Tuesday, January 30, 2007


The New Quarter cometh...

And with it a new and exciting crop of classes. I'm actually teaching four classes this quarter: Sentencing, Oral Advocacy, Ethics (Professional Responsibility), and Practice Court exercises.

One of the great things about teaching at this level is you have a certain freedom to mold techniques. For example, last summer I went to New York and attended an art history lecture by a wonderful professor at Wesleyan, John Paoletti. His presentation was inspiring on several levels-- both in the insights he conveyed and in the way he expressed passion with meaning. I wanted to do that: Open minds with giant slides and a laser pointer. Though the subject of Paoletti's talk was limited to Robert Rauschenberg, the presentation gave me a great idea for a broader use of fine art on the first day of ethics. Thus, our first-day assignment. In short, the class is structured around three moral principles: Honesty, engagement, and humility. I use the paintings to frame and define these principles.

Get ready, Waco.


Best character from an examination

For the Crim Prac test yesterday, the hypothetical target of the investigation was "Dary Bates." I'm disappointed in myself. At least I should have made it "Barry Lates" or something, and had him driving a BMW. It was weak. It could well be that my sole motivation was the desire to run this picture again on the blog.

However, I know that some other familiar characters have cropped up on exams lately. For example, I understand that Prof. Torts had his brother's family in some sort of tortious disaster, and the Bates-Serr mutually assured destruction via test question has been going on now for decades...

Any updates, students?

Monday, January 29, 2007


Nominations needed for most stressed-out student...

My personal nomination goes to the apparently (and temporarily) berzerk Ladybird, who seems quite freaked out for someone working on a take-home final! I've often worried that my take-home's don't carry the urgency of other tests, but now my fears are allayed. However, I really enjoyed having Ladybird in class, and I'm sorry to have driven her to the point of self-immolation.

Any other nominations?


Orientation/Commencement Weekend

Hey, orientation is coming up on Friday! I love doing orientation-- seeing the new students coming in, anxious and eager (and a little scared, perhaps).

It is also bittersweet that the day after orientation and the bringing in of the new students is commencement and the graduation of some of my favorite grizzled veterans. That flux is part of the great part of teaching, but also emotionally challenging. I miss people when they leave.


Test Day

It's test day today for my criminal practice students. I know, Medievalist-- that sounds like they will be tested on their criminal practices, and some may try to sell you crack today or something. Not true!

Instead, it is a full-day take-home final. I moved away from the predominate testing method a few years ago, because I think that it rewards short-term memory more than anything else, and short term memory is pretty far down the list of skills I am trying to teach.

Meanwhile, I am feverishly trying to complete my annual review, where I describe for the administration any accomplishments for the year. Do you think this blog is an "accomplishment?" Hmmm....

Sunday, January 28, 2007


No wonder my syllabus gets all messed up...

My calendar is defective! Seriously, people, how much proofreading does it take to get a friggin' calendar correct? I'm assuming this is done by professionals, albeit (apparently) professionals who drink on the job.

The whole debacle recalls the terrible day in class three or four years ago when I attempted to explain how to count days for filing purposes-- long story short, it would seem that if I created a calendar, it would look kind of like this one.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


And The Osler For Writing Goes To...

[nervous titters, gentle rustle of satin, envelope ripping...] Tydwbleach! It is hard to ignore her talent, and hard to believe she not only is not in law school, but lives thousands of miles away in an RV community. She is seriously in the running to replace the sadly-absent Erma Bombeck as chronicler of domestic chaos. The following is just a smattering of her observations:

Tyd on kid cuisine: "Peas are weapons, corn is ammo, chicken is dog food, mashed potatoes make great finger paint. You can put smiley faces on the food, you can spell their name in green beans, you can put whipped cream on their milk... They will eat two things: STRING CHEESE AND BANANAS."

Tyd on job interviews: "I might just take that RV parts sales job if they offer it. It seems kind of fun and everyone there was really fun and nice. However, I am getting REALLLLy tired of going on interviews. Today I was asked what three things I would take with me on a desert island. I wanted to say my TRUE, REAL answer - gummy bears, TIVO and crystal meth, but I thought it might make a bad impression."

Tyd on Gerald Ford: "What is interesting to me is that Gerald Ford was constantly made fun of on SNL when he was in office. However, later on, more than half of those people ended up at one time or another spending extended periods in his wife's treatment facility - most notably Chevy Chase, who will be forever linked with Gerald Ford by his imitation of him. It was this imitation, falling off of stairs and ladders and podiums that led to the back injuries that led him to abuse prescription pain relievers, and the addiction to the pills landed him in the Betty Ford Treatment Center."

