Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SFW: Hocus Pocus

In light of my current time constraints, and to at least maintain the pretense that I'm studying as much as I should be for finals, today's post will be short and sweet. But that's ok, because it's another wonderful installment in our occasional series, Scenes From Waco. Unfortunately, this pic and commentary may reinforce the misconception that this blog is overly focused on the arcane and mysterious. Make a few Harry Potter references at a Baptist school, and suddenly everybody thinks you worship at Hecate's dark altar. Maybe I keep those goats for the ag tax exemption, you judgmental son-of-a-gun. So chew on this:

Those readers familiar with the Baylor campus will recognize this as the tower of the Truett Seminary building. It's a fine institution, and a magnificent edifice. But I think they could have taken a bit more care in the design. Atop the dome is a (presumably brass or gold leaf) representation of Truett's logo, a stylized cross with a flame. But if you're new to campus, as I was when I first saw this, it looks alot more like a demonic rune from page 666 of the Necronomicon. Or at least the model for the tattoo that weird goth girl in high school had. I'm pretty sure she was actually a witch. And not like a Barnes & Noble spirituality section guide to world religions witch. Like she actually cooked children into gingerbread at her forest cottage.

Adding to the"Salem flair," the Bible verse under the clock gives passing students a helpful admonition: "The Night Cometh." (John 9:4). Why, thank you Truett Seminary, it's good to know that at least somebody's optimistic about the state of affairs today. I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable, theologically sound purpose for emblazoning such a thing on the walls of a seminary (you know, like do God's work today, because you may not be able to tomorrow). But seriously, considering the freaky logo, and the fact that the school's already named after Bay-lor, lord of beasts and devourer of souls, maybe something cheery, and more appropriate to an academic environment. Like "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" (Mark 15:34) I know the law students would appreciate the honesty.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Judgment Day

Prof. Contracts has a fun little moniker for our final exam: Judgment Day. His propensity for over-the-top Biblical references aside (breaching parties are Satan, right?), its a pretty good analogy. A day of reckoning, when all your bad decisions ("Nah, that won't be on the test.") are weighed against the good ("No, I shouldn't do three Jagerbombs on a Tuesday night."), and a net result is tabulated. But, ceteris paribus, exams aren't really the Judgment Day I'd been dreading.

At least with exams, if I flubbed completely, I wouldn't have to tell anybody. I could sit there in the exam room, stare blankly at the page, and weep silently. After grades came out, I'd change the subject when someone asked what mine were, and tell no one but Diana. I'd have to sleep out in the yard for a while, but hopefully summer nights are temperate in Waco. Trust me, I'm running ragged every day to make sure I don't have to find out. No, the reckoning I've been waiting for hit today in Civ Pro.

Brief Aside: Performance in Civ Pro is outcome-determinative in the case of Men v. Boys. If you screw up something you should have known, Prof. Snape will rip out your heart and consume it in front of you. Its a hell of a good pedagogical practice, and encourages mastery of a topic. But the thing that makes it so tough is the audience. All your classmates watching, waiting to see what kind of humorous example Snape makes of out your lack of preparedness. All the people you've spent the quarter trying to impress with deep knowledge or superior understanding are right there, judging. I'm not afraid of pubic speaking, and I could care less what most people think of me, so that's not this issue. It's just that this is what I'm supposed to know, what I'm supposed to me conversant in for the rest of my professional life, and these are the people I'm supposed to converse with. It's a little stressful.

Today's class started off light-heatedly. Snape asked about the upcoming SBA elections and who was running for office. I thought he was just curious, so of course I raised my hand and said that I was running for ABA Representative. He kind of squinted at me for a second, and then said, "Oh yeah, you're the outstanding human being." Of all the obscure bits of comedy I put on my campaign posters, that's not the bullet point I expected to bite me later. So he ribbed me a bit about modesty, made fun of Chuck Norris (who endorsed my candidacy), and moved on to the material. I thought it was over, but no. He took the class into the student lounge to use the ping-pong table for a demonstration, and immediately called on me to illustrate his point and discuss the day's case. Being a devout follower of Murphy's law, I had accidentally left my case brief back in the classroom. And of course, that prompted a "Mr. Outstanding Human Being" comment, the first of many over the rest of the hour.

I guess I did OK going off book, but he asked me like two fact questions, and then lectured for 45 minutes. That was it, that was the whole of Judgment Day. Half of the point is that I'm also supposed to be able to judge how well I did, but wasn't much to go on today. How am supposed to know if I passed muster based on only two questions about the case? I got off easy, and somehow that makes me more uneasy. I'm glad I got some laughs out of my posters, but it wasn't exactly my time to shine. Oh well, with my luck Snape will read this and make me explain res judicata in painful detail on Thursday.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

SFW: "Yes, but at what price?"

