Friday, September 30, 2005

church laugh, continued...

here's what tom had to say about yesterday's administrative law class. in case there is any confusion, "mick" is yours truly.

for more fun, here are the notes i took in class:

PROBLEM, page 155 (ha ha - tom got called on)

  • Chicken
  • (PROFESSOR'S NAME) is totally in his own head. And poor tom. I'm distracting him with chicken pictures. He is entitled to kick my ass.
  • Tom has no idea. It's okay, though, because neither do i.
  • Be-bopping, scatting...
  • When the dictionaries differ, which does the congress use?
  • Oh no, now zoolander is talking. He doesn't know, either. He's saying "leg's council" as in "legislature". And he put his laptop down.
  • Clear legislative intent that is evident from the language of the statute alone?
    • Tom has two reasons for saying no --
    • 1, reasonable people can disagree
    • 2, doesn't think the problem ends with step 1
    • Again with the scatting, be-bopping
    • Time for legislative history
  • Here's what krista is writing now:
  • a;jkldsf
  • Af;ljkds
  • Iupqoewr
  • Zcx.,vm
  • Kl'ads;
  • Proiqew
  • a;jksdf
  • Zxm/c,.v
  • Afsdj;lkasfd
  • Werqjkl;
  • Sfkjgl
  • Sdpuifo
  • ,z.mcxv
  • a;dsflkj
  • c[vb
  • Lhkreqw
  • 8729034
  • /zx,cv
  • Qwjk;rl
  • z;xjklvc
  • ;lkjfsda
  • a;fsdkjl
um, yeah. maybe this is the point where somebody reminds me just how much money i'm paying to be here...

random google blogsearch...

according to this little blog's visitor tracker, someone was led to this post on a google blog search for "free sex". man, they must have been disappointed.

pot meets kettle...

i'm a 2d year TA for my legal writing prof. this year is mostly the training phase for the official teaching assistantship, which doesn't happen until third year.

so a couple of weeks ago my prof asked for volunteers from her 2d year TAs to help the 3d years with a research class. since i had no real reason not to volunteer, i signed up to help with the 9:00 a.m. class. today was the day for this class. i have a couple of thoughts...

first of all, why are the 3d year TAs such horrible teachers? you'd think that the types of students who would be drawn toward applying for these TA positions would have some interest in actual teaching. however, it seems that more often than not, these students are looking for extra resume padding. why does this surprise me? i know it shouldn't. someday i'm going to wake up and realize that not everyone's motives are as pure as mine...

second of all, why are the first year students such idiots? was i like this as a 1L? i couldn't have been! no way! not possible! these kids are arrogant, self-important, unteachable, antagonistic yahoos. well, okay, some of them. there are some that i've met that seem really great. but the students with whom i was stationed today were real jerks. for example, they started laughing at the phrase "dog sniff" (i had to explain to them that this was an actual term, not some stupid joke that the descriptive word index made up for the amusement of jackass law students). and when they were getting off track on their research and i tried to put them back on the right path, this one kid got all defensive and snotty with me.

silly 1Ls! silly first years with their contracts and their torts and their legal process and their criminal law! and their stupid jokes about obscure latin terms. and their lame study groups. and their trite nervous breakdowns about memo writing. and their imbecilic outlining and study guide buying. sheesh.

hello kettle. my name is pot.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

church laugh...

at this very moment i'm in my administrative law class. i'm not paying attention at all. duh.

i have a bad habit of writing notes to krista and tom this whole period (i sit between them). and sometimes we get the church laugh, as krista calls it -- you know, when you get the uncontrollable giggles and you can't stop and you're in a situation (such as church, or class) where it's utterly inappropriate to laugh.

so, i got this sweater that fell apart on its first wearing -- the seam on the sleeves came undone. note that is sleeves, plural. but i really like the sweater, so i exchanged it for one that wasn't defective. and as a pre-emptive strike, i reinforced the sleeves with a needle and thread. and krista thinks this is really funny. and we were just writing notes about it in class. church laugh.

so, twice in class so far (it's only 17 minutes in), people's cell phones have rung. one girl's went on and on for about twenty minutes (that's a bit of hyperbole). church laugh.

what goes around comes around...



michael posted his books, and came back at me with a counter-proposal, on which i've performed abysmally. i was to name the books i've read on Human Event's list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th centuries. (michael, where the hell do you find this stuff?)

of the actual 10 listed books, i've read...


of the honorable mentions, i've read...

urgh, none again! i am a disgrace!

but i've read parts of...

Beyond Freedom and Dignity - B.F. Skinner
Introduction to Psychoanalysis - Sigmund Freud

and i do own...
The Origin of Species - Charles Darwin

and i currently have on loan from the hillman library...
The Wretched of the Earth - Frantz Fanon

what, you're not impressed? yeah, neither am i... sigh...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

banned on the run...

moon has directed me to the ALA's 100 most challenged books list (in honor of banned books week), and has challenged me to list the ones that i have read from the list. i'm happy to oblige, and here goes:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Beloved by Toni Morrison

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Native Son by Richard Wright

Carrie by Stephen King

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
a lousy sixteen! i'm a little red in the face. moon himself logged 20. but it was a fun exercise -- now you guys do it (in particular, i'm thinking michael, elizabeth, and sandy).

i have a 1991 poster that i got while interning at the ACLU this summer with several examples of censored books/magazines. here are some of them (and the reasons why):

THE GRAPES OF WRATH - john steinbeck
- censored countless times, it was challenged again in 1989 in an 11th grade english class in westwood, california

- removed from 7-11 and rite aid stores in 1986 under pressure from religious groups

TARZAN OF THE APES - edgar rice burroughs
- removed from the los angeles public library because tarzan was allegedly living in sin with jane

- an alabama teacher was dismissed in 1970 for assigning this book to her 11th grade english class, because the book promoted "the killing off of elderly people and free sex."

- removed from schools in empire, california in 1990 because little red riding hood brought a bottle of wine to her grandmother. authorities claimed the story "condones the use of alcohol."

- the fayetteville (NC) observer-times changed the word "hooters" to "pizzaz" in 1989

BLACK BOY - richard wright
- removed by island trees, NY schools in 1976

- removed from classrooms in carlsbad, NM because it defines "obscene" words

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE - j.d. salinger
- another censor's favorite, removed most recently in 1989 from the high school reading list in boron, california

CLASS CLOWN (album) - george carlin
- carlin's album listed the "seven words you can't say on television," and the Federal Communications Commission said you can't say them on radio either

how does the old anti-tipper gore saying go? oh right -- censorship is un-american! read on, friends. i'll do my part, too, starting tonight with my administrative law, international law, and reproduction, sexuality & law casebooks!

completely inconsequential...

i don't have a digital camera -- i did at one point, but it, like the dog, moved away with stean. i wish i had one, though, so i could post pictures of stuff like my peppers and tomato plants and milo and the new kitten (if ever i hear back from my landlord and can actually adopt said kitten).

oh wait, nobody cares about those things but me. so i suppose it's for the best that i don't have a digital camera...

but because i'm stubborn and this is MY blog, damnit, here's milo from about a year ago, when he discovered my scanner and refused to get off of it. good times.

it's a cat scan. get it? cat scan?

little administrative things...

it seems that a number of google/technorati/et cetera searches for info on the intelligent design trial in dover have brought people to throckmorton. since i'm not really planning to post all that much on it myself (mostly due to the distraction of schoolthings), i'm going to bump to the top of my links list the previously mentioned ACLU blog that covers the trial.

also, elizabeth and sandy are now included on my friends links. as is michael's other website. hooray!

oh, and i made a way way nerdy distinction today to one of the 1Ls who has been assigned to me as a legal writing mentee (i've got nine of them -- the poor, poor dears) as part of my 2L teaching assistantship. she asked me on what kind of matters could she come to me for help. i told her (truthfully, of course) that the 3L TAs actually have the fact patterns and case information for their writing projects, so if she has any substantive questions, she should go to them. but i'm happy to be an extra set of eyes for reading things for grammar/spelling/organization, you know, the procedural stuff. ah, substance and procedure... krista was standing next to me during this conversation. she looked on and shook her head. out of shame? embarrassment? pity? yes. all of these.

it all goes to show that i'm filthy with law school. it's in my hair, under my fingernails; it's making my eyes itchy and my sinuses act up. law school and cat hair -- emily's leitmotifs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

i should really boycott TV...

so, first it was the stephen malkmus song in the sears commercial, and now the postal service has a song on a honda ad. woe is me.

keeping track...

in case anyone (besides grant and me) is interested, i've added a link to a blog about the dover, pa intelligent design case.


