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August 31, 2004

Biting the Hand that Slaps You

One complaint I've had about my school for over a year that reared its ugly head in a very personal way today is that Con Law is a 2L, 1st semester course. Does any other school do this? I've not come across one, and it frankly seems counterintuitive to structure the curriculum in this manner.

Anyway, today I got put on the hot seat in Crim Pro. Prof CrimPro has a thing where he calls on the same person for the entire class period, 75 minutes in this case. While I read Mapp and Leon multiple times and could have recited the facts, issues, holding and basic reasoning, Prof Crim pro typically doesn't stop there.

I really felt my lack of Con Law foundation. We got into a DEEP discussion of the 4th amendment, textual vs. constructive interpretations, remedies, judicial integrity. While I know what the Constitution says just because I feel its my duty as a citizen, I haven't had the instruction on analysis and construction that 1L's at other schools have had.

Mapp was pretty brutal. Especially since he didn't ask about the 1st Amendment issues in the case that he had told us to think about on Monday. I did better on Leon but the class couldn't have ended soon enough. On top of that, about 45 minutes in, I really needed to piss.

As far as I can tell there are two reasons why Con Law isn't a 1L course here. First, the big 4, Property, Civ Pro, Contracts and Torts, are 6-hour courses. So is Legal Research and Writing. That only leaves 6 credit hours in the first year, which are allocated for Crim Law and, sadly, Legal Process.

Legal Process is a non-substantive, non-procedural, non-anything class that was borrowed from Harvard about 30 years ago that focuses on a variety of topics from legal history to Plato, topics better saved for third year GPA padding courses. Having Legal Process as a 1L is somewhat advantageous because it's an exam for which you don't need to study (I still pity the fools who did), but it would be much better to replace Legal Process with Con Law, or to trim three credit hours from the big common law courses.

My other course involving heavy substantive Con Law, Administrative Law, is taught by the same professor from whom I'm taking Con Law. He started out the class by cautioning the 2L's that they might be lost for awhile. I can deal with that, and while Admin Law is a tad confusing, it's not the Con Law issues that do it, but the Administrative Procedure Act.

The good news is there are 28 class periods left in Crim Pro and there are 70+ people in the class. Given that he calls on only one person per class period, I won't be called on again.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:50 PM | Comments (1)

August 30, 2004

Against the Bourbon Manhattan

Will Baude is a bourbon drinker. I never would have guessed which is probably somewhat judgmental on my part, but given Will's cultural IQ, I would have thought him a sipper of fine cognacs, 20 year old Scottish whiskys and vintage Ports. Of course, maybe he is. I know I don't discriminate when it comes to high-class hooch.

Will's post on making Manhattans got me to wondering if anyone else prefers their Manhattans made with Canadian whisky like I do. While I like bourbon on the rocks and in mint juleps, I got started with Canadian whiskey in Manhattans and that's the way I prefer it.

My first Manhattan was made for me by a gentleman who told me the apocryphal story that the drink was invented in New York during Prohibition and was made with smuggled Canadian rye whisky. That's not true, of course. The Manhattan, according to stories that are fairly undisputed, was first made in Manhattan at the Manhattan club sometime in the late 19th century.

When I was first served a bourbon Manhattan, I found it far too sweet. The vermouth and cherry combined with the corn-sweetened bourbon was too much. Canadian whisky, made mostly with rye and barley, makes for a much less cloying drink.

The art of making Manhattans has been lost around here, probably due to the unceasing martini madness that still grips the local bartenders. I don't order them when I'm out anymore because I discovered that even if I specifically order it with Canadian Club Reserve or something similar, the bartenders, almost to a person, pour cherry juice into the drink, completely ruining the drink, even if it was made with Canadian whisky.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:56 PM | Comments (2)

August 29, 2004

Crim Pro in Action

I'm done with all my reading for the coming week save for a little bit of Unfair Competition which I've kept for tomorrow, both to keep myself engaged and because it's far and away the best written textbook I have this semester. The fact that Chancellor of my university is the co-author has nothing to do with my endorsement.

Tonight I discovered another reason to have my reading done by Sunday evening. Season III of The Wire is set to start on HBO September 19th. I think it's the best TV cop show in production right now, not just because it's on HBO where the characters can act and sound like humans, but because it has some of the best, least formulaic crime fiction writers around working on the scripts. George Pelecanos and Dennis Lehane both worked on Season 2, and while I haven't seen who's working on the Season 3 scripts, I imagine they'll both be back, maybe along with some other well-known writers.

The show's website says the while it is about characters and criminal procedure, it is really about the city of Baltimore. That's a true statment. I've never been to Baltimore, but I get a great feel for the city, both good and bad, from watching the show.

