Saturday, November 27, 2004

I did the quick turnaround trip this week--left at 1 p.m. Wednesday for Beallsville, arrived around 7, and then left again at 11 a.m. Friday, went shopping with Dad and then to his favorite Chinese buffet , and was back in Ann Arbor by 5:30. I was just awake enough to go out to Leopold's and kick ass at Taboo, along with my lovely and talented partner.

Today was a heavy work day, but this evening I went to a group to Blue Nile here in town. If you're here and thinking about it, go. It certainly did nothing to dispell my belief that Ethiopian is the most underrated of our ethnic cuisines. It's a curious set-up too, but wonderful if you're an option paralysis sufferer like I am--your table decides on vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and they bring out a huge plate that has a little bit of everything, all you can eat. For about $20 a head, we ate brilliantly well, mostly on pretty healthy fare to boot. It's not my favorite Ethiopian place, but it will do quite nicely. It's also pleasantly communal to share food family style with no utensils; you use the injera bread to scoop--it's surprisingly efficient.

Is it a bad sign that I printed down the practice Contracts exam I was going to take today, read through it and immediately said, OK that's not happening? (Yes, that was rhetorical.) I do have a month before that exam, but there's definitely some work to be done. At least Property and Criminal are looking substantially less scary. I even got some Property outlining done today. Yay!

Speaking of "Yay!", it looks like I'm going to be 3 for 3 in alma maters (and future alma maters) getting BCS bids. If only I could afford to spend the money to get to one or more of those fine Sunbelt towns for New Year's. Sigh.

Friday, November 26, 2004

On this day in history, two years and (according to my blogger profile) 103,987 words ago, The Daily(?) Beallsvonian (later Deeper Shade of Seoul, later still Watching Myself Gavotte) was born. I have come incredibly far in two years, a quick browse at those early posts reminds me. I've moved across the country, twice, gotten semi-gainful employment, gotten into law school, and perhaps most importantly gotten out of that damn coal mine. I've even managed to go months and months without a gratuitous reference to Mauritania, such as how it's being destroyed by locusts, or how Francois Mitterand's son has been dodging taxes there.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The holy grilled cheese sandwich featuring the Virgin Mary (or, possibly, Julianne Moore from Far From Heaven) has been sold. Please resume your daily lives.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Not that you asked, but since I'm not in the mood to start typing up Contracts notes just yet, here are 20 songs I've been enjoying the hell out of lately:

  1. Pretty Pink Ribbon -- Cake
  2. Pop Goes The World -- Men Without Hats
  3. The Likes Of You Again -- Flogging Molly
  4. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised -- Gil-Scott Heron
  5. She -- Green Day
  6. Mr. Brightside -- The Killers
  7. What Do All The People Know? -- The Monroes
  8. Murder (Or a Heart Attack) -- Old 97s
  9. Walking In The Rain -- Oran "Juice" Jones
  10. Stranger -- Presidents of the United States of America
  11. Teenage Dirtbag -- Wheatus
  12. Underwear -- Pulp
  13. Sleep Walk -- Santo & Johnny
  14. The Luck of the Irish -- Shonen Knife
  15. Hard To Explain -- The Strokes
  16. New York City -- They Might Be Giants
  17. Gun -- Uncle Tupelo
  18. Rock Me Gently -- Andy Kim
  19. Black Girls -- Violent Femmes
  20. Buddy Holly -- Weezer

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Sherwood v. Walker this week would've been just another case in the semester's rush of cases, except for the memorable first line:

Replevin for a cow.

For those of you who don't have deep knolwedge of archaic legal procedure, replevin is basically a lawsuit for specific performance for a chattel--i.e., I want the thing, rather than what the thing is worth. This contrasts with a trover, which is a suit for money.

I remember this, because we encountered these terms back in September, and I made up the following rhyme to the tune of a Pittsburgh's-Own-Tommy James song:

Replevin and trover
Over and over
Object's replevin;
Damages, trover

You might look at this as a clever little rhyme to remember something useful; you'd be correct, if needing to know what "replevin" or "trover" means had been useful on any law school exam since 1927.

Mostly, though, the point here is that I decided "Replevin for a Cow" is the most poetic phrase I've ever heard (or at least this side of "cellar door"), so I had to do something with it. (Go to the link above to follow along.)

Replevin for a Cow

Because they thought Rose 2 was barren
She was a big bargain, but wherein
It turned out she's with calf
The court took the deal back;
The mutual mistake, it lied therein.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Wednesday night I ended up playing and finishing second in the law school Trivial Pursuit tournament at Leopold's. We played in two-person teams, in a strange format involving playing a full game, then a written round, and then reading questions team-by-team to the finalists.

