Sunday, September 30, 2007

Football Weekend

I just realized that since Oklahoma and Texas both lost yesterday, their game next weekend will not be for first place in the Big XII South for about the first time in modern history. Even more disturbing is this fact:

The winner of Texas A&M and Oklahoma St will be in sole possession of first place at the end of next week. Aggies, you may commence trash talking.

Oh, and LSU is still really good. I was ticked about only beating the hated Greenies by a mere 25 points, but then half of the top ten lost. And beating up on the weak sister across the state didn't seem so bad. At least we didn't lose to Colorado, a team whose fan base is more concerned with making bongs out of common household items than winning football games.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Coffee Is My Friend

As a public service announcement, I would like to echo Matt’s sentiments in the comments. Coffee is the lifeblood of a PC student. My body is 80% water, 19% coffee, and 1% surgical steel. I need that coffee or I will wither and die. I have few true vices*, but my coffee addiction is one. Which means it’s time for the lecture:

If it is before 10 AM, and you drink the last cup of coffee in the pot, you make a new pot. Period. No exceptions. I don’t care if you burst into flames right after pouring that cup. You need to stop, drop, and roll and then get up a make a new pot. It takes all of about thirty seconds. Then go to the burn unit.

This also includes those of you who take some coffee but leave some coffee in the pot, just not enough to make enough for a full cup. You are just trying to avoid your duty to make a new pot in a malicious and fraudulent manner. You leave just a little film of coffee and claim you don’t need to make a new pot? Then you are the sort of person who cheats at solitaire and takes more than one penny from the tray at the convenience store. Stop it.

When your fellow students roll into the student lounge in the morning, they need that coffee in order to make it through the day. There are students walking around with empty sippy cups, and that is just sad.

Think of the children. Make a new pot.

*Ed Note - Just pretend that's true. Thanks.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Brief On Brief

I didn’t find this myself, this was sent to me by an alert reader who spends too much time on the internet. But I thought it was pretty funny.

This may be the only legal brief you will read on briefs of the other sort. The best part is when the lawyer gets snippy about how to spell “Under Armour,” showing that the army hadn’t bothered to do any research before hurling accusations. Fighting the US Army on Gitmo detainees has got to be tough work. Your client’s been held in an isolation cell for years without any real hope of release… but at least you won the underwear issue.

Click clack.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Lemme get this straight...

OJ is in trouble with the law. The 49ers are a winning football team. So are the Cowboys. I'm at a university. Ted Danson is on a successful TV show.

It's feeling pretty 1990s in here. Where did I put my flannel?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Halfway Through And Completely Delirious

We're at the halfway point in PC. Let's go out and celebrate by reading a whole bunch of cases. I plan on buying myself a celebratory highlighter.

Am I doing all right? We're muddling through. At least I'm surviving. But as the Hold Steady reminds us...

If she says we partied, I'm pretty sure we partied.
I really don't remember.

Practice Court Almost Killed Me.

More importantly...

As requested by Hollie on Osler's blog, it is tough for us PC'ers to sometimes come up with witnesses. If you are willing to witness, we have exercises almost every single day. Please feel free to leave either your contact info in the comments OR send me an email with your availability and I'll pass it along to the PC class. My email, slightly adjusted to avoid internet spam is Stephen(underscore)Baker AT Baylor dot edu. Put in the title line something like WITNESS.

We appreciate it. You're welcome, Hollie. Feel free to give me candy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Baseball Update

My Emergency NL Backup Team has a two and half game lead with only a week of baseball left. Which means it is entirely likely that the Diamondbacks are going to the playoffs. They also hold a slight lead in the race for the best record overall in the NL, so they have about a better than 50-50 chance of having homefield advanatge. Now, this is of course pretty cool for me, as it is the first pennant race I have been able to enjoy in a decade. And it also makes me feel like I did a real bang-up job of picking an Emergency NL Backup Team. I'm happy my fandom was not the kiss of death.

OK, but I'm also a huge stat dork, and the D-backs are pulling off one of the most unlikely statistical seasons ever, one that has the stat geek community rubbing their calculators and has Eric Byrnes saying things like:
"As far as I’m concerned, all the stat geeks really don’t come into play in this situation... The last I checked, wins and losses determine who goes to the playoffs. I’m on a team that is in first place."