However, the show's name says it all. The Wire. It's about wiretaps and other, more sophisticated forms of surveillance. By the time the new season begins I should be versed well enough in search and seizure issues that I can drive Sarah crazy by nitpicking, although if memory serves, the writers of the show do a terrific job of getting the legal issues and procedures right.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:15 PM | Comments (3)

August 27, 2004

How to Make Friends and Influence People

Donuts. I went into work this morning with a gang of donuts in hand, and I was the hit of the office. I got little messages from all the secretaries and paralegals thanking me (well except for that one secretary who hates everyone). I even toed the office line and bought more filled rolls than I would have liked. I'm almost strictly a flavored cake donut guy. Blueberry is my favorite although cherry isn't far behind. Buying all those longjohns and bismarcks was tough, but it made a lot of people happy, and just a little bit fatter.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

August 26, 2004

On the Fritz

Tonight Sarah and I were getting ready for a couple of friends to come over for dinner. I had the coals going for the freshly brined chicken. Sarah was making the roasted potato salad (which I could eat every day), when I looked in the freezer to check on our ice supply. I'd just purchased a fresh bottle of Svedka vodka, a very pure, slightly sweet vodka from Sweden that retails for $13.99, and was getting ready to make a round of martinis for everyone.

The ice in the trays was not ice, but water. I quickly noticed that everything in the freezer was thawed. The bag of chicken breasts was just gross. The ice cream sandwiches were all over the bottom of the freezer. I opened the refrigerator door and inserted my index finger to test the air, and sure enough, it was pretty warm in there. Sometime shortly after we both departed for work on Thursday morning, our refrigerator had stopped working.

Luckily, or not so luckily, we have two fridges. Both our parents donated old fridges to us when we bought the house, so we still had the working one in the basement (the one from my parents I remember getting when I was about 5 years old because I was pissed that it didn't come in a huge box). It usually only holds beer and soda, but we quickly transferred everything worth saving to the basement.

The remaining fridge was over 20 years old. I just got my student loan check so I could buy a new one this weekend, but who counts on having to buy a new fridge during their second year of law school. I could handle it and Sarah could contribute half. I'd just have to drink more PBR and less New Belgium.

After the big cleanup and after I'd gotten the chicken on the grill, I stuck my hand into the broken refrigerator and switched it completely off. That mysterious light was still working after all. I just wanted to give all the systems a test. When I turned the dial back up, the compressor kicked on and cool air burst free from the vents. It worked! Why?

The water in the ice cube trays is now solid, but for how long? Stay tuned and find out. Will Steve and Sarah have to pony up for a new fridge, or will they be able to exist on the charity of their parents for another year?

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:51 PM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2004

First Week in Review

Now that I can relax for a night, I can reflect on what transpired in the first week of my 2L year. One thing that's quite gratifying is watching the new 1L's wandering the halls, wondering whether they should sit in certain places in the lounge where they knew 2L or 3L's might sit, clutching their brand new torts books (the new edition of Epstein looks way smaller than mine, by the way). I guess this is why I've been told to stop acting so sophomoric.

Yes, law school is high school all over again. I knew that from the day I first set foot in the building a year ago, but it seems so much more so now. The only difference is I use my car as my locker since I usually pull into the parking lot at around 7:40 a.m. and always get a prime spot. I knew that was the reason I took the 8 o'clock Con Law. I feel sorry for all those people coming to their 10 a.m. classes who see me walking towards my very up-front vehicle and ask if I'm leaving. "No," says I. "I'm just exchanging Con Law and Evidence for Admin Law and Unfair Competition."

The classes, well, I'm not sure how I feel in that area yet. Con Law, with Prof Visiting, is quite good so far. He said he's been accused in the past of spending ten weeks on Marbury. I hope that's not true even though he's done a tremendous job of teaching it, including a good analysis of the relationships between all the monumental persons involved and their motives.

Evidence has been about what I expected. I've read enough cop novels and lawyer novels to know the basic concepts. The wireless network at the top row of the classroom is very touch and go, so I've learned a good bit of detail. I was disappointed to discover that the case I read yesterday involving the man in the plane crash who said, "I'm alive" was fictional. Opposing counsel objected to that testimony from the rescue worker as hearsay only to get smacked by the appellate judge who said "even if he said, 'I'm dead' we'd still know he was alive."

Admin Law, I admit, has me totally lost. I understand what we're talking about, regulatory agencies, but the concepts involved have me somewhat lost so far. I'm guessing as I progess in Con Law I'll feel more acclimated in Admin Law.

