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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Walk Towards the Light, Stephen King

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Friday at 5p.m. I will turn in the final draft of my comment.

I am a huge Steven King fan. Huge. And 3 years ago he swore he wouldn't publish any more horror novels.

Well, my wife just bought me a copy of his new novel, The Cell . . .

And I get it when I turn in my Comment.

While my fellow law-reviewers will be getting their drink on at Rocky Larues, I will be at home buried in blood, gore, death, and destruction. I will only have 2 1/2 days to get through an entire Stephen King novel.

I can do it.

For anyone interested, there is a picture below of Stephen King's house in Bangor, Maine. I spent a week there with a family on a mission trip once. Notice the gargoyles and spider webs in the wrought iron work.

Bangor is beautiful. It was more a vacation than work. But if you are a fan of King, you can't help but get freaked out by the people and places you see -- everything is right out of one of his novels.

They told me several stories about Mr. King and showed me where he lived when writing Pet Semetary and the cemetary that inspired it. My favorite story, however, has to do with Stephen King's going to the games of the local high school baseball team. Supposedly, Mr. King likes to go to the games and forget his wallet and bum hot dogs and beers off of his friends. They tell me they don't mind -- not with all the money he donates to the community.

The humble abode of Stephen King. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wednesday Wants to Know

Thanks to Elle over at Legally Blonde, we have a new exercise in procrastination to take up space on our blogs. Thanks also to her friendly threats regarding my certain disembowlment, it appears I will be participating.

Here it goes:

1. For the Men: Boxers or Briefs? For the Ladies: Thong or Boyshorts?

Most definitely boxers. Unlike Kramer's pronouncement on Seinfeld that his "boys need a home!" Mine need space to roam. If that grosses you out -- good, I had to deal with the revulsion each time my father would quote Kramer in reference to himself. Welcome to my childhood.

2. What is the weirdest place you've ever had sex?

Oh, this will be sure to implicate me. I am not sure what one would characterize as "weird" but I'll include a short list w/out details: beach, ocean surf, ferry, elevator, dressing room, mountain side, public restroom . . . I think I'll end there.

3. What is your policy on telling your significant other your "number"?

Absolutely, I told her. If you are willing to give up your freedom and "right" to add to that number . . . to spend the rest of your life with that one person, then she shouldn't have a problem with what came before. No matter what the number was . . . it now ONE.

Join Today!!

Introducing . . .

The Coalition of Second Year Law Review Members that are Tired of Being Tricked, Swindled, and Otherwise Unfairly and Unjustly Persuaded into Spending Every Minute of our Free Time at School Instead of at the Bar or on the Golf Course or Anywhere Else We Want to Be

Founded during the tense afternoon hours of January 24, 2006, this esteemed organization is the brain-child of the extremely capable (read: as disgruntled as I) T.S. The resume of its founder is typical of most law students.

Bargaining on his ability to excel at whatever task to which he sets his mind, T.S. assumed the fact he could drink most of his friends under the table would bode well for Law School. He worked hard throughout his first year and naively believed his reward lay in the offer of a position on Texas Tech's Law Review.

Unfortunately for T.S., it would be six months before he would come to realize this Law Review was merely another level of the propagation of the “give it your best shot, and it may pay off” attitude.

This attitude, deftly instilled in every potential attorney, has an intoxicating affect on the central nervous system. It dulls the senses while creating in us a behavior analogous to that of a mental patient locked in a padded room continually running into the walls only to be knocked to the floor with a flacid determination to get up and try it again.

This is a dangerous attitude and, when fully developed, undoubtedly leads to the dreaded and very deadly silent killer recently named, "Existential Disappointment."

In order to combat this phenomena, T.S. has announced the organization of the TCSYLRMTBTSOUUPSEMFTSIBGCAEWWB.

The TCSYLRMTBTSOUUPSEMFTSIBGCAEWWB, for those interested at this point, has "no dues, no meetings, and no other requirements of any kind whatsoever," with -- I assume -- the exception of those impromptu gatherings at the bars, golf courses, or anywhere else we want to be.

