so I find myself weighing what degree of sauciness is appropriate for the topic I'm writing about.

Facebook profiles are a pretty liberal forum -- you can get by with a lot, as long as it's funny and well written. However, the girl at Florida whose Facebook profile included "Being slutty" as her primary interest probably quickly realized that "Being slutty" 1) wasn't funny, and 2) made her look stupid. I'd bet my siblings that the girl changed it before the end of the day.

The Basics

"This is southern, face it/ If we too simple, then y'all don't know the basics."
-- Scholar and Philosopher Lil' Wayne.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Numbers make me uncomfortable.

Prop.Prof Krier has a background in Economics, and sometimes he writes formulas and numbers on the board to explain things. This makes me extremely uncomfortable. There aren't supposed to be numbers in law school! No, no, no no no no nonono! Wait, okay, let me pull out my calculator. No, slow down! Oh no, I'm hyperventilating again.

I'm not exagerrating; this is my mental reaction to seeing numbers on the board. If he keeps surprising me like this, I might have to fake-faint one day. It might even be a real faint. You're playing with fire here, Prop.Prof. Seriously, don't be so reckless.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

In Appreciation

The U of A's Legal Writing department is darn creative. Our big memo project last semester was based on a claim by Guy A whose friend, Guy B, posted a picture on Facebook of Guy A smoking pot. Our professors even made fake Facebook profiles for Guys A and B, complete with a wide-eyed picture of Guy A "smoking the reefer." It was almost fun when we had to use a thesaurus to find different ways to say "smoke marijuana."

Yesterday we were talking about how to be persuasive when we're writing, and our professor made a handout with quotes from the news coverage of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force publicity campaign that triggered a bomb scare in Boston last summer. A marketing firm paid some kids to put little Lite Bright-resembling boxes around cities, and each box depicted a character from the cartoon. We used the news quotes to talk about the strategy of "anchoring," which just means starting and ending sections of writing with the favorable parts of the narrative. Anything unfavorable to your case, you try to "bury" in the middle.

I represented the Cartoon Network's side, and I picked this quote to anchor my ending. From a Seattle police commissioner (the boxes were also found in Seattle, but public hysteria did not ensue in Seattle like it did in Boston):

"This was not something that people should be concerned about. These were cartoon characters, and they were giving the finger."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I just voted, which always gives me a little patriotic rush of endorphins.

Alabama has a confusing system though, and it's the least strictly organized voting day that I've ever seen. When I looked up my polling place online, they didn't have my address on file. So I called the County Registrar's Office and was put on hold about 6 times before I finally found out my polling place. Luckily, it was close by and not busy, so I cast my vote quickly then went home. It was very un-ceremonious.

But check this out: the Alabama polls closed at 7:00, and now it's 8:00, and it looks like Obama is going to kill Clinton 70-30%. Alabama has its share of racism and sexism, and it looks like we've made some progress on the racist side.

I'm happy with this election. I respect Clinton, Obama and McCain, and their debates will be more substantive than recent past debates (when the 9/11 card was pulled entirely too often). If any of those three win, we'll have a leader who was voted in by non-strict party lines. One thing is for sure: there will be change. I'm excited to see it happen.

Here's CNN's total election coverage
. One thing I would urge you to do: go out and vote if your polls aren't already closed. It's a civic duty or just a chance to influence the law. Just do it.
Why not?


My Evidence professor regularly says some pretty funny things. Recently, he's been fond of using California as the whipping-boy for any negative example he wants to make. What's wrong with America? California. Who can we blame SARS on? California. Where do gay babies come from? California!

It's a good conversational trick, too. Whenever a discussion veers towards a controversial topic like religion, politics [badabing!], or anything just plain boring, blame California and move on. People will laugh and the tension of the previous conversation will be gone. They'll love each other again, and you will be revered for restoring good vibes to the party.


It seems like the "pimp" controversy has extended further than I expected. Above the Law caught on and linked to us yesterday.

Law professor Paul Horwitz has "a PIMP cane" (apparently acquired in the medical assistance section of RiteAid). [PrawfsBlawg; Thank You Ma'am]

The controversy has now risen to the status where it needs a name. "PimpGate" sounds too trite, si? You can come up with a better one.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Regular People

Evidence professor, today:

"C'mon now. Think like you did back before you came to law school, back when you still had common sense. Just think like a regular person."

He's right, law school does seem to suck the common sense out of people. Low common sense and a sense of entitlement -- what a great combination. [Insert your favorite lawyer joke here.]

It's final!

I have great news. Today I signed the contract with publisher St. Martin's Press to write a book based on the Facebook group "I judge you when you use poor grammar." It's final! I have a book deal!

Don't worry, mama, I'm not dropping out of law school. I'll just be multi-tasking for a while.

Cheers, everybody.

Case of the Mondays

I got back in town after attending a wedding this weekend. My wonderful coming-home present: The outline for our appellate assignment is due tomorrow.

On the bright side, check out the comments at this post. My use of the word "pimp" apparently brought some feminist wrath. Today, I only have time to shrug. Tomorrow, after turning in this appellate thing and taking a 6-hour nap, I'll craft a substantive and humorous response. Get excited.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I thought this was over:

Another potential arrest in the Natalie Holloway case.

Teaching, Blogging and Pimping

YES! Prof. Horwitz not only has a pimp cane, he also has a sense of humor:

"What can I say: like most mack daddies, I shop for my canes in the medical assistance section of RiteAid."

This pleases me beyond belief. Thank you, professor!

Go ahead, waste some time.

I'm in Greensboro, NC for the weekend for a wedding. While I get dressed up and drink for free, you can check out these links. I hope your weekend is as much fun as mine. Cheers!

Ann Coulter endorses Clinton over McCain.

Microsoft may buy Yahoo
, which makes Microsoft seem even more like Big Brother and Google even more like a good shepherd. In the Microsoft v. Apple war, I'm firmly on Google's side.

Britney's at it again. Wipe the sarcastic surprise off your face.