August 2007 Archives

Whole Nother Andrews Follow-Up


Here's the email exchange between me and the Contracts professor, reprinted with his permission (though I'm withholding his name).

Dear Professor,

In Spring 2003 you and the rest of your 1L Contracts course had yourself a laugh by tricking me into predicting that Judge Andrews, who wrote the opinion in Strong v. Sheffield, would have rejected the result in Wood v. Lucy, only to reveal that "Judge Andrews" had, in fact, joined the conflicting Wood opinion. Well, someone just alerted me to the fact that the Judge Andrews who wrote Strong v. Sheffield was an entirely different Judge Andrews from the one who joined the majority in Wood v. Lucy. The former was Judge Charles Andrews, on the court from 1870 to 1897 (Strong was decided in 1894). The latter was Judge William Andrews, on the court from 1917 (the year Wood was decided) to 1928. See

Now, perhaps you already know this. As I recall, you followed up the revelation not by admitting that the votes were cast by two entirely different people, but by speculating that the original Judge Andrews may have simply changed his mind in the intervening 23 years between the two cases. In any case, while the lesson learned was a valid one -- look at the evidence in front of you before offering a conclusion -- in this case the evidence was misleading, as it wasn't clear from the text that 1917 Andrews wasn't the same as 1894 Andrews. The extremely attentive student may have noticed that the first Andrews was Chief Judge while the latter Andrews was just a regular Judge, and thereby surmise that they were two different people (or that Chief Judge Andrews was demoted -- after all, a Supreme Court that insists on calling itself a Court of Appeals might be daffy enough to demote its Chief Judges down to regular judges). But this seems like a lot to ask of a first-year law student.

If you plan on keeping this particular gag in your repertoire, I might respectfully suggest that you be more sporting in the future and let the poor student know that there were two Judge Andrewses on the New York Court of Appeals, or at least lead him or her there through suitably direct Socratic questions.



Hi Matt,

Sorry if the experience scarred you! I assure you that I made that point not to get a laugh at your expense but to make the point that lawyers need to pay very careful attention to detail when reading cases.

In this situation, it was clearly I who was not attentive enough to detail. I did not know that there were two Judges Andrews. I certainly would not have kept this a secret. Live and learn. The fact that Strong v. Sheffield was decided by Chief Judge Andrews and the Wood by Judge Andrews isn't necessarily a tip-off, however, since on some courts the Chief Judge position either rotates or carries an age limitation.

Thanks for pointing this out.

All the best,


(Regarding the chief judge thing -- I realize that the chief judgeship is a rotating position in many trial courts and appellate courts, but I didn't realize that was also the case in some supreme courts. -Matt)

EDIT: I wasn't a 1L in Spring 2007.

A Whole Nother Andrews


A reader just emailed me about this post, describing the time my Contracts professor embarrassed me in front of the class by tricking me into predicting that Judge Andrews would have voted differently in Wood v. Lucy then he had in Strong v. Sheffield. The embarrassment came when it was discovered that Judge Andrews joined the opinion in Wood v. Lucy that was directly contrary to the result in Strong v. Sheffield.

Well, it turns out that I'm vindicated. You see, the two cases involved two entirely different Judge Andrewses. Strong v. Sheffield was decided in 1894, when Judge Charles Andrews was on the court (1870 - 1897). Wood v. Lucy was decided in 1917, when Charles was no longer around but William Andrews (1917-1928) had recently joined the court. So, two different Andrewses, two different results, and a really really sneaky question from an abnormally devious professor. Who, by the way, I'll be emailing forthwith.

Many thanks to the reader who brought this to my attention.

Here Comes the Snickerman


Among the many foods I've never been able to eat because of my peanut allergy, Snickers has always seemed like a major gap. Ever since I was a child and Snickers was designated as the official snack of the 1984 Summer Olympics, I've felt that this particular candy bar has occupied a special place among the pantheon of crappy chocolate. Also, I really like crappy chocolate candy bars.

And so, it was with great joy that I recently spotted Snickers bars made with almonds instead of peanuts (Wikipedia says these things have been around for five years, but I've only started seeing them recently). I finally had one last night and another this morning, thanks to Dr. M picking them up for me at the store. And I must say, I was somewhat underwhelmed. It was the nougat, really. Apparently the original Snickers bar has peanut butter nougat, and I expected the surrogate nougat in the almond bar to be along the lines of the chocolate nougat in the traditional Milky Way bar. Unfortunately the nougat tasted like the vanilla crap they use in Milky Way Midnight. This significantly decreases the overall chocolateyness of the candy bar and makes me feel like I'm eating a marshmallow. I'm not sure if people have this same objection to the original Snickers, which of course has peanut butter instead of chocolate, but I'd imagine that peanut butter nougat is more flavorful and satisfying than vanilla.

