Thursday, May 31, 2007


Golly Ned! Mario Claiborne dies

In a new, sad, and bizarre twist in the saga over federal cocaine sentencing, the subject of the case before the Supreme Court involving those issues has died, just as the Supreme Court seemed poised to issue an opinion. As Doug Berman reports, Mario Claiborne was shot yesterday during a robbery, which moots the case.

Beyond that, I have no idea what the Court will do, given that they have spent months on that opinion.

Claiborne's death came one day before the crack/powder case I am trying to get the Supereme Court to take, Spears, was scheduled to be considered in conference. I'm sure that at the Court they are just trying to figure out what to do with the opinion they have...


Plus, you get free salt!

I received a very elaborate brochure from Rosewood Hotels & Resorts yesterday, detailing some of their properties and promoting "deals" on several of them. The most intriguing was for "Las Ventanas al Paraiso," in Los Cabos, Mexico. The great deal was this:

Suites from $700 per night
Includes Contintental Breakfast for 2
And a Welcome Margarita*

*One complimentary margarita per guest per stay.

For $700 a night, shouldn't the tub be full of margarita upon arrival?


Work, Vocation, and Meaning

For a while now I have been meaning to recommend Craig Pankratz's recent reflection on how he ended up on the path he has found-- in law school, training to be a prosecutor. Once again, I see that Craig and I have similar values (though he probably does a better job of living them out). Work is important, in a sense beyond making money. It defines you, to yourself and to others.

Many of you have heard how I ended up as a lawyer-- it is a story I often tell at orientation. But how did everyone else get here?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


And I didn't think I was making a difference...

For those of you who have been wondering about how my work on the narcotics sentencing guidelines fits in at Baylor, check this out-- we're now promoting ourselves as turning out crack lawyers!

Of course, lots of schools are producing crack lawyers these days (given the number of crack prosecutions, it is a big part of the market). However, only Baylor is specializing in turning out crack lawyers in kilts.

Carver, does your kilt have some kind of flask with it? And was this some kind of subversive prom outfit?

Also, can we perhaps get a photo of Mrs. CL in a kilt? And I'm pretty sure I've already seen Mr. CL in a kilt someplace...


IPLawKilt: Fashion Hit or Miss?

As requested, IPLawGuy has sent me a photo of himself in a kilt. Intriguingly, he apparently had someone else take this photo in his office, implying that at least once he wore this kilt to work. Was it casual Friday? Or is this regular business wear?

My first impression is that it isn't as bad as I would have thought, but I still would much rather see it on IPLawWife.

So, what do you think, people? Is this the business trend of the future?


The odometer flipped, and I didn't notice...

Sometime between 10 pm and midnight yesterday, viewer # 100,000 visited the Razor. I spent my evening listening to music with Bates and the visiting Bill Underwood, and by the time I went back online, it was up to 100,031.

I always miss it when the odometer flips, but there is something silly about those arbitrary markers anyways. Not that some visits aren't more important than others; I have always believed that not all moments are equal. Here, for example, are some of the more significant Razor visits I know of:

1) Tydwbleach, looking for my brother, first stumbles onto the Razor.
2) The first haiku posted by someone other than me.
3) Baker calls me on posting too much about myself (he was right).
4) Swanburg's Mom tells the story of her date with Meatloaf.

One of the things I love most about doing this is that it really isn't so much about me, but about the people who come on here and share a little bit. It lets me connect with my students in a different way, and lets them meet some of the other people I know. The comments I love the best are when IPLawGuy is talking to Tyd or Bradley Thomas or somebody-- these little conversations between people I know and appreciate. It's a place where sometimes friends gather, and that's about as good as it gets.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


It's Bad Fashion Idea Tuesday at the Razor!

Today I noticed a student who appeared to have sewn fabric onto a short-sleeve shirt to make it into a long-sleeved shirt. Hmmm. It didn't look too good. Perhaps we should have covered that at Fashion Night.

Not that I am immune to such impulses. In college I cut the collars off of several button-down oxfords to make them kind of Nehru-style shirts. It looked odd, especially since there were strings coming up from the rough cut at the seam. I wore the shirts all year, at which point a woman I didn't know well felt sorry for me and bought me a shirt out of pity, thinking I couldn't afford shirts with a collar. While it didn't cause an international incident, I did feel pretty stupid.

And you?

Monday, May 28, 2007


Ha ha, France! You have neither Don Kings nor King Dons! Bow down before the magnificence that is the U.S. of A.!

