Archive for August, 2004

Harry Potter and the Fertile Octogenarian

Monday, August 30th, 2004

There’s an entertaining article up at law.com this morning that begins with the premise that every scary aspect of this summer’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” was lifted out of the law school experience:

Come on. Admit it. No matter how nice it was outside, it always was gray, drab and dull in the law library. Piles and piles of heavy casebooks or hornbooks always weighed you down physically and psychologically. You always had at least one professor for whom nobody’s answer ever was good enough. And Dementors? If you can’t name the professor at your law school voted “Most Likely to Cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” you probably haven’t recovered from your case of PTSD yet.

The author then proposes that, because Harry and friends will soon be graduating from Hogwarts, the franchise should make him a lawyer-wizard and have him negotiate various “scary” situations:

So as they say in Tinseltown, let’s take a meeting, run a few screenplays up the flagpole and see who salutes. To start, how about “Harry Potter and the Rule Against Perpetuities,” in which the gang has just days to find out whether the treasure in the vault at Gringott’s will vest within a life in being and 21 years? Is the legatee a life in being? Is it a being at all? Can Dumbledore and the phoenix re-animate our beneficiary? Can Voldemort send them off to the nether world? I’m thinking weeks of being No. 1 at the box office here, aren’t you?

Then we can go on to “Harry Potter and the Conflict of Laws,” in which Harry and Voldemort apply clashing choice-of-law principles in an epic battle to see if the decision to deny Dumbledore’s mold claim under the Hogwarts’ homeowner’s policy will hold up. Watch Hermione search the ancient lore of the Restatements for just the right incantation to help Harry in his struggle to save Hogwarts from the evil remediation contractors.

And finally, the scariest sequel of all, “Harry Potter and the Relation Back,” in which Harry must come to Dumbledore’s aid to keep the statute of limitations from running on an amended complaint.

So, I ask all of you current and budding attorneys: what frightening legal situation would you like to see Harry, Hermione and Ron magic their way out of? Comments are open.

Brother, can you spare a sign?

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Since so many of you called in to ask what I was doing tonight, I’ll tell you. I’ll be at Barnes & Noble standing in line for, quite possibly, a couple hours. All in order to get the autograph of a man I have never met and will never see again.

General Tommy Franks will be in my town signing copies of his new book American Soldier. I’m generally not an autograph hound, and in my previous meetings with mildly famous people, have never asked for one.

It got me thinking about why people get autographs, and why I’m going to get this one. Most autographs aren’t worth much (at least until the person dies). They could be proof that you were actually in that person’s presence, but if your memory is that bad then the encounter couldn’t have been very special. If you have friends who don’t believe you, then you need new friends. My thinking on Franks is that you won’t often get to be up close with someone who has had such an impact on world history. That and Monday Night Football doesn’t start for a few weeks yet.

*(Unrelated side note) The Soon To Be Mrs. Haff refuses to touch my books anymore because I’m anal about keeping them in pristine condition. I lent her a book once and was horrified to learn that she sometime marks her place by folding down the corner of the page.

The Future, Conan?

Monday, August 16th, 2004

One of my favorite bits on television is Conan O’Brien’s “In the Year 2000″ gag. It started out years ago, when the year 2000 was actually a ways in the future. But, to the show’s great comedic credit, they’ve kept it going well past 2000. They know it’s not the particular year that makes it funny, it’s the not-too-distant future idea of stuff that could happen tomorrow, or even all the way off in the year 2000. It sounds like it’s this mysterious date in the future even when it’s not. Anyway, I think my favorite is this one: “In the year 2000….Everyone on earth will become flesh-eating zombies. When all the flesh is gone, they will become dirt-eating zombies. And when the dirt is gone, finally, some will reluctantly go to the Olive Garden.”

Awkward segue time. With Fitz-Hume’s sort-of-semi-retirement, I find myself forced to gaze into the not-to-distant future to determine what I’m going to do now that BTQ is mine all mine. The long answer to that is forthcming once I figure it out (yay! more introspection!). But the short answer is, I’m bailing out too.

Not for long, though, and not permanently. But I’m finishing one job, and then moving, and then starting my clerkship. So, I forsee myself having a lot less time for blogging over the next few weeks, and I will lack internet access for a good chunk of that time too.

