Monday, February 28, 2011

A Tribute to an Unappreciated Movie
Other People's Money

Here's an ode to an unappreciated movie from the early 90's. The movie was about corporate greed and takeovers. Don't worry, there was a happy ending. The corporation managed to salvage the old factory and convert it to something useful for the late 20th century economy. And Danny DeVito got the girl. I was always thought Penelope Ann Miller was cute.

Anyway, here are a couple of quotes that I thought was funny as hell, both of them by Danny DeVito's character. DeVito had sarcasm down to an art-form.

Kate Sullivan: Well, for someone who has nothing nice to say about lawyers, you certainly have plenty of them around.

Lawrence Garfield: They're like nuclear warheads. They have theirs, so I have mine. Once you use them, they fuck up everything.


You know, at one time there must've been dozens of companies making buggy whips.
 And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

And The Winner Is....

The Last Airbender.

Yep, the Twilight movie lost out on the Razzie. I had my fingers crossed but no luck. To be so close to seeing this  movie get such an ignoble award was such a tease. It's almost like looking at the lottery numbers and seeing the first two numbers on your ticket match the first numbers in the drawing. However the last three numbers missed your numbers by a digit or two. It's a punch in the gut. My hopes were up but were dashed.

It is a small consolation knowing someone thinks Twilight sucks as much as I think it sucks.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Food Grade Wax

Other than 'ewww' , I don't have much to say about it. It sounds nasty. I read about this in a case the other day. I did a quick search and found out that food grade wax is used to coat foods to keep them fresh and to make them look shiny.

I've learned not to think too hard about what is in my food. Reading Fast Food Nation was quite traumatic. Then again, almost any food can be a turn-off if you look too closely. For example, who would want to eat this: (2R,3S,4R,5R)-2,3,5,4,6-Pentahydroxyhexanal? It sounds bad, especially the 'al' part which signifies that the chemical has an aldehyde in it. Aldehydes are generally toxic to humans, and other animals, I suppose. But this one is OK to eat.

Friday, February 25, 2011

3/5/96 - 2/25/09

My baby girl died 2 years ago on this day. She almost made it to 13 years, but she was just shy of a week. The only thing I regret about her last day is that when I realized the night before that her death was near that I didn't go ahead and make her birthday cupcakes. She would have ate them, too, as sick as she was. Her last meal was turkey, eggs, sausage, bread and a Krispy Kreme donut.

I still miss her a whole lot.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One Hurdle Cleared

I finished taking an exam today. Unfortunately, we were playing for keeps this time. The exam only counts for 15% of my grade.

Now it's onward to bigger things. Legal brief, here I come.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pop Quiz

What my prof essentially said today

That is how my day started in conlaw today. Fortunately the quiz wasn't graded. It did give us an indication of what his exam may be like. So far, he is doing a good job of hiding the ball. The guy doesn't have one single exam in the exam file at the library.

We went over the quiz later in class. Most of us were caught off guard.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Charlotte & The 2012 Democratic National Convention

When I heard Charlotte received the nod to host the 2012 Democratic Convention, the first thing I thought was "that was a shrewd move on the DNC's part." Obama won NC in 2008 by the slimmest of margins, 0.33%. Obama has also made several appearances in this state since the election, even vacationing in Asheville.

Maybe this will push Charlotte into a realm they've been seeking for a while. They've tried so hard to shake their provincial status. UNC-C is now called "Charlotte". The Coliseum in Charlotte has on the court "Charlotte USA". I guess Charlotte thinks they are too 'good' to be associated with the rest of NC.

This state went Democrat for the first time in a presidential election for the first time since 1976. There is no doubt that 2012 will be a close race as well for this state. Having the convention here will give the Democrats invaluable visibility in NC and with a margin so narrow as in 2008, every vote counts. A few thousand or even a few hundred votes here and there could make the difference between carrying this state or not.

Some may ask, why did I show a picture of Obama wearing Harvey Gantt t-shirt? Well, Obama is the president, and he will almost certainly win the Democratic nomination. There were some right-wing pundits saying Obama may receive a serious primary challenge in '12, but I wouldn't bet on it. Second, Obama supported Harvey Gantt for senator when he ran against the cagey Jesse Helms.