Seriously, that is excellent writing, that reflects a wonderful sense of humor and a great sense of self (which is key to any kind of humorous writing). The first quote is just a great bit of description. The second is flat-out hilarious, because you can't help but imagine that job interview (and no, I don't think she is really a meth user-- it's just a good use of exaggeration), and the third is a bit of history I didn't know, and perfectly reflected the theme of redemption that marked Ford's public life.

Stay with us, Tyd!


It's not cheating to have another blog on the side, is it?

If you want a hint as to what's coming up in class this Spring, check out my other blog.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Listen, to what the Haiku people say (it's Friday!)

It seems that there are some sites that take haiku pretty seriously. Here, we just, uh, do our best.

SInce this is finals week, I guess we should have a prize again. How about... yet another nicely framed photo of Prof. Bates, perfect for your den or rec room? That should do it.

As always, make your own in the comments section-- 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables.

As for this week's starter Haiku, I offer this:

Metal memories--
The drummers, who all died;
But, that's nitpicking...

Other acceptable topics:

1) Profs serving breakfast
2) Tom Brady
3) Finals and food
4) band lists
5) Tydwbleach's job search
6) The duality of man
7) Penguins
8) Practice Court either ending or starting
9) Bates as the mascot for a professional sports team

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Vision 1930

While reading this post from Bear Meat about the futility of Baylor sports, I was reminded of the brilliance of some of our Baylor fore-Bears. [or forebearers, whatever] Much as we now celebrate the amazing Baylor Vision 2012, many years ago Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks ginned up the even more amazing Vision 1930, which contained the following initiatives:

Imperative 1. Baylor’s Administration and Students Must Seek Out and Kill The Leaders of Texas A & M University. Baylor will seek to maintain a culture that emphasizes vengeance against those who sully our honor, especially those who do so from Texas A & M University. Believing fully in the Christian concept of a just war, we are assured God will aid us in this fight.

Imperative 2. Create a Campus Both More Conducive to Learning and Less Vulnerable to Attack. The heart of the Baylor experience rests in the communion of ideas, not in fending off Huns or aggrieved feral bears which now roam the campus. Whether by moat, fortified redoubts, or by a series of pillboxes, the security perimeter of the campus must be improved.

Imperative C. Attract and Support a More Attractive Student Body. In order to thrive in a competitive environment, Baylor must have more attractive students, and many fewer grossly overweight students such as fatty Phyllis Smith Bajus of Abilene. If possible, Baylor scientists should develop a way for female students’ busts to be artificially and permanently enlarged, so as to preserve modesty and increase attractiveness. If necessary, female students should be told that they are too fat (save for the bust region), even if this is not strictly true.

Imperative 4. Initiate Mediocre Academic Programs in Selected Areas. To further the goals of the fair-to-middling students who compose the Baylor student body, additional so-so programs with impressive names should be created. For example, some students, chosen at random, could be placed in the “Super-Smart!” program and given shiny medals and awards, while housed in an on-campus compound replete with its own coat of arms, creed, and tall steeples.

Imperative 5. Build a Winning Athletic Tradition in All Sports Except Those Involving A Ball. History has taught us that our strengths lie in those sports which wisely avoid the chasing of a ball. Thus, we shall be competitive with the best schools in the nation in the sports of sculling, the winter biathlon, nordic skiing, jumping sports, figure skating, luge, fencing, ice hockey, hunting, and fishing.

Imperative 6. Achieve a $4,000 Endowment. To sustain excellence, Baylor will build an endowment with a corpus of $4,000 by 1930. This shall be achieved by setting up a roadblock on LaSalle Avenue in Waco, and assessing a toll on those traveling between Dallas and Austin.

Imperative 7. Provide Oustanding Statuary. Baylor must strive to achieve that one thing the best schools of this nation share in common: Striking statues in public places. In keeping with the religious mission of the school, no such statuary shall display apparent genitalia.

Imperative 8. Increase Executive Pay. To truly become excellent, Baylor must lead the way for other schools in the area of executive pay. The chief officers, in order to maintain excellencehood, should be paid at least as much as the leaders of Harvard University, the Johnny Torrio organization in Brooklyn, the Westinghouse Corporation, and the United Fruit Company. These peer institutions have already shown the benefits of such appropriate pay scales.

Now, could it be that it is time to revisit the wisdom of Imperative 5 and its suggestion that we "Build a Winning Athletic Tradition in All Sports Except Those Involving A Ball?"


Big New from the Faculty Meeting!

It was another great faculty meeting this morning. First we had a hot-dog-eating contest, and Prof. Dave ("Kobayashi of Texas") Swenson won with 45 dogs. He just nipped Prof. Ryan, who ate 43. After that, we watched tv for a while, but there was nothing good on, so we played that game where you throw a knife between the other person's feet (note to Prof. Underwood's students-- if he claims he won, ask what happened to his loafer!).