I never really appreciated Prof Contracts last year but now I'm thankful that I have him for Unfair Competition. He has a sardonic wit that was lost on me as I sat in the front row under the cold gaze of his mustache last year. I chose the back row this year, right under his favorite painting of Dean Pound, and the new perspective is doing wonders. The class is fairly small by UNL standards so it's much more laid back than any of my earlier classes. I don't have any problems staying awake even if it is at 1:30.

Crim Pro so far has been interesting but as it's my last class of the day, I end up doing the reading last. That leaves me somewhat puzzled by what's being discussed in class as I'm usually completely wiped by the time I read it. This has led me to reassess my reading schedule. Prof Crim Pro calls on one person each class, and each class is 75 minutes. I don't want to be the guy to leave the class in dead silence for 70 minutes.

I kind of regret taking these classes all together, but I think the conjunction of Con Law, Admin Law, and Crim Pro will help me down the line. I'm going to take Eric H's advice (he knows from kicking ass in law school) and try to get some reading in on Thursday and Friday, although I'll probably only get drunk on Fridays.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 05:34 PM | Comments (4)

August 24, 2004

Let's Celebrate with some Pimpin'

To celebrate my being finished with the reading for the week, here's some pimp Civ Pro as found in U.S. v. Pipkins("Sir Charles") & Moore, Jr.("Batman"), --- F.3d ----, 2004 WL 1717660, 17 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 900, 11th Cir.(Ga.), Aug 02, 2004.

Despite the pimps best efforts to subjugate their prostitutes, the rules allowed a prostitute to move from one pimp to another by "choosing." This was accomplished by the prostitute making her intentions known to the new pimp, and then presenting the new pimp with money, a practice known as "breaking bread." The new pimp would then "serve" the former pimp by notifying him that the prostitute had entered his fold.

Id. at 2

Wondering where the rules are published? Why, that would be in Pimpin' Rules of Civil Procedure a/k/a Really Really Pimpin' in Da South.

The pimping subculture in Atlanta operated under a set of rules, presented in the video called Really Really Pimpin' in Da South. This videotape was made in Atlanta by Pipkins and Carlos Glover, a business associate. Really Really Pimpin' in Da South featured prominent Atlanta pimps, including Pipkins, explaining the rules of the game. This video, along with its companion piece, Pimps Up Hoes Down, outlined the pimp code of conduct, and was repeatedly shown to new pimps and prostitutes alike to concisely explain what was expected of a prostitute.


This has been printed as a public service to keep musclehead out of trouble in his new home.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:32 PM | Comments (3)

A Good Argument for Summer School

I've been operating under strict blog silence for the last few days as I read and went to class. The decision to take 15 hours instead of taking a summer class and only taking 12 in the fall is looking scarier and scarier.

I have five classes on Monday and Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. It didn't sound so bad since I worked 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day this summer. Of course, I didn't read 400 pages for work every night either.

On Wednesday I only have three classes and am completely done for the week at 11:50 a.m. Having Thursday and Friday open is very nice but I don't see myself reading for Monday and Tuesday on those days as I probably should. I'm going to work a little, and probably flip through the pages of a book or two. I suppose I'll get used to it after while, but I'm pretty much exhausted right now.

I'm already looking forward to spring when I'm going to take only 12 hours, including a Kant seminar in the Philosophy department.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:24 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2004

Guts, Balls and Funny

Last year there was this guy in my class who I thought was extremely bright, very, very funny, and just an all-around cool cat. When 1L grades came out, it shocked most everyone when he finished .6 below the pass line.

He's back in school now, retaking his 1L year. I can't imagine how horrible that's going to be, but I'm pretty impressed that he's doing it.

Tonight at the PAD party I described in the previous entry he showed up in a T-Shirt that said "A Horrible Embarrassing Failure."

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:14 PM | Comments (2)

The Free Beer Flows

One thing I thought was really cool about law school when I started a year ago was all the free beer. I don't know how it is at other schools, but here the first month of school is filled with free beer events (I think they're called mixers at more genteel schools) courtesy of groups like Phi Alpha Delta (PAD)and the SBA. They rein it in during the rest of the year. Free beer is only available once a month until the last night after exams, when there's enough free beer to make it seem like you'd been drunk all semester (if you weren't already).

I just got back from the first PAD party of the year at a downtown bar. All the free Bud Lite you can stand (I can't stand much) until it runs out. There was a good turnout and it was at a martini bar with lots of couches and comfy chairs so it was quite enjoyable.

I also had a short chat with Matt Connealy, the Democratic candidate for the first district house seat. His son is in my class so he wasn't there trying to collect campaign contributions from poor law students. A Crown Royal on the rocks guy is a good guy to vote for.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when attending your first law school free beer event.