Harvey Gantt was the mayor of Charlotte. It seems like every decade, a Charlotte Mayor gets the notion that if he can run Charlotte, then he can run the whole state. And almost inevitably, the Charlotte Mayor loses. NC political analysts have even called this the "Charlotte Curse."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Titanic's Ubiquity

For the love of God, there is no escaping the movie Titanic. I thought for sure a contracts course would be safe-harbor from that awful movie. I was wrong.

The case was Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon. The issue was about exclusive rights, contracts and consideration. Cardozo really stuck it to ol' Lady Duff. In reference to her he states "Defendant is a 'creator of fashions' whose favor helps a sale". Putting things in "quotes" is about the closest thing to a sarcasm font we have in writing.

Our professor asked the class if they knew who she was. I didn't have a clue, but other class members did. Our professor read a court transcript of Lady Duff on the stand in an unrelated trial. I wish our professor had emailed it to us. Believe me, this woman was a piece of work. Undoubtedly Cardozo knew all about her when he wrote the majority decision. He really stuck it to her.

I did find this. Lady Duff was asked if she had bought any war bonds during WWI. Here is her response:

"Why should I buy any? This country means nothing to me. I have had nothing

but trouble over here. It is an awful country." Lady Duff Gordon in Court, N.Y.

TIMES, Apr. 13, 1919 at 22.

I have no doubt Cardozo knew about Lady Duff's reputation when he wrote that decision. For the record, the Chief Judge of the NY Court of Appeals (NY's 'Supreme Court') at the time was Frank Hiscock.

I could only roll my eyes when our professor mentioned the movie Titanic. I've tried to watch that saccharine crap all the way through, but I couldn't do it. It didn't help that I had to hear Celine Dion's shrill voice on the score. I think after 30 minutes into the movie, I was rooting for the iceberg.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for Bloggers

Natalie Munroe

A teacher, Natalie Munroe, in the Philly area got busted for scathing comments on her blog about her students. She has been placed on administrative leave with pay and may possibly lose her job.

Here are some of the things she said about them:

  • Frightfully dim
  • rat-like
  • Am concerned your kid is going to open fire on the school
  • I hate your kid
  • Seems smarter than she actually is

I don't know exactly how she got busted. I didn't view her blog. I am curious if she tried to remain anonymous or if she didn't give a crap, threw caution to the wind and let it all hang out.

I've tried to remain somewhat anonymous on this blog. There are people in the real world who I know and I have sent this blog address to. There are virtual friends who know me, my name and about my blog. But for someone reads this blog and who has never met me, they would have to do some cyberstalking to find out where I live and what my name is.

I've tried not to use real names in this blog. I have not commented about my professor's personalities or quirks. There was one entry where a couple of people could figure out I was talking about them if they read my blog and knew I was the author.

Story here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Last night on American Idol during the group audition night, a contestant committed a worse sin than forgetting his lines; he didn't learn them in the first place! He actually brought a cheat-sheet held in his hand during his solo part of the act.

Steve Tyler rhetorically asked the guy why didn't he write the words on his arm and not be so conspicuous. Regardless, it was too late and that guy was done.

I didn't realize that was a cardinal sin in the American Idol rules. But it is understandable. If they allowed people to bring cheat-sheets, the show would appear as a glorified karaoke show.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From the Annals of Passive Aggresiveness

I'm a sucker for passive aggressiveness, being a lifelong smartass myself. I think of passive aggressiveness as sarcasm's kissing cousin. The other day in contracts I came across a fine example of passive aggressiveness and it made me smile. The case was Price v. OK College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery.

A college offered to renew a faculty member's contract for one year at $47,117/yr. The faculty member signed the offer and returned it. But under his signature was a hand written note: "Signed under protest that salary does not reflect guarantees under present and past Personnel Policies and that proper evaluation procedures were not followed."

The school said it wasn't an acceptance and terminated the guy. Wow, those academic types can be pricks. I would have paid money to listen in on the arguments this guy had with his fellow staff members. He sounds like a piece of work. I admire his gumption and thought his little note was funny.

The court said there was indeed a contract and the school couldn't back out now.