Duly noted, Eric. But here's the thing. There is no better predictor of a team's record than the difference between runs allowed and runs scored. The formula is eerily accurate, and most teams finish within about five games of their Pythagorean Win projection. Here's the rub: the D-backs have allowed more runs than they have scored. They are outperforming Pythagoras by 11 games. No team is close to that number.

Which begs the question... how are they beating Pythagoras. Everyone seems to have an idea.

Sabametric (a fancy word for baseball dork) orthodoxy is that any deviation from Pythagoras is atrributed to luck. I'm not sure that is true. I think the huge deviation is luck, but the deviation itself might come from something else: the D-backs concede games in which they are losing. They couldn't hit water falling out of a boat, so armed with a pea shooter for an offense, when the starting pitcher has a bad game, the Snakes just pack up and send in some marginal reliever who won't be in the Majors next season to take one for the team. When the game is close, the Dbacks go to the core of their pen, which has four pitchers with an ERA below three. In a close game, the D-backs have an edge: they will almost always have the better bullpen. They might not score many runs, but Lyons, Pena, and Slaten give up even less. And Valverde, the closer, allows nothing.

The good news is that in the playoffs, the back end of your bullpen isn't terribly important. The bad news is, the lousy offense probably will be an issue. I'm hoping the D-backs gift for winning one-run games continues in the playoffs.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hugs and High Fives

The Triumvirate of Awesome needs a hug.

I would say how people shouldn't rip on their fellow students and we're all in this together and that being mean to your fellow students just reflects poorly on you... but you know the lecture. It's been given before and I'm pretty tired and don't want to go through that again. So why don't you guys go downstairs to the lounge, get some coffee and maybe some of Swanburg's leftover pastries, and take a few seconds away from PC Land. We're all tired. We're all overworked. We're all on some pretty insane caffeine highs.* But let's not take it out on each other. We're all just trying to make it through this (relatively) unscathed. We're all on the same team.

Speaking of that, a huge congratulations goes to Official Friend of Poseur, "Love," Matt Acosta who just got word he will be a Judicial Clerk next year. I look forward to reading meaty tomes on why the parties don't have subject matter jurisdiction. Seriously, I've never met anyone who likes talking about jurisdiction as much as Matt, which pretty much tells you why he's going to be a great clerk. I'm pretty excited for the guy, and I'm sure he'll do the BLS proud. If you see him in the halls, give him a high five or something.

To review:
Triumvirate of Awesome needs a hug.
Matt needs a high five.
I need more coffee.

*Ed Note - Sorry. That's just me. We need a PC chillout tent.

I'm an Etch A Sketch And My Mind Is Blank

Today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day. Or, yesterday was, since tomorrow is now today and today is now yesterday. Prof PC honored this solemn holiday by making us walk the plank. The reading assignment for tomorrow (or today, or whatever it is right now) is brutal and I'm fairly delirious right now. And I still have more work to do. Shiver me timbers, indeed.

Sleep is for the weak, matey. Ar.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Godfather of Punk?

Pitchfork, in a recent interview with Lou Reed in which they try and convince us Metal Machine Music is not a completely unlistenable album (now remastered so it's SIXTY-FOUR minutes of guitar feedback), describe Lou Reed as the "godfather of punk".

Now, I like some of Lou Reed's stuff, but do punk fans get to vote on this one? Was Richard Hell sick and unable to perform the duties as Godfather of Punk? Iggy Pop was busy? Wayne Kramer? Joe Strummer too busy being dead?

I mean, the artsy fartsy guy in the Velvet Underground is the godfather of punk? Are we sure about this?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Attorney General Nominated

I try to avoid politics on this space because, well, no good can really come of it. And since I don't fit neatly into neither party, I just end up alienating everybody. Let's just assume we disagree. Actually, my political beliefs are pretty closely in line with the 19th Century Whigs. I'm a huge believer in Whiggery. Yes, that's just so I can say Whiggery*. Say it. It's fun.

Anyway, Bush nominated a new Attorney General today so it's at least some law topical news. I bring this up because he's nominated a former judge, Michael Mukasey, who seems immensely qualified and reasonable. So of course, each political party wants to oppose the nomination but can't without looking like opportunistic jackals.

As a rule, I'm a firm believer in the American political process even with all of its warts. OK, I think the Electoral College is relic and should be abolished, but it's hardly keeping me up at night. But this got me thinking: should the Attorney General be an appointed political position? I understand, even agree, with the idea of staunchly political appointments to a president's cabinet. They are his (maybe on day her) advisers, and the president should have the right to pick his advisers. But the AG strikes me as somehow a little bit different. The role of the AG isn't just to advise the president, it is to uphold the law. And sometimes that means disagreeing with the president. Just ask John Ashcroft. It seems this goal could be better accomplished if the Attorney General was independent of the presidency.