Finally, we got around to the real business of the meeting, which was hiring someone new. As you know, we had a bumper crop of new profs this year, including a samarai whose law school note "Preacher You Done Knocked Up My Daughter!" won several awards; a renowned litigator and Jedi Knight who is often accompanied by his Wookie sidekick; an East German Cyborg Killing Machine well-qualified to teach Complex Multidistrict Litigational Trial Evidentiary Complexities (among other courses); and a datapath who excels not only in property law but in her work with the Justice League of America. To follow up this bumper crop, we will soon be interviewing Bruce Sanderson Dwight, known in some circles as "The Stylist," and pictured above. He comes highly recommended, and his name is known to those (such as Prof. Richard Dragon) in the fields of international law and styling. If you see him in the halls, be sure to give him a hearty Baylor Law welcome!


No, It's Not Ironic

As I continue my obsession with Alanis Morissette's song "Ironic," I finally found this good analysis of actual irony in the song. According to the author, the song contains 2.5 examples of actual irony out of 11 total attempts.

Now that's a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break!


Hey! Does this mean the "Just Hang in There!" poster I bought from you guys is defective or something?

I saw this in Dallas at the Galleria last Saturday and had to take a picture. Did they bother to even look at the "Perseverance" poster on their own wall?

Best of all, a book called "You Can Sell Anything!" was on display in the front window at 75% off. Seen in the front of a failed store, that's irony, my friends-- even more ironic than, say, a fly in your chardonnay or rain on your wedding day.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Another Last Day

Today was the last day of Criminal Practice class this quarter. The last day lecture always wipes me out-- I'm exhausted. It's like being a major crimefighter (see illustration) after having cleaned up the big city.

Do I get a nap? Mmmm, probably not.

Update: Flower guy apparently is not a crimefighter. Rather, he is a wrongdoer. Sorry about that.


List #977 (which is just wrong in so many ways)

This has to be one of the strangest things I have seen in a while. Not just because Elton John is noted twice (once as "gay" and once as "really gay"), but because the whole project seems very odd. The underlying premise seems to be that listening to Mettalica (for example) will make you gay.


And This Year's Osler for Lifetime Achievement Goes To...

[Nervous titters, envelope-ripping, the gentle rustle of satin]... Joe Hoelscher!

Over the nearly 42 years I have been at Baylor, Mr. Hoelscher has been the most accomplished and willing PC witness. Embodying the virtues of flexibility, commitment, and character, he has portrayed pedophile doctors, crime victims, bank robbers, fast-food managers, and a wide variety of calm, competent experts. With nothing more than a slight tilt of the head and the classic Hoelscher line, "I'm not sure I understand your question. You see..." Joe was able to derail seemingly hundreds of cross-examinations.

Seriously, Mr. Hoelscher showed unusual willingness to serve as a PC witness during his time here, and I for one appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007



This morning there were a few wonderful moments of calm. First, I was sitting at counsel table, waiting for Judge Scirica and the others to come in, and there was this comforting sense of having a different role in that building, of being a real lawyer. The argument was disappointing-- the judges were confused about the record, and they spent a lot of time looking around in the appendix. Sigh.

Afterwards, though, I walked through the square pictured above. This was my route every day as a clerk-- I walked from my house on Spruce and Fourth through this park, under the eaves of Independence Hall, past the Liberty Bell, over to the courthouse... and this was a walk of only five blocks. It was strange to leave.

Monday, January 22, 2007


My Familiars, again...

Philadelphia is a city of brick buildings and old iron pipes. On the train from the airport, I looked up from the culvert near the UPenn stop and saw a proud old building with worn, warm bricks and a faded stone tablet. Squinting with my old eyes, I could see that the tablet said "Palestra." So, that was it, square by the tracks, the Cathedral.

Philadelphia is a place where sometimes great things wait quietly for you to find them, like Quakers at worship.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


My Philadelphia Story

I have a good (but small) friend who loves the animated series Avatar, which appears to be about a kid named Ang who has an arrow shaved on top of his head. Ang is on a great search of some kind, and is helped by an older mentor in the course of this search. As much as anything, Avatar tells the story of the relationship between the boy and the mentor, a theme that is very popular in modern entertainment—as in Star Wars, Eragon, and Harry Potter.

Somehow, though, we don’t focus much on real mentors in our own lives. When I talk about mentors, I mean those who taught us something important as part of a personal relationship, something that was within their realm of knowledge and not ours, and who taught within a relationship of trust and friendship. In my life up to age forty, I have had at least six important mentors, men who have played a large role in shaping who I am. I still have mentors, of course; Bob Darden, Randall O’Brien, and Hulitt Gloer come to mind as those I rely on to teach me things they have already mastered.

Today I’m in Philadelphia, for a few reasons. First, on Tuesday the Third Circuit will hear the Ricks case, the latest of several cases involving sentencing issues I have long worked on, in part by representing amici in five federal circuits. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I am here to see Judge Jan DuBois of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who is one of those six mentors. In the paragraphs that follow, I will describe each of them.