Earlier today, some people commented on my recent reference to "King Don" snack cakes. After doing a little research, I have found that they are variously known as "King Dons," "Ding Dongs" and "Ring Dings." As this blog makes clear, some people take snack cakes very seriously. (It also offered up the fine Don King photo reproduced here). For example, in the comments section over there, a woman from St. Louis named "Heidi" had this to say about the author's musings relating to said snack cakes:

are you retarted????? why would you think king dongs and don king have to do with each other?? you sound so un educated to say the least. your not a bit funny you sound foolish and assanine to me.. [sic]

Comment by heidi 08.19.04 @ 19:40

Oddly, Heidi refers to the snack cakes in question as "King Dongs," which (as a commenter earlier noted) is very unlikely to be associated with a product sold to children. Of course, I spent my college years walking past displays featuring a perky pre-teen, reading "Little Debbie Has A Treat For You!" That always made me feel a little uncomfortable.


I got rid of the French

Through the application of a very small amount of force and the promise of Hostess King Don snack cakes, I was able to capture my blog back from the French. I would like to apologize to anyone who was offended by their posts, including the Chateauroux soccer team, Donut, and IPLawGuy. I believe that Jacques ("Rocky") Cenlouvre and his daughters are going to set up their own blog-- apparently they did not realize it was free.

In the meantime, I was busying myself with other disputes...


Nous devons écraser et détruire le Texas A et M sous les talons de nos initialisations bien-faites de qualité!

Le rasoir est un commanditaire officiel de FB Châteauroux, un football de Français de champion. Nous travaillons pour nous charger pour les guerriers de Châteauroux de se débarasser une fois pour toutes des parasites émanant de la station d'université et de l'université du Texas à A et à M ! Ceci aura lieu jeudi, aux champs intra-muros près du stade de basket-ball.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Fernando Alonso est le fromage stinky de la formule 1!

Beaucoup car nous aimons la formule une emballant, nous plus pouvons ne prendre la puanteur de F. Alonso, la plupart de coureur ennuyeux et mauvais dans tout le monde ! Il conduit comme si il essaye d'envoyer un texte-message tout en négociant des tours, et dans les entrevues il semble être ivre. Même ses patronages sont stupides -- Pokemon ? Quel genre de conducteur est commandité par Pokemon ? J'ai lu que, en fait, Pokemon ne le paye pas même, et qu'il aime Pokemon tellement il a juste peint sa voiture cette manière sans permission. Peut-être quelqu'un devrait entrer en contact avec Avocat du IP!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Le beignet est dans le besoin d'un Gardien de Tiers!

Même ici dans la Provence, nous entendons souvent des contes du « Beignet » célèbre d'Oregon. Tristement, il paraît que le « Beignet » a été incarcéré sur les charges fausses de fraude de courrier, le chien combattant, et les violations de 18 U.S.C. 711. Nous avons retenu déjà le « l'Avocat plaidant Total » obtenir son relâchement, mais il semble qu'elle est dans le besoin d'un gardien de tiers pour la loger et le « Beignet » pour une période de temps. Est-quelqu'un prêt à prendre cette tâche ?


Les salutations des nouveaux propriétaires!

Nous sommes très contents avoir acheté ceci « le Rasoir de Osler ». Nous savons que beaucoup de gens ont apprécié la nature d'anglais-Langue du blog, et le regret que ceci doit changer. Cependant, il y toujours aura beaucoup d'apprécier. Par exemple, au lieu des bêtises, nous offrirons les herbes de Provence ; au lieu de la méditation, vous apprécierez maintenant les nouvelles de course de Formule 1 ; et au lieu de l'haiku vous apprécierez le travail d'événements multimédia Poste-Modernes réfléchissant aux travaux de Foucault et "Donut."

Au Revoir,

Des Nouveaux Proprietaires,
Jacques ("Rocky") Cenlouvre et filles

Friday, May 25, 2007


People! Settle Down! It's Haiku Friday at the Razor!

Sheesh, a guy doesn't post for 12 hours and you guys decide to have Haiku Friday without me? What's with that? Anyways, I do appreciate the effort. Here, for those who don't read the comments, are 10 possible topics for haiku this week as suggested by IPLawGuy, Medievalist, and some other people (though you are free to do what you want with any subject, so long as it is in the form of 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables):

1. Sentencing guidelines for crickets
2. Lost luggage--especially laptops
3. Votes of confidence for Wormtongue
4. Fort Wayne sports teams
5. Exams I should have never taken
6. Seeing the Great Salt Lake for the first time
7. When it thunders
8. Bald Brittany
9. Absent Minded Professors
10. Embarrasing moments with lost property

Here is mine:

Oh, my dear lost friend!
You always loved heating
Up my lap... come home!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007



I left my laptop in the seatback pocket of the plane... oops. They are going to give it back to me, though. Until then, no more posting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


In the Mountains...