I suppose it could be worse. They could have gone for a complete almond overhaul and used some sort of marzipan nougat, if such a horrible thing exists.

In any case, I'm glad I finally broke the Snickers barrier, but I probably won't go back for more.

Also, I'm not moving to Seattle.

Apparently some scientists are saying that redheads will be extinct in 100 years. And we know they're right, because they're scientists.

This is a good thing. I don't like having red hair and never have. No child should have to endure life as a red-headed elementary school student. No one. Ever. I think the stereotype of redheads being hot-tempered and aggressive and all that arises from redheads spending their childhoods being relentlessly teased and tormented. It's like growing up on Salusa Secundus. Those strong enough to survive become vicious in adulthood.

And by the way, I don't want red-headed children. My kids will have a hard enough time with their giant foreheads.

Share My Curse


I, more than most people I think, have a propensity for getting songs stuck in my head. I say "more than most people" because there's almost never a time when I don't have a song stuck in my head. This is very strange in light of the fact that I don't really listen to any radio stations other than NPR, and I never listen to features about musicians.

This paradox has produced a fairly eclectic list of regular songs that are on a steady rotation in my cavernous skull, including:

1. "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse
2. "Don't Ask My Why" by Billy Joel (dirty version that I made up)
3. "Sleigh Ride" (year-round for some demonic reason)
4. The Godfather Theme
5. "It's Good to Be in D.C." (Three years, people!)
6. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (Shooby Taylor version)
7. The Muddy the Mudskipper Theme

I'll also often find myself humming a particularly infectious song that I hear on the radio in the gym in the morning, but I'm limited to humming because I can never make out the words over the sounds of Phil Hendrie or Alex Filippenko blaring through my headphones.

Annnnnnyway, I've recently encountered a song that appears to be overshadowing all others, a song of such fortitude that not only does it appear to be here to stay, but it also absolutely never lets up. I sing the full song in my head and then immediately start over again, like a CD player on repeat. The odd conflagration of the various elements of this song appear to have created some sort of synergistic mathematical anomaly that has indelibly grafted itself onto my neurons and synapses. Apparently the song has been out for a while but I only first heard it on Friday night.

The song is "LDN" by Lily Allen. I now share my curse with you:

I mean, what kind of a diabolical mastermind do you have to be to rhyme "Tesco" with "al fresco"? Honestly.

EDIT: I realize that I may anger people with this post, so here's a cat chasing a bear:

EDIT 2: Speling.

Are there more movies called "American __________" or books called "The __________'s Daughter"?

Five Years of IFTL


Today marks the fifth anniversary of I Fought the Law's first post and first comic strip, neither of which, in retrospect, are particularly inspiring.

As I've often said, and as may be apparent from that first post, the original vision of this Internet adventure was a website devoted primarily to a weekly comic strip with occasional blog posts to supplement the strips. The blog soon began to overshadow the strip, and by now, when there hasn't been a new strip in several months, this is most definitely a blog first and anything else second. Which is a good thing, since my writing is generally better than my drawring.

Over the past five years I've redesigned the site a few times, provided a forum for people to share their encounters with Hawaii's scariest spiders, drawn the wrath of teenage girls by questioning the beauty of Reese Witherspoon, engaged in ham-fisted constitutional interpretation, offended people with my irreverence at least twice (in the course of offending surprisingly few people overall, given some of my questionable choices of subject matter), and had a lot of other memorable experiences that don't immediately spring to mind. I've made new friends on the Intertron, and reconnected with old friends through the magic of Google, notwithstanding recent efforts to wipe my real name from this site. All in all, it's been a good half-a-decade.

Here's to many more half-a-decades, which may or may not include a comic strip or two along the way.

Domain Name Issues

Some of you may have noticed that the URL currently isn't pointing here. This is because I accidentally let it expire at the beginning of the month. I'm in the process of switching to a new registration service, so hopefully things will be back to normal soon enough.



I'm in the midst of a two-day trip to Seattle, which may or may not lay the groundwork for an eventual move up here in a few months. I know I haven't mentioned anything about this possible relocation on this here blog before, so there it is.

