August 2004 Archives

The Road to Hell


Two of my least favorite political cartoonists have actually produced work that I approve of in recent weeks. The first is by Chuck Asay, who tends to be a rather partisan conservative. Every now and then he reveals himself as someone whose beliefs transcend political parties, if marginally (unlike wholly-owned GOP subsidiaries like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Man Coulter). Anyway, in this cartoon from last week he pretty much sums up my thoughts as to the whole 527 fiasco.

Way to go, McCain-Feingold!

I also tend to really dislike Etta Hulme. Her politics are closer to my own but her cartoons are generally rather opaque and out-dated by at least a few weeks. I think this one qualifies as out-dated (it just showed up this week) but still makes me tingle.

That's all.

That's "Recta," Bob


This just in: My Federal Courts textbook is very large, and rectum jokes are funny.

But back to the textbook. Any lingering doubts about the overwhelming lawgeek factor of my Federal Courts course were thoroughly dashed on Monday, when the Honorable Professor/Judge William Fletcher spent an entire class period talking about how great the textbook is. When I bought this thing for 95 damn dollars last week I was immediately dismayed, partly by its sheer girth but also by its publisher. The cover bears the telltale blue-and-red markings of the dreaded Foundation Press, purveyors of shitty law school textbooks from coast to coast.

FP's chief competitor is Aspen Publishers, a company who, unlike their blue-jacketed rivals, actually know how to put together a sensible and coherent textbook. Foundation subscribes to a more pure Langdellian method of legal instruction. They throw cases at you and follow the opinions with disjointed and unhelpful notes that inevitably deteriorate into strings of unanswered rhetorical questions. Aspen, on the other hand, presents the various topics as well-formulated narratives, inserting cases where appropriate (but generally part of the narratives themselves). Given the apparently laudable history of the Hart & Wechseler book it's a damn shame that it was picked up by Foundation and shoehorned into its current unreadable form.

In case you think I'm imagining things, I've found that I've quite consistently done better in courses using Aspen books than in courses using Foundation crap, meaning this semester I'll probably do better in Estates & Trusts than in Federal Courts.

Speaking of Estates & Trusts, here's a great story that I heard in lecture a few hours ago. Apparently a couple in Holland went to get themselves artificially inseminated. The process was successful and the woman had twins. Much to everyone's surprise, one of the twins was Black. It turns out that the lab technician at the clinic didn't wash the petri dish before combining the egg and sperms, and a leftover sperm from an African Ambassador had made its way into one of the ova. Fortunately no one involved got too upset and everyone lived happily ever after. But still.

My deepest apologies to anyone who read through all that.

Banal Fantasy


My apologies for being behind schedule with the strips. I've been playing role playing games.

My progression through the English language Nintendo Final Fantasy trilogy began after my much-kvetched about experience with Kingdom of Loathing. KoL left me with utter disdain for the game itself but nonetheless awoke my dormant affinity for RPGs. So, I started playing Final Fantasy I, hoping to get farther than I got in the sixth grade. I didn't get as far as I did in the sixth grade before throwing up my hands in despair and moving on to FF2, which held my interest until I got to the moon part, whereupon I threw my hands up once again and moved on to FF3. The third installment is holding my interest for the moment despite the fact that all the characters are the same and there's hardly any actual fighting. Lots of dialogue that probably sounded better in Japanese, though.

All right, so here are a few things.

I'm fucking sick of olympic swimmers. I don't care about Phelps, the Thorpedo, van den Hoogenbottom, or the asshole who looks like Billy Zane. Enough with the fucking swimming.

I got an offer from Firm #2 to join up as a real lawyer after I finish law school, so that's pretty cool. Still no word from Firm #1.

I've tweaked my increasingly unwieldly links page yet again. I got tired of accidentally clicking on links to sites that have been abandoned, so they've all been moved to their own shameful corner at the bottom of the page. I've also added two new humor sites: Something Awful and Vice Magazine. My favorite sections are Photoshop Phriday in the former and Do's and Don'ts in the latter. SA's Brice Beckham Dot Net will make you laugh until your colon shoots out of your ass if ye be a person of any regard. In addition to being independently funny it's also a dead-on parody of the unreadable yet genuine Wil Wheaton Dot Net.