I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud.

*Ed Note - Actually, not entirely true. It's also because I think Henry Clay is one of the greatest Americans in our history. He is so awesome that he served as a US Senator before he met the Constitutional requirements to do so (he was under age 35). We could use some Henry Clays today, or as he was known, The Great Compromiser.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Our Fans Are Crazier Than Your Fans

I don't know whether to be proud, scared, or disgusted by my fellow LSU alumni. But this video shows what happens when you take your LSU fanaticism to its illogical extreme. But they did build a miniature Tiger Stadium in their backyard. I'm pretty jealous about that.

Yes, they shaved the cat. No, it does not look happy.

This one has been making the rounds of the internets. I guess I'll give credit to the Florida fanblog, everydayshouldbesaturday. I hate giving credit to Gators...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Under The Lights

I went to my first Texas high school football game last night. I didn't grow up in the culture of Friday Night Lights, and I'm not entirely sure if my high school even played football. I'm sure we did, but no one went to games or anything. I remember going to a homecoming dance or two, so I'm sure there were actual homecoming games as well. But Wedding Crashers was lying when they said "Football and crabcakes... that what we do in Maryland!" We like sports in which we're allowed to carry a weapon.

More than anything, I'm stunend by the sheer size of it all. I guess this is Texas, and big is what y'all do, but the Waco ISD stadium is pretty darn big. And while it wasn't packed to capacity, it wasn't a ghost town either.

I'm a fan of small sporting events. I like the local feel of things and I like how this is the most important thing in the world to a small few, while the rest of the world couldn't care less. For a little more than two hours, it was really important that Waco High beat the snot out of Corsicana (which they did). That's pretty cool.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good Times, Bad Times

One of the good things about PC is that you do have good days after those bad days. Yesterday was bad. Today was good. Everyone gets a chance to redeem themselves. It's not like the profs hold a grudge when you mess up. We're supposed to mess up sometimes. It's just a matter of getting back on the horse.

Thanks to Prof. Osler for the shout-out over on the Razor today. I'm even happy he used a goofy photo of me in which I look like I am about to pass out. Note that no one is covering me. I'm open! Pass the rock!

My favorite part of the day was getting to be the grieving father for Stephanie's opening. Apparently, my character was named Bill "Bulldog" Bennett. Now, I'm just saying, would it kill you guys to give me a cool nickname like that? I'm also proud that my fictional son played an entire football game with a broken nose. Definitely believable that would be my kid -- both for the injury and for the fact he'd keep playing. Then again, it's not like a broken nose really hurts that much. On my rather copious list of injuries, it hardly ranks.

One day to the weekend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One Down...

I had my first courtroom exercise today. How did I do?

Well, let's just try and focus on the fact that PC is a marathon, not a sprint. Because that did not go well. Nothing like the reassurance of knowing exactly how much you have to learn.

Next week, right? I'll get 'em next week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sometimes I Wish I Was A Bird

I didn't even realize it was 9/11 until Prof. Osler pointed it out in PR today (I didn't see his blog entry until this afternoon). PC has a way of doing that, of throwing off your internal clock until you have no idea what day it is. Anniversary of a national tragedy? Oops. I was reading some divorcee's 21 alleged points of error.

So I don't have a 9/11 reflection post planned. I honestly forgot. I don't know what that says about me. Probably that I'm far too self-absorbed. Which is a fair charge. Every blogger, by nature, is at least a little self-absorbed.

I remember bits and pieces of that day. I remember getting on the Metro thinking I was going to get killed. I remember military helicopters flying overhead and being oddly comforted. I remember my coworker franctically trying to call his mom, who was supposed to be in the Towers that day. But no one's cellphone worked. I remember watching the second plane hit live on television.

But what I remember most was that it was a beautiful day. The birds chirped happily, blissfully unaware that the Pentagon was on fire just a few miles away. We walked outside and climbed on the roof of our office and looked at the clouds and thought:

In a world as beautiful as this, why do things like this happen?