Monday, September 26, 2005

center of the universe...

anybody interested in going with me to see built to spill at mr. smalls this friday?

and so it begins...

today was the first day of the ACLU trial against the dover, pa school board over intelligent design. here's the NYT article.

and an excerpt, about our side's first witness:
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 26 - Intelligent design is not science, has no support from any major American scientific organization and does not belong in a public school science classroom, a prominent biologist testified on the opening day of the nation's first legal battle over whether it is permissible to teach the fledgling "design" theory as an alternative to evolution.

"To my knowledge, every single scientific society that has taken a position on this issue has taken a position against intelligent design and in favor of evolution," said the biologist, Kenneth R. Miller, a professor at Brown University and the co-author of the widely used high school textbook "Biology."
go go civil liberties!

mercenary economics...

i've got this half-serious worst-case-scenario/contingency plan of selling my eggs. by half-serious i mean that i probably would never do it, but you know, never say never.

so yes. i've toyed with the idea of selling my eggs. i figure i'm not using them and may never use them, and i look good on paper to potential buyers (good standardized test scores, the right i.q. and educational pedigree) and all, so why not use the little buggers to pay off some of my debt?

it occurred to me today, however, that i probably can't. you know, because of this whole MS thing. sucks. i already can't give blood because of the MS. i even have one of the good blood types, too (O positive). but i have dirty DNA. i'm damaged goods. it would logically follow that not only can i not sell my eggs, i also can't sell blood plasma or hock a kidney on the black market.


leftovers for dinner...

ick. re-heated general tso's. this stuff looks so gross i can barely eat it. yeah, i'm giving up. this is completely unappetizing.

today is my brother's 25th birthday. my little brother is a quarter of a century old. and although i will always think of my brother as my "little" brother, most of my friends in law school are right around his age, a good number of them younger. i called my brother after midnight my time but before midnight his time to wish him a happy birthday from the future. he asked how his 25th was looking from the future. i told him it was so awesome all i could do to keep myself from exploding with joy was to sit on my couch with milo and read administrative law. woo-eee.

still waiting to hear back from my landlord about this adopting-a-kitten situation. milo definitely knows something's up, though. he's been really clingy lately. last night he was running around in look-at-me-i-am-as-cute-and-playful-as-a-kitten mode. nice try, but he and i both know he wants someone other than me to play with. i'm boring and am always surrounded by my computer and my books. nobody likes that. nobody.

remember the girl in my capital punishment class who claims that you assume the risk of being sentenced to death when you commit a crime? well, today in class she was advocating for the rights and wants of the murder victim's family, in the sense that statutory aggravating and mitigating factors should take account of the victim's family's wishes. what the?! i seriously cannot deal with her. and it's only a matter of time before my utter bafflement at this girl's existence is well-known because i have no poker face. at all. so when somebody says something totally ridiculous in class, my facial expression reveals that i think the person is totally ridiculous. in constitutional law last semester, folks would tell me that they would look to me when people would say stupid things because they got a kick out of my reactions. great. way to play it close to the chest (or is it vest?), mcnally. way to go.

today i had a meeting with professors d and s to talk about my seminar paper. i have so much swimming around in my head right now i hardly know where to start. i've now got a few pages full of notes and all i want to do is research for this thing. it could easily be 50 pages long, which is both exhilarating and overwhelming.

one of the issues i brought up to them (and i've got a draft post that goes into this more in detail) is my own personal struggle with how to write about race when i'm a white woman. i really want to be taken seriously and i want to be able to write something compelling and provocative. but i can't escape that my voice is white, middle-class, reasonably well-educated. i don't want to apologize for that, i don't think there's a need to apologize for that. at the same time, however, i don't want to pretend to know what it's like to be poor or black. because i don't, i can't, i never will. i don't yet know what to do with all of this in my head, not sure how to situate it in what i want to be doing. these struggles take time, i know... unfortunately, though, i'm terrible at being patient.

oh, more fun! briefs for moot court are due october 14th! that's only 3 weeks away. what the hell am i thinking? how about if i just have a nervous breakdown now, to save myself the trouble of doing it later?

i love law school i love law school i love law school i love law school i love law school i love law school i love law school i love law school i love law school and i'll say it over and over until i'm convinced of it beyond a reasonable doubt...

Saturday, September 24, 2005


notre dame is currently beating the stew out of washington. 8:48 left in the 4th quarter and the score is 29-3. this is great, especially since we lost to michigan state last week.

but washington's new coach is notre dame's old coach -- ty willingham. which means that willingham's new team is getting run all over by his old team. i liked willingham at notre dame and i thought it was kinda lame that he got canned with time still left on his contract. i think he's a good coach (his record of late notwithstanding) and i think notre dame didn't give him a chance to prove himself with the fighting irish. but other folks cared a lot more than i do about his wins-to-losses ratio and wanted to switch him out for someone who they thought would weigh the balance much more toward wins. and i understand that.

alas, a notre dame win is a notre dame win. and i'm glad we've got charlie weis now. i think he's going to be great for the team. but i'm thinking i'm going to go make myself a drink right now, and i'll drink to ty willingham.


final score was ND 36 - Washington 17. go irish!


krista and i went to animal friends this afternoon to check out the kittens. i fell in love with a little orange guy with brown eyes. he's skinny and crazy and friendly and would be a spectacular little brother for milo.

something i didn't know is that the orange cats are almost always boys. kinda like how the calicos are almost always girls. my little orange guy had a very cute calico sister, and if someone comes in to adopt him, i might opt for his sis, assuming she's available.

the shelter had two awesome white cats, both little girls. one was odd-eyed, like milo, and the other had yellow eyes. they were fantastic -- very inquisitive, alert, sociable. the yellow-eyed one sat up like a ferret at one point to look around. i had a vivid mental image of the two of them and milo all curled up together asleep in a ball -- a big mass of white fur. but there's no way i can adopt two cats, and those two made too cute a pair to be separated. and if i had three white cats people might think i'm some kind of nazi.

sigh... so now i'm just waiting for my landlord to give me the okay to have a second cat.

and this does not mean i'm becoming a crazy cat lady. nah-uh. no way.

Friday, September 23, 2005

the bestest birthday present ever...

my little brother and i are alike in a lot of ways. one of those ways is that we both have september birthdays. another of those ways is that we're terrible about getting birthday gifts for each other. from my end, this year is no exception (i'm going with the poor-student excuse). but he's decided this year to actually get me something worthwhile, and he left it up to me to decide what that should be.

so i called him today, and suggested (in an only half-serious way) that he give me some cash so i can adopt a kitten. and, much to my shock and awe, he was all for the idea! so, i'm going to adopt a birthday kitten! and her name will be "kenobi daniel joseph", daniel joseph being my brother's name, and because "thurgood marshall daniel joseph" just doesn't sound right.

so, milo will be getting a little sister to boss around and i'm doubling my cat hair problem! hooray!

oh wait, i guess i should clear things with my landlord first... damn details.

grant needs some validation...

apparently i have failed my dear friend grant by not including him in my drunken shout-out e-mail from last night. so, grant, you are FANTASTIC and BRILLIANT and WONDERFUL and EVERYONE LOVES YOU!!!

happy now?

pulling an andrew...

krista and i went to have some drinks together tonight and i kind of had three giant whiskey sours (served to me in pint glasses by the fine folks at mardi gras in shadyside), so, yeah. i'm about to do a typical AML post and say how much i love everyone. consider yourself warned...

but before the love-fest begins, let me just say that tonight was my first night in a bar after having quit smoking. did i want a cigarette? you betcha. did i have one? no way, jose! hooray! i'm now five days smoke-free.

with no further ado...

first of all, i love krista. seriously. i have, historically speaking, been much more successful in maintaining close friendships with boys than i have been with girls. but as i told my dad on the phone the other day, krista is doomed to be one of my lifetime friends. we're alike enough that we can be totally honest with each other, but different enough as to benefit from each other's perspectives. i think krista is completely fantastic and i feel really fortunate to have her as my friend.

second of all, i love donny. today at school, donny told me, in a totally unsolicited, un-emily-is-whining-for-attention kind of way, that i'm hot. awesome! now, donny is a fantastic guy for lots of reasons, not just because he gave me such a supreme compliment this afternoon, but he definitely made my day and gave me a much-needed confidence boost by his kind words.