As the self-appointed apostle of the TCSYLRMTBTSOUUPSEMFTSIBGCAEWWB I have taken it upon myself to spread the word of its founder and to apply it to a wider populace -- namely, those law students NOT second year law review members suffering from the same disease.

It is for this reason I am announcing the collectivization of a TCSYLRMTBTSOUUPSEMFTSIBGCAEWWB subsidiary, here after to be known as

The Coalition of OneL's, TwoL's, ThreeL's, and PreL's that are Tired of Being Tricked, Swindled, and Otherwise Unfairly and Unjustly Persuaded into Spending Every Minute of our Free Time at School Instead of at the Bar or on the Golf Course or Anywhere Else We Want to Be


Now go. And spread the word.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Existential Disappointment": My Two Cents Worth

I had yesterday's post from Melissa at Opinionistas pointed out to me just now as a reflection of my own recent disgust with the things I see around me.

To exercise redundancy, I would also like to quote from her post:

Faith, or the key to man’s (and woman’s) happiness, is simply the state of being ultimately concerned. Concerned with what? Something that truly deserves it. If you spend life being ultimately concerned with things that are not worthwhile, you’ll end up in a state called “existential disappointment.”

Now I believe both Mike at BarelyLegal and Elle at LegallyBlonde have done an excellent job at reflecting upon Melissa's words. And they don't need my help.

I would, however, offer this:

Each time I sat down as a minister to talk to or counsel a person, it was incumbent upon me to convey that very sense of what life ultimately means. It is not merely lawyers that struggle every day with "existential disappointment."

Everyone does. Even those of us who drift through this world and know where our concerns should be.

Law School Lesson of the Day #163

Should you ever feel the need to begin a conversation with, "This must stay entirely between us . . ." then you are probably better off keeping it entirely to yourself.

. . . and this applies regardless of whether you view this person as a close friend or not.

Nothing is sacred in Law School.

Can I Get an "Amen"?!

Am I alone

Or is it a fairly common occurence for a law student to wake up one morning, half-way through his/her legal education

And ask:

Do I really want to do this with these people for the rest of my life?

Last night my wife was watching Courting Alex, the new Jenna Elfman sitcom on CBS where she plays an uptight attorney. I love Jenna Elfman. But I took one look at the television, looked at my wife, and said

I don't have any desire to watch another show about lawyers ever again.

We all have relatively similar personalities. We are all overly-dramatic, neurotic, tense, and more-often-than-not, risk-averse.

We are -- none of us -- completely balanced, I don't think.

And we will spend the rest of our lives working side-by-side feeding off of each other's insecurities.

I have absolutely no comprehension of why a person would actually want to date, or even worst, marry another lawyer. C'mon, put some balance into your life!

This profession is incredible.

And I am just begining to realize that, while I've wanted to be a lawyer most of my life -- no matter how much of a lawyer I become, acheiving this dream alone is not capable of giving me fulfillment.

I do it now for other reasons.

I also understand now why they give the credit for Law Review membership in a person's third year. Otherwise, I truly believe half of us would be quitting come May. By dangling it like a carrot, we cannot conscionably spend an entire year doing all of this work and then give up the one solid reward we come by as a result -- 4 credit hours.

But I digress . . . to return to my point --

I have always told myself since leaving the ministry that one day I would return. Over the past two years, this silent mantra became, I believe, more a matter of placating my soul than of an actual intention to return to the pulpit.

I left because of youth and a weakness in my character.

I still suffer from youth and an obvious weakness in my character.

But as time goes on, these hurdles can be overcome. And I am growing more and more positive every day that eventually I will return.

I will don my suspenders again, throw off my coat, roll my sleeves up, pull my handkerchief from my pocket, and dab the sweat from my forehead as I roam amongst the pews with both exuberance and solemnity.