I still don't know. The older I get, the dumber I get. I still don't understand. But today is a beautiful day and the birds are chirping outside, blissfully unaware of the affairs of humankind.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Movies To Not Set Your Opening Statement To

Prof. PC was giving us some helpful advocacy advice last Friday, and related our opening to telling a story like a movie. So he had us all think of a movie and mentioned that most good movies follow a defined story arc. In an effort to put off writing my opening statement even further, here is a list of my favorite movies you should definitely NOT model your story-telling arc after:

M*A*S*H. Episodic story in which the primary conflict is resolved about halfway through. Then the rest of the opening is spent talking about a pickup football game.

Eraserhead. Symbolism plays a huge role and not only is nothing real, nothing makes a whole lot of sense. Works better if you can make the world black and white. And produce a singing woman from inside a radiator.

Memento. The movie I actually thought of in class. Tell the story completely backwards so that people have to listen to your opening about twenty times just to figure the thing out. Don't forget to cover yourself in tattoos to help you remember what to say.

Rashomon. Tell the same exact story from four different perspectives to point out that everyone is liar and how our perceptions change how we remember events. Oh yeah, and do it in Japanese.

Slacker. This would require lots of help. The movie works on the premise that the camera follows one person in the conversation and another person out of it into their next conversation. Pointless and meandering, it gives you a good sense of setting but nothing else. It also requires you to give your opening in Austin.

Adaptation. When in doubt, talk about the process of writing your opening instead of actually doing the opening. And then just start inventing an alternate reality.

Fantasia. Forget it. Just play music and watch cartoon hippos dance.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Tigers Beat Down My Brother's Hokies

I went to LSU. My brother went to Virginia Tech. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a phone call more than the one I made this morning.


I just had to tell him the final score, because he stopped watching in the second quarter. Just trying to be helpful.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rock Bottom

It's sometimes hard to know, as a sports fan, when your team has hit rock bottom. Well, The Nation just wrote an expose on the Orioles treatment of their stadium workers. That's never good. It's bad enough to get ripped by ESPN, but getting ripped into by a left-wing mag? Is there anything the O's can do to tick of William F Buckley, just for political balance?

Is this granite or limestone?

Ed Note -- Emergency NL Backup Team Update: First place after taking two of three from the Padres. 2nd best record in the NL. No labor unrest that I am aware of. Go Snakes.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

License To Ill

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but they are big fat honkin liars. I've been eating and apple a day, snacking on carrot sticks, and taking lots of vitamins. All in an effort not to get sick during PC.

Well, that one is out. I woke up in the middle of the night, sick. Well, dammit. I swear, this room is like a gigantic petri dish in which Baylor is harvesting the next superflu virus. I fully expect us to be recreating scenes from The Stand by next week. Hopefully there is a vaccine on the way before it comes to that.

For those of you I'm about to get sick because you have no choice but to sit next to me for the next few days... sorry. But those vitamins in all of the fruits and vegetables I'm eating have simply not helped. Which seems like a waste of fruits and vegetables.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Me And Brad

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might adopt yet another kid. This means they can finally put together a family basketball team, though they might have a real problem with depth. They're gonna need those kids to go a full 60 minutes. Subs are for sissies.

Brad also told the reporter, "Sleep is nonexistent." Oh really? Me and Brad, both living on no sleep. Who knew that there would ever be a time I'd have something in common with Brad Pitt? I would have preferred it would have been his looks or bank account, but apparently I get his sleep patterns. So that's something.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Michigan Loses And Laughs

You may be aware that Michigan, the winningnest college football program of all-time, lost a football game yesterday to Appalachian State, a 1-AA school whose biggest claim to fame before yesterday was that it was the college choice of Miss Teen South Carolina. So, this is a school that really stresses academics. This is the first time a top 25 team has ever lost to a 1-AA team, so way to go Michigan.

Now, I'll admit, my initial reaction was one of schadenfreude. That and celebrating with maniacal glee. Because, let's face it, part of being a sports fan is enjoying the misery of others. Particularly when you've adopted Baylor football as a pet, and the chances of them winning a game rest on their ability to beat teams like Rice, who also lost to a 1-AA team yesterday (Nicholls State... Louisiana represent!).

But I have to give it to Michigan fans, who have reacted with fairly good humor about the whole thing. The two biggest Michigan sports blogs have reacted in opposite ways. The M-Zone has gone into meltdown, posting pictures of the Hindenburg disaster. The MGoBlog has decided to change themes and rename the blog, "Kittens R Nice" and posted a bunch of pictures of kittens. Thank God for the internet.

The B never panics like this after a loss. The B is an expert on losing. Rooting for LSU is more fun, guys. And we have better food.