third of all, i love my mentee. the pitt law women's association has an annual picnic in which they match up 1Ls with 2L mentors. tonight was the picnic. my 1L is fantastic! she's a fellow save-the-worlder and a smart cookie and a kindred spirit. i'm planning to be a good mentor and maybe even invite her out from time to time.

fourth of all, i adore my law school friends. if i were to form a super-squad of attorneys/legal scholars/do-gooders/champions-of-the-people, i need look no further than my classmates. goddamn right.

fifth of all, i do _not_ love the guy who decided to sit down with krista and me at the bar tonight. not only was he a lawyer (just our luck!), but he was a prosecutor! ick! and he was full of "oh, you poor little kids and your law schooling" things to say. well, nobody invited him to come rain on our parade.

sixth of all, i need a strategy for wooing a certain boy in a certain class of mine... i suppose a good starting point would be to actually talk to him.

and seventh of all, i had an awkward moment today while sitting at a table with some friends. one friend of mine, whom i haven't really hung out with in a while, said to me, "so, i hear saturday was your birthday. why didn't you call us to go out?" well, what i wanted to say was, "um, maybe because you guys haven't called me to go out in, like, MONTHS." but i'm a chicken, and so i didn't say this. why is it that it's so easy to call out friends for things like sleeping with stupid girls (zoolander--you know who you are), but i can't muster the courage to speak the truth when it pertains to actual stuff like fallen friendships?

well, who cares? i'm going to bed now.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

it figures...

...that the two boys that i've decided are cute enough to be crushworthy at school this year are ROOMMATES! damn it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

dell tech support ain't so supportive...

so, i bought my laptop last summer before school started. which means i've had it for just over a year. in that year's time, i've had not one, not two, but as of today, three AC adapters crap out on me. THREE! in a YEAR!!! what the?!?!

the good news is that i have a warranty with dell, so these replacement AC adapters have been provided at no cost. the bad news is that i keep having tech support chat conversations like the following:
{John 6:49:50 PM} How may I assist you?

{ 6:50:16 PM} the AC adapter for my laptop is not working. this is the third time i've needed to get a replacement. can you ship me another?

{John 6:50:41 PM} Let me have a check on the ac adapter.

{John 6:50:57 PM} Does the system boots up with only the ac adapter?

{ 6:51:32 PM} the computer is fine. it's just the AC adapter that doesn't work. i know this is the problem -- it's happened twice already and i've had to get replacement adapters.

{John 6:52:15 PM} Okay.

{John 6:52:29 PM} Are you chatting from the same system.

{ 6:52:57 PM} yes. but i'm on battery power and my battery is getting low, so i need to get a replacement AC adapter as soon as possible.

{John 6:53:27 PM} Okay.

{John 6:53:43 PM} Please remove the ac adapter from the system and the wall outlet.

{ 6:54:10 PM} right. i've done all of this stuff. i just need to get a new one.

{John 6:54:39 PM} I want to make sure it is the ac adapter and not the port.

{ 6:55:04 PM} the green light on the adapter won't come on when it's plugged in. it's definitely the adapter.

{John 6:55:40 PM} When does the green light not come, when connected to the system or when only connected top the wall outlet.

{ 6:55:57 PM} when connected to the wall outlet.

{John 6:56:20 PM} Okay.

{John 6:57:25 PM} I am sending you the ac adapter.
i'm a brat. i know that these folks have a whole checklist of things they have to check with customer tech support issues, but couldn't my boy john have just looked in a file to see that this is a recurring issue? but then, they probably think i'm some kind of idiot who doesn't know how to plug in her computer. sigh...

so, not that this is at all interesting, but i switched the stud in my nostril to a ring, just to change things up a bit. it's a little distracting, because i can see this shiny thing in my nose out of the corner of my eye (and i'm always a little distracted by shiny stuff), but i just need a couple of days to get used to it. and i do like it.

oh, and remember how tom was looking at pictures of kittens online earlier? well, it's not just because he's a big ol' softy. it's also because he and i are talking about adopting kittens to befriend our respective cats. kittens!!! i've wanted to get milo a little sister for a while now, and having a partner in crime for such a venture makes it much more fun! the only problem is what do i name her? she'll either be "kenobi", "thurgood marshall", or "roosevelt". if anybody has any preferences, i'm open to hearing them. but probably, nobody gives a crap but me.

oh well.

i heart kittens!

back in january...

i'm sitting with tom and oliver at the usual table in the 5th floor of the library, and (oh, tom just told me i'm lame for blogging right now, but what is he doing? he's looking at pictures of kittens online. who's the lame one now, tombelina?) our administrative law professor just walked by, having a normal-tone-of-voice (somehow professors seem to be exempted from -- or perhaps oblivious to -- the be-quiet-in-the-library policy) conversation with our professor who is taking the semester off because he's been diagnosed with cancer. you can read all about my opinion of his replacement here.

this is the first time all semester i've seen this professor. we had him for criminal procedure last year. i absolutely love him. i think he's brilliant and fantastic and full of entertaining antics and so many other good things. and now he's undergoing chemotherapy and hasn't really been around the law school at all.

but he's here today! so tom and our friend sandy and i went to see him in his office to say hello and wish him well. i'd be lying if i said he looks great, but it's still really nice to see that he's at school and working. his spirits seem to be good. he said he has days that he feels weak and days that he's okay, but there hasn't really been any pain. and he said his docs expect that he should be able to come back to teach in january. this is good news. we all miss having him around.

i say the sooner he's back, the better. and, yes, tom -- it did in fact make my day to have a chance to say hi to him.

Monday, September 19, 2005

is stupidity a capital offense?

i was so excited about taking a course on capital punishment this semester. i was really looking forward to studying the death penalty on a theoretical and academic level. i have very strong opinions about the death penalty, as do a lot of people, but i think the intellectual debate is fascinating from all sides, and i welcomed this class as an opportunity to discuss the issues unemotionally.

and then, the class happened.

to be fair, i've only had three sessions so far (the class meets once a week, on monday mornings), but each session has gotten worse. it's not the material, it's not the professor, it's my classmates -- all of whom are 2- or 3Ls, people who should have gotten the whiny emotional shit out of their systems by now. unfortunately, not so much.

one of the cases we had to read for today's class was Furman v. Georgia, the 1972 US Supreme Court case in which the Court considered whether imposition of the death penalty on the defendants in the cases at bar was in violation of the Eigth Amendment. i.e., was the death penalty unconstitutionally "cruel and unusual"? a plurality held that it was, and as a result of the case, all states' death penalty statutes were overturned and approximately 600 death row prisoners were no longer on death row. the case is necessarily more complicated than this, but inclusion of greater detail is unnecessary for this blog post.

so, we're talking in class about whether the death penalty has been arbitrarily imposed, and rather than actually call on students whose hands were raised, the substitute professor (our usual prof wasn't able to be here today) says to "just talk", so it ends up being the same five people -- the ones who are able to talk the loudest -- comandeering the class discussion. and some of these people really shouldn't talk. ever. here are a few of the highlights from class today:

girl in front row, who perpetually looks confused, but confused in a way that apparently requires the scrunching of every muscle in her face: "well, i think we need to remember that these people are guilty, and when they commit a crime they assume the risk that the punishment will be handed down arbitrarily. i mean, like, sensitivity to the issues is good, but this hypersensitivity that these cases show really just blurs the issue that these people committed a crime." (in response to another student's comment about how sometimes death sentences depend on some combination of the prosecutor and jury)

she went on to suggest that o.j. simpson only got off because he was a high profile defendant.

another girl in my class was apparently dumbfounded at the suggestion that there are criminals out there who figure out how to work the system and get paroled, even though they aren't really reformed. wow. mind-blowing. duh.

i lost count of all the times people said, "i'm not necessarily saying this is my view, but..." jesus, people -- stop being so afraid!

ugh. and we never actually talked about the meat of the case! in the furman decision, ALL NINE JUSTICES wrote separately. it's really a fascinating opinion! even though i'm happy with the plurality's outcome, i think some of the rationale that the justices used is flawed (on both sides), and i wish we could have spent some time dealing with the case, at least to situate it in the overall capital punishment jurisprudence, instead of talking about various people's discussion papers that were posted on the online classroom site for the class.