I imagine there are still many people who believe the law and the practice of the law can bring all the joy and fulfillment they need in life.

But, man, no matter how much you enjoy it -- this is still work. And a person needs to find something else, something deeper, to be whole . . .

Monday, January 23, 2006

Damn you, NBC

I must echo BuffaloWings&Vodka.

If you want to know why you suck, NBC, it is because you keep screwing with us.

Last year Wednesday nights I did all I could to make sure I was in front of the TV when The West Wing came on. Then you moved it to Sunday nights. And, I'm sorry, but I'm not as "upscale" as you'd hoped. I would rather watch Family Guy on Fox.

And now, because you moved it to Sundays and it isn't doing as well, you've decided to cancel it.

(Oh, not to mention I just learned the actor that played Leo mirrored the fate of his character but with a less fortunate ending after passing from a heart attack in December.)

To make matters worse -- The Office is being pulled after March while Steve Carrell makes another movie.

Damn you, NBC.

The World's Smallest Violin Plays for You

Allow me to reiterate how overly dramatic law students can be.

Last night I sat on the 2nd Floor with my Page Proof/Shelf Check partner editing an article for the Water Law edition . . .

And a librarian appears--

"I've had a couple complaints about a big noise problem up here. Have you noticed anything."

My first impression is, either she is approaching the situation with tact or -- as was the case -- she didn't notice a problem with our quiet discussion of the fact the author of our article decided not to footnote a single sentence.

We were the only people present so, after making a dramatic glance around, I replied:

"Noooo. Doesn't seem to be a noise problem here. We're just working on this article. But I tell you what, we'll call you if we notice anything."

Right. Expect a phone call from us.

Gonzales v. Oregon: A Time to Kill . . . . Not a Time to Heal (Ideologic Inconsistency in Decision and Direction)

Credit goes to this guy for the title to Part III.C of my Comment.

Much is being made about the decision and the split of the justices and who landed where. However, for my part, I believe the only salient point that can be taken from this decision is the restatement of a sad truth:

We are losing the best Justice this Court has to offer.

Of these 9, it would appear only O'Connor acted out of sincerity--without the imposition of subjective beliefs--and with the wisdom of a judge who bases decisions on the law.

I say this after an examination of O'Connor's position on the federal-state balance issue from Lopez to Raich through to Oregon today.

The more liberal members of the Court, who in Lopez argued there wasn't even evidence of a traditional realm of State "police powers" protected by the Tenth Amendment, threw their support to Justice Kennedy's writing of this opinion. And, while the decision seems to protect the Federal-State balance, it was not decided on the basis of answering the question, "Can the Federal Government do this?" but by viewing the much more limited question, "Did the Congress give the A-G power to do this?" Dicta in the majority opinion seems to sway back and forth at times as to whether Congress (or the FDA) could actually do what the AG here can't.

And the conservative members of the Court? They take the position that the AG can do what they've previously argued Congress can't do before. Well, except for Justice Scalia, perhaps . . . But this is only because of his decision in Raich which still doesn't seem to be in keeping with his previous stance on the topic of Federalism.

All in all, the ruling does not tremendously complicate my Comment. After all, the thrust of my argument was that the Supreme Court has no clue as to what is going on and doesn't seem to be willing to get a firm grasp on the topic of Federalism, either. It does, however, make it more difficult to present the material with any amount of organization.

After all, when the area of law is nothing more than a game of 52-Pick-Up to the Justices . . . what will it mean to potential readers?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

We Don't Do Anything "Half-Ass"

Having been born and raised a Denver Broncos fan, there were a few "truths" I had taught to me as a child:

1. John Elway is the second greatest man to have ever lived--the first being Jesus Christ.
2. You are a Bronco when you win. You are a Bronco when you lose.
3. There is always next year.

At least one other lesson I have learned from observation:

1. When the Broncos lose in the post-season, we usually lose big.

Case in point . . .