  1. If you're a 1L go ahead and get hammered at the first party of the year. You won't see any of the 2 or 3L's until the next party anyway, so if you get drunk at the next one, they'll just assume you're always overly friendly and touchy-feely, rather than a drunk.

  2. The professors that show up aren't necessarily cool or great people to have in class. They just like free beer, same as you.

  3. 2L's: Don't scare the 1L's with horror stories about the professors. The amazing ability of your professor to taunt you with just his mustache is something everyone should experience for themselves.

  4. Don't worry about remembering names. Most of the people won't look the same at 8 a.m. on a Monday as they do on Friday night. If they do, they're insane and you should avoid them at all costs.

  5. Don't bitch about the crappy beer. It's free, and that's all that should matter to law students.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:34 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2004

A Carpet of Fur

Since Visible Hand has been back here in the Flyover, he's been scooping me on all the important reporting emanating from the Lincoln Journal Star. He got to Bereuter before me yesterday and today he beat me to the tale of 146 cats taken from home, which included this line: "When I first walked in the room, it looked like the floor was just fur," Weverka said. "Then we realized they were cats. Real cats."

J mocks the local paper a little for placing this story on the front page. "[s]ee it return to the bread & butter of local news--cat rescue stories." The funny thing is, this really shouldn't be news in Lincoln, because this same story appears about every 6 months. There are houses overflowing with cats in this town, and every once in awhile, someone notices. This story was only notable for the record-setting number of cats and the gentle whiff of cat piss that could be smelled from a block away.

Here's a nugget from the filth that kept the cats in the locked room: "Meyer told officers that about five years ago he had just four cats. The feline family grew from there."

What has Bob Barker reminded people to do every morning for the past two decades?

And what local news story would be complete without a nice description of the behaviors of un-neutered male cats? "A yellow ring, left by male cats spraying the area, surrounded the concrete block walls, Weverka said."

And now back to hard news reporting.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:41 PM | Comments (1)

Bloggers in Meatspace

I had lunch yesterday with Visible Hand who, along with his girlfriend, is starting law school at Michigan this year. It was my second face-to-face meeting with a person whose blog I'd been reading for awhile. It doesn't sound to me like J is going to have any trouble with school judging, unless of course he gets distracted by the play of Arsenal in the newly begun Premiership season.

If you haven't been reading Visible Hand, he's just returned from four weeks or so in Europe and has a couple of great travelogue posts. It'll be interesting to see whether school or soccer is the major focus of his posts over the next few months.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:40 PM | Comments (2)

August 18, 2004

A Congressman Speaks his Mind

Gosh...It appears my congressman has raised something of a stink in his comments upon leaving the House of Representatives (I tried to find a FreeRepublic link about this but oddly enough, they weren't discussing it).

Doug Bereuter(R) has officially broken ranks from his party and declare the Iraq war a mistake.

"Knowing now what I know about the reliance on the tenuous or insufficiently corroborated intelligence used to conclude that Saddam maintained a substantial WMD (weapons of mass destruction) arsenal, I believe that launching the pre-emptive military action was not justified."

As a result of the war, he said, "our country's reputation around the world has never been lower and our alliances are weakened."

Doug has always been a straight shooter and it's evidenced in his statement today. He wasn't just a rubber stamp. He was a senior member of the International Relations Committee and vice-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. I remember him showing up for some parade I was playing in when I was in junior high. He was very friendly and open to all.

That's one of the reasons he served my district for 13 terms. He always did what was right for his constituents. Democrats in this state were always ready to support him.

Unfortunately for Doug Bereuter, the rest of his party moved to the right as he stayed right where'd he'd always been since being elected for his first term in 1978, right in the middle.

A contentious race for his seat is taking place where he will be replaced by Matt Connealy(D), who isn't too far off from Bereuter's positions on most issues, or Jeff Fortenberry(R), a Tom Delay clone who has only lived in Nebraska for 9 years.

Hopefully, Nebraskans in my district will be inclined to elect Connealy, who has the state's interests at heart, rather than someone who represents the culture war and everything that is against the best interests of the 1st District.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 08:02 PM | Comments (4)

August 16, 2004

Happy Birthday, Fidel (Thanks a lot, Yankees)

Fidel Castro celebrates his 78th birthday at some point this week.

And to think the Yankees coulda signed this guy to pitch for 'em back in the '50's. Las Vegas wouldn't exist because Havana would be the old Vegas. JFK woulda served two terms, thus making Johnson a footnote in history along with Nixon. The Expos woulda never existed because the team would be in Havana. Maybe Santiago would have a team, too.