I am off to Salt Lake City for this conference, which should be FanFan-tastic! (That's a little in-joke for fellow sentencing geeks. The oft-forgotten companion case to the Booker opinion was US v. Fanfan).

I'm a big fan of Salt Lake City. It is a fascinating place in many ways, but right now is kind of a ghost town, because the Jazz are playing. Why is the Utah team called the "Jazz" anyways? And does anyone else see irony in the fact that the biggest star in the Mormon state is named "Boozer?"

In the past few years I have learned more about Mormonism (in part through David Corbett and Craig Pankratz) and hope to visit Temple Square during this trip. Most of the time, though, I will be hobnobbing with other sentencing geeks, and attending many panel discussions on the interpretations of 18 U.S.C. 3553(a). For me, that's fun.


Spared by the Fire

The fire in the north woods of Minnesota is now contained, and it seems that our cabin was spared. The fire did destroy a lot of the forest and some other buildings. I feel like we dodged a bullet, like the canoe to the far right in the photo (from the Voyageur Canoe Outfitter web site.

Fire, of course, is a natural part of the cycle of life up there. A central part of the forest is jack pine, and the cones of a jack pine open and release their seeds best if there is a fire-- the replanting after fire is built into the elements already present.

I wonder if that isn't a good analogy to federal sentencing policy, which may receive a good burn-off in the next few months through Court and/or Congressional action. A better system can come from the one we have had, and born from what is already there.

Monday, May 21, 2007


The Razor Athlete of the Week: Brenna Margol!

There are a few things that really impress me-- for example, a good singing voice, or the ability to speak French. On that list, too, are those athletes who excel at a sport which gets almost no attention (especially those that involve snow or ice). I was perusing the website of the US Luge association when I happened upon this profile of champion sledder Brenna Margol. If you aren't from Michigan, this might not mean much to you, but she is the fastest female sledder in Michigan.

Plus she's a great student at Drexel in Philadelphia. If you want to know more, check out her website.

Next to luge, my favorite Olympic sport is the biathlon-- but how can you not love any sport that combines skiing and shooting a rifle?


The Razor: #1 in Puckett News

For this week's haiku winner, I just couldn't resist the only Puckett-related haiku I have ever received, from the woman Puckett will one day refer to as "The Wife:"

Swaths of soft cotton
Delightful simplicity
Reads "I heart Puckett"

She is referring, I think, to a high quality, Puckett-related t-shirt sold at many retailers for a very reasonable price.

Honorable mention goes to Tall Tenor, RG, and Mrs. CL, who made me want to jump in a pool.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


If no one celebrates, how can you tell who won?

Yesterday, I went to San Antonio to give a Continuing Legal Education lecture. The lecture went ok, but not great, because people in San Antonio seem to be restricted to this form of communication:

Person One: "Go Spurs, go!"
Person Two: "Go Spurs!"

Had I stuck to that script, I would have been fine.

Anyways, I was on my way back after a stop to see old friends in Austin, and heard the end of the game. What troubled me was that after the Spurs clinched the series, the fans got in their cars and went home. What? Don't these people know how to celebrate?

Back in Detroit, winning an important series merits a real celebration. In those moments, Detroiters like to combine their two great loves: Cars and arson. Some people from "the outside" don't know this, but traditionally Detroit has celebrated an annual holiday of arson. "Devil's Night" is celebrated every October 30, the night before Halloween, and calls for the celebrants to burn abandoned homes and businesses and fire guns at random. Devil's Night, in fact, is one of the few events in Detroit (other than the Super Bowl) which attracts tourists; for example this site chronicles the visit of the Hyattsville Fire Department to Detroit for Devil's Night in 1997. Good times!

The problem with these folks in San Antonio might be that they never learned proper celebration techniques in college, like people in Michigan do...

Friday, May 18, 2007


It's Haiku Flibberdijibbit!

Welcome back! I haiku-- do you? If so, this is the place, and here are this week's themes:

1) IPLawEnemy
2) The Return of Kris Fahrenthog
3) Crikey's! Everyone is going crazy on Swanbug's blog!
4) Summer in Texas
5) Things to do in Switzerland if you are drunk
6) Sentencing Guidelines!
7) Fire
8) My fantasy t-shirt
9) Aggies and their "problem"
10) "I heart ____."