Millard Benjamin Hodges

My maternal grandfather taught me responsibility for my actions, and the role of a man within a community. From him, I learned that if there is a problem within the community, the thing to do is to solve it rather than complain, or to worry, or to blame. He also taught me how to type, how to remove a fishhook from a hand, how to navigate in the woods, and how to cut a board. Fortunately, his example was continued by his daughter.

John Shipman Osler, Jr.

My father taught me to see beauty in the world, and appreciate the whole of God’s creation, and no ability has brought me more joy than that. In a world of hard hearts where so much is about self and so little about true appreciation, he continues to embody the virtue of seeing with passion and love.


You may wonder what a guy who is known here as driving the car with the keg-dancer on the hood might have mentored me on, but that is pretty much the heart of it. When I was a freshman at William & Mary, he was a senior, and taught me the value of friendships among men. He also taught me how to drive a car with a guy on the hood dancing with a keg over his head.

Prof. Daniel Freed

If my grandfather showed me the way to try to fix a problem, Prof. Freed showed me the problem I might try to fix. He taught me sentencing at Yale Law School, and in so doing taught me to include in my legal thought deep concern for those affected by the law. It was in his class and in his office that I became so convinced that sentencing matters.

Judge Jan E. Dubois

I spent a year clerking for Judge Dubois, the best year of learning I ever had. He expected a lot, including that I would be there working with him on many Saturdays, and that if we disagreed that I would express my view with both gusto and substantiation. If I could recreate some of those discussions for class, I would! His impression on me as a lawyer was profound, but above else I was left with the core belief that intellectual integrity is what gives a lawyer credibility, point by point by point.

Bill Underwood

It was Bill who recruited me to Baylor Law, and who showed me what could be possible as a teacher and lawyer. He encouraged me at every turn, and helped fend off the wolves when they appeared. What some might see in him as restlessness is really something very different. The restless person wants to change themselves, their surroundings, their jobs. Bill, really, is motivated by something else, which I saw in my grandfather as well—the desire to solve problems within a community, even when there is a personal cost.

Who were your mentors? It’s a long post, so long comments are ok.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


SoTheBearSays is gettin' hitched!

Our own Baylor Uber-Blogger, Chris Fahrentrother, gets married today in Dallas to the lovely, talented, and apparently tolerant Julie Sammer. Though in the past I have suggested that Mr. Flarenblogger may be the Antichrist, plotting genocide, creating murderous robot-hookers, and urinating on the elderly, secretly I like and admire him. I was just saying all of those well-substantiated things in the heat of a fierce campaign.

I wonder if he will sing "Feelings" at the reception?

Friday, January 19, 2007


Friday, Haiku Friday...

Oh, Wintry Mix!
You make Texans' heads explode.
I blame you, Starbucks!

Obviously, this haiku alludes to my theory that our plague of Wintry Mix is due to Starbucks' storing 500,000 tons of unsold coffee-based Wintry Mix drinks in giant slurry ponds in West Texas. You can follow this theme if you want, or just let your freak flag fly. Just make sure it is 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables.

Enter yours below...

Thursday, January 18, 2007



I was roaming around my computer looking for pictures of David Corbett to attach to the last post, and found this one. [I'm just killing time until haiku Friday] Corbett is second from the right, together with Maggie Weaver, Lauren Hudgeons, Gordon Davenport, Florencia Rueda, Danny Back, Margaret Chen, and Misty Keene. Man, what a great team that was!

What's striking is that the apparently homeless guy in the back is me, the professor. Why is it that I not only look so much more unattractive than my students, but kind of deranged? That troubles me. It may be time to try a new look, and get away from the whole Unabomber thing I seem to have going in this photo.


One Bright Spot

Between the Wintry Mix and endless PC exercises and various crabby people, I'm in a foul mood. Fortunately, there is good news to report-- a new and promising blog. David Corbett is a recent Baylor Law grad, now working as a public defender in Kingman, Arizona. David was one of my all-time favorite students at Baylor, and I'm glad to see he has not only started a blog, but has figured out how to put in graphics of green monsters. You can check out his blog here... and you should.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


The Three Keys to Driving in a "Wintry Mix"

Since I am not cancelling class, I at least owe my students some driving tips. In short, you should be fine if you remember three principles: Honesty, engagement, and humility.

1) Honesty

You need to accept that conditions are bad. That means, sadly that you can't go very fast. Just deal with it, and allow extra time.

2) Engagement

This is not the time to talk on a cell phone while you are driving, or do anything else distracting. This morning I saw a woman putting on eye makeup while piloting her giant SUV. Not good.

3) Humility

Gosh, what if someone else is going fast? Let them pass. It will not rob you of your honor to let them by. Probably you will catch up to them soon enough, as they rest against the tree they hit in their gigantic SUV while putting on eye makeup.