A few words on my choice of comedy links. I've made numerous good-faith efforts at getting into the more high-brow comedic stylings of Brunching or whatever that is and McSween(e) (a website so hip that the URL is impossible to remember, you know, to keep out the riff raff), but I'm ready to admit that what I really enjoy at four in the afternoon is a good "moustache ride" joke. Love me for what I am. And stay away from the new arrivals if you're easily offended.

So there's that. If I haven't linked you and you want a link, speak up.

More Transfer Student Screwage

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I'm going to go ahead and scrape CalStuff for this one rather than linking directly to the L.A. Times story, because I hate it when websites require you to register for free to look at their shit. If you feel like reading the whole article I suggesting using the old Mailinator.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I'm probably going to get screwed out of the reduced fees. You see, according to the article, "The judge's order applies only to those who enrolled in a professional degree program before 2003 and are still enrolled." In law school that would mean 3Ls like me. BUT, since I'm not in the same professional program now as I was in 2002, I (along with my fellow transfers) will probably still have to pay the increase.

This is particularly aggravating for UC to UC transfers like me, the one other guy in my class who transferred from UCLA, the gaggle of Hastings refugees, and the handful of Davis people. There are also UC to UC transfers at other schools as well.

But whatever. It's still cheaper than private schools.

Apparently I've got it all backwards. Why turn legal practice into a sitcom when you can turn sitcoms into legal practice?

One of the first things you realize when you hold any kind of position at a law firm is that there's a whole hidden economy surrounding the legal practice made up of companies that do nothing but work for law firms. Document production services, process servers, court reporters, wordprocessors, and now this. Actors. Playing witness. In court. I imagine this type of thing gets screaming objections from the other side, likely followed by convoluted and inevitably ignored limiting instructions from the bench.

According to an article I read this morning, no appellate court has smacked down the practice, and there may not be grounds to. Deposition transcripts can be read in court by people other than the witnesses what gave them. The standard practice is to have a secretary or paralegal from the office read the transcript, which is usually a guaranteed way to put the jury to sleep. Having a trained actor do the reading is no doubt more exciting, but the dangers of prejudice or misleading the jury seem pretty severe. If the actor reads a line in a particular way, adds an inflection or facial expression that wasn't there originally, the jury starts to look beyond the words on the paper. A monotonous reading by an office admin is dull, but at least the jury can add their own ideas of what the witness may have sounded like without being clouded by the artificial, coached courtroom performance of an out-of-work actor.

Still, the idea is entertaining. My favorite part is the cast page. The choice of photographs screams, "Whether you need a hot girl, a fatherly doctor, or a glass-ceiling professional woman, we're here to meet your fake witness needs." At the very least they could farm themselves out for mock trial classes.

Neener Neener, I'm Sexy

According to the latest bit of pop science pabulum, my parents done me good:

Men with "front vowels" in their names -- sounds formed at the front of the mouth like the "a" in Matt -- were considered sexier than men with "back vowel" sounds like the "au" in Paul, she concluded.

So apparently I could have gotten laid a lot more in high school and college if I had just worn a nametag all over the place. Oh well.

IFTL: The Sitcom


In an effort to reconcile the advent of reality telivision with those of us who still enjoy scripted entertainment, Bravo is organizing a reality TV deal where people are invited to submit sitcom scripts. The show is called Situation: Comedy. The format seems to be that hundreds of thousands of would-be Hollywood types send their scripts to Bravo, the best five writers head to L.A. to "pitch" their shows, the best two get to develop 15-minute "presentations" (pilots, one hopes), then America votes, and the winner becomes David E. Kelly.

And so, I'm doing it. I'm taking this shit to the next level, people. I Fought the Law: The Sitcom, only with a different title, and different characters (rights issues). But the underlying premise -- Marginally humorous tales of law school misadventures that nobody will like -- will remain the same.

I already have the basic outline for the script, as well as some choice gags and dialogue. But what I really need is a fucking title. My alternate title for the strip itself was Ignorantia Legis, but somehow I don't think that would fly. There's always Young Attractive People Having Fun and Being Funny. Any ideas? Bastards?