Superbowl XII (1978) - Broncos, 10; Cowboys, 27
Superbowl XXI (1987) - Broncos, 20; Giants, 39
Superbowl XXII (1988) - Broncos, 10; Redskins, 42
Superbowl XXIV (1990) - Broncos, 10; 49ers, 55

As a Bronco fan I will always hold on to the memories of Elway's last years . . .

Superbowl XXXII (1998) - Broncos, 31; Packers, 24
Superbowl XXXIII (1999) - Broncos, 34; Falcons, 19

And the knowledge that no team has won more regular season games since 1978 than my Denver Broncos. Thank you Dan Reeves. Thank you Mike Shanahan. Thank you John.

As I finish this post, the score is now 27-17, Steelers, with 5:00 to play in the 4th. And it looks with the fumble recovery on the Steeler's 18 . . . it won't end any closer.

I will now go clean the kitchen. And get ready for the coming week. And keep in mind lesson #3.

There is always next year.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

What the Hell is a "K-Fed"??

The headline on AOLMusic reads: "The Tragedy of 'PopoZao': The Nations Tremble Before Its Crappiness."

Out of some morbid curiousity, I actually clicked on the link.

And after the bleeding stopped. The laughing started.

As if it isn't bad enough that those two actually created another human being together . . . now we have to deal with the abortion that is Kevin Federline's debut album.

All I have to say is:

Britney, you could've married your cousin and brought less shame upon the people of the South. Thanks a lot!

But . . . for a white boy with some talent who, with a little production help, could probably make it on to my playlist . . . check out: Homicide (Remix) [WARNING: Video contains adult images, and not all of them are appealing.]

Also, for a little entertainment, check out The eBay Song. The Backstreet Boys couldn't have done it better themselves.

Please, suh, may I have anotha?

. . .

Friday, January 20, 2006

That Wacky Court

The Supreme Court is intent on complicating my life to its fullest.

Two weeks. My student comment.

Two weeks from today. It is due. In its finality.

I am writing on Federalism. Federal-State balance of power. The Tenth Amendment. The Commerce Clause.

A few months ago, the Court held in a 6-3 decision that California residents could not use marijuana for medicinal purposes, regardless of its legitimacy in that state, because it interferred with federal law on the subject.

This week, a mere 2 weeks before I am to rid myself of this . . . they complicate things.

The Court, in Gonzales v. Oregon has ruled that Oregon doctors can use controlled drugs to help kill their terminally-ill patients, even though this is not allowed according to federal law.

So a State has the right to kill people. But can't help make them feel better.

And what is more, it is also wacky-backwards week for the Supreme Court:

Scalia is wearing Ginsberg's underwear.

And Justice Thomas is voting like Justice Stevens.

Touche, Supreme Court, Touche.

A Conversation Between Rosemary and Her Baby

At about 11 O'Clock last night the cell phone rang, playing the very distinct "Me & Bobby McGee" by 1960's singer Janis Joplin:

Rosemary's Baby: Yeah?

Rosemary: Whatcha up to?

Rosemary's Baby: Watching some kids get busted. Can I call you back?

Rosemary: No. I need to tell you your grandmother is in the hospital.

Rosemary's Baby: Is she alright???

Rosemary: Yeah. She just had a pain in her right arm. They're keeping her overnight for oberservation but she should be all . . . hey? Are you paying attention?

Rosemary's Baby: Yup. Sorry. This is just very entertaining.

Rosemary: More important than the fact your grandmother is in the hospital?

Rosemary's Baby: Well, uh, no . . . but you just said she's going to be allright. So if she's okay, its not every day I get to watch a group of kids getting busted for possession.

Rosemary: Where are you?

Rosemary's Baby: In the living room, looking out the window.

Rosemary: And what is going on?

Rosemary's Baby: Two cops have four teenage boys handcuffed sitting on the curb outside my house . . . well, uh, only one is handcuffed. The other 3 are just being humiliated. And they've got a baggie of dope they found on the handcuffed one. Its sitting on the hood of the cop car. With a lanyard.