sigh, i'm sure had my regular professor been there, things would have been a bit less willy nilly. and his reason for missing class is truly tragic -- his four year old daughter was just diagnosed with leukemia and was beginning her chemotherapy today -- so i certainly don't begrudge him his absence.

i just wish i could stand up and tell my classmates to stop acting like fools who lack the ability to think. and considering that my nicotine withdrawal has got me a bit on edge, i suppose it's lucky that i just kept my mouth shut.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

sunday night...

what is it about the theme song to "the west wing"? i swear it gives me chills every time. tonight, in anticipation of next week's season premiere, NBC played last season's finale. yes, i had seen it already (which is odd because my viewings of "the west wing" have been really sporadic over the past couple of years), and yes, i watched it again. and yes, i got a little teary-eyed when josh told leo that matt santos wanted him as his running mate. why can't the real white house be like this show? sigh...

and milo apparently likes the teriyaki salmon burgers from whole foods. very interesting. milo, unlike a lot of cats, generally hates all people food. but he was sitting here eyeing my dinner, so i figured i'd give him a bit to see if he took to it. and he did. so i, being the kind cat owner that i am, gave him what i had leftover. he loved it, but i'll probably be cleaning up cat puke in the morning. eh, so it goes.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

another year older...

i was born on september 17, 1976, at 5:22 pm in pascagoula, mississippi. at precisely 6:22 pm today in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, i was on the phone with my father, for whom it was 5:22 in pascagoula, mississippi. he and i have very different memories of that exact moment twenty-nine years ago. for him, it was the birth of his first child. for me, it was, well, come on--i was an infant and i really don't remember a damn thing.

so now i'm officially 29. twenty-nine years old. twenty-nine years young. i guess i've amassed a fair share of experiences and lessons-learned by this point. but i'm under no misconceptions about how much more i have to learn.

went to the phipps this morning with krista and paul to see the butterflies. then endured a heartbreaking afternoon of notre dame football. i really wish we had won, and i really wish that michigan state hadn't been a bunch of assholes after their overtime win, planting their stupid flag in the middle of the field at notre dame stadium. come on, guys, a little sportsmanship, please?! but better to have lost 44-41 in OT than to have lost by complete blowout. of course, it was michigan state... but, you win some, you lose some. so it goes.

my birthday evening was filled with good friends and whiskey sours. i was both honored and impressed with the turnout. many many many thanks to krista, paul, grant, andrew, michael, steph, joshua, chris, greg, oliver, tom, sandy, regina, elizabeth, katy, michael, and george for being a part of my birthday. and thanks to the folks who called with b'day wishes: dad, daniel, caitlin, linda, amy, steve, jeremy, tony, and stean.

the best part of my whole birthday, however, happened whilst krista and i had stepped away from the table to use the loo (no, it's NOT true that girls have to go to the bathroom together). the bar in bloomfield where we were had a bathroom on the second floor, but the bar area on the second floor wasn't open to the public (it may have been private party space or something, i dunno). so, after krista and i had left the bathroom and before we headed back downstairs to join our friends, we both became aware of the george michael (or perhaps wham? either way, some 80s craptastica) song that was playing and so we burst into spontaneous dance -- not like lame drunk girl dancing; this was silly idiot girls having a good time being silly idiots. and then some guy came up the stairs (krista and i were the only ones on the second floor) and we regained our composure. so, yeah. always the little things.

good birthday for me. i feel pretty lucky to be where i am and to have the people i have in my life. here's to many happy returns!

oh! and i've quit smoking for my birthday. for real this time. this is probably like the fourth or fifth time i've quit, but i'm determined to make this one count. and andrew and grant are quitting, too, which will help a lot. as long as those two don't wuss out on me. because i'm not wussing out. no way. not this time. i'm NOT going to have been a smoker for the entirety of my twenties, so help me, flying spaghetti monster!

happy birthday to you...

happy 218th birthday to the US constitution!!!

Friday, September 16, 2005

a couple of things on my birthday eve...

i actually had something worthwhile in my student mailbox at the law school today. it was a memo from professors delgado and stefancic (who teach my race, racism, and american law seminar) responding to my paper proposal. i want to write about what we can learn from the hurricane katrina disaster in terms of how america views race and poverty. delgado and stefancic had this to say:

"you have a great topic. write with publication in mind."

publication! brilliant! because that's been my plan all along, but i hadn't voiced this to my professors. i'm so excited about this idea and i've been thinking about it a lot lately. i have tons of things i keep writing down to talk about with delgado and stefancic to flesh out my proposal. i just hope that i can manage to turn this into a relevant and interesting 25 pages, and not bite off more than i can chew.

and the other thing, i just got a phone call from a dear dear dear friend of mine, whom i'll just call "cold medicine kid" to preserve his anonymity. this is a friend who has become one of my absolute favorite people on the planet in the past few months--i can't even imagine my life without him. he's managed to catch the cold i had this week, and so he decided to treat his illness with three bourbons and three doses of cold medicine. and needless to say, he was a little bit out of it. he pretty much yelled at me (not in a mean way, in an i'm-kinda-drunk-and-i'm-so-excited-about-everything-i'm-saying!!! way) the whole phone conversation. and he did this thing that he does when he's had a few drinks, namely, he had a mad case of the i-love-yous and told me that he thinks i'm fabulous and brilliant and all kinds of nice things that are so so kind (but totally symptomatic of the bourbon-and-cold-meds cocktail), but it's my birthday, so i'm going to believe everything he said, so good for me!

(omigod. lara flynn boyle is on conan o'brien right now. she's a terrible interview. TERRIBLE! but i love conan for being able to make fun of it anyway. and for being conan o'brien. for being tall and irish and red-haired and self-deprecating and quick-witted and hilarious. good times!)

so what do i have in store to celebrate my 29th? i'll tell you: butterflies, notre dame football, and drinks with friends. it's basically my idea of a perfect day!

another name on my list of heroes...

derrick bell -- civil rights advocate, critical race theory scholar, NYU law professor and pitt law grad -- was at the law school today lecturing in honor of the federally designated constitution day. professor bell was fantastic. his address was eloquent, inspiring, engaging. he spoke about the history of our constitution, about how despite the constitution's best intentions, our country has upheld numerous civil rights violations as lawful. professor bell used the first amendment as a prime example. the first amendment is a well-recognized bastion of liberty, but so many times americans have actually been discouraged from speaking their minds, if what they have to say is at all contrary to the norm. people get called "communist" or "unpatriotic" or labeled as threats if they dare voice an opinion that criticizes what the government is doing. i'm totally not doing it justice right now, but i promise you the lecture really was brilliant!

professor bell ended his address by saying that we need to focus on not what the constitution is, but on what it must be. and the packed courtroom all stood in applause. and i had chills.

another terrific moment was a question from a man in the audience, who must have been a professor, who asked professor bell how he would respond to challenges he (the questioner) has received when he has dared to criticize or protest. he asked, "what gives you the right to protest? what gives you the right to question?" in professor bell's response, he said that sometimes we do things because we have to, because we couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't.

i'm really butchering this, aren't i? the bottom line, though, is that i hope i never forget how i felt today, the feeling that no matter how many times i lose, i want to keep on fighting for what i believe in. and i hope the derrick bells of the world are always a reminder to me of what good can be accomplished with a little hardheadedness and conviction.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

spin spin spinaroo...

just sat through bush's post-katrina hey-look-at-me-i'm-in-new-orleans-and-everything-is-gonna-be-a-okay address. what a joke. it's bad enough that he stumbles through words like "congregation" as they scroll over his teleprompter screen, but i choked about forty-seven times on all of the b.s. i was being fed. everything about him feels so calculated, so exacting. so...gross.

but, two highlights:

first of all, my phone rang almost immediately after bush was done. it was tom, my friend and favorite future politician, calling me to bitch about the speech. i honestly felt honored to be on the receiving end of that phone call. i mean, maybe he called a bunch of people, but in my mind i was the only one. and it's always nice to have a good friend respect my opinion and who knows i feel his political pain. pretty cool. it's like being special, but not like short-bus special.

and second of all, scrubs is on right now! this show rocks! hooray for scrubs! it makes that bush speech almost worth it! like getting ice cream after suffering through brussels sprouts!

something tells me there are bigger fish to fry...

i just hopped online to check the four things that i'm quasi-addicted to (e-mail, the new york times, cnn, and the weather), and this article just about knocked me out of my chair here in the library.

the title of this article?