That's how you stick it to the man!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sad Article in About
Empty Nest and Aging Pets

This was a depressing article in Making it worse was how it resonates with what is going on in my life. The article discusses the animals the writer's adult kids left behind when they moved away. The writer discusses how old and frail these animals are. She mentions how she has resigned herself to the fact that her floors will always be soiled while the pets are still alive. She can buy new carpets and refinish her hardwoods, she says. She also mentions vacations she has passed on so she could take care of her animals

I had to leave my dog behind. He needs a lot of attention. He gets lonely. Since his back problems two years ago, he has incontinence and bowel problems. We have old rugs scattered across the house to minimize any damage to the hardwoods. Andy is nearly deaf, and his eyesight is poor. He mostly sleeps all day. He can still walk, but on some days he's stiff and wobbly. I was going to take a big trip after I was laid-off and take Andy with me. But when his back problems surfaced, I decided to stay home. I knew he wasn't up to the trip. He loves going bye-bye. In his younger days, he would have been thrilled to go on a big trip with me.

He'll die soon. Maybe he has a year left in him. Asking for two would be too much. This is the part of dog-ownership that sucks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Taking One For the Team

We were about to go over the Slaughterhouse cases when the professor asked for volunteers. Not a peep from the crowd was heard. The prof said "OK, I guess I'll go to the role." Well, guess whose name pops up?

I raised my hand. He paused and looked at me. It has been less than a month since I carried a big case. He recognized me, and then asked the class "has there been anyone who has not been called on?" Pause and silence. Then he asked "has there been anyone whose voice I have not heard?"

And before I knew it, a miracle happened! A student raised her hand and admitted that she had not participated in class yet. She didn't have to do it, but she did anyway. I don't think anyone would have known any better. She took me off the hook. She answered the questions better than I would have.

Who said law students were all cut-throat backstabbers?

Anyway, my turn cometh (again), and right soon!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Insufferable Day for Saint Valentine

I fucking hate Valentine's Day. Some may say it's sour grapes since I'm single with no prospects in the love department. Maybe so. I think most single people will join with me in my detesting of this artificial, contrived made-for-Hallmark Holiday.

When I see those commercials advertising teddy bears or flowers, it makes me want to puke. I don't really puke, but I do roll my eyes. I have a cynical view about excessive displays of romance and the people that fall for that crap. It's a perfect scenario for a bullshit artist to work his craft. It's amazing people fall for that crap.

March Madness is around the corner!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Geography, Culture & War

Protesters in Cairo

Sometimes, good things can come out of war. War gives opportunities to learn geography. War also gives us a glimpse into the other people's cultures. When I was younger, I would not have had a clue what the symbolism of the photo above meant.

However, since my early twenties, 20 years and several wars have gone by. I have a pretty good idea what that means. In Arabic cultures, showing the soles of one's shoes is offensive. Doing it on purpose is like a big ol' "Screw You" to whoever the recipient is. In the photo above, the protestors directed their anger at Mubarak when they thought he was going to step down but didn’t, despite rumors to the contrary.

I vaguely remember hearing of one story of the lead-up to Desert Shield where a U.S. diplomat crossed his legs and the bottom of the shoe pointed right at an Arabic guy. Understandably, the Arab was offended and cut short the meeting that day. I wish I remembered the details of that moment.

Of course, how could anyone with a heartbeat forget about the Iraqi journalist throwing his shoes at President Bush a couple of years ago. Even the most rabid Bush-hater has to admit that Bush adroitly bobbed and weaved with finesse and skill that day!

I'm sure the shoes are not in the air anymore.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Outrunning My Coverage

I fell behind in my reading two classes in a row. On Thursday, I fell behind in contracts and Friday Constitution. Ultimately, I am to blame for this. However in these two classes, the professors almost always fall short of the schedule 10 or 20 pages for any particular day.

I tried to adjust my reading and read a little less than I normally do in those classes this week so I could focus on classes where I had assignments due. I got burned. Things would have been much worse had the professors called on me and I had to take a pass. Fortunately for me, the professors did not call on me or anyone else and relied instead on voluntary participation. I would have felt like such a weenie if I had to pass.