Kingdom of Boring


My hate affair with Kingdom of Loathing finally came to a head today, and I've decided to stop playing indefinitely (conditions below). I've been playing this stupid game for a few weeks with marginal yet undeniable interest, recognizing all along that the game has numerous flaws that make it rather unpalatable to the likes of me. First off, the self-limiting nature of the available playing time is extremely aggravating. 40 adventures is good for about 25 minutes of play on a good day, and while you can get more adventures by eating and drinking, eventually you get "full" and "too drunk" to continue even building adventures that way. And that is severely lame.

In addition, the game suffers from the fatal flaw of so many role playing games, the thing that has made generations of Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior players throw their hands up in the utmost despair: those long, tedious stretches where all you can do is fight creatures to gain experience and money (or, in the tragically clever world of KoL, "meat") in order to advance your character. This wouldn't be so bad if you could actually spend a few hours on it on any given day, but the fact that you have to build experience in such limited daily stretches makes it all the more aggravating. Again, profoundly lame.

There's more to complain about, but I've been able to deal with these things until now. Once I figured out a few things I could do (with the help of word-of-mouth from fellow clan members, as opposed to the game itself), I looked forward to strategically visiting various locales in the game to gather the necessary items to advance my character. Today, I spent about 100 adventures (two days' worth, plus some pizza and alcohol) trying to build a stupid meat car. I fought and fought (and fought) in Degrassi Gnoll (badum), where the Council of Loathing promised that I could get car parts. I gathered enough cogs, springs, sprockets, tires, and meat tanks for a fleet of meat cars, but couldn't get a god damn set of "sweet rims" to finish the project. Not a single one.

Dejected, I laid my character to rest for the day and started a new character, just for the fun of it. In the course of completing the initial errands for the stupid bird on the stupid mountain I discovered that the "sweet rims" were, in fact, inexplicably hidden in the hermit's hoard. Excited, I logged back on with my more experienced (though, for the day, adventureless) character to try and get the stupid rims from the stupid hermit. I bought a stupid hermit permit, visited the hermit, and remembered that the stupid hermit doesn't take meat. He only takes "worthless trinkets," of which I had none. I searched the town's available markets, along with the clan stash, and found no worthless trinkets. So I can't make the stupid car until I get a stupid trinket, and I'll be damned if I'm going to wander aimlessly, killing punnily named creatures, until I happen to win one in a battle.

I feel that I've put up with enough bullshit to get a meat car. And I'm not playing again until I'm sure the first thing I can do when I log on is get a worthless trinket.

If you're interested in a game that'll actually leave you with a fleeting sense of fulfillment, I suggest Peasant's Quest courtesy of the Homestar boys. KoL has also lifted a number of jokes from Homestar (as part of their unbelievably original idea of filling their game with obscure pop-culure references), so playing a Homestar game is also more legit in that respect.

And seven curses with it.

Who Links Here

Doctors 3, Lawyers 1


Our own Boback just got his Persian ass into medical school, making him the third Squelch editor in recorded Squelch history (since 1997) to go to med school. He'll follow Drs. Jason N. Rosenbaum and Miles Beckett, nee Zajaczkowski.

I, as far as I know, am the only Squelch editor to go on to study the Dark Arts of the Law, so I would appreciate it if some of my fellow Squelchers would back me up here. When the Squelch Community Medical Center gets sued for malpractice after leaving a rubber chicken in a patient, the Squelch Law Offices are going to need a big staff to handle all those delicious, delicious billable hours.

Congratulations, Boback. Be sure and let me play with your cadaver.

Body Lovin'


If the National Organization for Women continues to undervalue my talents, I may have to stop entering their stupid contests. That's right, folks. The Annual Love Your Body Day Poster Contest has once again slighted yours truly with a big fat rejection.

Oddly enough, this year's winner appears to be inspired by the cartoon medium, telling the humorous story of a multi-ethnic woman's body in comic strip form. Or perhaps it's a modified ad for sunblock, each segment of the body representing a different SPF. In any case, it's lame, and the NOW Foundation should be ashamed of itself.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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