Question: I drive a gigantic SUV! Can't I go as fast as I usually go, since I have four wheel drive? Hold on a second, I have to put on my eye makeup...

Answer: The problem is that a giant SUV, even with 4WD, has longer braking distances than any other vehicle. You don't get in an accident because you weren't going fast enough, but because you can't stop soon enough, and you have the worst kind of vehicle for stopping.

Question: In Chicago, they would laugh at this. People would be running around in their bathing suits. You don't even need long pants for this.

Answer: All true.

Question: What is a "wintry mix?" I never heard of it before. Is it a new term for something we have always had, or is it actually a new substance?

Answer: In 2005, Starbucks featured "Wintry Mix" as a coffee-based treat which also contained caramel, cinnamon, granulated lard, and pumpkin spices. It did not sell well, and the Starbucks factory in Abilene produced nearly 500,000 tons that had to be stored in huge slurry ponds. This was disposed of as airborn pollution (in part to garner a tax credit Texas offers only to large-scale pollutors). This pollution served to "seed" the clouds over the Waco area, which are now raining down the said "wintry mix" over our area.


Storm Stories....

As you can plainly see in the photo above (taken at about 8 am), the winter storm here has taken a terrible turn for the worse. There is now barely discernable "wintry mix" on the ground. As a result, schools are closed, including most of Baylor University. [Notable exception: The law school will start classes at 10:30 am]

Which means it is an inside day... a good day for telling stories about other horrific storms. For me, it isn't really an ice storm until the power lines come down and everyone loses power. In Michigan, this was a reason to have gas or oil heat, so at least you wouldn't freeze in the dark. One particularly harsh storm in about 1977, though, took out both our heat and the electricity, and my family of five moved very briefly into our 1970 VW camper van out in the driveway. For some reason, this seemed hilarious to all of us, but at least there was heat and lights in there. Later, that van caught fire while we were driving through Elyria, Ohio, which seemed like a fitting end for it. When we emerged from the van into that ice storm, though, it was into a world that was all made of ice-- everything in it was covered with one or two thick inches of clear ice. It was a beautiful and dangerous place.

What's your story?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007



We are about to enter day three of the CRIPPLING ICE STORM here in central Texas, and all hell is breaking loose. Today there was a trace amount of snow, forcing the closure of schools, warnings to avoid the toxic outdoors, and the fervant stockpiling of food.

Of course, Texans were able to react to this crisis in their trademark fashion: By racing around at breakneck speed in gigantic SUV's while tailgating one another. The theory seems to be that if you drive really fast in your SUV, you will spend less time on the SUPER-DANGEROUS roadways. Sigh. It makes me want to move to Minnesota where they have real snow, people who know what to do when it snows, and no eight-hour-long practice court exercises.



It's true. I'm not a juror. Sadly, I didn't even get to go through the selection process to be rejected; they just turned us all away when all of the trials set for County Court #2 pled out.

Now, I am going to try to get IPLawFamily out of town (reluctantly; it has been great having them here). There are trace amounts of snow on the ground, so no doubt all flights have been cancelled...

Monday, January 15, 2007


IPLawGuy v. Medievalist v. Osler

Last night, IPLawGuy, Medievalist, and I (and various others) had an amazing contest in Scrabble. It began with the traditional assignment of Scrabble Names. IPLG chose the name of "Montreal Expose," for reasons I can't begin to guess. I imagine that act is only a misdemeanor in Quebec, though. Medievalist, not surprisingly, chose the name of "Madrid Real," while I took on my usual moniker of "Steve Winner."

My attempt to use "fetas" (multiple kinds of feta cheese) was successful, while I failed to convince the others that "Boothier" was a word. So, I lost. Rats.

We did very much enjoy the food and wine, however.


Hey! Will you pick me? Please?

As you may remember, my lifelong dream (really) was fulfilled when I was called to jury duty back in November. Unfortunately, there was some conflict and I was turned away and told to come back January 16.

Well, hello jury duty! I think it would be so great to be on a jury, but I'm feeling pessimistic. I think those lawyers might think I'm too, too... what is the word I'm looking for?


Hello, "Wintery Mix!"

Waco has shut down, but for the people running around in the streets screaming and waving their hands over their heads. .003 inches of snow fell last night, and ice has been detected in places other than frozen margaritas, facts which send people in this part of Texas into full panic mode. Driving is verboten, and newspapers are not delivered; tomorrow schools (other than Baylor Law School) will doubtlessly be closed, and as shown in the photo, my red barn has been photogenically transformed.

Hopefully, people realize that it is unlikely that Baylor Law School will close due to weather. And if it does close, at least on two occasions, practice court has continued even as the rest of the school wasn't operating...

Sunday, January 14, 2007


We Beat the Trekkies!