By biggest fear as a blogger is that you won’t come back. So, to keep something happening around here, and to take some of the pressure off me, I’ve enlisted some friends — a sort of “Cool Blogger Summit,” if you will — to guest-blog here for a while. They’re all kind of busy in their own rights, so I figured that having a bunch of them would mean that each one wouldn’t have to post much to keep at least something going on.

In no particular order except relative coolness (kidding!), allow me to introduce my new cohorts: Energy Spatula from “Will Work For Favorable Dicta“; Larry the Longhorn from “Lonestar Expat“; Dylan from “The Slithery D“; Mr. Fun Ball from “Taunting Happy Fun Ball“; Matt and Scott from “Life, Law, Libido“; Soup from “BBQ and Daycare“; TP from “Trivial Pursuits“; and non-blogger (but former BTQ guest-blogger) Sebastian Haff. I don’t expect all of them to post a whole lot of content, but between my occasional check-ins and whatever scraps they toss this way, there should be plenty of good stuff to see. Then, in a few weeks, I’ll be back to operating all by myself and the blog can get back to being the reliable palace of crap you know and love. (I think the official end of the guest-blogging get-together will be September 10, although I expect them to taper off by then, and I should be back to full-time blogging by then too. But that’ll be the end of my first week at work, and will make a convenient transition.)

A final note or two. I know it’s incredibly anti-climactic, but this is the “big announcement” I’ve been talking about for days. I kept putting it off because, originally, I wanted to combine it with some kind of assessment about the long-term future of BTQ. But right now I don’t know what that is. I do know that, in the short-term, it’s going to be a lot of fun having my little end-of-summer campout with my blogging pals.

If you’re not familiar with any of these bloggers, I highly recommend checking them out on their home bases. Also, in an effort to provide some ready-made content, and to propmt some conversation on some things I’ve been thinking about, I’m going to leave a set of questions I hope my guest-bloggers (and anyone else reading this) will answer. (They’re mostly going to be about blogging. What with all these bloggers quitting or changing their names or whatnot, plus me trying to decide what to do from here on, the enterprise itself has been on my mind.) Seb, I’ll have something different for you.

OK, that’s my news. I look forward to seeing whatever my new guest-bloggers have to offer almost as much as I look forward to not having to post as much over the next few weeks.

Ten Things Not To Say At A Supreme Court Oral Argument

Monday, August 9th, 2004

1. “Do the tails on this morning coat make my ass look big?”

2. “Loosen up, Sandy baby!”

3. “My argument this morning relies entirely on legislative history.”

4. “Whatsamatter, Clarence? Cat got your tongue?”

5. “May it please the Court…the judgment of the Ninth Circuit under review here should be affirmed.”

6. “May I please the Court?”

7. “To answer your question, Chief Justice Wapner…”

8. “Everything that guy just said? Total bullshit.”

9. “No wonder you don’t want cameras in here. Up close, you guys look really old.”

10. “The precedent? Uh, well, the precedent, sir, is George Bush. I mean, you ought to know, you put him there.”

Final bio-post and a farewell from Fitz-Hume: *sniff* I hate goodbyes! *sniff*

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

What I am doing at work: Filling out paperwork, cleaning out my desk and deleting files from my computer. My last day of work is next Wednesday.

What I am doing at home: Packing.

What I am reading: Medicine for Moutaineering and Other Wilderness Activities edited by James A. Wilkerson, M.D.

What I am listening to: Old Crow Medicine Show (read Milbarge’s review here).

What I am watching: My favorite reality TV show is American Chopper which chronicles the adventures of the custom motorcycle builders of Orange County Choppers. The Bachelor ain’t got nothin’ on these guys.

What I’m thinking about: Whether I will have time to try this once I begin my new job.

Fun stuff: Via Feddie I found this anime portrait generator. I gave it a whirl:



This is the anime Fitz-Hume. Ladies, please, control yourselves. Don’t crash the server.

Not so fun stuff: I am taking sabbatical for the foreseeable future. This may or may not be permanent (I haven’t decided yet) but for now I am leaving BTQ. It’s been fun (mostly) and I have enjoyed participating in the community of bloggers and readers, but I need to take a break. Never fear, though, for I am leaving you in the more-than-capable hands of Milbarge. In fact, you’ll barely even notice that I’m gone. To the readers: thank you for your contributions to the blog and for your support of our little project. To Milbarge: thank you for encouraging me to join you in the experiment. The training wheels are off now, buddy. To all: I’m not going to say goodbye. Instead, let me say dasvedanya.

Stay classy BTQ.