January 2006 Archives

Ten Things I Hate About NPR


NPR is still my station of choice during drive time, but there are a bunch of things about the underdog of the FM dial that drive me crazy. Here are ten of them.

1. The fact that they run ads for Wal-Mart, receive taxpayer funding, and still run those horribly obnoxious pledge drives (like the one going on right now!).

2. Hearing the morning news filtered through Karl Kasell's frothy, churning saliva.

3. Having the news interrupted every 90 seconds so they can tell me who's providing the local underwriting. I don't even know what local underwriting us.

4. Understated, mealy-mouthed editorializing like "The Enron trial, thought by many to be the biggest corporate fraud trial in years..."

5. Perspectives. Or, as I like to call them, "Boring, self-congratulatory stories that you might tolerate from your friends but not from some stranger on the radio who has no qualifications other than being a school teacher and freelance writer(!) from Walnut Creek."

6. The fact that all my cool friends seem to listen to This American Life, but nobody can tell me when it's on.

7. 90% of international news stories being delivered with an English accent, regardless of where the story is actually from.

8. Pausing every fifteen minutes to let us know what's coming up fifteen minutes from now.

9. The grating, simplistic, single-instrument theme music that aggressively leads in so may of their shows.

10. The fact that they have a woman delivering the news every evening who doesn't understand that "Samuel Alito" is two words, not "Samuelito."



The total number of new-style comic strips now numbers ten, which means I should probably start splitting up the collection. Damn it.

The latest strip is dedicated to my favorite Anglophile, who is still the only person I've ever heard pronounce "scone" that way, and who is one of those people who special-orders the English versions of all the Harry Potter books because that's the way the Queen meant it to be.

More to the point, the strip is somewhat grounded in reality. According to the legal presses (oh yes, they're out there), a wave of U.S. firms are opening offices in London, and my firm is leading the way. This isn't such a big deal for those of us on the Light Side (litigation), as domestic lawyers are more likely to work with the international offices on the Dark Side (corporate). Yank litigators generally aren't familiar with the intricacies of English Barristry, but the dark arts of transactional work operate in a language that everyone can understand.

Though, I should say that the only first-year associate to use her passport for business purposes so far was a litigator. She made a few trips Home to Ireland in order to do some document review, which was made necessary by some weird Irish law designed to make life difficult for non-Irish lawyers. But I imagine that when the tickets to Beijing and Hong Kong start showing up they'll be directed almost exclusively at the corporate folks. London shouldn't be any different.

55 Fiction Friday: Law and Motion Edition

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"If your honor has no further questions, I'm happy to submit this matter." The associate casually gathered his papers and prepared to leave. The judge peered at him over his reading glasses, in that way that only judges can pull off.

"Your motion is denied," the judge told him. "And I'm going to punch you."

Law Geek Wednesday: Blaw Logs


I'm going to try to add another weekly feature to this here blog. Every Wednesday I'll try to post something substantially law-related, in an effort to justify the use of the term "Law" in the blog title as well as my unsolicited membership in numerous "blawg" blogrolls.

This new feature will start next week, because this post is not substantive. Rather, it's an announcement of yet another handful of new blog links, all of which are... law related! There are, simply put, a dickload of legal blogs out there, so I've tried to pick a representative sample, at least sticking with ones that I'm somewhat familiar with. I will now write a few words about each one. I'm too lazy to add HTML tags, so you'll just have to use the list.

Expressio Unius: This blog belongs to a fellow member of the Boalt Class of 2005, who is currently practicing law in Our Nation's Capital. As I write this his latest post is about a subject covered at length by Sean's stand-up routine.

Lack of Scienter: The latest blog incarnation of the woman who brought us "A Girl Walks Into a Bar Exam," which did more to bring law bloggers together than anything in the history of the written word.

LawGeek: The blog of EFF lawyer and Boalt/BTLJ alumus Jason Schultz. A great resource for law and technology stuff.

Legal Insanity: She links to me and has commented here, and I'm belatedly linking to her. She seems nice.

The Life and Times of Chai: Ditto.

How Appealing: Self-explanatory, for those of us looking to escape the drudgery of trial-level litigation.