[Please note: The spelling of the name of the Texas Tech coach has been slightly altered to prevent him from conducting a Google search, finding this post, driving to Waco, and beating the snot out of me]

Yesterday, I attended the Baylor/Texas Tech men's basketball game with IPLawGuy, IPLawWife, and IPLawBaby (who inexplicably slept through the whole thing). IPLawWife turned out to be the most informed amongst us, as she was the starting center on her state-champion high school team. In contrast, IPLawGuy and I play basketball like blind, drunk guys who rely on elements of hockey (such as the use of a long stick) for any success we may have.

The Baylor Bears won, led by Aaron Bruce. During a particularly well-sung national anthem, we were close enough to the action to hear Tech coach Bobbi Knight singing his own "parody" version of the song. He really has a pretty good voice for a guy who has done that much yelling!

Intriguingly, Baylor Law's own Heather Creed was at the game, wearing a very nice "Indiana" sweatshirt. I'm not sure if this was in support or opposition to Bobby Nite, though. Indiana fired Mr. Nytt, so it could have been a protest. More likely, though, is this-- Heather wanted to show support for Bahby Knight, but could not bring herself to wear a Texas Tech shirt. At any rate, she is from Indiana, so she might have just dug the shirt out of the bottom of her closet at random, but I doubt that.

As for Mr. Knite himself, he was at the top of his form. Attired in his trademark uniform of black pants, sweater, and police belt with a heavy black flashlight and collapsible baton, he spent a good part of the game berating the officials. This was effective, as they seemed to favor the visitors. I'm personally on the fence regarding Boby Knight-- he does graduate his players, and his team seems very disciplined and well-coached. And his success is hard to argue with, even when he does not have great talent. However, during the game, Mrs. IPLawGuy mentioned that her high school coach was a fan of Mr. Niyt who replicated his methods and personality. I asked how that was, and she shrugged. "We were good, but it made me not like basketball any more."

How many people have been influenced indirectly in this way by Bobbie Knight? I'm guessing a lot.

For more info on the game, check out the report over at Bear Meat, when they choose to update their blog. Lately, they have been taking the New York Times approach to sports news.

Saturday, January 13, 2007



In this recent post I made a number of errors. Unfortunately, I used poor judgement and deeply regret these mistakes. I also take personal responsibility for these mistakes.

First of all, IPLawBaby's name is not "Dwight David Eisenhower IPLawguy." Her name is, in fact, "Elizabeth" (though I was correct that this name came from her maternal great-grandfather). Also, she did not weigh 12 pounds at birth; rather she came in at only six pounds. Further, her nickname is not "Scooter," it is "Libby" (I think that error was a little understandable). Moreover, Libby is a girl, not a boy, and does not know "Baby Tae Kwon Do" or how to make methamphetamine. Finally, Libby is not under indictment in Wyoming for aggravated assault, played no role in the Dick Cheney/Tara Reid scandal of last month, and was not Bradley Thomas' date to Law Prom.

Again, I regret these errors. IPLawBaby, please stop spitting up on my carpet now.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Ladies and Gentleman... It's Haiku Friday.

Let the festivities begin! The Spanish Medievalist has suggested a theme of IPLawGuy, while IPLG himself has suggested a theme of zombies. I leave the theme to you, my readers and fellow participants!

To write a haiku, simple compose a five-syllable line, followed by a seven-syllable line, concluding with a five-syllable line, all linked by a common and elegant theme, like so:

Get away, zombies!
I have one good trick for them--
End the class early.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Congratulations IPLawGuy!

You won the haiku contest!

Unfortunately, the prize was meeting, uh, you. Which should be interesting. Since you and IPLawBaby and IPLawWife are coming to Waco tomorrow, perhaps I can fulfill this promise by telling you stuff about yourself. And I DO have some stories. Or perhaps if some reader wants to meet IPLawGuy, we can do that. I don't know. At any rate, here is his winning entry:

Zombies Attacked Me.
Bite My Arm. Matter Of Time
Till I Become One.

By the way, IPLawBaby, pictured at right, has the proper name of Dwight David Eisenhower IPLawGuy. He was born on December 1, 2006, and weighed nearly 12 pounds! He is named after his maternal great-grandfather, and is nicknamed "Scooter" after a close family friend in DC.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Dork Alert: It's Law Prom Time!

According to Swanburg, Law Prom at Baylor is right around the corner. I'm not exactly sure what Law Prom is, but it sounds generally like an opportunity to relive those horrible moments from High School, except everyone has a drivers license.