Here is mine:

Quick, call 911!
They have removed the air
And locked the doors!

(This refers to a Baylor email of this week announcing that "This afternoon there will be no air and the doors will be locked." It was unclear why this was desirable)

For yours, make sure it is 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables...

Thursday, May 17, 2007


The Return of Chris Flarenthorp!

Former Baylor Blogger Kris Flarenthorp has dipped his toe back into the blogging world. Over on Swanburg's blarble spot, he has been popping up. Apparently, this is the news from Vermont:

1) Along with the other English Majors, he has been putting stuff in his Diet Coke to heighten the effect.

2) For some reason, he is donating money to Swanburg. Personally, I think that if he had half a heart, he would give the money to Poseur, so the guy could buy himself a new leg.

3) His new novel, "Practice Hell," might come out in 2008. It is all fiction. All of it.


May 17, On Which I Attempt to Write a Post Like Poseur...

Though I have resolved to blog less about sports, I just can't help myself. Did you see the Spurs-Pistons game last night? I got so excited that I accidently broke off what was left of my right leg, and then was beating it against the table when the police came.

What got me so excited was the rule infraction that occurred with 12:13 left in the third quarter. As shown in the photo, Manu Ginobli was driving to the basket when former Terp Barron Davis apparently made contact. Ginobli got the foul but not the shot. Much of the crowd's attention was distracted when Doug Collins and Marion Barber came off the bench with Nunchuks and confronted Davis, who responded with pepper spray and a medieval mace, leading to a general scrum involving several other players, fantasy leaguers, and at least one well-known "hamburger clown." From my own view, it seemed very clear that Ginobli should have gotten the +1, and this may have been the difference in the game, which the Pistons ended up winning by only 14 points. I have now watched the entire game 4 1/2 times now on Tivo, and I'm pretty sure the refs blew it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


It's not just the north woods that are on fire...

For the past day or so, I have pretty much buried myself in the gathering storm over federal cocaine sentencing. First, the Sentencing Commission proposed changing the guidelines, and then yesterday they issued a fascinating (to sentencing geeks) 202-page report to Congress on further reforms. I posted my initial reactions on Doug Berman's blog here.

Two more very important things will follow: (1) Congress will have hearings on the issue (probably the House Judiciary Committee or a Sub-Committee), and (2) The Supreme Court will be heard from, either through Claiborne or perhaps another case (like... Spears?).

Given that I have been working on this issue since I left DOJ in 2000, these are exciting times...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Water on Fire

About 1970, my dad and Sleepy Walleye's dad (and some other guys) had a great idea-- buy a cabin in one of the remotest parts of North America that you could still get to with a family. They found an old cabin in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Ontario, and a good part of our lives have been spent up there. Eventually, our two families bought a different cabin, and over the past several years we built a second cabin by ourselves from the ground up. It is in the middle of old growth forest-- there are huge trees and bear and moose. There is no electricity or running water, but it is the most luxurious place I can think of, if you consider quiet and wonderment and northern lights and a billion stars to be luxuries (and I do).

Now there is fire, 88,000 acres on fire, all over that area. We don't know the fate of our little cabins or the others on the lake.

Monday, May 14, 2007


The long underground electric car

While scanning the news this weekend, I noticed a piece describing what cars the candidates drive. Romney drives a Mustang, for example, and Obama drives a Chrysler 300. Giuliani, however, responded "I don't drive, I navigate."

That's a very New York thing to say. An amazing number of people in New York City don't know how to drive, and view cars as the territory of foreigners (including Texans) and crazy people. They don't have to drive-- they have a great public transit system and walk. A strong argument can be made, actually, that New York is the most energy efficient city in the country, per capita, since there is such a high population density and use of public transportation.

It all is very odd to me. I'm from Detroit, where progression towards maturity is marked in terms of cars: At 16, you get your license; at 17, your first set of jumper cables; at 18, you may get your own very old car or van.

I think, though, I could get used to this other way...

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Sunday Afternoon

They rent boats for the waterways of Central Park; by far the most popular type of watercraft is the rowboat. Sometimes, I like to hang out on a bridge and categorize the rowers. They fall generally into the following groups:

1) One man, one woman (50%). About half the rowboats are filled with couples. The prefered combination seems to be guy in a polo shirt or a t-shirt pulling the oars, woman in gauzy skirt lounging around on the other seat.