I have a new concept I think you'll enjoy. I call it "Scenes From Waco: An Occasional Series." Now, I'm a small town guy myself, so I know how wacky things can get out in the hinter land. But Waco's got a flavor you've got to experience to believe. I think you know where I'm coming from. To share this unique je ne sais quoi with the outside world, every so often I'll post a photo of a memorable scene from somewhere around town. Submissions are encouraged! Here's your first taste:

Wow. If only the dude running this Valley Mills establishment knew how offensive his sign was, in light of certain stereotypes. But at what price, EZ Money Pawn Shop, at what terrible price?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What am I whining about?

It occurred to be that if I'm going to complain in my profile about the difficulties of buying a house and raising hellion dogs, I ought to at least give the reader an idea of what I'm talking about. So, in that vein, here are pictures of both the house we're buying, and the little demons.

This photo's a few weeks old, but that's Rufus on the left, and Sandy on the right. He looks kind of stoned (he's not), and she looks kind of tweaked (who knows, maybe she got into something). Actually, the noise of the camera had just woken them up, and these are apparently their morning faces. Don't let the docile pose fool you, either. They don't seem to notice that our apartment is only 600 square feet when they're tearing around it at 90mph. Is it in poor taste that the last post was about dog being gunned down in the streets, and now I'm talking about our canine companions?

And here's the house! We close on the 21st, so I'll save the details for a later post. The interior photos I'll put up will be worth the wait. Think Martha Stewart at, oh, 70+. And more crazy. And really into roses. But who wouldn't want to live in a house with it's own flagpole? I checked the yard to see where I could put in a spot light for the flag, and it turns out there were already two there! Wave on, Old Glory! Have no fear, the housewarming party this summer will be legend...wait for it...dary!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

RIP, Dakota

Police brutality! In 1999 (the Torts casebook tells us) a Racine, Wisconsin police officer shot and killed Dakota, dog belonging to a woman named Rabideau. Yes, Rabideau. Apparently the officer thought sweet little Dakota was going to attack him. Sad for the dog and the lady, to be sure, but what happened next was absurd. The woman sued the city for the emotional trauma she experienced by watching her dog get shot. Ok, ok, she was understandably upset, so I guess that's not too bad. But the doctrine she sued under requires that the injury victim be a close relation to the traumatized bystander. As in a blood or marital relation. As in a freaking human being. I guess Rick Santorum was right, if we let this stuff get to far people really will want to marry their household pets.

What really gets me is that the state supreme court reviewed the case, and that our casebook uses it to illustrate a particular point. Surely it's all tongue in cheek, the woman's name being rabid and all.
Lock up your pets, ladies and gentlemen, because this guy is out to get them.
<------------- dog killer

P.S. That pup up there ain't Dakota. That'd be sick if I did have a pic of the actual dog though, right?

P.P.S. It's come to my attention that a compatriot of mine also has a humorous post about our boys in blue: http://clarkdebonair.org/

The Real Inspiration Behind Hogwarts!

You may not expect to find connections between JK Rowling's witchcraft books and a Southern Baptist university, and what I've discovered may startle you. Baylor Law School is the real inspiration for Harry Potter's alma mater, Hogwarts! A stupendous claim, I know, but I offer the following points for those in doubt:

1. Baylor Law, like Hogwarts, has its own castle near a body of water.

2. 1Q Legal Research is taught by one Prof. Quarles. The equivalent Hogwarts class, Defense Against the Dark Arts, is taught by a Prof. Quirrles. A mere change in spelling!

3. The phrase "Ten Points from Gryffindor!" was actually coined by Baylor Prof. Jim Underwood, who still holds the original copyright.

4. The Hogwarts grounds are inhabited by mystical creatures. This is a clear reference to the Baylor Law grounds and its well documented Serr Bear population.

5. The Hogwarts headmaster speaks with the portraits of past headmasters to gain advice. Everyone at Baylor Law knows that Dean Toben talks to the portraits of past Deans after the library closes at night. Why else are they on the same floor as his office?

6. Alan Rickman was selected to play Severus Snape only after Prof. William Jeremy Counseller turned down the job.

7. Some Hogwarts professors had been teaching there for almost a century. Baylor contracts Prof. Larry Bates has this record beat by almost three decades.

7. Hogwarts students strictly avoid interacting with muggles. Obviously Rowling observed the relationship between Baylor law students and undergrads.

8. The game of quiddich is a very thinly veiled reference to Baylor's world-class intramural basketball teams.

9. Sorting Hat? Moot Court break? No further explanation needed.