I escaped this time, but fuck it all, I'm now behind in my reading for this weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream
But an Invention From There Is Patentable!

Don't believe me? Check out this statute: 35 U.S.C § 105. So, if you invented something in a ship or space object under US control, you could file for a patent at the patent office.

However, what if you were 20 light years from Earth. Further suppose that the patent filed was accepted on the first shot without any revisions. By the time you found out, the patent life (20 years from the date of filing) would have expired. I don't think it matters in this case what time frame is used. No matter how you slice it, the patent won't be any good by the time you find out it has been approved.

It's amazing that lawmakers took the time to think of this stuff!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

One Year Ago Today

One year ago, I posted my first blog entry. How many more of these 'anniversaries' will I have, I don't know. I may stop after my first year has ended or go all the way through to the end of law school.

I originally meant for this blog to be about my dogs. Last summer, however, I decided to include my law school experiences in this blog. I must admit, a law student blog with the name "Abby & Andy" sounds pretty lame. There are some catchy blogs out there that I wish I had the creativity to think of.

I'm glad I've captured the stories I have so far about my dogs. I still have quite a few to go. Had I not started blogging about law school, my blog would have come to a close whenever Andy dies. My dogs have a finite life, and as a result, a blog about their lives, too would have a finite life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cultural Philistines

When I heard that during the protests in Egypt that looters had broken into some antiquities museums and destroyed or stole some ancient artifacts, I was reminded of the destruction of some ancient statues in Afghanistan. Early in the decade, the Taliban decided to destroy the Buddhas of Bamyan, a place around 150 miles from Kabul.

These statues were built in the 6th century AD in an era when the Silk Road was an important conduit between the East and West. Afghanistan lied right on this route and saw many peoples and cultures. One of those influences was Buddhism. These statues were built about the time Ancient Rome fell or during the height of Mayan Empire.

It should surprise no one that the Mullahs deemed these statues to be idols, and their continued presence would violate the Koran as idolatry. I couldn't believe such rabidly religious fantiscism would give guardians of a national treasure with such historical importance narrow minded, myopic tunnel vision. They failed to see the artistic value and historical signifigance of these statues. No one was asking the citizens to bow down and worship the statues.

And so here we are with the Egyptian crisis. One could say I'm crass to insinuate that these isolated events could lead to such boorish acts as the Afghan story above, but if we value 1500 year old statue so much, what price can be placed on one of the cradles of civilization? Some may say my priorities are misguided. The Egyptian conflict is a humantitarian disaster. Things and objects should take a backseat to a nation in disarray.

I heard somewhere that the Romans stole from the Greeks, and the Greeks stole from the Egyptians. I hope the looting in the museums were isolated. Hell, almost half the words on this page are probably derived all the way back to Latin. These museum piece's are Egypt's history, but it affects all of us.

I also hope it's not a harbinger of things to come concerning a nation's value on history, culture, knowledge and science.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What a Wonderful Day...

Yesterday was. Oxygen had an all day marathon of Glee. I had seen a few episodes here and there but I never got into the show. I don't know why , though. The show exudes sarcasm. I haven't seen that quality of sarcasm since Frasier and Cheers. I think what turned me away was the kids. I've never liked kid shows, even when I was a kid. But it's not really a 'kid show.' I watched about 6 hours of Glee yesterday.

But after looking at the show a few times, I can see the show's brilliance. It has several layers so that several age groups and demographics can relate to and appreciate the show. I think Jane Lynch steals the show. Without her, the show would be a musical version of Dawson's Creek or some other show with a bunch of teenagers in it.

I'm an awful singer, and I hate dancing, yet I find the song and dance sequences funny. It makes me want to sing myself. I won't sing in public because I'm so bad at it, but my dogs absolutely love it when I sing.

I said I hate dancing, but as anyone in law school will know , rules have exceptions and exceptions have exceptions. The exception to my dancing is when I'm with my dogs. It may be hard to believe, but they absolutely go nuts when I dance. The jump up and down and start playing hard. Had my dogs been younger, I probably would be dancing in the privacy of my living room during one of the song and dance sequences in Glee. Abby and Andy , my dogs, would have gone nuts. Instead, I just sit there and quietly watch now that Abby is gone and Andy is old and arthritic.