2) One adult, one kid (18%). The one adult-one kid grouping has two permutations. More often the adult is rowing while the kid shouts instructions or leans way over the side, threatening disaster. Sometimes the kid rows, and the boat goes in one small circle.

3) Two women (10%). These boats seem to be some sort of mini-booze-cruise. They tend not to be headed anywhere in particular. There is a lot of talking and gesticulation.

4) Four men (1%). This is the most intriguing combination. Usually, one guy is rowing while the other three sit stone-faced in the back with their arms crossed. Often, they look like they are on their way to a hit.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Stupid Sorting Hat...

This turned out to be a dumb idea-- having the sorting hat do my grading while I play Wii. So far, it has made up four silly songs, ate a danish, and sang along to all of Bachman-Turner-Overdrive's "Not Fragile" album.

Finally I got fed up and just shoved Ladybird's test at him. He looked at it for a while and then got all excited and yelled "Hufflepuff!" Um, thanks, but what I really needed was a grade-- B+, C-, A, something like that.

Anyways, since I was not getting much else out of him, I tried a bunch of you out on the sorting hat, and here is how y'all came out:

IPLawGuy: "Griffyndor!"
Swanburg: "Slytherin!" (this was said with a particular flourish, for some reason)
Baker: "Ravenclaw!"
Yee: "Griffyndor!"
B: "Ravenclaw!"
IPLawBaby: "Slytherin!"
Prof. Bates: "Hufflepuff!"
Sleepy Walleye: "Griffyndor!"
The Dancing Medievalist: "Ravenclaw!"
Bradley Thomas: "Southwestern Louisiana State!"
Tydwbleach: "Hufflepuff!"
GED3: "Griffyndor!"
Ginger Hunter: "Ravenclaw!"
Jennifer Job Seale: "Griffyndor!" (Dr. Seale: Hufflepuff!)
"Macho Man" Randy Savage: "Slytherin!"
Tom: "Griffiyndor!"
CL & Mrs. CL: "Hufflepuff!"
7 of the collective CL clan's children: "Hufflepuff!"
4 of the collective CL clan's children: "Slytherin!"

The darn thing seems to enjoy this, so if you want to know where you go, send me a comment below. Also, don't count on your grades next week. They are due the first Monday of the 6th week, so I should probably get the dang hat in gear by then.


The Starbucks on Valley Mills in Waco blows chunks

I was pretty excited when a new Starbucks opened near my house. On those days when there wasn't time to visit Common Grounds, home of great coffee and the Dancing Barista, it would be convenient to have a nearby Starbucks. However, the place blows chunks.

I've been there four times, and not once have they gotten my order right, and each time they have been pretty grumpy about it. This morning was the worst. I got up, set up the Sorting Hat to work on some exam grading, and popped over to the local Starbucks for some coffee. As usual, I went up to the counter and asked for a grande mild. The sullen barista began pouring the coffee from the carafe that was marked as the bold coffee. I asked if that was the mild, and she said (grumpy voice) that it was. At that point, I pointed out that the sign said the other coffee was the mild, and she told me the sign was wrong. Sigh. Notably, they didn't change the sign.

Then when I got home, the sorting hat was ignoring the tests and instead wearing my headphones and jamming out to some classic Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

So now I'm going to stick to Common Grounds, where at least if the barista is in a bad mood, my money isn't going to some freakin' conglomerate.


People are still sending me photos...

I'm not sure why, but people keep sending me pictures. B sent me pictures of his trip to Wisconsin; Flo sent me pictures of Easy Cheese and purple guy. This photo was sent to me via email by Tydwbleach. From what I gather, this is Spencer with Donut's dad, Taylor. I personally would like to meet that guy... what kind of person names his kid "Donut?" Maybe that is normal in Oregon...

Friday, May 11, 2007


Haiku Friday in the Time of Cholera

I am, in fact, glad that it is Friday. I feel a little sluggish this morning. Here are some suggested haiku topics:

1) REO Speedwagon
2) OxyContin
3) That woman who works at the grocery store who always looks like she is about to start crying.
D) Spinal Tap
4) The onset of summer.
5) Sitting next to Spock on an airplane from Dallas to New York.
6) Sporks!
7) The pen is mightier...
8) What I found in my burrito that one time.
9) Osler's sorting hat

At any rate, here is my effort for the week:

Help me, sorting hat!
While I write this reply brief,
You do the grading.

Now you write one, and maybe put it in the proper format of 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables.


You can probably tell which parts were suggested by the sorting hat...

