Thursday, March 30, 2006

37th & 9th Ramble

Professor R. Richard Banks once famously said that "if you were to assume that I, the lecturer, was ignorant to the instant messages that you, the students, are sending each other, you would be wrong."

To that end, if you were to assume that I, a sporadic blogger, would have more time and occasion to post during break, you would be wrong.

Rambling is a far removed concern when I'm able to see Shuli and get into New York every day. Getting fingerprinted by the federal government, feasting on fine Persian food with her family, and being with Mom are all topics worthy of meaningful thought. I don't want to rush through those things and turn this site into a daily journal.

But, the fact that I'm in the city anyway while writing this may undermine the premise of this post. In which case, maybe I'm just lazy.

Random Fact of the Day: Now marking 9 months of continuous, uninterrupted, and amazing relationship.
Random Restaurant Recommendation: Colbeh; great Persian food @ 43 W. 39th Street

Random Question: Summer commute from 37th & 9th to Federal Plaza by City Hall. Any suggestions on the fastest, easiest, cheapest, or least mindnumbing method?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Dissent. Party of 3?

Our new Chief Justice finally came out of the closet yesterday to write his first dissent in Georgia v. Randolph, a case decided by a 5-3 margin.

In Roberts' world, the Fourth Amendment is cool with the police entering your home without a warrant over your objection, should your spouse consent. Five Justices, relying more heavily on social norms than legal doctrine, thought otherwise. I think Souter, writing for the majority, could have found a better legal foundation than what he presumes the results of an American straw poll would be. But, I think the holding is right.

Roberts drew heavily on precedent from Matlock; a case which held that police entry into a home without a warrant was reasonable when the tenant present consented to a search that was only later objected to by a housemate away at the time.

Personally, I don't think there is as much inconsistency between the new Randolph rule and co-occupant Matlock consent in the absence of the objecting party as does CJ Roberts. Matlock was decided on the basis of whether a police officer could objectively believe that the individual had the authority to consent to the search of the house. But, if there is a party present, like in Randolph, that declines the entry, I don't see how an officer could reasonably believe that he has been given permission to enter the premises.

I find the administerability issue to be the stronger ground in his opinion. The majority's rule draws a blurry line, since it still permits the entry given exigent circumstances (e.g., as in a case of domestic violence). The majority's rule puts the police in the position of either risking a Fourth Amendment violation on a misguided hunch or idly sitting on the sidelines to wait for a warrant while trouble is brewing. In the end though, Roberts' rule would constrain privacy at the expense of what he views as a better policy and the risks we assume in sharing our living space with someone. I don't agree the Fourth Amendment reasonability requirement is so easily balanced away.

Regardless, I sure think the man put together a nice piece of acerbic prose.

"The majority reminds us, in high tones, that a man's home is his castle, but even under the majority's rule, it is not his castle if he happens to be absent, asleep in the keep or otherwise engaged when the constable arrives at the gate. Then it is his co-owner's castle."

That's palpable sarcasm, mocking language, and five commas in a sentence for those keeping score at home.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

NCAA Odyssey 2006

Now, a public service announcement.

If you choose to bet on College basketball after this weekend, I think you belong on the evolutionary chart squarely among the apes.

It is not even clear to me, at this point, whether handsomely paid "analysts" provide any merit or substance at all to the discussion this time of year. Please adhere to these roadsigns.

1st Round: Northwestern State (14) 64, Iowa (3) 63
1st Round: Bradley (13) 77, Kansas (4) 73
2nd Round: Bradley (13) 72, Pittsburgh (5) 66
1st Round: Montana (12) 87, Nevada (5) 79
1st Round: Texas A&M (12) 66, Syracuse (5) 58
2nd Round: George Mason (11) 65, North Carolina (3) 60
1st Round: George Mason (11) 75, Michigan State (6) 65
1st Round: Wisconsin-Milwaukee (11) 82, Oklahoma (6) 74
2nd Round: Wichita State (7) 80, Tennessee (2) 73
2nd Round: Georgetown (7) 70, Ohio State (2) 52

With 10 major upsets served in the first 48 games, I think the bridge is out on your compulsive gambling highway.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fair and Balanced

A picture worth a thousand words. Courtesy of Prof. Lessig's blog.

You know, in all my ignorance, I've failed to consider that possibility. Thank you, Fox News, for curing me of my blind and irrational disapproval of this war.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Irish Eyes

I had a great Saint Patrick's Day out here. But, it only left me thinking about home.

I really don't think that conception will ever fully disappear either. This part of the country will always feel like the outer rim.

But, before heading up to San Francisco for green lager and "the dark stuff," Justice Kennedy and (former) Justice O'Connor spoke at the law school about the legacy of the Rehnquist Court. I thought it appropriate that the country's two most famous Irish lawyers were speaking that day, though apparently it was too coincidental a circumstance for Guinness and Jameson to be on hand.