I think I'll start watching Glee regularly, now.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cases I Don't Like

Dred Scott Decision

While I was reading the Dred Scott decision the other day, I felt uncomfortable reading the attitudes of Chief Justice Taney. I knew from my American History courses how the case would turn out, and what the rationale was for the decision. I braced myself for the reading but it was painful nonetheless. Aside from the human element, it was further frustrating looking at the structure of the argument itself. The ruling had internal logical inconsistencies and circular logic. It was hard to believe a Supreme Court Chief Justice would concoct such sophistry.

I'm not a "I feel your pain" type of guy. When I first heard that line-turned-cliché in the '92 presidential campaign, my first reaction was "Go feel your own pain." However, while I was reading this case, I found myself asking how do black US law students feel when they read the decision. I then wondered how Afro-Carribeans felt when they read the case or how Africans felt when they read the decision. I wonder if their reading that case puts them in a bad mood.

I knew how the case turned out. Dred Scott didn't have standing to bring a case in the court because of his race and therefore lack of citizenship, the court held. However, I did find out with the help of Google that a Dred Scott sympathizer bought Scott and his family and emancipated him. Scott himself only had 18 months of freedom because he was stricken with TB, but at least he died a free man.

Friday, February 4, 2011

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens
Good-bye Real Housewives of Atlanta and
Hello Real Housewives of OC.

With a sad heart, I bid farewell to the third season of Real Housewives of Atlanta. Kim will have her baby late in the spring. Candy and Shere still can't find a man while NeNe is still mean and crazy as she can be. And the newest one did indeed say her vows and not run away.

Some people may object to the name 'Real' in the title of the series because the cast members in all of the Housewives series are not representative of housewives in America. But these people are reading more into the meaning of 'real' than they should. Real means just that, real and actual as opposed to fictitious. The most well known fictitious housewife is June Cleaver, an icon in American TV. June is an "un-real" housewife.

No, real does not mean ordinary, dull, prosaic or boring. They are real housewives existing somewhere in the world. These women have strong and compelling personalities drawing us into their worlds. It's a tad voyeuristic, I feel, when I watch these shows. I admit watching reality TV is a guilty pleasure of mine.

In March, another season of Real Housewives of Orange County will start up. Last season, the women suffered some setbacks and life changing events. I'll watch the season religiously, but deep in my heart, my favorite is RHW ATL. I think the cast on RHW OC is prettiest, but their personalities fall well short of the ladies in RHW ATL.

So, I say "so-long" to a cast with the most minorities and say "hello" to a cast that artfully dodges minorities in one of the most diverse states in the Union.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The inventor of 6-point font...

Can go to hell. For that matter, so can the inventor of footnotes and single-spacing.

My far-sighted rapidly approaching middle-aged eyes don't appreciate the strain on them from the small print in my casebooks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Patents, Deception & Morality

Juicy Whip Soda Fountain, fake drink on top

My intellectual property class is the most interesting so far this semester. In the trade secrets segment, we dealt with schemers and liars having little or not scruples at all. One case involved a pair of brothers hired by a company to fly over a DuPont manufacturing plant under construction. While the site was under construction, the place where the trade secret was located was exposed until the roof was placed overhead. The brothers then took photos so they could glean information of what the trade secret was in the manufacturing process. Even though the brothers did not break any laws, the judge put the hammer down on the sneaky rascals.

Another case I liked was a patent case against a beverage vendor. The drink dispenser looked like a regular soda dispenser except on top of the stand was several containers for the different flavors of soda sold of several different colors. The only problem was that the juice on top was 'fake'. The real stuff was below the counter and mixed underneath like a regular Coke or Pepsi is. The 'fake juice' is for show, visual appeal.

The case went something like this.

Opponent: The fake juice on top is deceptive and misleading.

Juicy Whip: Um, dur.

Opponent: You can't do that. The courts have said so.

Juicy Whip: We can't 'deceive'? Have you heard of cubic zirconia or pleather?

Court: Juicy Whip is right. The deception is part of the appeal. Besides, we are not the morality police. Juicy Whip gets the patent. The end.

The case is Juicy Whip, Inc. v. Orange Bang, Inc.