So, remember that brief I was working on while stomping around and muttering and wearing the sorting hat (which sings along and makes suggestions)? I still haven't figured out how to link to documents, but my friend Doug Berman has. Doug runs one of the most influential blogs in the legal world, Sentencing Law and Policy. Since June, 2004, it has had over 2 million hits-- and that's people who want to read about sentencing policy.

Anyways, if you want to read that relatively short reply brief, you can link to it here. Just click on the link marked "Spears reply brief" and you will get a nice and tidy pdf. Section three was written by BLS grad Dustin Benham.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I would like to apologize if you had to see this for some reason...

For the past few days, I have been working on a reply brief. For you non-lawyers, that means the other side (in this case, the DOJ) responds to the initial brief, and then you get to write a fairly short rebuttal. It needs to be quick, accurate and punchy. To write something like that, I usually listend to loud music, walk around while muttering to myself, gesture a lot, dance around some, and then bang stuff out before starting the routine again. It is productive, but you wouldn't want to see it. Coffee is also involved.

Next, I will put the finishing touches on the essay I have designed to make make everyone in the whole world mad at me, expecially at Baylor.

As a little interlude, though, I will enjoy a stirring video
of "Danny Boy" as performed by Beaker, Animal, and the Swedish Chef. Or, perhaps, a similar grouping performing "Clocks" by Coldplay (what is it with Muppets and Coldplay?). After that... maybe REM performing Furry Happy Monsters... (I think Poseur is in this one, if you look carefully). Intriguingly, R.E.M. is portrayed as a part-human, part-muppet band in this clip.


It sounds like things are OK with Tyd, but Donut is having some problems...

For those of you who don't read the comments, Tydwbleach, whose house blew up a few weeks ago, has been providing some updates. One of the more interesting tidbits, I thought, was this description of her appearance at the Mother's Tea at Spencer's school:

First of all my house was blown up and I wish that could be an excuse for the way I looked, except I looked this weird BEFORE my house blew up. I am in a transition period I think. Today I went to the mom's tea in a wrinkled lime green shirt, and sandals and a skirt. I had a band aid holding my glasses together. I had this crazy hair because I have crazy hair anyway but also because I spent half of the day in a dealership, and the other half rummaging through my former belongings.

I don't know about you, but if I was at a school function like that, this is the person I would want to sit next to and talk to. I can relate, since the men in my family (including me) tend to go to this kind of event looking like "Jim" from the old TV show "Taxi" (pictured here).

For those of you who don't remember "Taxi," but do attend Baylor Law School, Jim was similar in a few ways to Prof. Bates, beyond the fact both went to Harvard.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


And the #1 top recycled photo is...

How can you not love Beaker? I would note that my top recycled links have probably been to Beaker singing "Feelings" and "Yellow."

Though it was first used when the administration apparently lit the school on fire while locking the doors, the Beaker fixation on the blog came about when Chris Fahrentrope started agitating for a position as commencement speaker back in... oh, what, around 1974? Seems like that...


The Elegance of Found Objects

I was walking down Prince Street at dusk, and there was this perfectly drawn alien on a little piece of note paper wedged up by the curb. He was a happy alien, with a big, goofy grin and he was carrying a steering wheel. He also had big, floppy feet-- obviously he is a good swimmer. I'm not sure who drew him, or why, but he was from a good place.

I thought about showing my alien to someone at random walking down the street, but concluded this would be thought of as "weird."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


It is such a thin line between reality and parody...

The whole cult of celebrity in this country is kind of stupid in a very specific way. There is a bizarre media process through which people with a particular type of talent (acting, singing) are held out as heroes, in a way which rarely relates to the truly heroic things people do-- risk their life for their country, care for a family, pursue a vocation others won't consider.

However, I think some people (ie Celebrity Luvr and Ms. CL) wade into this stuff with a certain wry interest, the way others might want to see tornadoes or car racing. They aren't looking for heroes, but for the crash and burn.

That's not the case with the people circulating this petition seeking to "free Paris Hilton." Or is it? What do you think, are they serious or mocking?


Grand Central Station

Whenever things were noisy in the background during a phone call, my Mom would say "where are you, Grand Central Station?" For this reason, I now enjoy calling her from there, if possible.

Grand Central became beautiful again after they did a very simple thing-- unblock the huge windows. Legend has it that they were first blocked off to protect from air raids in World War II, and then the coverings were sold as advertising space. Decades later, just a few years ago, they finally came down and the light came back in. It was a wonderful choice.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Yes, actually, a 100% bar pass rate IS a big deal...

The more I ponder the 100% bar pass rate (37 of 37) Baylor students achieved on the February bar, the more impressed I am with the people I have the honor to teach.