When I was in law school, we actually had something that was somewhat like Law Prom. On the weekend of the Harvard/Yale game, we hosted the Harvard students at a semi-formal dance on campus. If there was anything more dorky than a Harvard Law dance, it was probably one they combined with us. I do remember, for example, doing the "Safety Dance." Sigh. Actually, it was a pretty rolicking party which started with several gold cups at Mory's. I had a date, a quite fetching (and highly intelligent) Illinoisian from Harvard Law, who was the first woman to ever show me how a strapless bra worked. I was enthralled. She was a great date, something I might not have been, based on my repeated use of the term "per stirpes" alone.

That evening was the basis for a legend that has been retold many times since, true or not. Supposedly, two particularly nerdy Yale guys convinced three of the Harvard women to drive up to Freeport, Maine in one of the guys' old Volvo. I would imagine they were headed for the LL Bean outlet store there-- maybe that in itself tells you something, in that New York was only an hour away in one direction, and they headed three hours in the other direction to go to a shoe store. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time; there was drinking involved. Anyways, once they were en route, two of the Harvardians got into the back seat with the two Yalies and started insincere and sloppy relationships. The remaining daughter of Harvard was left to drive the car. Frustrated at being left out of the fun, she drove the car faster and faster until the engine burned up in New Hampshire in the snow. The New Hampshire trooper coming through the snow to find four half-naked students and one fully-clothed one watching the car burn allegedly asked them "where did you all come from?" and didn't believe them when they told him.

It may well have been, too, that they were singing (with some irony):

"I was h-a-p-p-y to be f-r-double-e
f-r-double-e to be s-a-v-e-d
s-a-v-e-d from the bonds of s-i-n
Glory glory Hallelujah hip hooray amen."

I do know... that I never saw that Volvo again.


Next week, I plan to post a photo of myself addressing IPLawGuy, Swanburg, and Bates!

Pictured above is former Baylor Law PC professor Bill Underwood announcing the results of this meeting in Atlanta. He really is doing great things, and I'm proud to know him. This particular group is attempting to renew traditional Baptist ideals while at the same time doing something that has rarely been done in this country-- bring together black and white churches for a broad common goal. You can bet I am going to try hard to get a speaking gig at their January, 2008 meeting.

I do wonder if any of the Allman Brothers will be involved.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Must... have.... iphone....

Steve Jobs has turned me into a pathetic, materialistic zombie through this presentation.


My Dark Suit

This morning I will be going to the funeral for Susan Kendrick, a librarian here at Baylor Law for many years.

I miss her. She was one of those wonderful people who served with joy. She often was preceded by a book cart, and that is a wonderful image for those of us that love books; and she had a ready smile and quick laugh even as her cancer became more severe.

When I came to Baylor, she was one of the people who made me feel most welcome, and was an important part of this place that she served so well.

Monday, January 08, 2007


And I thought MY Mom was well-known for her meatloaf...

In case you missed it in the comments section, Swanburg's Mom had this to say about her time with the Razor 2006 Person of the Year, Meatloaf:

"I had a date or 2 with Meatloaf in the early 70's. The dates were very simple - a limo picked me up from Long Island and took me to a recording studio in Manhattan. We talked, he worked, I listened, we went out with a group of people for food and drinks. The limo took me back to Long Island. Swanburg's version is much more exciting. Sex, drugs and Rock n' Roll. Our dates missed one or more of the important components."

I can only remember being in a limo once, and oddly enough, it picked me up on Long Island, too (at LaGuardia Airport). Only instead of rendezvousing with some famous singer, I gave a talk about federal sentencing at Yale. Where did I go wrong?


The Best Celebrity Photo Ever

Many of you know Allison Dickson, ace Baylor Law student. While I have seen some facets of Allison, one side of her that has remained hidden from view is her status as a celebrity tracker. Pictured above is her with none other than William Hung. I'm not sure how she got this photo-- chance meeting? Months of stalking? Taping of a duet album?

I only know that I wish it had been me.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Perhaps I should have not asked at all...

Like many people in Central Texas, I have many times driven past the "Bible Factory Outlet" in Hillsboro. The idea has always intrigued me. I'm someone who actually bought three Bibles in the last year, some as gifts, so I'm not adverse to merchandising the good book.

However, the "Bible Factory Outlet" does raise some questions. Do Bibles really come from a "Bible Factory?" Somehow, I imagined something more dignified than a big smokestack-topped building in Cleveland. Do other books come from a "factory?" Hmmm. Even more intriguing, though, was the idea of a Bible outlet store. Such stores usually have two types of goods: overstocks and factory seconds. I'm not sure how that works; you could have overstocks of certain kinds of translations perhaps... ie, "Florence, we're not moving the King James! Send them to the outlet mall!"

But what I really wanted to know about was factory second Bibles. Would certain books be missing? Or, even better, would it be full of typos? I kind of wanted a Bible with horrible typos, so I stopped by the Bible Factory Outlet to ask.

In short, they don't have factory seconds, and it seems like they are maybe a little tired of hearing people ask about that. And if you really press the issue, boy, do they get annoyed!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Weekend Update!