Great cigars would still annoy the fuck out of me when jackasses insist on smoking the rotten filthy things. Fruit would be cheaper. Obesity would not be as much of a problem because sugar cane would be cheaper therefore making the usage of high-fructose corn syrup a non-starter. Less obesity would mean cheaper health-care and cheaper meat due to the lack of Atkins idiots.

As with everything else, the New York Yankees are to blame for the problems of the U.S.A.

Full disclosure: Whether or not Castro ever tried out with a US baseball team or was even scouted by one is controversial. Snopes says no, but I remember hearing this story over 20 years ago, so it's been around longer than email forwarding and Compuserve. I prefer to think it coulda happened.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:04 PM | Comments (3)

I'm waiting

A couple of weeks ago I posted my first reading assignment of the fall semester. So far, none of the other readings have appeared. I kind of need to know how much reading I need to do next Sunday at some point. I have two fantasy football drafts that day, as well, so I need to do some planning.

Ditzy Genius already has all 1008 pages of her first week's reading, and I'm sure she's read it twice by now, no matter what she'd have us believe.

My Intellectual Property assignment for the first week is only 44 pages. I'm kind of afraid of the Evidence and Crim Pro assignments, but those assignments are probably the same they've been for the past 20 years that the profs have been teaching them. What's taking so long?

The first reading in Con Law is the Constitution, I'm guessing. I'm pretty familiar with that document so I can probably just skim it. The first Admin Law reading will probably have some crossover appeal. Con Law and Administrative Law are coming from a visiting professor so I'm willing to cut some slack there.

As slow as some fantasy football drafts proceed, I can probably get a decent amount of reading done between my picks. And speaking of fantasy football: DG, I see our league has 11 right now. Should we try to find a 12th so no one gets stuck with a boring bye week?

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:53 PM

Why didn't someone do this a year ago?

I've been neglecting to post about ai's latest gift to blawgovia because it seems like everyone is finding their way to it pretty well. Even the great Volokh Conspiracy and the not-so-great Instapundit have linked to it.

I'm amazed everytime I click over to Blawg Wisdom. I knew there were some good pieces of advice out there, both well-intentioned and snarky, but it seems that there's more appearing everyday. It could even be said that Blawg Wisdom is spurring the output of advice and experience-related posts from bloggers.

Hey, I'm just hoping the fact that I'm sharing server space with Blawg Wisdom will rub off on me.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:34 PM

One Week

At this time one week from now I will be on my way back from the gym to get ready for my 8 a.m. Con Law class. Right now I'm not too worried about having a class that early. In November, I'm sure I'll be regretting it.

Which reminds me, one thing that I let get away from me at the beginning of last year was my workout routine. If there's one thing I can contribute to having a good first year, it's to make a concerted effort to get to the gym, or get in some kind of workout. I'd go even further and recommend getting up early to do it. If you work it right, you can get some reading in while you're on the exercise bike, elliptical or stairmaster.

In my experience, the brain tends to be sharper all day long after a morning workout. Break a sweat. Get your heart rate up into your cardio zone. You'll stay healthier throughout the school year and have more energy to boot. Just don't overdo it. Every other day is adequate. Too much and you'll run yourself down.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:46 AM | Comments (3)

August 15, 2004

What I did on my anniversary vacation

In this week's law school roundup Evan linked to this entry where I mentioned taking a quick anniversary trip with my wife and posted a pre-law school photo of us.

Evan also guessed at the secret, undisclosed location of our tiki-bar hotel. It wasn't Texarkana but I don't think Kearney, NE, is too different from Texarkana, save for the accents. The reason I didn't mention the location was the orange alert in my neighborhood that week. The terrorist squirrels were out in full-force. I needed to keep a low profile as I skipped town.

Evan's post also reminded me that I never posted about the trip. Read the extended entry for more.

We arrived in Kearney and hit the hotel pool almost immediately. It's kind of free-form shaped, like a lagoon, to fit in with the surroundings of the Tropical Fun Dome. Unfortunately, the water was also faux tropical, a tad too close to the temperature of urine to really enjoy.

We headed out on the town after having a drink in the Elephant's Eye, the big Ewok house looking structure in the background of the photo. The special on Friday was $3 Long Island Iced Teas. I had one then thought it might be a good idea to wait until we returned from dinner to indulge anymore.

Kearney, being the home to the University of Nebraska-Kearney has something of a culture and a few decent restaurants. We first went into a place camed Roman's which from the outside looked like something you might see in Tribeca. The inside was another story though, so after our server left us, we snuck across the street to Alley Rose.