MODern Life: A bunch of people from the Class of 2005 Mod 7 got together and made a blog. I wasn't in Mod 7 (as I may have mentioned, I had to transfer to Boalt as a second-year, and was therefore without benefit of 1L Mod, though my fellow transfer students got together and formed "Mod-T," a project that had such fervor that I'm surprised we didn't think of this), but a bunch of my friends were and they're good people.

Objective Justice: Another long overdue link-back. God, I'm a jerk.

SCOTUS Blog: For those of us looking to escape the drudgery or trial-level litigation AND the egotism of appellate advocacy.

3rd Attempt: We're pullin' for you, buddy.

Underneath Their Robes: A really, really strange site run by a self-proclaimed federal judicial starfucker who is still masquerading as an anonymous woman despite having identified HIMSELF publicly in November. Visit this site regularly to learn more about various federal judges than any human being should ever know.

Volokh Conspiracy: A blog masterminded by UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh (who has twice told me how much he likes my comic strips!) and a gaggle of bloggers from legal academia. It tends to be a kitchen with too many chefs, and the posts range from thoughtful, high-minded legal observations to naked partisan grandstanding.


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Speak to Me, Meatball! Part 2

Have I mentioned how much I hate patent holding companies?

I knew I should have gone with the Treo.

55 Fiction Friday: Chicken and the Egg Edition

Unlike my comic strip, this may be something I can actually do every week.

She just wouldn't stop talking. Something about her husband working long hours, donating a million dollars to the preschool, sending her kids to school in China, and respecting everybody who respects her. I wondered, is she like this because she's starved for adult interaction, or does her husband work late because she's always like this?

St. Crispin's Day Party


Molly and I went to the Firm's holiday party at the Asian Art Museum last weekend. At this party there was a chocolate fondue fountain, along with some very low-quality cookies (you'll notice that I've cleverly added a "back-ground" to the latest strip with the help of my "computer"). The chocolate in the fondue fountain was probably low-quality as well, but I didn't notice because it was in fountain form.

The party was fun. There was lots of Asian art and Asian food, elegant outfits and trashy outfits, and booze flowing like molten chocolate. Not enough tuxedos. I also ran into my old summer pal who is no longer a lawyer at the Firm, but who is going to be my agent when I get around to publishing the I Fought the Law book.

Unlike the holiday party that the court reporters threw at the Northern District courthouse, which I also attended briefly under circumstances I'm not going to explain, there was no three-piece mariachi band. Both parties did, however, feature chocolate fondue fountains, indicating a trend that I could not possibly support with greater fervor. Now, if only someone would throw a party featuring a chocolate fondue fountain and a Krispy Kreme cake. That just might be worth the price of a rented tux.

What Should We Name Our Catholic School?


As Will I



This Get Fuzzy strip from earlier in the week reminded me that I haven't posted a pro-pie post on this blog in quite some time. Hooray pie.

55 Fiction Friday: Central American Edition


Since nobody seems to be interested in discussing the death penalty (and people complain that I don't talk enough law on this blog), I'll go ahead an introduce a new feature: 55 Fiction Friday. This is a feature that I'm proudly hoarking from Maisnon, who has graciously granted permission for said hoarking.

In honor of Allen's visit to the U.S., I'm basing my first 55 Fiction on my favorite photo from his Latin American adventures. Consistent with my general hackery, the best 20% of the words in my story come from somewhere else.

Anyway, here it is:

In the fading twilight we found it. A humble cabin deep in the jungle, desperate to keep its secrets hidden. For better or worse, our journey would end here.

We saw a sign on the front porch. A warning written in crude, rigid letters:

"Close The Door
Keep Monkey Out"

Ominously, the door was open.


Roger Coleman, who was the subject of the book I recommended a year ago, has been proven guilty by DNA testing (story here). Had the test come out the other way, it would have galvanized the movement against the death penalty. As it stands, it's lending support to the types of people who have already left comments on my previous entry this morning.

Has this changed my opinion about the death penalty? No. I still think it's barbaric and antiquated. I still think the disparate effects based on race and socioeconomics are unjustifiable. And while it remains to be proven that an innocent person has been executed, plenty of innocent people have been sentenced to death and subsequently exonerated. The fact that Coleman was guilty doesn't mean that everyone else was, and more posthumous DNA testing will eventually reveal an innocent victim of capital punishment.

