Sunday, December 24, 2006

Those of you who have been following the sidebar will have noticed that there's been some stalling. Finals plus holidays has equaled lack of progress, and I'm kinda fine with that. I didn't make it to 300 for my brother's December 30 wedding as I'd hoped, but I'm satisfied. I'm especially happy that I've eaten like crap for a month without really doing any damage, because for the first time in school I kept up the gym routine at the end of the semester. Good times. Hopefully the holidays won't be the carnage that they could--though mom's baking for the first time in years, so who knows. I didn't bring the nifty Weight Watchers scale home with me, so no more weigh-in numbers until I get back to Ann Arbor and back on the horse, so to speak. Not an actual horse--that would suck for me and the horse.

Merry Christmas everyone! And thanks for reading even though I haven't been so good with the updates. We'll strive to do better in 2007...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I have my first exam of the finals period, Transnational Law, in a little over 2 hours. This is the first class in my life where I decided a week in that I was taking the class pass/fail, and treated the class accordingly all along. I'm hoping that the "pass" standard is as low as I suspect it is, because I've spent most of my time lately
playing on the Internet, watching movies, watching football, and generally wasting time studying for my other classes.

Still, I've found time this morning to put together my standard playlist in honor of my forthcoming exam. As always, I culled this list from the iTunes currently on my computer. I resisted the urge to put in every single song I have that has a foreign country or city in the title, which eliminated about 75% of candidates.

Really, the list could have boiled down to one song: Warren Zevon -- Lawyers, Guns and Money. It turns out Transnational Law is about law in the same way that Welsh Rabbit is about rabbit. But still, I found some more things to include...

Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, Little Jimmy Osmond; The Girl From Ipanema, Joao Gilberto; Don't Forget Where You're Coming From, Joe Grushecky; Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen: One of the few universally recognized fundamental human rights is the right to a nationality.
Yellow Submarine, The Beatles; Broken Ship, Immaculate Machine; Six Months in a Leaky Boat, Split Enz: Not surprisingly, admirality and naval cases comprise much of the early body of international law.
The Mariner's Revenge Song, The Decemberists: Especially cases about pirates.
Waterloo, ABBA: The Napoleonic Wars were arguably the pinnacle of the post-Westphalian national system
Perfect World, Liz Phair; Wonderful World, Herman's Hermits: It's good to keep in mind the ultimate goal of Transnational Law...
Eve of Destruction, The Turtles; The End of the World, Leigh Nash w/ Los Straitjackets: ...and the more likely outcomes as well.
A New England, Billy Bragg; What's Left of the Flag, Flogging Molly: The European Union has led to a fundamentally altered European system, arguably with severe constraints on national sovereignty.
Come Together, The Beatles: The post-1945 international world has seen a proliferation of multilateral treaties and other international agreements.
Love Me I'm A Liberal, Phil Ochs: Many international agreements are non-binding and aspirational, stating what countries should do with no enforcement mechanisms or ultimate authority behind them, except in the super-rare instances where they become customary international law.
Less Than Zero, Elvis Costello: What all of those non-binding, aspirational international agreements are worth in practice.
Screaming at the Wailing Wall, Flogging Molly: This is the remedy available when someone violates those non-binding, aspirational international agreements.
We Used To Be Friends, Dandy Warhols: What countries say to other countries when they violate those international agreements.
Think Locally Fuck Globally, Gogol Bordello: That's just good advice for everyone.
Rocked by Rape, Evolution Control Committee: In the '90s American legal scholars scored a coup when they were able to sue Radovan Karadzic for war crimes, including systematic rape, in the post-Yugoslav wars under the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act.
La Resistance, South Park soundtrack: Under the old black box theory and the ongoing act of state doctrine, we generally don't look into internal actions of a government against its own nationals within its own territories. So domestic dissidents generally can't look to the international community for help. Except when they can.
Democracy, Leonard Cohen: The Montevideo Convention prescribes a definition of statehood that includes a government, but it doesn't care which kind.
Let's Get Out of This Country, Camera Obscura: Given the previous two facts, this is what those dissidents are likely to say when things go badly.
Turkish Song of the Damned, The Pogues: The single biggest case (The Lotus Case) in pre-WWII international law said that Turkey could impose criminal liability over a French sea captain who caused the deaths of Turkish sailors on a boat he accidentally rammed with his own--even though it happened in international waters--because they had custody of the captain and because any jurisdictional rule not forbidden by international law was permitted.
Battle of Who Could Care Less, Ben Folds Five: A good way to characterize a terrible class that most people end up taking pass/fail.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's becoming cliche to say so, but I strongly subscribe to the New Year's Eve haters club. I've tried doing lots, doing a little, and doing nothing, and it's almost always a disappointing night. But this year, I think the plans are pretty good. In addition to the concert tickets, I also have the Rose Bowl tickets. Now I just need the plane tickets. Either way, though, I'll be arriving in L.A. on the 31st in the afternoon, and staying through the 3rd or 4th. At least one day will be partly devoted to apartment-browsing in Venice, which I'm looking forward to almost as much as the two big events.

Also, I'm taking suggestions for neutralish garb I can wear to the game that won't be Laura Quinn crazy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I don't go to McSweeney's all that often anymore, but occasionally I pop in and happen upon a gem. Today they've got a beautiful dose of holiday cheer. OK, anything involving Sylvia Plath isn't really "cheer" per se. But still.

And this remains the best thing ever written by anyone anywhere about anything.