Alley Rose appears to be the high-end dining destination in Kearney - nice dark wood, fancy restaurant style carpet. The menu was fairly typical. Lots of good steaks and pasta dishes and a few signature flourishes like the pork tenderloin cooked in port with tart cherries. The weird thing about Alley Rose was the juxtaposition of traditional Nebraska dining with haute cuisine Continental style.

When the server indicated we could hit the salad bar after our appetizers, I was a bit confused because usually in places like this the salad is brought to the table. I could imagine the owner telling the chef, "In Nebraska, people expect a salad bar, and that's what we're gonna give 'em." What was odd was that after finishing our salads, but before the entree, we were served a sorbet course, not something you expect after finishing off your trip to the salad bar.

I can understand it, though. The owner of a restaurant trying to be upscale in a central Nebraska town of about 35,000, does some things that seem super-fancy, but are fairly inexpensive, while doing other things that make the clientele feel comfortable.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and the Elephant's Eye, which was packed. We found a couple of seats at the bar and each had a mai-tai. One Tip: It pays to make friends with the bartenders early in anticipation of returning. When they made blended drinks and made too much for one glass, they gave us the leftovers.

We headed back to Lincoln the next day, after eating at my dad's old college hangout, Bico's (I was born in Kearney, by the way).

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:48 PM | Comments (1)

Not so Emo

This is a pretty good result considering I only live 45 minutes from Emoha.

I AM 24% EMO!
24% EMO
Okay... so I'm not emo at all.. I am probably not even goth, because goths are just messed up emo kids... I am probably a metal head... or into boy bands...

Posted by Half-Cocked at 11:04 AM | Comments (3)

August 14, 2004

Local Politics

For most readers this is stuff to skip, but I do have some local readers so I'm cross-posting my mostly non-partisan recent update about the NE-1 congressional race on Political State Report, which is a great place to get info on state politics from all over the country.
Summer is the time when political candidates in Nebraska spend a lot of time traveling the state appearing at county fairs, festivals and anywhere else they can get their message out. Matt Connealy (D) and Jeff Fortenberry (R), who are vying for the first district's open seat, are doing a lot of that but the race is starting to gather some national interest, as well as stirring some controversy.

Earlier this summer, Stu Rothenberg of Roll Call named Matt Connealy as one of the five congressional candidates he actually likes. Also in June, a Fortenberry fundraiser attended by Vice President Cheney raised over $150,000 for the Republican candidate but left Lincoln mayor Colleen Seng and many other Lincolnites wondering why the taxpayers were stuck with the $40,000 security bill generated by Cheney's visit. In July, Matt Connealy made a quiet early morning appearance on CNBC. Also, Illinois Representative Dennis Hastert is scheduled to appear in Lincoln on behalf of Fortenberry on August 21.

A recent endorsement of Connealy by the National Realtors Association of Lincoln has also raised some eyebrows since they have traditionally backed the Republican candidate. The answer from the Fortenberry camp is that Connealy has vowed to keep banks out of the real estate business.

Upcoming events include a debate on the last day of the Nebraska State Fair at 1 p.m.

No poll numbers have been released to the public as of yet. Since this seat hasn't been contested in over 20 years, expect the Lincoln Journal-Star and Omaha World-Herald to begin paying more attention to this race after Labor Day.

Web Resources
Matt Connealy
Jeff Fortenberry

Thinkheavy industries
Fortenberry Fan

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:23 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2004

That great howling you hear sweeping in from the plains...

That's Nebraska conservatives reacting to this.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:50 PM | Comments (3)

Wedding Etiquette

If there's a guest missing, don't eat the dinner.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:16 AM

August 11, 2004

Fall is in the air

The weather here on the steppes has been ideal for the last week or so. So far the temp hasn't gotten above 75 during the day and the nights have been wonderful. There's nothing I like more than waking up at 3 am and having to put on another blanket. This morning on the way to the gym I was tempted to turn the heat on in my car.

Of course, it'll all go to hell the first week of school when the weather returns to the traditional Nebraska August of 90+ days when you're grateful that the law school feels like a meat locker.

I'll enjoy these days while I have them for now, though, until they return in late September. Last night I made a nice autumn-like dinner of pork chops, green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy and tomorrow night I'm roasting a chicken with yams.

That's what I think of when I think of fall. Comfort foods, school, and of course, living where I live, football. The last two things are why my wife hates fall.

I'll probably talk about football a bit more over the coming weeks. Practice started this week so the angry letters to the editor writers in the papers can give up the uncharacterisically political tenor of recent months and return to excoriating 20 year old kids who drop balls and lamenting the loss of tradition in the football program.