Vatican to Check U.S. Seminaries on Gay Presence

and the silliest parts?
In a possible indication of the ruling's contents, the American archbishop who is supervising the seminary review said last week that "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity or has strong homosexual inclinations," should not be admitted to a seminary.

Edwin O'Brien, archbishop for the United States military, told The National Catholic Register that the restriction should apply even to those who have not been sexually active for a decade or more.

But some church officials in the United States and in Rome, including some bishops and many conservatives, attributed the abuse to gay priests and called for an overhaul of the seminaries. Expectation for such a move rose this year with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, who has spoken of the need to "purify" the church.

It is unknown how many Catholic priests are gay. Estimates range widely, from 10 percent to 60 percent.

The catechism of the Catholic Church says people with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies must live in chastity because "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."

are you kidding me??? this is how the catholic church plans to respond to the problem of pedophilia? maybe the proper reaction would be for the church as a whole to adopt a more open and realistic attitude about sexuality. good gravy!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

from a phlegmy haze...

can someone please explain to me why it is that when one gets a cold/sinus infection/general stuffyheadedness, only one nostril gets plugged up at a time?

i only have two classes on wednesdays -- international law at 10:00 and my race, racism & american law seminar at 3:00. the three plus hours i spent in class today consisted of a lot of sniffling, a lot of coughing, and the consuming of several throat lozenges.

oh, did i mention that i've caught some sort of sick?

this sick business has really interfered with my productivity this week. the past two nights i've been so out of it in the evenings that i've taken naps. and now, it's 10:10 and i still have to read for tomorrow's evidence and reproduction, sexuality, and the law classes, and i'm seriously considering getting through evidence (which is at 9:00) and saving sex law for the break i have during the day tomorrow. i hate saving reading for the day of, because i'm not a particularly fast reader and i always feel rushed when i read right before class, further challenging my comprehension. but i'm tired. and full of fluids (i'm trying to drown out my germs with water and orange juice). which means i'll wake up about a billion times in the night to use the loo...

wow, none of this is very interesting at all.

here's some more irrelevance: the new death cab CD "plans" is very good.

and in other news, could it be that the new blog on the scene belongs to my dear friend krista??? i won't put up a link to her (because it may not be her, and she may not want to be linked into the madness yet), but all i can think of is that scene from the fantastically creepy 1932 b&w movie "freaks": "one of us! one of us! one of us!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

katrina's racial divide...

not a lot of time to post right now, but i wanted to put up this link, to a CNN article on a USA today/CNN/gallup poll on the government's response to katrina. here's the really fun part:
The poll found that six in 10 blacks interviewed said the federal government was slow in rescuing those stranded in New Orleans after Katrina because many of the people in the Louisiana city were black. But only about one in eight white respondents shared that view.
how can anyone deny that this has something to do with race? even if only in its fallout...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

america the beautiful...

you know, reading for class has had various effects on me in my tenure as a law student. i've been enraged, frustrated, confused, bored, disgusted, grateful, relieved, lost, but never ever EVER, until tonight, has anything i've read for a class made me cry.

you see, i'm taking a capital punishment class, and the assignment for tomorrow's class is primarily focused on illegal capital punishment, namely, lynching. i've just finished reading article after article giving accounts of angry white mobs tearing into jail cells to beat, stab, mutilate, shoot, and hang mostly young black men. also included in my course materials are photographs of lynchings -- burned, bloodied bodies hanging from trees -- too many of which have smiling white faces among the crowd below.

i can't believe this happened. i can't believe how incredibly horrible and inhumane we as a people can be. how dare we condemn anyone! how dare we judge! we are just as guilty, just as capable of murdering, torturing, dehumanizing our brothers and sisters. these are horrors that have been committed in the past 100 years -- we cannot bury them in the amnesia of the past.

today is the anniversary of the attacks on the world trade center towers and the pentagon. today is a time to stop and reflect on what it is that defines us as a nation. a real reflection -- an honest reflection -- reveals that we are flawed, we make mistakes, we have been known to act like the schoolyard bullies. our ancestors are slaves, members of lynch mobs, citizens of japanese descent who were interned in american camps during WWII, immigrants who faced extreme poverty, native americans whose homes were displaced, gays, lesbians, democrats, republicans, crazy pinko commies, crazy religious fundamentalists, folks who got it right, and folks who got it wrong.

and so where has it gotten us now? it has gotten us to the most perfect, the most ideal place to find ourselves -- in a moment where our history can inform us without dooming us to repeat it, in a moment where science can teach us to heal our sick and better take care of our natural resources, in a moment where our spirit of generosity can allow us to reach out to those who are less fortunate or whose lives have been touched by tragedy. we're in a time when there is nothing but opportunity to make good choices and be good people. even surrounded by despair, there is still a way to find a glimmer of hope.

and there you have it. there's my patriotism. i cannot help but mourn the mistakes that we have made, i am right now overwhelmed with a sadness at the atrocities that have taken place. but i would be a damn fool not to try and find something in those mistakes that can teach me about what i have control of right now, so that maybe i can leave things a little better in this world than they were when i found them. and for the ability to learn those lessons, i am truly grateful.

top ten...

(remember how i said i was done with the notre dame posts? well, i lied.)

so, the AP college football poll has the fighting irish at ... wait for it ... #10!!! this is nothing short of rad.

i will admit that it makes me a little nervous...because going from nowheresville to number 10 in two weeks is almost unheard of. and the more one climbs with giant leaps, the likelier it is that one will fall on one's ass.

but hey, i'll take that #10. i'm considering it an early birthday present.

halliburton does it again...

the white house's good old friend and dick cheney's old haunt halliburton has been awarded a contract to do hurricane katrina recovery work on the gulf coast.

glad to know that capitalism and coercive monopolies in the free market economy are alive and well.

the last notre dame football post (for now)...

lots of interesting things happened yesterday, in addition to notre dame's masterful victory over michigan:

1) texas (#2)* beat ohio state (#4). good. OSU sucks. totally.
2) iowa state (unranked) beat iowa (#8).
3) other top ten teams won -- florida (#10), georgia (#9), virginia tech (#7), but played unranked opponents.
4) LSU (#5) won, against #15 arizona state.
5) USC (#1) didn't play. because USC is lazy. and by the way, USC has a totally weak schedule this year. and by the way, USC is totally weak.
6) tennessee (#6) also didn't play, but i don't mind tennessee, so i won't call them lazy or weak.

and next week? tennessee plays florida, which means more top 10 movement. and notre dame is obviously going to beat michigan state because (a) next saturday is my birthday, (b) the irish are playing at home for the first time this season, and (c) it's michigan state, for chrissake.

*all rankings are according to the AP Poll. BCS calculations are made using the USA Today Coaches Poll (among others), but i just don't like USA Today.

arbitrarily and capriciously,

Saturday, September 10, 2005

PA should definitely know better...

so, apparently PA is going to do criminal background checks on katrina refugees who come to our fair commonweath. um, huh? i know there's a time and a place for everything, but this seems like neither.

tears in ann arbor...

ND 17, Michigan 10!!!

oh, the natty light is gonna be a-flowing at the dorm parties in south bend tonight!

halftime update...

notre dame is up at the half! the score is 14-3! if we win this, this is huge! michigan is ranked #3. depending on how the other top ten teams fare, notre dame could knock michigan out of the top ten, or at at the bottom of the top ten.

goooooooooooooooo irish!

(sorry about all of the exclamation points. and hopefully i'm not eating my words after the next 30 minutes of play.)

knock knock, it's the first amendment...

per andrew, check this out. the bush administration had put a ban on media coverage of the recovery of dead bodies in new orleans. so, CNN sued for injunctive relief. and good thing, too.

from the article:
U.S. District Court Judge Keith Ellison issued a temporary restraining order Friday against a "zero access" policy announced earlier in the day by Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who is overseeing the federal relief effort in the city, and Terry Ebbert, the city's homeland security director.