A 100% pass rate is a rare thing-- it means that every person, the superstars and those who struggled, have to focus hard and lay it all on the line for three days of testing. If you don't believe it is a rare and good thing, check out this chart from the Texas Board of Law Examiners-- no school has gotten a 100% for first-time takers since 2003. That means that for the past seven tests, none of the nine schools have achieved this-- 62 chances and no one has done it. The chart also shows how Baylor consistently has done well, and usually best, each time the exam is given.

If you want more stats, check out the chart, showing that a 100% rate was achieved only once by any school in the years 1991-2002-- over 200 possibilies.

I hope those who passed the bar know how proud we are of them, and appreciate their hard work.

[Thanks to Mr. Raymond Puckett, for tipping me off to the fact that there were such statistics on the net. He is also very talented at A/V related matters.]


Hey, now, Mr. Department of Justice!

I have in my hand this moment the Solicitor General's response to our petition for certiorari in Spears. Parts of it are pretty well-written (but wrong), and I'm looking forward to knocking out our reply brief in league with Dustin Benham. Why is it that at times like this I want to use a Scooby-Doo voice? That seems totally inappropriate for trying to get the Supreme Court to take the case. Rhuh-Rho!

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Why do the great ones always seem to die young?

One of the great things about being in New York is that I can pick up the paper at any newstand, instead of trying to get hot breaking news off the web or from MTV. Yesterday, though, was a terrible shock when on the front page I saw this article and learned the awful facts: Herbert F. Kornfeld is dead, at 34 years of age.

I really don't know what to say.

As many of you know, I have tried to model my teaching persona on a combination between Mr. Kornfeld and columnist Jean Teasdale, another of my heroes. When I have collected myself, I will try to come up with a fitting tribute.


Well, it's perfectly clear what THAT means!

There are some parts of the Bible that make sense to me immediately, and others that don't. In the latter category I would include the following passage from 2 Kings 23-34, which describes an event in the travels of the prophet Elisha:

"He went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, "Go away, baldhead! Go away, baldhead!" When he turned around and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the boys."

I have several questions here:

1) Doesn't this seem like somewhat of an over-reaction to the insult of basically being called "baldy?" Elisha had acquired twice the powers of Elijah, and this seems like a strange way to use them.

2) Given that she-bears are so prominent in the Bible, why are Baylor's women's sports teams called the "Lady Bears?" I think the "Mauling Baylor She-Bears" would be much more intimidating.

3) Why are there 42 small boys wandering around in the woods in the first place?

4) Back to Baylor-- could we maybe get a new she-bear mascot in a costume with real claws, who will roam the stands and maul obnoxious fans? I think this would be great for both attendance and morale. Perhaps this is a cause Baylor sports blog Beer Mate would like to take up...

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Haiku Winners Announced! Spain Rejoices!

Not only did the Spanish Medievalist (pictured here, as envisioned by a Spanish Architect) create the categories this week, he also submitted this award-winning haiku:

Please, don't hurt me, good,
Wicked hygienist person,
My gums bleed pleasure.

I think it sums up the feelings of many people about the odd med-psycho-sexual-sadistic nature of the dental hygienist.

Second place goes to none other than new competitor Tied2Bleach, for this compelling submission:

Dog, diapers, and wife
Hotel room growing smaller
Need cone of silence.

The family trophy, though, has to go to the IPLawFamily, as haikus were submitted by IPLawGuy, IPLawWife, AND IPLawBaby!

On the down side, someone going by the moniker "Frosty Pants" jumped in this week. That name disturbs me.


As Burger Chef and/or Jeff would Say, "Incrediburgable!"

Tonight, after getting another chapter done (number 16, if you are counting), I went to hear St. Cecilia's Chorus and Orchestra (directed by 93-year-old David Randolph) perform Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall. For a semi-pro outfit, they were outstanding. It was my first time to hear Orff's masterpiece live, and now I understand why people say it is so difficult to sing.

If you don't know the story, Carmina Burana is based on lewd poems found in a monastery and written in the 13th Century. Many of them have to do with mating, drinking, and gambling (in fact, I'm pretty sure Swanburg is mentioned by name, but it is in Latin, so it is hard to tell). The whole thing has a driving beat (and uses 21 different percussion instruments) and its "O Fortuna" movement has been mixed in to dance and house music in a variety of ways, which seems oddly fitting.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Oh, yeah, Friday! Haiku Friday!

