May 2007 Archives

Goddamn Silicon Valley


Senator Clinton was in Santa Clara today blathering about something or other. The kind folks of the Silicon Valley were nice enough to make this backdrop for her.

What can I say... They're scientists, not spelers.

God the Litigant

Via The Patry Copyright Blog comes this order from the District of Arizona, dismissing a copyright infringement case brought by "Jehovah J. God," "Jesus J. Christ" (I might have expected "Jesus H. Christ") et. al against Arizona State University. J.J. God alleged that ASU was unlawfully using his autobiography (the Bible) without paying royalties. The suit sought $9.3 million in damages.

This leads me to wonder what other lawsuits Mr. God might bring in the future. It seems like there are plenty of other prospective copyright defendants out there. King James and Johannes Gutenberg immediately spring to mind. Not to mention the Gideons.

Following the intellectual property vein, I'm sure that the unfettered sectarian fragmentation over the past few centuries has diluted any trademark rights that God might have. And God could certainly sue Christopher Roller seeking a declaratory judgment of patent invalidity based on anticipation.

Moving on to tort law, God could sue Richard Dawkins for slander, I suppose. And I could think of a number of political and religious leaders who are cruising for a misappropriation of identity suit.

Finally, assuming that J.J. Christ holds a future interest in the earth, he could sue all of us for waste. Or perhaps just smite us.

Everything Will Still Change

I finally watched the season finale of Lost this morning. And here are my spoilery thoughts.

The big gimmick of the episode, and the big twist, was that the "flashback" was actually a "flash-forward," taking place at some point in the future when Jack, Kate and at least one other Islander have returned to civilization. Kate seems to be doing well, though Jack is addicted to painkillers and otherwise a complete wreck of a human being. The third rescuee, who has died alone, shows up only in a sealed casket at a funeral at which only Jack shows up. So, of course, the big question is, who's in the box? Sawyer? Ben? Locke? We know it's a dude, based on the newspaper clipping. It's depressing that Future Kate doesn't want to have anything to do with Future Jack. But she cleans up well.

Another key aspect of the flash-forward is that it appears to lock the story in a few key respects, i.e. that Jack and Kate not only have to survive but also have to make it off the Island somehow. This could be a nod to the fact that the producers have finally nailed down their end date (three more seasons), but keep in mind that the writers haven't exactly foreclosed the possibility of parallel universes and time warps, so the flash forward may not be significant at all in terms of the linearity of the story.

One final question about the flash-forward: Why does Jack want to go back to the Island? The more interesting theory has to do with a lot of comments during the episode about how Jack isn't "supposed" to do what he's doing and how there's nothing left for him back in the real world, so he'd want to go back because that's where he belongs. This somewhat mystical explanation is consistent with the idea that he's trying to get there by flying a bunch of random flights and hoping that they crash, indicating that something magical happened when the plane crashed that transported them to the Island that had nothing to do with their geographic location.

Another, more concrete theory that's consistent with the theme of the flash-forward, is that Jack left a bunch of people behind on the Island (perhaps even everyone but Kate and whoever's in the box, and possibly whoever Kate's living with if that's not her and Sawyer's son), and is now feeling guilty. We know he was going to do that once before, until Locke esploded the submarine.

Another big mystery is what organization Naomi was working with. We know she's not an Other and we know she wasn't hired by Penny. All signs point to the Dharma Initiative, since they're the ones who would be trying to retake the Island, and when Naomi saw Mikhail wearing his DI jammies she said something to him in a foreign language (apparently "I'm not alone"). My only problem with this theory is the question of why the hell would the DI still be airlifting supplies if they know the Island has been taken over? If they've just been looking since the hatch esploded, then Ben is lying when he says they've been trying to find the Island for a long time. But Ben is a liar, so that wouldn't be a big stretch.

Other things were notable. Juliet's ambiguity has been resolved in favor of loyalty to the castaways. It's difficult to see at this point how she could go back with the Others, unless the Others rid themselves of Ben's leadership (or Ben dies) and she goes back to join the post-Ben era. After all, her main beef with the Others is her hatred of Ben, so it's conceivable that she's still loyal to the other Others. But, assuming she stays with the light side, her character will become even boringer, particularly now that we're reaching the limit of her knowledge of the Others' operations (she knows they're building a runway but doesn't know what for). Also, the Juliet-Jack kiss was unmoving. There's going to be an overhyped episode next season where the big payoff is Jack and Juliet having sex, jest you wait.