Rosemary: What's a lanyard?

Rosemary's Baby: Y'know, those ribbons or strings you put around your neck and attach name tags or car keys to.

Rosemary: Oh. Okay. Wait, I still don't know what you are talking about.

Rosemary's Baby: You know . . . if you go to, like, Old Navy or JCPenney and you see the associates all have their name badges hanging around their necks by a string--that is a lanyard.

Rosemary: Oh. They don't just pin them to their chest's like they used to?

Rosemary's Baby: Not in a long time, mom. Oh, hey, one of the boy's father just showed up. This should be good.

Rosemary: They're being busted for having a little pot? Noooooo. Those cops should just leave those boys alone! Its just a little dope.

Rosemary's Baby: A little? Its about half a ziploc baggie full. I don't bet he was going to smoke it all himself.

Rosemary: Half? That's nothing. Maybe if it was packed full . . . but, c'mon. They were just having a little fun.

Rosemary's Baby: Well, hell . . . Like I said I don't think it was all for that guy alone! The other guys are lucky . . .

Rosemary: And the one is taking the fall for his buddies, huh?

Rosemary's Baby: Yeah.

Rosemary: That's nice of him. I almost got busted once. Thank God for McDonalds.

Rosemary's Baby: McDonalds took the fall for you once, huh??

Rosemary: Yeah. We convinced the MPs that the dogs just smelled our hamburgers.

Rosemary's Baby: Well it's too bad they're not all going to jail. This is just way too funny. Dumb, cocky kids. Ha ha, the father is yelling at his kid now while the one cop is shining his flashlight in the kids face.

Rosemary: You are evil.

Rosemary's Baby: And you are a hippie.

Rosemary: Can you open the window to hear what they're saying?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Texas Tech School of Law

and Center for the Performing Arts.

I believe that would be a more accurate designation for this place, at times. But I suppose such would be the case with any law school.

If barristers had been educated by organized schools in 1580, Shakespeare would have had a field day with us.

Not only would we have been the subject of the plays, but undoubtedly the performers as well.

I have often asked myself why so many movies and television shows are made about lawyers . . . but I am sure now it must be since lawyers are so easily played. It would be near to impossible to over-act this part.

Hmm . . . thinking of Shakespeare reminds me of what he once wrote, and I must add:

All the world is a stage . . . and Law School is our Broadway.

Mornings are for sleeping.

Not for exercising. I am remembering that now. Oh, and I don't believe they were ever intended for the study of the Texas Probate Code, either.

So I finally started back to the gym after a 5 month hiatus. Last semester went horribly wrong as my health got pushed to the back of the line and the only emotion I ever experienced was stress.

They say exercise helps to relieve stress. But that doesn't do much good when you are too stressed to leave the confines of your own private hell to expend some energy you don't have to begin with.

But don't they say sex relieves stress, as well. That didn't even help much last semester. I could finish, roll over, and get asked the question: "How do you feel now?"

And my answer would be, "Stressed."

I can hold you, but I'll have to read for Oil & Gas at the same time.

I suppose, though, I have a fairly calm and collected manner when under great amounts of stress. I must have---given that people assume it takes very little effort for me to do anything.

Well, yeah . . . okay . . . so I don't put much effort into anything.

But that doesn't mean I don't put a lot of stress in for effort's place.

And my wife acts as if I seem to be enjoying myself while hopelessly attempting to revise my student comment, or study what-ever-the-hell it is I have to study, or am "shelf-checking" some portion of a mind-numbing article on the current state of insurance litigation in the state of Texas.

I can not express how much I absolutely relish those moments when I sit at the table, cases strewn haplessly about me, staring at the computer screen while wishing my fingers on to some bit of ingenuity . . .

And I hear, "Well, you've just been sitting there in front of that computer for 3 straight days. Why don't you get up and do something productive like help me clean? I wish I could just sit around all the time like you."

Hand me a golf club and I'll make it a reality . . . I think.