Doh! I'm so buried in my books that I forgot what day it is. And it is... haiku Friday. Here we go, people--

No smokin', lady--
I have got my own zone here
Go smoke in Boston.

If you need help, here are the Spanish Medievalist's suggested topics for today:

1. Prosecuting Jesus
2. Slumming in New York City
3. Thunderstorms
4. The price of tea in China
5. Painless dentistry
6. The length of Nancy Pelosi's skirts
7. The best Martini money can buy
8. 101 new uses for the Baylor Law School Sippy Mugs

Now, you write one. 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables.


So, The hot dog vendor says to this lady...

Central Park is a wonderful place. I've always marveled at the foresight of the city planners to lay out a huge patch of the island as a park, largely before the city grew around it. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, probably America's greatest landscape architect, who also designed several parks in Boston and Detroit's Belle Isle.

I went up there recently to get a hot dog, and walked up to a hot dog vendor's cart. The vendor was selling a hot dog to a woman who was smoking. As he handed her the dog, they had the following conversation:

Vendor: Hey, you can't smoke here.
Lady: Out here, in the park?
Vendor: Not at my stand. It's a smoke-free zone.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the country, Swanburg claims to be at Disneyland with Jerry Rice, Pete Rose, and some latex gloves.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Baptists Rule The Bar!

37 out of 37 Baylor law bar-takers passed the Texas bar in February! Woo hoo! I'm pretty bouncy and happy about this 100% rate of success. In contrast, the University of Texas had a 79% pass rate (19 of 25).

Thanks to the very happy bar-passin' Flo Rueda for texting me with this great news...


My nook, full of ideas and bits of scrap paper

This little nook is where I have been doing much of my writing. It's a great little spot, tucked away with all the craziness of New York just outside the old, tall windows. Though it is pouring in Texas, it has been beautiful here. I'm getting a lot done-- I have finished three chapters since my arrival Sunday.

Today, though, is research day. I'm just going to huddle down and read, and then talk to people who know about some of this stuff.

Meanwhile, IPLawGuy is just over the river in Newark. He pretty much has a second home there by now-- I think we should call him "Mr. Newark." Then ask him for loans at a very high interest rate, and to take bets on pro football.


The Graduate

Here's ace student Allison Dickson, who as the top graduate prepared a wonderful speech for commencement. You are probably more used to seeing her pictured with William Hung, but here I am in the place of that particular superstar.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


It is my dream that one day the New York Times will say that I, too, am "strong."

You can read here the New York Times' review of TallTenor (William Joyner)and his compatriots in Anna Karenina. Meanwhile, here in New York, I got rained on a lot last night and the doorman looked upon me with suspicion upon my return.


It was mostly stuff I already knew...

Just about my favorite part of commencement was Jennifer Job Seale's dad bragging on her. Jen kept trying to hush him up, but I wouldn't let her-- her dad was doing exactly the same thing I would do if I had a daughter like Jen. Commencement is the right time to let a little of that pride show, I think. Of course, no one had to convince me that Ms. Seale is pretty darn sharp.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


If things go well, I'm off to Schiller's Liquor Bar...

I'm still writing away here in the library-- it is going pretty well, though. I'm on the pace I wanted. If I get done in time, my reward is going to be dinner at Schiller's Liquor Bar down on the Lower East Side, which, despite the sound of its name, is a restaurant. One thing that appeals to me about it is that they offer three kind of wines-- Cheap, decent and good. Supposedly, cheap is the best.

Another great thing about being in New York is that I get to see my old friend Greg Tishar, whom I met back before time began (pretty much)-- working on Senator Paul Simon's 1988 presidential campaign. He's the kind of guy who knows what's what in NYC.


Hopefully, she is still wearing that hat...

Kimberley Schott, pictured here in the only photo that turned out to have our heads included in the frame, wrote one of my favorite court observation papers ever. The really good ones I save, in a special file. Hers went right in there.

I hope that Kimberley is going to spend some time in criminal law, because it needs and deserves good lawyers like her.


"Everything is Bigger in New York!"

Yesterday, someone told me "everything is bigger in New York!" This may seem like a strange thing to say to someone from Texas, but there are some things that are bigger, I suppose. The sheer number of people is still a little overwhelming to me-- there can be a traffic jam on the sidewalk, and I don't run into that much in Waco.

My writing is going pretty well. Today I'm going to be writing about humiliation as a punishment, which is kind of a hot topic in criminal law-- but first I am going to talk to a guy who has already written a lot about it. It's great to have the chance to do nothing but write, and I think it makes my writing better, too.

And the rat was in Soho.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?