In explaining the ban, Ebbert said, "we don't think that's proper" to let members of the media view the bodies.

um, is the government in a place to decide what is "proper" for what gets shown to the public through the media. sweet christ! even the supreme court (in miller v. california) said that obscenity is to be defined by community standards.

hail hail to michigan, the assholes of the world...

so today at noon (which is in, like, 31 minutes), my beloved fighting irish (who have sprung into the top 25 at slot number 20 after the win against pitt last week!!!) will play the michigan wolverines at ann arbor. and here's my dilemma:

i have a stack of books about a foot high sitting next to my computer at this very moment, and there are still some casebooks in my backpack. i can't yet tell whether the second year is harder or if i'm just not yet in the swing of things, but i'm feeling incredibly swamped with reading and school obligations.

so, i have a ton of reading to get done, but it's ND-michigan! what's a girl to do?!? selfishly, i want to blow off my schoolwork, drink a few beers and watch some notre dame football. realistically (and responsibly), i'd better do my schoolwork or i'm never going to beat this feeling of running constantly behind.

okay, dilemma resolved. i'll do my reading. but i'll keep the game stats up on my computer (thanks to

(as matter of explanation, the subject line of this post is an excerpt from the "alternate" version of the michigan fight song, the one sung by michigan's opposing teams' student sections. ah, sportsmanship! but again -- notre dame students are way way way better than pitt's! i mean it. and i stand by it.)


sell outs for sale...

earlier tonight i saw a commercial with a stephen malkmus (of pavement) song in it. the weirdest part was that it was a sears commercial. huh?

of course, it could have been worse -- it could have been mcdonald's (what were the shins thinking?).

Friday, September 09, 2005


krista and i spent our afternoon in the umlauts-a-plenty world of ikea. i don't know what it is about that damn place, but it's impossible to go there and not spend a ton of cash on a ton of crap. they're really quite ingenious -- first they rope you in with the showrooms, get you salivating over rooms that are nothing like the ones in which you live, put ideas in your head about storage space and wall decorations and lighting; then they drag you downstairs into the marketplace area, where everything is like $0.99 and shiny and bright. and by the time you've made it to the marketplace, you're so glazed over by the sea of molded plastic furniture and the smell of swedish meatballs that you fill your shopping cart with everything within reach and trudge like a zombie with your credit card in your outstretched hand to the check-out registers. woo-eee.

i will admit to having a love/hate relationship with ikea. so much of the stuff makes me roll my eyes in scorn. but as to the rest of it? upon seeing it i realize that i _NEED_ it -- that my life is totally incomplete without it. ridiculous. ikea has mastered the art of infecting its shoppers with desire like nothing else. ah, ikea. so unassumingly brilliant. and yet indispensibly frivolous.

i'm proud of myself today, though -- it's amazing how being a poor student really helps keep one's inclinations to buy stupid shit in check. that travel coffee mug for $3.99? yeah, i realized quickly that i already have three travel coffee mugs and don't need a guaranteed-to-leak mug from ikea.. and that pillow in the as-is section? what the hell am i going to do with one more pillow?

so what did i buy? mostly what i intended on buying before i got there. i got new curtains for my living room (can't tell if i like them or not yet... i think i need to see them in the daylight.), some cheap wine glasses, some drinking glasses (i'm making a deliberate move away from plastic cups), a tea kettle, a red throw blanket, and (this is my favorite part!) three new plants!

and by the time we were finally out of that place, krista and i were both a little grumpy, a little tired, and a lot over our swedish furniture jones.

from the mouth of babs...

per tom, check out this article about barbara bush's visit to the astrodome.
Barbara Bush's Remarks, "A Personal Observation"

September 8, 2005 4:31 p.m. EST

Andrea Moore - All Headline News Staff Reporter

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - The White House says Former First Lady Barbara Bush was making "a personal observation" when she said poor people at the Astrodome in Houston were doing better than before Hurricane Katrina struck.

Bush's spokesman Scott McClellan did not answer when asked if the President agreed with his mother's remarks.

Barbara Bush's comments came during a radio interview with the American Public Media program, "Marketplace."

After Touring the Astrodome on Monday, Barbara Bush said, "What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivleged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

Her comments came during a radio interview with the American Public Media program, "Marketplace."

sheesh. three, um, cheers for personal responsibility? ick. WTF?

buy this book!!!

my good friend dave's book, entitled _a good war is hard to find_ (first mentioned here), is now available to pre-order on! check it out. buy yourself a copy. buy copies for your friends.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

unexpected hurricane fallout...

so, in a horrible turn of events, one of my favorite professors at the law school has fallen ill and isn't teaching my evidence class anymore. my thoughts are with him as he goes through his treatment and i wish him the speediest of recoveries.

had things gone according to plan, he would have been teaching a 9:00 and an 11:00 evidence class. i'm enrolled in the 11:00, but due to scheduling conflicts with other classes, i have to go to the 9:00 session on thursdays. my professor okayed this at the end of last semester and there should have been no problems.

but now, since he's sick, he's only going to teach the 9:00 course, and it's still up in the air as to whether he'll be able to teach the whole semester.

so, we've got this professor from tulane law who is in the area staying with family, since new orleans is, well, katrina'ed. he taught today. and i hate him.

a certain amount of arrogance and/or self-absorption is to be expected in law professors. academia can be pretty insular, and brilliant minds are somewhat predisposed to being in their own worlds. but this guy is just obnoxious. he made several comments about how he was from new orleans and how he has to go shopping and buy new clothes and how he was interviewed on the news last night and how he was from new orleans and how he was from new orleans. oh, and how he wrote the civil procedure casebook we used last year and how he went to law school with the clintons and blah blah blah blah blah...

first of all, i definitely think the situation that has brought him here is tragic. i do not at all want to belittle how horrible it must be to have lost his home and his hometown. but all i ask is a little perspective. there are thousands of people out there who are not only homeless, but jobless and stuff-less and penniless. there are people living in sports arenas. there are people who are only getting one meal a day (if that) and who don't have working plumbing. a law professor who is still getting paid through his university and who is able to pick up a few classes at a different law school has it, relatively speaking, pretty good. and i did not sign up for a semester-long pity party. not when i've got family who are going through this, too. not when i see on the news how bad things are. not when people are starving and sick and dying. no way.
second of all, that civil procedure casebook was the worst casebook i used last year. hands down.

third of all, this guy told the 11:00 class (that he's going to be teaching full-time) to throw away the syllabus that the original professor had given us, because he's not going to be following it. this is colossally bad for those of us (there are about 8 of us) who are having to do the weird split schedule because of time conflicts. a split schedule that had been approved back when we had to sign up for classes and when the same professor was supposed to be teaching both sections. now the add/drop period is over, and this guy has announced that it's his way or the highway.

fourth of all, this guy actually was giving out HIGH FIVES to students who volunteered answers in class. high fives?!?! dude. i'm almost 29 years old and i will NOT give a high five to a professor in class. this is not high school and i'm not on the pep squad. call me un-school spirited, but i'm a woman of principles and i am not playing stupid woo woo class games.

fifth of all, a little humility goes a looooooooooooong way. somebody should tell this guy.

so, i checked to see what tulane law students had to say about their displaced professor. the comments weren't good. not at all.

it figures that i'd have to have one dark cloud in my semester. six fantastic classes would be too good to be true.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

quirks in the barco...

so, i'm sitting at my usual table on the fifth floor of the law school library, and there's a weird, recurring noise in the ceiling above my head that sounds like the deployment of a large whoopee cushion. it's like air being forced through something (pipes? the HVAC?) accompanied by the sound that your upstairs neighbors moving a chair across their hardwood floors would make.

last year the recurring library noise sounded like a duck. i guess the duck hit a growth spurt or something over the summer.

moot court!

sign-ups for the moot court competition are today and tomorrow at the law school. i didn't sign up today, because i had 60 pages of reading to get done before my 3:00 class, but i did get a voice mail message from my friend leo saying that he listed me as a preferred partner on his moot court sign up sheet.

this is very exciting news. leo is terrific -- he's brilliant and thoughtful and conscientious and i'd be damn proud to work with him on a brief and an argument. i feel confident that we will take the moot court world by storm. it won't know what hit it!

i just have to remember not to talk with my hands while i'm delivering my oral arguments...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

not your average klutz...

lately i've been really aware of how much of a coordination disaster i am. i'm covered in weird bruises from running into things -- tree branches, a rack of motor oil in a convenience store, my door frame, et cetera...

the thing is, i've always been klutzy. always. i trip over things, i fall down, i knock things over, i break stuff. but lately things have felt different. my balance is off, but in a different way. maybe i'm imagining it, maybe i'm being dramatic. but my fear -- my very profound and terrifying fear -- is that this is some sort of MS-related thing. loss of balance/loss of coordination is a common MS symptom.

what if i'm getting sick? what if i'm falling apart? what if this disease thing that so consumed my life over a year ago is actually real? i've wanted so badly, hoped so much that it was just a fluke. i've prayed (in whatever way that prayer exists in my life) that my brain was just going through some sort of reluctant adolescent phase and that it had gotten everything out of its system.

i called and made an appointment with a new neurologist today, one who was recommended to me by two people. the earliest appointment available was december 13th. i can't say i'm surprised -- three months isn't really that long in the scheme of new doctors. i haven't had an MRI since last summer and i really should have one to make sure that there's nothing new and splotchy in my brain.

the truth is that i don't take my shots as often as i should. they make me feel terrible. i know that i have to do it, but what if i don't really have MS? is it worth going through the day of feeling like shit every week for a disease that i may not have? the responsible answer, of course, is yes. the hopeful answer, though, is that i'm going to fine, regardless.

i was freaking out about this today while talking to andrew. i said, "what if i'm in a wheelchair by the time we graduate?" he responded with, "then i'll push you." he's a good egg, that one. i'm incredibly lucky right now to have the friends that i have. even if something happens and i do get sick again, i know i'm going to be okay. i'm in good hands.

in the news...

i'm throwing up this link to my friend tom's post of earlier today. he's got some great current articles about what's going on with the katrina situation.

back to school blues, part 5...

ouch. my brain hurts. so much reading already. i miss the summertime.