Even though I'm not sure I would have recognized them if we were on line together at Safeway, it was pretty amazing to be in a room with those two minds. They beam a hard sciences intelligence in the most articulate and profound sort of way. It's as if they speak in paragraph form only. If you were to listen to Kennedy or O'Connor speak off the cuff with your eyes closed, I'd be surprised if you didn't assume that they were reading from written remarks.

Afterwards, three of us (law students, not the Justices) sprinted into Palo Alto's only semblance of a sports bar to catch Penn tip in the NCAA tournament. Running out of Irish luck at the very end, Penn lost by 8 to a Texas team, in Dallas, that is expected by some to win the whole thing. It would have been the shocker of the tournament. Hands down. With Penn actually up at the half, it certainly drew all the attention in the bar away from the North Carolina and Kansas games. But, when a team is as undersized as Penn, the "live by the three, die by the three" adage becomes gospel. Going 10 for 27 from behind the arc was just not hot enough, I guess.

Finally by 10 p.m., I was able to get into San Francisco. The revelry up there made it seem like New Year's. Entire streets were blocked off all day as people wandered around from pub to pub. The Irish certainly don't do anything to play down the drinking stereotype. It's pretty much just accepted and embraced everywhere. After visiting Ireland two summers ago, it's not hard to imagine why. The bar is the social center of a town already full of people that love to talk and laugh - and there was plenty of that to be had in the company of Brown Sailor, Tight Jeans Tiger, and Oklahoma Bud.

Even with all that going on, I still couldn't shake what always seems to be lingering for me. There is never a second out here when things lose their tourist tint. Aside from objective differences, of which there are many, I'm always wondering what Shuli is doing, how Mom is feeling, how Dad and Brother are coping, and, even on a 17th to remember, what the scene was like at McSorley's over in the East Village.

Monday, March 13, 2006

March Madness

We'll mess with Texas. Or, at the very least, try to cover the point spread. (15) Pennsylvania (+15.5) at (2) Texas, if you're keeping score at home.

I don't have a problem with being seeded as a 15. There weren't really any bubble bursting Cinderella runs during Conference Tournament week to boost us up the curve. But, the committee clearly didn't do us any favors in putting us in a Dallas regional against UT.

I even think it's ridiculous that we fell into the bottom of the 15s, if there is such a distinction. For lowly Belmont (15) to take on overrated, untested UCLA (2) and mediocre happy-to-be-here Winthrop (15) to be slotted against spiraling Tennessee (2), like most irrational fan thinking concludes, we got shafted. We're better than Belmont and Winthrop. Period.

And that's why this is arguably the greatest sporting event in America. Instead of arguing about which two teams get to square off for the College Football Championship or suffering through a two month NBA playoff season, the points of contention here go miles deeper and, ultimately, are resolved by the players themselves in a single, frenetic month.

But, before I reprise my impulsive 5000 mile February voyage to the Penn-Princeton game, there are a few threshold matters to consider.

1) I don't have a ticket to the Friday night game.
2) Last minute flights are nearly prohibitive in expense.
3) Justices Kennedy and O'Connor are speaking on campus this weekend.

Other than that, the gravitational forces of March Madness are needling me towards Dallas. It's drawn me before to Cleveland last year and to Boston in 2003.

I should research this. But, that's never really been my style. There's a lot of variables in the mix. Maybe O'Connor's legacy includes a relevant multifactor balancing test on the matter.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Nice Little Saturday

Act I

Scene i, Eastside West, a bar in the Marina District of San Francisco.

1:40 a.m. Last call has passed. House lights glare. The crowd filters towards the door.

[Argyle Blue Devil finishes his drink, closes out his tab, and motions to his friends, SLS1L and Gerald Bearington]

ARGYLE BLUE DEVIL: We're set here. I'll meet you outside.

SLS1L [hesitating for a moment]: Okay...

[Like a salmon heading upstream, ABD snakes against the crowd towards the back of the establishment. His progress is summarily impeded within feet of his destination by a larger and more imposing figure]

ABD [to Bouncer]: Pardon me.

BOUNCER: We're closed.

ABD [pointedly]: I know. I'm just heading to the bathroom.

BOUNCER [deadpan]: We're closed.

ABD [checks watch, realizes it is not quite 2:00 am, and attempts to sidestep Bouncer]: Not until Two, you aren't.

[Bouncer spins ABD around, incapacitates him with a flawless "full nelson," and forcibly removes the rabble rouser. Gerald and SLS1L look on, paralyzed in laughter.]

ABD [flustered, bothered, irritated, outside the bar, and still needing to relieve himself]: Get off me! What time do you close, anyway?

BOUNCER: Two o'clock.

ABD [attempting to reestablish alpha male dominance, collar flaring now through the V-neck, steps forward, points at the Bouncer]: You can expect a lawsuit.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Spring Training

Inspired by T Sinister and the spirit of the thousands of online fantasy baseball leagues forming this month, if we class together, please accept this as your invitation into the Fantasy Property Participation league.