I was reminded that while I've always been into trivia games, I've never been that big of a Trivial Pursuit fan, at least not since getting into organized quiz-bowl. As someone who played a lot of quiz-bowl and who spent a lot of time micro-analyzing things, I have some thoughts on why.

Trivia games (and trivia questions, for that matter) can range on a wide spectrum from impossibly hard to absurdly easy. But the distinctions are more complicated than that. I would argue that any trivia game has two competing factors that determine what kind of outcome you want: do you want to reward knowing more obscure things ("knowing"), or do you want to reward figuring out more commonly known things ("reckoning")? Answering that question tells you a lot about the game. For instance, think about the difference between a pun-laced $200 Jeopardy question and a straightforward $2000 question. The former probably involves more reckoning, and the latter probably requires mostly just knowing.

Academic quiz-bowl has always been more about knowing than reckoning. Even College Bowl Inc. provides a lot of questions whose answers are well outside the scope of pure common knowledge. More difficult variations on quiz-bowl go even further in being about knowing rather than reckoning, to the point where I believe average people could go through a whole quiz-bowl game without hearing one non-popular culture question whose answer they knew.

Trivial Pursuit, as far as I can tell, has played with this ratio over the course of its many editions. The original couple of Genus editions had some pretty deep knowledge--I remember being amazed at my mother's in-depth knowledge of the love affairs of 1940s Hollywood, for instance, which seemed to be plumbed at great depth. Young Player's went in a different direction, making the questions generally easier, and also bringing in more reckoning-type questions.

At the tournament Wednesday, we played our prelim game on the Millenium Edition, and the finals used questions from Volume 6. I think I can say that in Millenium, Trivial Pursuit took the reckoning questions much further than I've seen in their editions before, and the reckoning itself wasn't as hard. The number of "giveaway nouns" in questions went up dramatically: think "This pacifist" and imagine anywhere the game could take that question that didn't end up back at Gandhi. You can't. The rest of the words might as well not have even been there. The number of this type of question--where no one is going to know the answer to the question actually posed, but most people will be able to guess right based on heavy contextual clues--almost took Millenium out of the realm of "trivia game" and into some other sort of puzzle game.

In Volume 6, they're definitely come back a bit from the precipice that was Millenium; most of the questions in the finals required you to know a little something and not just reckon from context.

I think the proper reckoning/knowing ratio for a good trivia game is a highly subjective thing; most people would never want to play a game with the level of knowledge required in quiz-bowl, because most people just don't have that kind of factual knowledge. On the other hand, many quiz-bowl people disdain reckoning questions, except insofar as they have to choose from a small set of answers they know that may fit the early clues to a question.

For me, CBI Regionals was always just about right--a fair amount of factual knowledge required to do well, some other analytical thinking skills useful if you want to do really well. NTN also has a nice ratio, because the questions generally require some knowledge, but because they are multiple choice, there's also a reckoning between answers aspect. Trivial Pursuit and harder versions of academic quiz-bowl are too far away from my ideal point for me to want to play them regularly; I enjoy them on occasion, but would probably get irritated with them if those occasions came more than about once a year.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Flying Justice Wins 6-33 Moral Victory
ANN ARBOR [AP] [INS]: Flying Justice improved to a moral 3-0 last night, taking a 6-33 tilt from Okayplayers at Mitchell Field. With Earl Riskey's 42-0 win over the Dewey Decimators, Flying Justice is now, like all the other teams, in the flag football IM playoffs.
Team captain Jordan Adler said at a post-game press conference, "I'm real proud of these guys. We achieved moral victory over a tough team that didn't even have all that many girls on it." Adler also emphasized that the team required "fewer than 25 total stitches" as a result of the game.
The team's task was made more difficult by the defection of a number of key players to attend a lecture by noted orgy-enthusiast and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Left with just nine players, the team was dealt an insurmountable blow when Kyle Walther went down with observers described as, "Ewww, man, are you all right?" and which was later diagnosed as "a cleat to the face." Following the injury, receiver/safety Dave Alles, in his best Strong Bad voice, described the team as, "DEPLETED!"
Quarterback Tom McNulty hooked up with receiver Dan Cousino for Flying Justice's lone score. He then looked around to make sure no one got the idea from the phrase, "hooked up."
Flying Justice fell to 1-2 in the much less important "actual wins and losses" statistic.
Flying Justice will be preparing for this weekend's playoff game by talking about how much they should really get together and practice, and then reading about contracts instead.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Ever wonder what didn't happen on this day in history? Well, now you can find out. (Link via Green Gourd) Some very funny stuff here, especially for history dweebs such as myself.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

It started with a simple question (no, not, "Would you eat the moon if it were made of ribs?"): In countries where they have eliminated their lowest currency bill, what is the economic effect at strip clubs? Is there a lot less tipping, making it less lucrative, or an equal amount of tipping with higher bill amounts, making it more lucrative? This should have been one of those fun speculative debates that one has with one's fellow law students over dinner.