As for the book, I said initially that May God Have Mercy is not an anti-death penalty treatise. It's a story about individuals, and stories about individuals are ineffective when it comes to arguing the death penalty issue. As the new comments point out, people are already seeing this single case as a (pardon the term) death blow to the entire movement against capital punishment. Similarly, a "Save Tookie!" sign isn't nearly as effective as an "End the Death Penalty Sign," since the former simply enables the other side to accuse you of putting the rights of killers above the rights of victims.

The issue with respect to capital punishment isn't whether you want a particular individual to die. The question is whether you're comfortable with the danger of innocent people being sentenced to death, with the hypertechnical and ineffective appellate process, with the undeniable racial and socioeconomic disparities in the capital punishment system, and, ultimately, with the idea of the government killing in cold blood. It's these issues, not the Roger Colemans of the world, that will ultimately decide the death penalty question.

Meli and I have both been more or less knocked out since Monday by an intrepid virus that has beset us both. We decided that when we have kids we're going to try to avoid getting sick at the same time.

Since I'm a sickly asthmatic, the virus made its way into my lungs, as viruses are wont to do, and set about constricting my breathing in a most distressing way. So I went to the doctor today. Without really thinking it through, I decided to go to the Stanford Health Clinic, since it takes my PPO. It didn't occur to me that, now that I'm a grown-up and everything, maybe I shouldn't go to a college clinic anymore, but I figured it was legit since it was attached to the Stanford Hospital, and all I really needed was some asthma medication anyway.

The clinic wasn't all that bad. But the fact that it's attached to a teaching hospital meant that a medical student got to practice practicing on me before I got to see an actual doctor. I don't remember her name, but it was probably Michelle. It wasn't until this evening that I realized that Michelle is probably younger than I am. And that's kind of weird.

Anyway, Michelle has a bright future ahead of her as a big important doctor (she's at Stanford Freakin' Medical School, for God's sake), but for now she's a little green when it comes to exam room goings-on. She did a fine job, but there were a couple of things that stuck out. She asked me if I had sinus congestion, and then like a minute later asked if I had a stuffy nose, and couldn't give a satisfactory answer when I asked her what the difference was. Even more entertainingly, she seemed really shy about asking me to take my shirt off. Now, I was there because I was having trouble breathing, and she knew this, so she should have assumed that I came in expecting to show some skin. But as soon as she finished quietly stammering "Would... would you mind taking off your shirt?" she immediately followed with "Or, or you can just lift it up, that'll work."

Of course, I could be wrong in assuming that she was uncomfortable with the shirt request because she's new. Maybe she was just worried about what I might look like under there. Or maybe she was afraid of losing control at first sight of my amazing abs. Either way, I can't think of a punchline for this paragraph. My mind gets lazy when I'm sick.

One more thing: As part of the pedagogical, and therefore overly broad, exam, she had me lay down so she could listen to my bowels. My steely, cavernous bowels. That didn't seem to make her uncomfortable, but I fought the urge to crack wise as she listened intently to my digestive business. I was waiting for the hernia test but I guess that would have been too much.

New Years on the Peninsula


New strip, over there, no individual page, considering those annoying #-tags, but those probably wouldn't work since the position would change as the images load. You'll also notice that I've gone back to hand-lettering. As much as I hate doing the dialog by hand, I haven't found a way to type it without the result looking like ass.

Molly and I stayed in on New Years Eve, had some cheese and champagne, and watched a Kathy Griffin special on Bravo, just like the strip says. Molly knows I hate Kathy Griffin, so she offered to tape it so we could watch the Twilight Zone marathon instead, but I told her I'd rather she just watched it since I didn't want a durable recording of Kathy Griffin in the house.

I've discovered that my ability to consume 2/3 of a bottle of champagne without any ill effects is substantially lessened when I also consume a block of brie the size of my fist. Good to know for next year.

And today, we had the big tree event. After the bulldozer was done I saw that it was actually two trees what fell over, which is twice as bad as one tree. Think of the poor homeless squirrels.

It's Windy


I would have taken more pictures, but the police man yelled at me to get away from the wires.

UPDATE: The city eventually came to cut the tree up and move it into the park, much to the delight of our neighbors who lead boring, peninsular lives.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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