This is my first visit to Seattle, and my initial impressions are positive. It's a clean and more or less friendly city, at least the parts I've visited. It strikes me as an imperfect memory of San Francisco. The same basic idea in many ways, a familiar layout and general vibe, but smaller and with a slightly altered waterfront view. Looking out over Elliott Bay this morning, there were certain directions that looked just like the Oakland Hills, but there was no notorious prison, no landmark bridges, and there were snow-capped mountains poking incongruously through the clouds in the distance.

Here's what I've done so far. Last night I arrived in the city around eight o'clock, checked into my financial district hotel, and set off in search of food. Like the financial district of any large city, the area seemed to have more or less shut down in the evening hours, but I managed to find a trendy cafe-slash-tasting room a few blocks away, and ruined the bartender's evening by ordering a local beer (Scuttlebutt Blonde Ale, straight from Everett) with my chicken sandwich. I was one of the few solo diners and my attempts at engaging the bartender in conversation proved ineffective, even though I had a built-in conversation topic in that he had moved here from Southern California several years ago. There was a female solo diner to my left by I decided not to strike up a conversation wither her lest she think me a masher.

Today, I got up bright and early and had a cup of Seattle's Best(TM) coffee, which was actually really good. I had used the guidebook I found in my hotel room to work out a self-guided walking tour, so I strolled through the financial district toward Pike Marketplace. Along the way a local woman made a comment to me about the weather as I was waiting for a light to change (the weather is gorgeous today, which apparently is a big deal here in Seattle) and we had a brief talk. The woman was very nice but also very chatty, asking me several questions and then answering them immediately before I could respond ("Oh, you're a Giants fan? What do you think of Barry Bonds I think it's just a bunch of hype [forty-five second diatribe about Barry Bonds]").

I arrived at the marketplace too early for there to be anything going on, so I followed the sketchy path down to the waterfront and headed toward the Space Needle. The waterfront was also largely deserted, even though it was mid-morning. I found the waterfront to be nice in places but altogether poorly designed. There are very few spots with an unobstructed view of the bay, since everything is heavily built up down there. But the walk was nice. I strolled through Olympic Sculpture Park, which was very underwhelming, and then did a cursory exploration of the tourist maze surrounding the Space Needle before realizing that a single man with no children would be woefully out of place among these attractions. I also decided not to spend the sixteen dollars on the Space Needle elevator ride because I'm afraid of heights.

Instead, I went to the Science Fiction Museum, which was really cool. You'd think that a museum dedicated to science fiction memorabilia, a topic whose afficionados are notorious collectors and often willing to spend surprising sums of money on worthless crap, would have an extensive and impressive gift shop, but you'd be wrong. This is very much a look-but-don't-buy establishment.

After the Sci Fi Museum I hopped the monorail ("Were you sent here by the Devil? No, good sir, I'm on the level.") back to downtown. I had initially intended to get lunch back at the marketplace, but I decided that if I'm here to see what life as a Seattle lawyer would be like I may as well check out a downtown lunch spot. So I stopped at a brewery-slash-restaurant and sampled two more local beers with a very tasty cheeseburger. Again, I utterly failed to engage the bartender in conversation or to insinuate myself into the conversation taking place to my left. Throughout my time in the brewery I didn't hear a song released after 2000, and in fact heard a lot of music that could best be classified as either originating in or inspired by 90s grunge. Apparently they're really clinging to their musical legacy up here.

After lunch I went back to the marketplace and found it bustling, the city's tourists apparently having been roused during my time at the Space Needle and museum. I don't like shopping, so I didn't spend much time at the marketplace, but got the general idea. I didn't see anyone throwing fish. I did see what I believe to be the original Starbucks.

And so, at the moment I'm waiting for a high school friend to get off of work so we can hang out and I can get more of an insider's perspective on this here city. Tomorrow will be the big show, the meeting with the law firm folks, so we'll see how that goes.

Another thing I feel compelled to add is that last night while flipping through the channels in my hotel room I found a panel of lawyers and judges taped in the 1980s being shown on one of the local access stations, and one of the panelists was the judge I'm working for. I can only take that as a positive sign.

An Unexpected Party


Earlier this evening I was putting some laundry on in the laundry room, which is down the hall from my apartment and across the hall from another apartment. As I was loading my crap, a woman appeared in the doorway of the across-the-hall apartment and said Hello to me. I said Hi back, and she asked if I would come and visit with her. I said No, I was doing laundry, and she asked if I would come talk with her afterwards. I said I didn't have time, and she seemed to let the matter drop. I continued with my deterging and whatnot and realized that she was still standing in her doorway with the door open, and at one point she said "Mother, I'm talking to this man in the hall. He's very nice." I heard someone groan back from inside the apartment, so this wasn't a Norman Bates situation.