I love local news on the weekend, when apparently they let high school co-op students run things in a small town like Waco. Moments ago, on the "Channel 6 News," they showed a picture of the Texas legislature at work with the inexplicable text "Sewage Leak Update" running underneath. Well, maybe not too inexplicable, but it was pretty funny. The anchorlady seemed truly troubled by the odd combination, and was confused and flummoxed for a while afterwards.


IPLawGuy sent me this, and I don't know what to say.


The Right Answer.

RG recently commented on the fear of giving a wrong answer in class. Since I started teaching, I have thought a lot about the way I feel about student answers, and my thinking is somewhat complex. I'd group the answers this way:

1) The uninformed answer.

This is the answer, usually accompanied by furious paper-shuffling or a blank look, that shows the student either did not do the reading or did not brief the case sufficiently. I have learned to be patient-- sometimes what at first appears to be this type of answer morphs into a more informed one once the student thinks a second or two.

2) The informed wrong answer

This is an answer where the person knows the case but misread something, or applied the wrong doctrine. This answer is ok; it makes for a good opportunity to work through an issue.

3) The informed answer I disagree with

This is my favorite. Sometimes I have had students convinced me that the informed answer I disagree with should become the informed answer I agree with. Usually, the answerer and I agree on the basic facts and disagree about policy or potential effects.

4) The informed answer I agree with

You might think this is the easiest to handle, but it isn't. The problem is that I am tempted to finish the answer for the students once she is going in the right direction, instead of letting her complete the job.

The painting above is of my grandmother, painted by my grandfather. She had answers of all four types, I came to learn.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Haiku for You, This Friday!

Why is there still college football? Somehow, that seems wrong. There should be a Mandatory Season Completion Act of 2007, which will limit baseball to October and football to Jan. 1.

Still, there was some good football. Thus, my haiku:

Hey now, Boise State!
You turned Oklahoma
Into puffalumps.

Your turn! 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables.

The prize for this week will be an invitation to meet IPLawGuy.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Aaaugggh! School is Going to Start!!! Aaauggggh!

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm feeling a little panicky about school starting again. I'm still not used to this herky-jerky stop and start schedule; all my other jobs required me to work about 51 weeks a year and you just never stopped.

Did I forget how to teach? Will I just stand there and gape? How do I turn on my computer? Who is the guy with the long hair who hangs around the hall? What if I oversleep and skip my final exam? Errrggh.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


How My Mom Made Me Eat Clothing

When I was a kid, my mom often read to me a Christmas book called "Granny Glittens and the Amazing Mittens." What was amazing about the mittens was that they were edible. For example, the black ones tasted like licorice.

As a result of this book, it now takes a great deal of willpower for me not to bite woolen mittens whenever I see them, just to see how they taste. I will admit to having succumbed a few times, even very recently, to that temptation.

This is one good reason to live in Texas-- there aren't many mittens around!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


And Now, A Very Special Contest...

I have two tickets here to the game tomorrow night between the Baylor Lady Bears and the Texas Tech Lady Trekkies. I will give them away to the person who can come up with the best story involving Mr. Meat Loaf, and how his music has changed your life. Please post your story below-- the winner will be announced in the morning.


Now Announcing the 2006 Razor Person of the Year: Meatloaf!

After considering all the well-thought-out nominations, I have chosen the singer "Meatloaf" as the Osler's Razor 2006 Person of the Year. Here is the touching tribute offered by "Anonymous 8:08" in nominating Mr. Loaf:

"It should definitely be the singer Meatloaf. His classic rock hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" really got me through some tough times this year."

When a singer has the strength, the reach, to touch the lives of people in need, that is something we here at the Razor deeply respect. Our second place winner, Jimmy, also is extremely hard-working, insightful, and caring, but through no fault of his own he has not been able to reach the millions of needy souls that Meatloaf has. Through his hit songs "(Turn Around) Bright Eyes," "Pink Houses," "Total Eclipse of the Heart," and the inimitable "Purple Rain," Mr. Loaf has turned on the love light of a nation. Plus, Mr. Loaf is a celebrity, and that is what really counts in America these days. Huzzahs!

The painting above, by my dad, I believe depicts Mr. Loaf in a moment of contemplation. I think it really captures the essence of his persona and verve, an essence which this year has carried him to the top.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Osler's Razor Person of the Year

It was a great New Year's Eve here in Georgia. A few Maconites came over, and I have some good conversations, but it was not a late night. Which means today I can drive, drive, drive back towards Waco...

Also, Prof. Bates called at about 11:45 pm. He seemed to be in a great mood-- I think that guy had a pretty good 2006. He definitely is in the running for the Osler's Razor Person of the Year, which will be announced later today.

Here's how you can help with that project: Put your nomination for person of the year in the comment section. And no, it cannot be "you."

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