Football posts will range from how the Huskers are doing, to how idiotic the fans are, to how I'm doing in the Ditzy Genius Fantasy Football league. Between football and politics, I don't know how I'll have time to post about law school.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:19 PM | Comments (5)

Textbook horror

This summer, just like last year, I spent some time in the Amazon marketplace looking for good deals on used textbooks. I've had pretty good success, both in price and in quality, but the package I got in the mail yesterday was such a shock, that I'm inclined to take back everything good I've said about buying used books on-line.

Yesterday, the crim pro textbook I ordered finally arrived only it wasn't really a book anymore. I knew something was fishy when I picked up the package. It felt like a big three-ring binder. And it was.

Someone had removed all the pages from the binding, three-hole punched them and then inserted them in the binder. The front and back covers of the book were inserted in plastic sheets at the appropriate places and the spine of the book was in the spine of the binder.

I emailed the seller right away basically saying for $60 I expected a textbook, not a binder. Maybe if I'd only paid $15 it would have been OK, but not for what is only $10-15 less than the bookstore used price. I threw in something about "unacceptable condition" and "demand restitution or specific performance," too.

The seller emailed back saying "I apologize for the mistake..." Mistake? Oops, I sent you a binder full of textbook pages, rather than a textbook? Oops, I accidentally ruined the binding on the book and sent it to you anyway? Mistake, my ass.

I'm getting a full refund which is fine, but now I'm stuck having to buy the book at the bookstore since that class starts on the 23rd and there are no more decent used editions online. I'd be leery anyway. Sure I could use it, but only if I got about $40 back. Plus, Crim Pro is the last of five classes I have on Mondays and Tuesdays and I don't really relish the thought of lugging around a huge binder along with the rest of my books.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:26 PM | Comments (5)

August 08, 2004

This Old House: The Finish

Last night I finished with the bedroom renovation. The room feels so much more open without the dirty carpet and with the more muted wall coloring. So far Sarah hasn't mentioned anything about it. I assumed she had forgotten about my vow to redo the bedroom while she was gone, but I was also banking on the fact that she wouldn't read my blog while she was in DC or New York. She might have a nice surprise waiting for her tomorrow afternoon.

So it is finished and I think it looks pretty good. I didn't imagine that doing the crown-moulding would be the most frustrating part of the whole project. It took me a couple of hours of trial and error (and several wasted feet of pine moulding) and a lot of web-surfing (I got 10 pages deep into Google before I found the page that made it all crystal-clear) to figure out the right way to the do inside corners.

When I started I just assumed a 45° angle for each piece and cut the corner pieces flat in the miter box. Well, that obviously didn't work so I began surfing. Most people talked about using a coping saw to cut out the profile of the corner piece so it connected like a butt joint. I was all ready to go out and buy a coping saw but none of the web pages I looked at had a very good description of what I needed to do.

Then I happened upon the magical web page. I was cutting the 45° flat in the miter box which was only about half-way right. I needed to cut the piece in the box as it would be on the wall, but upside down so that the surface that touches the wall is on the bottom of the box. When cut that way, in addition to the 45° angle, you get a 22.5° angle on the face of the pieces. They joined perfectly and I finished up pretty quickly.

I almost electrocuted myself as I was finishing. The metal step-stool I was standing on cut through the cord of my radio during the 7th inning of the Cubs-Giants game. I saw a small burst of light and then caught a whiff of electrical fire. At first I was afraid I'd driven a nail into a wire (they're not supposed to be in the place I was hammering but in a 90 year old house, who knows).

If I could find my camera I'd post some pics of the finished room.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:18 PM | Comments (1)


I've been in the process of importing all the stuff from my old blog, but I just can't get around to finishing it. If you look at the old blog now, it's in MT export format. Maybe I'll finish it up this week.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:04 PM

Sunday afternoon quizzing

Link via stag.
I really didn't like this book when I read it. In fact, The World According to Garp is the only John Irving book I've really liked, although The 158-pound Marriage wasn't too bad.

You're A Prayer for Owen Meany!
by John Irving
Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT SOUNDS LIKE THIS!
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:00 PM | Comments (1)

August 07, 2004

Really Rotten

I started to do some preliminary research on a new case on Friday, the facts of which are pretty gruesome. When I opened the case file I encountered a series of autopsy photos that would put most of the horrors on Rotten.com to shame.

You can get a bit of a read on the deep dark recesses of your co-workers' minds when something like this comes up. One of my classmates, a man who puts on a pretty tough front, refused to look at anymore of them after he saw the first page accidentally. My other classmate, a young, pretty woman, gleefully paged through the rest of the photos. I asked her if she owned the complete Faces of Death series on DVD when she was finally done but she wasn't saying.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:25 PM

August 06, 2004

I am

What Classic Movie Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

Posted by Half-Cocked at 02:26 PM | Comments (1)

August 05, 2004

Hurry! Hurry! OK...now, forget about it for 3 months.