Your roster will be comprised of three students registered in Property 209. Points are accumulated pursuant to the scoring system below. Scoring will be kept each lecture by yours truly, the League Commissioner. After each lecture, the standings will be e-mailed out. You must notify the commissioner of any trades and roster moves (adding an undrafted player to take the spot of an undesired one) before class in order for the scoring to reflect changes in staff. All decisions are final and subject to review only upon petition by 2/3 of Team Owners.

Yes, it's also true I spent about twenty minutes in the shower thinking about this.

The point system?
If someone on your roster... cold called (+1) cold called AND the name is pronounced wrong (+2)
...voluntarily responds to a question (+1)
...voluntarily responds to a question posed by a student (+2)
...asks a question (+1)
...asks a question and uses the phrase "the reading" (+2)
...asks a question and weaves in a personal anecdote (+3)
...comments in a class discussion (+1)
...comments in a discussion taking the contrary point (+2)
...uses the word "hypothetically" in a comment (+3)

To join? Simply e-mail the name of your squad and the ten players from lecture in your preferred draft order. The order of selection will follow the order in which I receive responses. Drafting yourself is permitted, Vronsky. Teams will be e-mailed out at 8:30 on Friday morning or when I have received eight affirmative replies, whichever comes sooner.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ode To McSorley's (By A "Somebody," This Time)

For your information, it's not just me that believes McSorley's Old Ale House to be the finest bar ever established.

"i was sitting in mcsorley's" by e.e. cummings (1925)

I was sitting in mcsorley's. outside it was New York and beautifully snowing.

Inside snug and evil. the slobbering walls filthily push witless creases of screaming warmth chuck pillows are noise funnily swallows swallowing revolvingly pompous a the swallowed mottle with smooth or a but of rapidly goes gobs the and of flecks of and a chatter sobbings intersect with which distinct disks of graceful oath, upsoarings the break on ceiling-flatness

the Bar.tinking luscious jigs dint of ripe silver with warm-lyish wetflat splurging smells waltz the glush of squirting taps plus slush of foam knocked off and a faint piddle-of-drops she says I ploc spittle what the lands thaz me kid in no sir hopping sawdust you kiddo

he's a palping wreaths of badly Yep cigars who jim him why gluey grins topple together eyes pout gestures stickily point made glints squinting who's a wink bum-nothing and money fuzzily mouths take big wobbly foot

steps every goggle cent of it get out ears dribbles soft right old feller belch the chap hic summore eh chuckles skulch. . . .

and I was sitting in the din thinking drinking the ale, which never lets you grow old blinking at the low ceiling my being pleasantly was punctuated by the always retchings of a worthless lamp.

when With a minute terrif iceffort one dirty squeal of soiling light yanKing from bushy obscurity a bald greenish foetal head established It suddenly upon the huge neck around whose unwashed sonorous muscle the filth of a collar hung gently.

(spattered)by this instant of semiluminous nausea A vast wordless nondescript genie of trunk trickled firmly in to one exactly-mutilated ghost of a chair,

a;domeshaped interval of complete plasticity,shoulders, sprouted the extraordinary arms through an angle of ridiculous velocity commenting upon an unclean table.and, whose distended immense Both paws slowly loved a dinted mug

gone Darkness it was so near to me,i ask of shadow won't you have a drink?

(the eternal perpetual question)

Inside snugandevil. i was sitting in mcsorley's It,did not answer.

outside.(it was New York and beautifully, snowing. . . .

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Google Video Is Flippin' Sweet

I don't know if it's the song. Or, the footage.

I don't know if it's the awkward white guy trying to be athletic.

But, I've watched this commercial at least fifty times tonight. Probably one of the greatest ad campaigns. Ever.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Love The One You're With

A monogamous relationship is a personal choice. But, without the trust and faith that the one you're with is like no other, I don't see how it can last.

I'm not afraid of commitment.

That's why I only research on Westlaw.

In fact, I use the LexisNexis search engine so infrequently that I had to request my UserID and password even to log on today to check my "Ultimate Rewards" point balance.

I have 290 Lexis points. I don't even think I need to qualify that for people not in law school. That's impressively tiny. Though, I'm not sure why I even have that trifling amount. I haven't used the product since I was forcibly registered in September.

LexisNexisLexisNexis Home PageProducts and Services

Your Points: 290

My point balance is so unprestigious, in fact, that I haven't earned half the points needed for the "Ultimate Reward" of a $10 gift certificate to 'Barnes and Noble.' It costs 650.

Not to tout myself, but I've worked hard to maintain such a low total. With "free point" training sessions, online quizzes, and randomly gifted amounts, it takes more than just blind faith that Westlaw is the one for me. It takes an intentional effort to avoid anything remotely Lexis affiliated. I just can't take the risk of being awarded points I'll never use. It wouldn't sit right with me. What I have already just feels so right.

Now, for some people, the temptation to rise to the ranks of "the elite" is overwhelming.


You've earned 0 points this semester. Just 2000 to go
and you will be a
LexisNexis Elite Member!

But, not for me. Labels and monikers don't fool the pure of heart.