Friday, October 31, 2008

J'ai voté!

i voted

I love America.  I love that all I had to do to earn the right to choose my leaders was to survive for 18 years.  I also love that no matter who wins next Tuesday, there probably won't be riots and rebellion.  (We tried that once, and it didn't work.)  For all the time and energy wasted by pundits and political "scientists,"* America can be and usually (but not always) is a great country.

If you haven't voted yet, today is the last day of early voting.  The Election happens this coming Tuesday.  Get out and vote!



*I can use quotation marks because I was a political science undergrad.

Troubling in a Fire Safety Kinda Way

At the end of Carrie, Stephen King burns down the gym.  (In the Sissy Spacek movie, Carrie's house also collapses at the very end.  Remember the hand popping out of the rubble?)  In Salem's Lot, Ben and Mark burn down the whole town at the end, particularly the Marsden House.  In The Shining, Danny et al. escape with their lives while The Overlook burns to the ground behind them. 

So Mr. King's first three novels end pretty much the same.  If he weren't perhaps the greatest writer of the late 20th century, I'd be pretty upset.  As it is, I guess I'll let it slide.  At least until I read The Stand.  If it happens again . . . I'll probably read the book after that, too.

PS---It's worth noting that Cujo, one of the most beautiful works in modern American literature, if not in the entire history of English literature, does not end in any sort of funeral pyre.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Racism Pet Peeve #1

Sunday's Dallas Morning News had an article entitled "Blacks worry about polls vs. reality in Obama campaign."

Language is so powerful.  I wish people would stop referring to the different races as "blacks" and "whites," and start referring to them as "black people" and "white people."  That sounds so minor, but the difference in thought is huge.  When we refer to each other as "blacks" or "whites," we're implying that we are two totally different and unrelated species.  But when you say "black people" or "white people," you reinforce the only thing that will beat out racism: recognizing that we are only slightly different versions of the same thing.  Regardless of the color of your skin, you are still a person.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Ray of Hope

If the Rays can go from worst World Series in 12 months, then so can the Rangers.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Juror #2

In the midst of Practice Court, a fun thing for my fellow classmates and I to do is complain.  For example, I could tell you about how much it sucks that while my fellow 3Ls across the country are getting their golf scores below 100, I'm reading 100 pages every night on deemed admissions or electronic discovery or the three-day add-on in Texas courts.  But every once in a while, you realize that you made a smart decision three years ago.

Part of the Practice Court experience is serving on a jury while your classmates present, defend, and judge cases.  Thursday, I sat on a jury in a case where this guy set his wife on fire just outside the courthouse---where she had gone to testify against him for using their infant son as an ashtray.  The prosecutor had promised to keep her safe once she got to the courthouse, then didn't keep his promise.  At least that's how me and one other juror saw it.  The other two thought it was her fault for walking out of the courthouse with her husband.  And the four of us went around and around for about 20 minutes (a very long time in the PC world).

I realized that I made a good decision in picking Baylor later that night when I noticed that the two compassionate jurors were both married men and the two compassionless jurors were both single men.  I've always heard that you have to pick your jury carefully, but now I see that it really makes a difference.  Jurors are not interchangeable.  I knew that in a book sense.  Now I know it from experience.

In case you were concerned, we ended up compromising that it was half the prosecutor's fault and half the lady's fault.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

#1 in the Nation

Tonight, at Hondo's, we played the little TV network trivia game.  One round, I finished the 10 question tournament with 9492 points.  I beat my comrades.  And I also ranked #1 in the nation.  So that "Jeremy" that you saw ranked #1 over at T.G.I. Friday's or wherever you play your trivia games---that was me.

Thank you.  You can go back to whatever you were doing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Funny cases today

From Lee v. Lee, 413 S.W.2d 931 (Tex. Civ. App.--Fort Worth 1967, writ history unknown):

[Contestants of their father's will] each received a specific bequest of $10.00 under the terms of the will.

From John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co. v. Dutton, 585 F.2d 1289 (5th Cir. 1978):

[T]he Sheleys left their home in Claxton, Georgia, to attend a motion picture theater. . . . On the return trip, Mr. Sheley stopped and bought some french fried potatoes for Mrs. Sheley.  He became angry when Mrs. Sheley refused to eat them[.]

From Osbourn v. State, 92 S.W.3d 531 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002):

[Defendant] first denied that she had been smoking marihuana and claimed that the odor was cigarettes.  After [the police officer] explained to [defendant] that cigarette smoke does not smell like marihuana smoke, [defendant] admitted that she and the driver had been smoking marihuana.

. . . .

It does not take an expert to identify the smell of marihuana smoke.

Just to help you through your day. (:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Just the Facts, Ma'am

I always thought that lawsuits were won or lost on their merits.  I mean, sure, a really good lawyer could win a really bad case, and vice versa.  But I always thought that who your attorney is didn't really matter, all else equal.

But about a week ago, I did my first mini trial.  My partner and I represented a life insurance company trying to avoid paying out a policy for an insured who committed suicide.  Meanwhile, next door, four other amateur lawyers were trying the very same case.  Afterwards, we learned that the life insurance company prevailed in one courtroom and the insured prevailed in the other courtroom.

Lest you forget---these were the same facts presented by different pairs of amateur lawyers.  None of us were terribly great or awfully terrible.  The only real differences between the two cases were the lawyers and the juries.

There are some interesting---if not wholly enjoyable---implications from that.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Not Scary

Have you ever noticed that everyone is afraid of Hannibal Lecter?  I'm jut not scared of him.  Now, the psycho murderer seamster scares me, but not the esteemed Dr. Lecter.  Maybe he'd scare me if I were Clarice.  But maybe since he's on the screen and I'm not . . . I don't know.  I agree with most of the rest of their Top Ten Greatest Movie Villains.