As I turned to leave she approached me and asked me to walk with her. She clearly had something going on, so I tried to humor her. She wouldn't say anything within earshot of her apartment, so I finally got her to whisper in my ear that she had a "hit" on her and needed help. I told her I needed to get home, so she said, "Okay, let's go to your apartment." Not what I had in mind.

She also held up two trembling hands, to demonstrate that she was afraid, you see. So, here I was, with a large, awkward laundry basket, some unwieldy bottles of laundry product, a paranoid neighbor, and no means of escape.

I offered to call the police for her, just to get her to leave me alone, but she insisted on walking with me. The farther away we got from her apartment the safer she seemed to feel, though when I stopped in front of my door (probably not the first mistake, but definitely a large one), she seemed disappointed that I lived so close to her (just around the goddamn corner, in fact). Thinking quickly but not well, I thought I could get into my apartment, laundry paraphernalia and all, without her getting in.

No luck. No sooner had I opened the door than she was in my kitchen, resisting all entreaties to leave the apartment and unmoved by my explanation that this was, in fact, my home, and she couldn't be here. Dr. M was understandably surprised by all of this and hopped to her feet as soon as she saw that something was up. Presumably, she didn't think I had brought some woman home, and understood that the situation had at least the trappings of danger.

Here's how it went. I dropped the laundry stuff and tried to push her out the door with my left hand while holding the door open with my right hand. She was clinging to the door jamb, and rather effectively holding her ground. I at least managed to keep her there, creating a barrier between her and the rest of the apartment. Dr. M called 911, which totally freaked the neighbor out. She asked us to please not call the police on her. The whole time she wasn't aggressively violent and didn't even really raise her voice. She was just really paranoid. Anyway, once Dr. M had the police on the phone the neighbor started trying to close the door, at which point I grabbed her around her waist from behind and used my shoulder to shove her into the hallway. Before I even started closing the door (which, needless to say, I tried to do as quickly as possible) I saw that she had taken off running down the hall in the direction away from her apartment.

We locked the door and freaked out a little. We had no idea where this woman had got to and meanwhile a not insubstantial portion of our clothing was trapped in a room directly across from her apartment. Over the course of the next two and a half hours we periodically called the police department, each time being assured that we would be the next call to go out (this would become less irritating later, as explained below). We managed to finish the laundry by going over there together, constantly scoping out the hallway, and carrying our cordless phone and cell phones with us. We saw Barry hit number 756.

Finally, a police officer arrived and explained that they had picked her up a while ago (so their massive delay was explainable, though not actually explained until late in the evening). She had gone down to the beach and started hassling the kite surfers probably along the same lines, who also called the police on her. The police department has had a lot of experience with her, apparently, as she's mentally ill and has a history of erratic behavior. Fortunately she has no history of violence. In fact, she's a rather small person and the officer said she isn't very strong. Earlier in the evening it occurred to me that when I 86ed her from the apartment it was the first time in my life that I had physically overpowered someone. It didn't seem very satisfying at the time and it seems less so now.

The grand irony of this, of course, is the fact that Dr. M has been diligently studying for her licensing exam in psychology, which she's taking next week, only to have a night's studying disrupted by a mental health crisis. The irony is further compounded by the fact that, in her current job, Dr. M does 5150 assessments, which is what our neighbor is now undergoing at our friendly neighborhood adult psychiatric facility.

Read this book.

EDIT: Changed the first sentence to make the timing consistent, since I started writing this an hour after the initial encounter but didn't come back to it until it was all over.

A Modest Request to Law Bloggers


Chocolate Rain

| 1 Comment

Watch. Wonder. Watch again. Continue to wonder. Do your best to unravel the mystery, and fail miserably. Blame 4chan. Repeat.

And please, for the love of God, explore the various video responses. Especially the McDonald's commercial and Vanilla Snow.

(This blog post is being brought to you partially of my own volition, and partially in response to a request by WT, who fears that his self-imposed blogging hiatus will leave the legal blogotron wanting for the spread of unexplainable Internet phenomena. He also suggested I share my observation that the authors of articles at Slate obviously don't title their own work, as there just can't be that many writers who would willingly begin the title of their articles with "Hey!").




Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

Hat tip: Above the Law.

IFTL Thursday Quiz of Fun


Guess the age of this child.

Post answers in the comments. The winner will get nothing but satisfaction.

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

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