Monday, September 05, 2005


i've spent a good part of my afternoon cleaning my wasteland of an apartment. it has slowly been turning into a disaster area over the past couple of weeks, and i've managed to find excuses to put off the imposition of order into my living space. but i really couldn't live with myself if i went through the long, labor day weekend without straightening up, so i mustered the energy to do dishes, clean my kitchen and bathroom, de-cat-hair the bedroom and living room, and do laundry.

one of the ways my laziness of the past few weeks has manifested itself is that, rather than take my garbage out to the backyard, where my landlords put it out for the garbage trucks, i've just left it out, bagged up, on my fire escape. it's not that gross, it's not attracting bugs or creating a stench or anything. it's just clutter. and part of my clean-up today was to re-bag the bags on the fire escape (because they've gotten wet and stuff, and i feel better having them double bagged, for whatever reason).

now, milo, my little white bundle of cat joy, loves to go out on the fire escape, and if i'm out there reading, i let him come with me. but today it was all business -- bag up the trash and get on with the cleaning. so, i opened the door to take care of business and i could hear milo yelling at me behind me and then the door slammed shut. this isn't a big deal -- the door always closes behind me. but as i turned back to go in the apartment, the door was locked! LOCKED! i managed to lock myself on my fire escape!

of course, i blame milo. he must have done it. because in order to open the door onto the fire escape, you have to turn the handle and turning the handle automatically releases the push-in lock. it's virtually impossible to lock one's self outside. of course, a diabolical and hairy little white monster could manage to press in the lock while the door was closed with one carefully aimed jump...

even now he's being a jerk. he's sitting on the windowsill in the kitchen, refusing to look at me, staring outside as if he's actually interested. but i know better.

so, there i was out on my fire escape, for all intents and purposes, marooned. and feeling like a complete moron. but i had a couple of options. number 1, which was in my opinion the best option, was to climb up the stairs to the third floor fire escape, and knock on the door to michael and steph's apartment until they came and let me in. so i tried this out. i knew they were home because i had talked to michael earlier in the afternoon, but i stood there and knocked and knocked and knocked and no answer. so i wandered back to my fire escape level to regroup.

option 2 would be to actually implement the fire escape mechanism, climb out onto the stairs that would go from the 2nd floor fire escape to the ground. the stairs are weighted, so a person's body would force them down, but you can't get to them from the ground trying to go up. but, once i surveyed the scene below, i found that the stairs would put me on the ground in the middle of some bushes and a recessed area in the ground where the windows from the basement were located. so i decided to save this for a last resort.

option 3 was just silly. it involved me thinking i could somehow pry open a window and climb inside. but there are bars protecting the window and i am not smaller than 6 inches wide.

option 4 was that if i could find or fashion some sort of tool, maybe i could jimmy the lock on my door and let myself in. alas, i don't keep tools on my fire escape, and the only thing at my disposal were my bags of trash.

i did find a small rock, which i threw up at a window in michael and steph's place, but i missed it by a country mile, and the rock ended up bouncing off the side of the house and ending up on the ground below. damn it.

so i decided to try michael and steph's door one more time. this time it was successful! i did have to knock for a little while, though. and when michael came to the door, he laughed at me (which i deserved -- i did, after all, lock myself out on my own fire escape!). so i sheepishly thanked him for saving my life, and went back downstairs to my place.

ah, a day in the life of emily... i'm always good for the entertainment value...

my favorite justice...

i'm being taunted to participate in this little game by my dear friends at chelsea morning and slightly absurd. what can i say? i'm a follower at heart. right.

so, while grant has his justice thomas (i still don't buy his explanation for this) and andrew has his justice brennan (whom i absolutely adore; brennan is my number 2), i've got my dear fantastic justice thurgood marshall. the NAACP, brown v. board of ed., first black supreme court justice, champion of civil rights, staunch opponent of the death penalty, et cetera et cetera -- thurgood marshall is nothing less than brilliant!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

from those in the know...

Daily Kos has this link today. it's about an open letter to george bush published in the Times-Picayune, new orleans' newspaper. read it. it's real.

and here's the post from daily kos.

shout out...

i wanted to post a note of belated thanks to all of the friends who have e-mailed/called/asked about how my family has been doing in the wake of katrina. so, tons of appreciation and gratitude to the following:

paula, jessie, katey, joe/laura, amy, jeff, tony, dave, allison, krista, andrew, grant, tom, michael/steph, joshua, steve, george, katie...

i know i'm forgetting tons of people. but to all of the folks who have asked me at school/tracked me down somehow (since i'm basically terrible about keeping in touch), thank you for your kindness and much love to you all!

rehnquist RIP...

whoa. WHOA!

first of all, my sincerest condolences go to the family of chief justice william rehnquist. may his soul rest in peace. while i largely do not agree with his politics, i can't deny the years of service he has given to the Supreme Court and to this country.

but this is nothing short of terrifying for the future of the law! sandy o'connor, can you please come out of retirement??? we need you!

go irish!!!

saturday, september 3, 2005 shall be known as "emily's day of sports". lured by the offer of a free ticket, the opportunity to hang out with my friend joshua, and the awareness that i probably wasn't going to get any schoolwork done anyway, i went to the pirates/cubs game during the day. i don't do this intentionally, but i always end up finding arbitrary reasons to cheer for the opposing team when i've gone to pirates games. today i decided (and announced) at the beginning of the game that i wanted the cubs to win. and win they did, by a score of 9-5. there was a pretty impressive contingent of cubs fans at the game, which seemed a little odd, until it occurred to me that those cubs fans were also notre dame fans, and were in town for the pitt/ND game later that night.

and all of us cubs/notre dame fans were happily 2-0 for the day!

notre dame's defense made me nervous early on, allowing pitt to score with way too much ease, but as the game progressed, it was obvious that pitt was outmatched. ND has a new coach -- Charlie Weis (former assistant coach for the Pats and the Giants). i liked ty willingham, and wished that notre dame would have given him more of a chance, but it's not up to me (maybe they'll listen when i start making alumni donations? no?). and in ways that i'm unable to do for, oh, say, american presidents, i will support the notre dame football coaching staff wholeheartedly (well, except for bob davie, whom i never really understood).

i love college football! i love notre dame football! i got chills when the irish took the field to warm up, that glorious sea of gold helmets sparkling in the stadium lights! i got all wistful when the notre dame band played its usual game numbers. i swelled with alumni pride at the clusters of ND fans scattered throughout the stands.