So, anyway, I started back to the gym. And needed to after my all-you-can-eat pancakes platter at IHOP last night.

(But, no, I did not eat all the pancakes I could eat. I think they have a policy where the waitress is supposed to disappear for the duration of your meal after setting down the food and not returning with the check until you have not only finished but have also had the chance to completely digest it all.)

Speaking of IHOP, it must be a definite sign you are getting old when you have absolutely NO patience with the group of 10 high school kids they seat in your section taking up the booth behind yours and two more tables and you have to listen to their giggling and assinine comments and rocking back and forth in the booth and jumping over each other and flicking each other with soda and that conversation . . . that high school conversation . . . where they have everything figured out and are so damned pompous and sure of everything and everyone . . .


All-you-can-eat or not. Next time I am going to Cheddars.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It is getting so cold, momma

After meeting with the student writing editor this morning, I am afraid there won't even be enough of my comment left for me to burn when this is over.

My comment editor has asked me how much critcism I would like to receive from her. "Let me have it," I told her. I assume when I get it back it will appear as if she committed hara-kiri while clutching my 112 pages of stream-of-conscious legal musings. Perhaps I can add a green border to give it that festive Christmas feel?

No. It is probably too late for that. This doesn't look good for a person who wants to make a living out of the study and practice of Constitutional Law.

Maybe I can return to Oklahoma and take up the family business. I can be the philosophical fence builder. I am a damned good salesman.

Or perhaps I'll just start selling crack . . .

Damn. That's out of the question, as well. The lawyers have cornered that market, too, where I am from. no lie.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Death of a Great Idea

Mike over at Barely Legal has embarked upon a great experiment to see if there is such a thing as Classroom Limbo.

In other words, can a person make it through the entire semester signing the roll sheet so as to not be absent but never appearing on the seating chart so as to not be called on?

I had wondered the same myself this morning, but had my question answered fairly quickly.

As I entered and took my seat for my 8:00 a.m. class, the clever Prof. Wills&Trusts was comparing the seating chart to the roll sheet and barking out the names of those who did not appear to have chosen a place for the semester.

Unfortunately, one hapless unseated student also happened to be late. And public notice was taken by the Prof.

So, we know there is no Classroom Limbo for this course. Though I wonder if one were to play the odds . . .

Perhaps the students singled out today have passed by unnoticed in previous courses. If this is true, wouldn't an entire semester of silence be worth the risk?

I Shot the Buffalo but it was a Crime of Passion, Officer

On today's "Lawyers" Calendar:

"In Texas, it is illegal to shoot a buffalo from a second-story hotel window."

I'm sure there was a legitimate reason for this law when it was originally enacted. In Texas, we limit our legislature to meeting only once every two years . . . in hopes that it won't give them enough time to screw too many things up. Not sure it works.

So the Spring Semester is now under way and, by chance or very good luck, the gods of scheduling have made it possible for me to not only have Fridays off . . .

But I also have an exam schedule with at least 2 days between each test.

Of course, it also means I will be spending the semester studying Death, Divorce, & Federal Court Jurisdiction.

Is that worth having 3-day weekends from now until May when I am loaded up and shipped off to D.C.?

Not even a question.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"A Rare Sports Post"

Though it may not last . . .

For the first time in 8 years,

Last night it felt so sweet to be a Bronco. Posted by Picasa

If I Get Lost in the Snow, I'll Know What to Burn First . . .

So I finished my student comment . . .

And I've already started searching Westlaw for a Supreme Court case where they've cited me.

Then I realized I need to get it published first.

Oh, well, that and, of course . . .

Hell must freeze over.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Contrary to Popular Belief, I'm Not Dead

Nope. Not yet. Though I am beginning to wish I were.

And every ounce of my writing energy has been/will be going into completing my student comment, "Yes, Virginia, There is a Tenth Amendment: Defending the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution Against the Overfederalization of Nearly Everything."

It is due Friday at 5:00p.m. See you on the other side.
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