I'm almost through my first summer of doing some real lawyerin' work for a firm full of evil, greedy trial lawyers who love to prey on poor insurance companies and corporations who've never done a damn thing wrong, ever.

It's been fun and very educational. I can see some definite advantages to the old system of apprenticeship. No matter how well you did in Civ Pro in your first year, you have no idea what Civ Pro is until you spend some time working on real cases.

The one thing that drives me crazy, although I knew it would happen, is the hurry-up-and-wait nature of litigation. The first brief I ever wrote, support of a joinder motion, was filed in early May. I think I first started working on it in April when I'd go into the office once a week or so. A couple of weeks ago I asked the lawyer whose case it was if he'd ever heard anything regarding that motion and he said, "Judge X said he was going to rule on that by September."

The big case I worked on in May in anticipation of a June pre-trial conference was continued 'til mid-September one day before the conference was scheduled. I spent every hour the week before it was continued getting exhibits and witnesses in order. Now I won't even be around for the trial. Well, that's being optimistic. I fully expect to be present at that trial next summer.

The brief I'm writing that we'll probably file tomorrow is on a very narrow Civ Pro issue. It's in federal court and the local rules emphasize speed so hopefully by the end of fall semester I'll know if my brief was successful.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

Update: This Old House

I've finished painting the walls and trim. That was the easy part. Last night a truckowner and I went to Menard's and picked up 50 ft. of crown-molding for 89 cents/foot. It's not oak by any means, but it is wood. I painted the molding tonight, too. So now all that's left is putting up the molding and yanking up the filthy carpet.

I was pretty relieved tonight when I started to pull up the carpet and found that the wood underneath was in pretty good condition. Like in the other bedroom that we redid last summer, the people who put down the carpet didn't bother with a drop-cloth when they painted so there are speckles of white paint on the wood. That scrubs off fairly readily though. I'm just glad the wood is decent since I used the nasty carpet as a drop-cloth when I painted.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 09:20 PM

I'm not ready yet!

Seen on the school website on Wednesday afternoon:

For the first class on Monday, Aug. 23, read pp. 1-9, 370-372, and 381-385.
For the second class on Tuesday, Aug. 24, read pp. 44-71.

I even have the book, purchased off of Amazon marketplace a couple of weeks ago. It's in brand-new condition (no highlighting, no writing, barely cracked open), and I got it for less than $40. Will I be reading it before Sunday Aug. 22? Hell, no.

I still have an opposing brief in federal court to finish, interrogatories and requests for production in another case, and exhibits to prepare for a trial in September

Posted by Half-Cocked at 12:44 AM | Comments (1)

August 04, 2004

Opportunity Knocks

What to do in a small Iowa city when both presidential candidates are speaking within a few blocks of each other?

Rob three banks in an hour, of course.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 06:15 PM | Comments (4)

August 03, 2004

Some Quick Hitters, or Blogging While the Paint Dries

*I knew my receding hairline might come in handy someday.

*Prosecution to introduce evidence that Scott Peterson ordered porn after Laci vanished. I was always under the impression that all men got porn when their wives disappeared...er, went out of town.

*Is it possible to rinse a paint roller sponge until the water runs clear, or will there always be just a little bit of tint no matter how long you rinse?

*When will people stop making a point of referring to successful black men as "eloquent?" Whether its pro athletes or politicians, that still pops up, although some might use the term "well-spoken" instead. No one calls John Edwards "eloquent" when talking about how great his speeches are.

*Slashdot just isn't as interesting as it used to be. Does it suck more now, or has a year of not working in the tech biz just de-geekified me to some extent?

*A real substantive law school/summer associate post will appear here before too long.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 03:49 PM | Comments (5)

This Old House

Realizing that there are only three full weeks until school starts, I decided today was a good a day as any to try and get at least one house project done this summer. Plus, Sarah left this morning for a week or so in D.C., Manhattan and West Virginia, a perfect time to dismantle the bedroom.

I just finished putting a coat of primer on the bedroom walls to cover up the mintyfresh green that Sarah and I both decided we didn't like after we did it almost two years ago. The green was cool, but not cool enough for a bedroom. I'm going with a dark tan this time around, with one of the million shades of off-white for the trim.

When I'm done painting I'm going to pull up the nasty, gray-that-used-to-be-white carpet leaving the main floor of the house completely carpet-free. This house has nice hardwood floors. I don't understand why the previous owners felt the need to cover them with white carpet. If one of my truck-owning friends has some time this week, I might even head out to Menard's and pick up some crown-molding.

Posted by Half-Cocked at 10:51 AM