i, however, was in the pitt student section, an experience so horrible that it caused me to leave at halftime, even though my team was way way up and pretty much certain to win. i must add, though, that i was wearing a notre dame t-shirt. but under no circumstances was i an obnoxious fan. i cheered for my team. that's about it. now, with that said, here are the reasons why i left:
1. i can only be called "asshole" a certain number of times before i start to get a little annoyed.
2. some kid behind me yelled at the irish guard (the tall guys in full traditional irish regalia who march alongside the ND band -- they used to be functional crowd control, now they're largely decorative), "nice kilt, fag!" i turned around and looked at the kid and said, "you've got to be fucking kidding me." he looked back at me, dumbfounded, and said, "what?" he didn't get it. at all.
3. way too many kids saying to me, "get out of the pitt student section -- you don't belong here." to which i responded, because i am a brat, "i'm a pitt student. wanna see my ID?"
4. when ND did something well, kids would turn around to me and tell me to go home. to which i would respond, because i am a brat, "i don't even play on the team."
5. by the middle of the second quarter, the students all started SITTING! you would NEVER see this in the notre dame student section. at least, not in my day. we would stand for the entire game, even if we were getting our asses handed to us. we would stand and we would cheer and we would be good sports. we didn't assault the sexuality of the other team, we didn't threaten to fight supporters of the other team who may have found their way into our student section. we didn't throw shit. we didn't turn into whiney little titty babies and start saying that our own team sucked.
6. a fight -- an actual fistfight -- broke out on the deck above where we were sitting. that's just retarded.
7. i swear these kids don't even understand the rules of football! penalties would be called against pitt, legitimate penalties, and the students would start chanting "bullshit". dude, that's how the game is played! come ON!

yeah, i should have known better. i really should have known better. i've experienced the pitt student section at a pitt/ND game before (in november of 1999, at the last game in pitt stadium, with my friend dave). i recall less-than-fondly a group of frat boys behind us at that game who kept yelling that "notre dame is a bunch of homos". "homos"??? who the hell calls anyone a "homo" anymore? calling someone a "turdface" is funnier. i mean, come on! of course, during that game, dave and i had somehow managed to smuggle in a flask and drank ourselves stupid so we would be numb to the pain. i called dave on my way home from the game last night. he was sympathetic to my frustrations (he was an ND alum, pitt grad student in that student section, too).

i was truly in a hostile environment at the game. i'm 28 years old and hardly a threat. and yet i was geniunely nervous a few times that i was going to get involved over my head in some sort of snafu. i don't think i'll ever go to another pitt game in the student section. it was just too icky-fratboy-alcoholic-stateschool-ignorantmotherfuckers for my liking. i like football. i enjoy watching football games. i've had my days in student sections. time to bid adieu to that phase of life.

but most importantly, notre dame spanked pitt, 42-21! i've got high hopes for brady quinn. i'm impressed with darius walker. i'm psyched for this season! remember friends, this isn't just football -- it's notre dame football!

oh, and we saw dan marino walking with an entourage through the parking lot at heinz field. he looked good. a little too george-hamilton-tanned, but good. too bad his team lost.

shame on me?

sheesh. i talked to my dad on saturday before the ND game. i've been thinking for a few days now about trying to do something about the katrina devastation/aftermath in my seminar paper for my race, racism, and american law seminar. feeling excited and inspired by this idea, i told my father. he responded with a raised-volume rant. essentially he said this:

"you know, you people who aren't even here need to just stay out of it. i see what's going on. people are working 20 hours a day to try to get things back to normal. shame on everyone who wants to politicize this situation. and if you want to write something about this for your class, shame on you, too."

shut down. just like that. my father hasn't said "shame on you" to me in i don't know how long. i'm not a child. i'd like to think that i actually have reasons for my opinions now, unlike my anti-establishment-just-because teenage years. i'm not an idiot, either. but i can't shake the notion that my father will never see me as an intelligent, rational adult; that, to my father, i will always be the argumentative, stomping-my-feet version of myself that existed when i was 16.

even though i know this, i can't help but feel hurt by the disconnect that sometimes separates my father and me. i can't fix it, no matter what i do (i've tried). too often, i end up just assuming that my father must be right. those father/daughter roles run deep for me, too.

but not this time. not this time.

my father (and my step-mother, whom i could hear in the background) apparently think new orleans mayor ray nagin is "an asshole" and "a whiner". my father seems to find some nobility in this show of trent lott's decision to rebuild his home on the beach. my father seems to think that all of these people who are poor and out of work should get off their asses and start taking responsibility for themselves. what i don't understand is how can my father criticize people for "politicizing" what's going on and not see that what he is saying (at least to me) also politicizes the situation?

i'm not latching onto this disaster as a means to criticize the bush administration. there are plenty of other excuses to do that. i see the post-katrina melee as an example of how america has failed itself. it's kinda like how sauron in the lord of the rings stories focussed so much on what was going on elsewhere that he failed to catch frodo and sam in his own country, a failure that ultimately led to his own demise.

oh my god. i just completely outed myself as the world's biggest geek. but it's an apt analogy.

what i'm trying to say is that we cannot change that katrina has happened. and it does no good to complain about what we should have done prior to katrina to have mitigated the damage that has already occurred. what i hope is that the united states will be able to learn some lessons from this storm, that we will see katrina as an excuse to re-think energy policy, environmental policy, economic policy, disaster relief policy, race relations policy, and maybe even reconsider our set of national priorities.

and if i deserve to incur any sort of shame for that kind of "politicizing", then i welcome that shame. because some things are more important.

nagin for president...

new orleans mayor ray nagin gave a goosebump-inspiring radio interview on thursday night. the transcript can be found here. the interview was originally broadcast on new orleans local radio station WWL-AM.

friday afternoon i went over to andrew's place before the two of us embarked on yet another fantastic 12 hour andrew/emily day. when i got there, he played the audio from of the nagin interview. we both sat there listening, riveted:

NAGIN: Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal process to request?

You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us to go in there? What is more important?

And I'll tell you, man, I'm probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. I'm probably going to get in so much trouble it ain't even funny. You probably won't even want to deal with me after this interview is over.

WWL: You and I will be in the funny place together.

NAGIN: But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places.

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man.

You know, I'm not one of those drug addicts. I am thinking very clearly.

And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now.

WWL: What can we do here?

NAGIN: Keep talking about it.

WWL: We'll do that. What else can we do?

NAGIN: Organize people to write letters and make calls to their congressmen, to the president, to the governor. Flood their doggone offices with requests to do something. This is ridiculous.

I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city. And then come down to this city and stand with us when there are military trucks and troops that we can't even count.

Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.

WWL: I'll say it right now, you're the only politician that's called and called for arms like this. And if -- whatever it takes, the governor, president -- whatever law precedent it takes, whatever it takes, I bet that the people listening to you are on your side.

NAGIN: Well, I hope so, Garland. I am just -- I'm at the point now where it don't matter. People are dying. They don't have homes. They don't have jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same in this time.

how can anyone not be moved by this? how can anyone not feel compelled to do everything he or she can to help those who have been affected by this storm? i know i do. i'm sitting in my apartment right now, with all of the comforts that i so often take for granted, wishing that i could be with my father and brother and sister, wishing i could help with the clean-up, wishing i could help with meals and water, wishing i could do something, anything.

nagin's words are so brutally honest, so sincerely distressed, so refreshingly candid. i'm so sick of seeing george bush in his khakis and button down shirts, looking clean and well-rested, talking about how much is being done and about how trent lott will have to rebuild his house in pascagoula. you know what? i don't give a damn about trent lott. trent lott isn't dying. trent lott isn't sick. trent lott still has money and a job to go to.

this isn't about politics right now. this isn't about putting on a happy face and looking optimistically toward the future. right now we have thousands of people who are newly homeless and unemployed, thousands of people in one of america's most important cultural and economic areas, thousands of people who, for all intents and purposes, have been abandoned and turned into statistics and media fodder. ugh. it grosses me out. these are real people with immediate problems, stashed in spaces with no water and without functional plumbing.

can you imagine? can you imagine how it would feel to have an infant who needs diapers and formula? can you imagine how it must be to not have access to medications that you need? can you imagine being cramped first in the superdome, and then the astrodome, with little if any ability to get a hold of friends and family, with only the clothes you're wearing and that you may have been able to bring with you, surrounded by fellow refugees, with no element of stability or solace?

i cannot. i absolutely cannot. try as i might, i cannot forget that here i am, in my apartment, only having to share space with my cat, dishes piled up in my sink only because i've been too distracted this week to actually get to cleaning them, not because i don't have the water to do so. i've showered every day and i haven't thought twice about it. i have my books, my movies, my music, my photographs, my letters and journals, my clothes, my silly tchotchkes. i have school. i know where my friends and family are. it's a gorgeous day outside.

but it offends me to my very guts that this country has dragged its feet in doing all that it can to help the good taxpaying people of louisiana and mississippi who have been left devastated by this storm.

i wonder if things would be different if this storm had destroyed an area that wasn't in the south and primarily black and primarily poor. because if things would be different, then it's a goddamn shame that is shared by and affects every single one of us in this country. every one of us.