Hurley's act of heroism was cool, but seemed like a contrived way of justifying that horrendous microbus episode. Sayid breaking the guy's neck with his feet was also nice, particularly for the 24 fans in the audience. I'm imagining cries of "Oh snap!" all across the country on Wednesday night. And all of Sawyer's vendettas appear to have been taken care of, with the exception of his lingering hostility toward Juliet. But he seems to be dealing with that mainly through crack-wising. But we do know that Sawyer is a cold-blooded killa, straight up.

Charlie's death was very sad, and very well done. It's nice that he died doing at least three heroic things (facilitating the "rescue," saving Desmond from drowning, and warning Desmond about Naomi). Mikhail is almost certainly still alive.

There was just anough Alex/Carl/Rousseau action to keep those storylines interesting without bogging the episode down with how annoying those characters are. In fact I don't even think Carl had any lines, which is good. And Ben's explanation for how he was treating Carl -- trying to keep Alex from getting pregnant -- was very clever and actually seemed genuine.

And, of course, the Island (via WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!!!!) has healed Locke and is now giving him direct orders. Locke is the new Ben, and also still Gilligan.

Finally, it was nice to see the season end with Ben bloodied and tied to a tree. Lousy bastard finally got taken down a peg. And also, WTF temple?

Fringe Benefits of Clerking

People I have met as a result of my clerkship that I likely would not have met otherwise:

1. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
2. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandray Day O'Connor
3. Current California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George

Things I have been in the same room with as a result of my clerkship that I likely would not have seen up close otherwise:

1. Giant set of chocolate lips valued at over two thousand dollars
2. Motherfucking Eurasian Eagle Owl

More Like "Big Lame"

Sorry, that title makes no sense.

Anyway, here is an interesting story about the NFL's abortive effort to trademark the term "the Big Game." The application was opposed by both Cal and Stanford, who as we all know have been using the phrase to refer to their annual foot-ball match for like a hundred years.

Two more interesting tidbits from the article: (1) A Stanford attorney says the two schools may apply for their own damn trademark in the phrase, and (2) the NFL may still try to secure protection for the phrase as used to refer to the Super Bowl.

Hat tip: WSJ Law Blog, which provides a link to video of the Play (something that, as far as I know, is not the subject of any trademark protection).

Everything Will Change!

This entry contains sarcastic comments about the teaser for the season finale of Lost.

Last night, we were treated to the preview for next week's Lost season finale. At the end of the preview, the words EVERYTHING, WILL, and CHANGE appear on the screen one after the other.

This is at least the third time ABC has used this phrase, or something like it, to tease an upcoming episode. Judging from past experience, next week either Hurley will find a stockpile of food, or two people will have sex.

It's also nice to see that Kate-bound-and-gagged is becoming for Lost season finales what births and weddings were to Friends season finales.

Law Geekery of a Different Stripe

Doing some research just now I came across a citation to 19 U.S.C. section 1337(A)(1)(B), and reflexively read "1337" as "leet." I'm probably not the first lawyer to have this experience, but there can't be that many of us.

Fraudulent Sex


A while ago a female friend told me that she resented the scene in Revenge of the Nerds where the guy has sex with the girl by fooling her into thinking he's her boyfriend (after stealing the boyfriend's knock-off Darth Vader mask). According to my friend, the guy "basically rapes her."

Well, not according to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachuseets:

A Hampden County man who allegedly tricked his brother's girlfriend into having sex with him by impersonating his sibling in the middle of the night cannot be convicted of rape, the state's highest court ruled yesterday in a controversial decision that affirms the court's long-held view that sex obtained through fraud is no crime.

Story here via How Appealing.

It may not be a crime, but it's still probably not a good idea (though it worked out well for the guy in Revenge of the Nerds).

Don't do this.

Ohhhh, God. Giggles positively permeating my office right now. It's even better if you picture the email being written like in that Seinfeld episode with Kramer yelling "exclamation point!" after every sentence.

A Comment on Comments

As some of you may have noticed, readers of this here blog can't post comments without registering with TypeKey. The Big CH Mijefe has implemented this change in order to save the CH servers from ruthless hordes of spamming robots from former Soviet republics. Registering with TypeKey is free and painless, so that in and of itself is not a big deal.

Unfortunately, a side effect of the registration requirement is that, at certain times and for no apparent reason, people aren't able to comment at all, registration be damned. If this happens to you, all I can say is please try again later. That seems to be the only solution at this point, and has worked for other people.

I really like getting comments, so please be not discouraged.