But then I came back from the men's room and found out that everyone had realized we were 45 minutes away from impirical evidence in the form of Windsor, Ontario. In the name of research, we had to go.

The evening was remarkably sedate for a border run designed to go straight to places to drink, but I should report our findings, of which there were three:

  1. One possibility is tipping with the loony, but that just didn't work very well
  2. Others tipped with 5 "dollar" bills, and they seemed to be rewarded with somewhat more extensive attention than might be otherwise expected.
  3. Finally, since we never got more than about 5 blocks from the border, the most common option should have occurred to us: most people tipped with $1 bills. Duh.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Two issues that arise from my late night trying to finish my major writing assignment of the semester, the Legal Practice open memo:

  1. How exactly does one create a citation for the proposition, "There are no cases that say x?"
  2. How gutsy do you have to be to sue a newspaper for libel for publishing a story saying that you sexually abused your stepdaughter 30 to 50 times, on the grounds that you only sexually abused her 8 times? (No, it didn't even get to trial, in case you were wondering.)

Monday, November 08, 2004

In case anyone else was wondering when the most important event of any holiday season falls this year, it's December 1, 8 p.m., on CBS.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

An inspirational story from the "Where Are They Now?" file, Steve Courson, the anti-Strzelczyk.

Also another interesting story from today's Post-Gazette, about the 1979 Steelers and how many of them continued to live in the Pittsburgh area after retirement, a trend which the article suggests was more common back in the day, especially among successful teams:

"I was in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, and a lot of those guys [from the 1970s teams] were still there," [Hall of Fame LB Jack] Ham said. "I think in Oakland, a lot of those guys are in jail, so they would still be close."

Saturday, November 06, 2004

More weird music selections, including a cover of this blog's theme song, as performed for some reason by Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. Don't say I didn't warn you. It also has my favorite bringing in a relief pitcher music. And if you ever wondered what an Eminem/Scott Joplin collaboration would sound like, wonder no more.

UPDATE: The site doesn't allow direct links to sound files, so to find the clips referenced above, go to the "weird music" link, and use Find in Page to go to "odd", "puberty", and "ragtime" respectively.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Quick story that was my personal "Professor Joke of the Year," but which may or may not translate into print:

Yesterday in criminal law we were talking about intoxication defenses. (Short, short version: Not bloody likely in most cases.) There are some exceedingly rare cases, though, of involuntary intoxication, which can be a decent defense. One possibility for involuntary intoxication is that you thought you were taking something else but you actually took an intoxicant. There is a 1915 case, People v. Penman (sadly, with no Google presence, until now--271 Ill. 82, 110 N.E. 894 for those with Westlaw or Lexis-Nexis access), where a guy was sold "breath perfumers" that turned out to be cocaine tablets. High on these tablets, he got into an argument about a car he had agreed to buy and then reneged on, had an exchange of insults (including, according to the opinion, 'You long-legged giraffe, you will have to take it,'), and then went nuts and killed the guy. It turns out he should have been entitled to a temporary insanity defense because of his involuntary intoxication. (This is 10 times more detail than the prof gave; thank you legal research tools!)

So after briefly telling us about Penman, the professor says he likes to refer to this as the "curiously strong breath mints case".

Perhaps you had to be there...

Anyone else think they should've gone with Texas Hold 'Em? Hell, ESPN2 probably would've put it on in prime time.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

This week's theme is coping. I'm trying to cope with:

  • A nagging cold
  • Tuesday's unpleasantness
  • Wednesday's double contracts session, making up Tuesday cancellation
  • A large looming Legal Practice memo
  • Giddy Steeler success
  • Continued awkwardness dealing with women qua women
  • Continued annoying use of obscure prepositions such as "qua"
  • Cold rain, my least favorite weather
  • The start of summer job search season

As anticipated, law school turns hectic after Halloween and Election Day. If people and/or writing outlets get neglected in the meantime, my apologies.