The Paper Chase

This evening I watched The Paper Chase with a few of the other law students here. For those of you that don't know, The Paper Chase is about a few law students (one in particular) going through their first year at Harvard Law School, with a particular focus on their contracts class (and it's professor). If you would like to get some idea of what law school is like, I recommend watching this movie as it has a lot of very accurate elements. In spite of its accuracy, The Paper Chase does not match up with my experience in a few key ways: none of my professors are quite as mean as Professor Kingsfield and none of my classmates are quite as self-servingly cutthroat as most of the other students in the movie. The movie does, however, give a seemingly accurate portrayal of the workload, class structure, stress levels, sleep deprivation and general style of the experience. I should like to add the caveat to everything previously said in this post that I've only finished one month of my first term and things could change dramatically between now and finals.

Muckrunning Tortfeasor

Muckrunner and tortfeasor are currently my two favorite words (though one isn't really a word). Tortfeasor is a genuine and real word, muckrunner is a compound word derived from a misinterpretation of a homophone. So as to allow you to enjoy your expanded vocabularies, I present, without further ado, the definition and derivation of tortfeasor and muckrunner (respectively):

Tortfeasor : One who has committed a tort. For those that don't know, a tort is a civil wrong that is not a breach of contract or, in other words, those things that people sue each other for all the time. Thus, a tortfeasor is someone who has wronged someone else in a non-breach of contract sort of way. Mostly though, it just sounds really neat.

Muckrunner : Derived from the term running amok, which is sometimes written running amuck. Running amok is to act in a violent, murderous frenzy and can be considered roughly synonymous with going postal or killing spree. Based on running amuck sounding an awful lot like running a muck, I figured that one who runs a muck might be a muckrunner and thus the derivation is obtained. When, however, one drops the original meaning of running amok, a muckrunner can become a totally different thing entirely. Imagine, if you will, a man driving an old rusty pickup truck filled to the brim with some indescribable muck; now, further imagine this man driving down old dirt roads in a breakneck, Dukes of Hazzard style much like the prohibition era smugglers. Although muckrunner is an improper derivation of running amok, I find it to be a wonderfully amusing construct.

WFTDA (aka. Roller Girls)

In continuing to do fantastic things on Saturdays, last night I went to see the Minnesota RollerGirls v. Tampa Tantrums roller derby. Prior to yesterday, I had never heard of roller derbies but after last night, I'm a complete convert. The sport works a bit like this: a bunch of girls on rollerskates (the four-wheeled kind) skate around a track and each team has one scoring girl (called the jammer) who gets a point for every time she laps someone. The rest of the team tries to help their jammer get around and prevent the oposing jammer from passing; now, when I say "tries to help", I mean by blocking, checking and generally abusing the other team. If you want a complete description of how things work check out the WFTDA home page but, basically, it's girls on rollerskates beating the crap out of each other. Seriously, roller derbies are the best spectator sport ever created.

The sport is getting pretty popular in the US and there are teams all over the country so those of you out there that know what's good for you will go watch your local team compete. Apparently the #1 ranked team in the US is the Austin Texecutioners so, Riad, it really behooves you to go see a match.

A Non-Purists Perfect Frozen Margarita

Having experimented with margarita preparation a bit this weekend, I feel that I have come up with a perfect recipe for a non-purists margarita. Feeling as I do about cocktail preparation, I have foregone the use of the abominations that are premade margarita mixes but as pure as my cocktail preparation intentions are, my recipe does not make use of freshly squeezed lime, so I cannot truly consider it a proper margarita recipe. That said, I think the results do speak for themselves:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Tequila
  • 3/4 cup Triple Sec
  • 1 cup (half can) frozen Limeade Concentrate
  • Ice
  • Margarita Salt

Preparation:

In a 2 liter blender, combine Tequila, Triple Sec and Limeade Concentrate. Add enough Ice to fill blender. Cover and blend. Serve in glass rimmed with margarita salt. (To rim a glass with margarita salt, take two wide, flat bowls, fill one with 1/4 inch water and the other with 1/4 inch margarita salt, then dip a glass, rim first, in the water followed by the salt)

Variations:

As variations on the above recipe, the Triple Sec may be replaced with any orange liqueur. Blue Curaçao, for example, will make for an equally tasty but very blue margarita. Of course, Grand Marnier or any other orange liqueur is also acceptable.

Law School: Not So Bad

Noticing my earlier discussion of how aprehensive I was about starting law school, I thought that I should weigh in and let you know that school turns out to be really not so bad. The Socratic method is not terrifying and if you know what's going on the professors tend to acknowledge that and move on to someone else that isn't quite so quick. It can be a little annoying sometimes when a professor continues talking to three or four students through an entire class and you can't get a comment in but it's interesting to see other people's views/understandings/opinions get confused and drawn into question. As not bad as the classes and the content turn out to be, the workload is decidedly not so pleasant; I'm getting ~50-100 pages of reading a night and these law texts are not the clearest or easiest things to read. The materials is interesting but the sheers quantity of content that is being shoved into my brain left me mostly burned out by the end of this week. Of course, a game of golf and such has pretty well cleared my burned-outtedness, so I should be set to get tomorrow's work done. So yeah, law school really isn't that bad.

Golf, Sausage, Margaritas and a Proper Saturday

Today has been a genuinely good Saturday; if I can make ever Saturday of the remainder of my law school career turn out as well as today has, I will certainly be quite pleased with the way I'm doing things. I started out the day by sleeping in, which is always a good start for a weekend day. After waking up, getting some cereal and watching TV for a while, I went out to play golf with my housemate Paul. Golf because I just bought myself a set of clubs figuring that any good lawyer ought to learn how to play golf and Paul knows a guy that can get him free rounds on a local golf course. So my afternoon was spent playing my first game of full golf in my life (it's been driving ranges, pitch & putt, mini-golf and hitting balls into the woods up 'til now) and although I'm not very good yet, I have to say that golf is a pretty fantastic game (or sport, depending on how you feel about it). On the way back from the gold course we stopped by the grocery store, grabbed a bunch of sausages and various other things. Once we got back to the house, we fired up the grill and made some margaritas. Two margaritas and four sausages (of which the cheddarwurst definitely took top honors) later, each, we played a few games of pool and now I'm joining the rest of the house in watching some television. Really though, between golf, sausages and margaritas, you would be hard pressed to construct a better Saturday, in my opinion.

US to Canada circa 1777: you're in if you want

In reading the Articles of Confederation for my Constitutional Law class, I came across an interesting little tidbit in Article XI, which reads as follows:

Article XI.Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.

Basically the United States was explicitly saying that United States would accept Canada as a new state if Canada wanted to join the United States. This in and of itself is kind of cute but added to another thought experiment it becomes even more amusing. In my Constitutional Law class we have been discussing whether or not the Constitution was validly adopted based on the matter that the means in which it was adopted were in violation of the, then in effect, Articles of Confederation. If the Constitution were to have been illegally adopted then it would follow that the Articles of Confederation are still valid to this day. Between all these facts we have the situation that it could be argued, with some validity, that Canada has the right to join the United States to this day and that all Canada would need to do would be to say they wanted in.