UPDATE: I've added the handy-dandy Meebo thing as a proxy for comments for the time being. We'll see how that goes.

Jackass Law Student All-Stars

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Recently the legal blogging community has been abuzz with the tragic tales of two jackass law students (numbers 3 and 4 below). The legal profession is known for its soaring asshole factor, but every now and then an aspiring lawyer exhibits a degree of unfettered jackassery that's worthy of comment even in a sea of jackasses, often (but not always) torpedoing their nascent professional careers in the process. In the interests of calling attention to this phenomenon, I present to you my personal Top Five Jackass Law Student All-Stars, in no particular order. I'm not saying these folks deserved their respective fates, but I am of the opinion that if you manage to claw your way into a decent law school you might want to exercise a single ounce of good judgment while you're there.

1. Tucker Max
Law School: Duke
Current Engagement: Internet Whore, also apparently developing a sitcom based on his assholery.
Jackass Claim to Fame: A consistent pattern of jerky behavior, including several incidents at summer associate events. In Tucker's own words:

"My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole.

I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead.

But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way. I share my adventures with the world. They are known as:

The Tucker Max Stories"

Jackassery Fallout: Apparently gave up on the practice of law on after obtaining his J.D., and has dedicated his life to being a professional jerk.

2. Kiwi "K.A.D." Camara
Law School: Harvard
Current Engagement: Aspiring legal scholar, constantly dogged in his academic job search by the lingering fallout of his jackassery. Although he obtained a fellowship at at least one law school, he is rumoured to have been blackballed by the nation's leading law firms.
Jackass Claim to Fame: Posted an outline full of N-bombs on a website used by Harvard Law Students.
Jackassery Fallout: Everything you would expect from politically correct elite law students, along with the professional blackballing mentioned above. Also created a kerfuffle at Yale Law School when the Yale Law Journal accidentally accepted an article written by him.
Bonus Fun Fact: At age sixteen, was the youngest person ever to enroll at HLS.

3. Unidentified Boalt 1L
Law School: Boalt
Current Engagement: Trying to avoid being expelled.
Jackass Claim to Fame: Shortly after the Virginia Tech shooting, posted a vague threat to UC Hastings on an Internet message board.
Jackassery Fallout: Hastings was evacuated, the Boalt community went all CSI trying to figure out who he was, and once his identity was determined Dean Edley called for the student to be expelled.
Bonus Fun Fact: After a spirited discussion on a Boalt Alumni e-mail group, a handful of young lawyers appear eager to represent him in his First Amendment challenge should the need arise.

4. Anthony Ciolli
Law School: Penn
Current Engagement: Unemployed law student
Jackass Claim to Fame: Co-owned the AutoAdmit message board, a service apparently envisioned as a legitimate message board for law students which quickly degenerated into a forum for unrestrained racism, explicit sexual comments about female law students, and other verbal unpleasantnesses; refused to moderate messages or otherwise meaningfully respond to the fact that his website had been taken over by bigots and rapists.
Jackassery Fallout: After the firestorm set off when people realized what was going on and how it was apparently affecting the career prospects of various female law students, Ciolli ultimately left the operation and promptly had his offer rescinded by the law firm where he had planned to work after law school.

5. Elizabeth Wurtzel
Law School: Yale
Current Engagement: Obnoxious law student/hack writer
Jackass Claim to Fame: After establishing an undeserved literary career with insightful offerings such as Prozac Nation and Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women, and making public comments about how beautiful the twin towers looked as they crumbled on 9/11, Wurtzel enrolled at Yale Law School where she promptly became even more of a pain in the ass. By all accounts her principal reason for enrolling at the nation's top law school was to flunk out and write a book about it.
Jackassery Fallout: Like Tucker Max, Wurtzel has managed to parlay her jackassery into professional success, somehow maintaining a dedicated base of fans eager to read her trite, navel-gazing drivel regardless of how tedious it gets.
Bonus Fun Fact: Wrote an meandering, uninsightful, amazingly self-involved Op-Ed about the AutoAdmit controversy which was published in The Wall Street Journal.

Feel free to discuss in the comments. But just to let you know, I ain't no Anthony Ciolli.

I Found an Error on Wikipedia!

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I don't have a Wikipedia account. Can someone get on this?

The Onion Kills Off Herbert Kornfeld

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That's no good. I was sad when we lost T. Herman Zwiebel, and now Herbert Kornfeld is gone. Smoove B writes with distressing infrequency, and I can't remember the last Larry Groznic column I read. This is all very distressing.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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