Singing Loudly: May 2004

Singing Loudly

Monday, May 31, 2004

How much are those drugs?

Senator Charles Schumer wants require states to have websites of prescription drug prices.

While I'm all for the idea of advertising and competition in the marketplace, I don't think this is necessary. Prescription price advertising is permissible. Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc, 425 US 748 (1976).

I certainly understand that it would be easier for consumers to locate one static website that has the information related to prices of prescription drugs; however, I think that either states can do that on their own initiative or consumer watchgroups could do the same.

The article points out that the hopes that the website would be similar to,

Maryland's, launched last month by the state government. It lets consumers find the retail prices each pharmacy in the state charges for 25 of the most common prescription drugs.

Only seeming to show that he understands that states are capable of doing this on their own. It might take longer for all states to begin doing this, but I think if the state residents want it then these websites will follow.

The most confusing quote from Schumer says that there will be

"No new bureaucracy, no new forms to fill out ... just a great new source of prescription cost information for consumers.


Sunday, May 30, 2004

Topical index

I have created a topical index of my posts. In large part because I get frustrated trying to find anything in the archives.

That thing called intent

Mel at In Favor of Thinking has comments concerning a case being decided concerning the California criminal threats statute in the California Supreme Court. She says that

a 15 year old boy was prosecuted by the state for writing a poem in which he described himself as "dangerous" and referred to a recent high school shooting...Reading or writing dark poetry doesn't in my mind constitute in and of itself criminal intent.

This recalls discussions in criminal law where we argued about when the criminal intent has been formed. If I said to one of my roommates, out of frustration over messy dishes, "I am going to kill our other roommate." Would that suggest criminal intent? What if instead I wrote a note to myself saying, "Reminder: Kill roommate on Tuesday."? Would one be closer to evidencing intent to actual commit a crime?

The difficult thing is that this gets into the mens rea requirement found in most penal code offenses. It all rides on intent because, as oft quoted, "even a dog can tell the difference between being stumbled upon and being kicked." It seems that two of the justices have different ideas about whether this poem constitutes intent needed.

Justice Joyce Kennard suggested there was no immediacy to the threat and therefore no crime was committed. "The poem doesn't say 'I will be the next kid to bring guns to school.' It says, 'I can."'

Justice Janice Rogers Brown said the First Amendment doesn't shield works of art with unlawful intentions. She asked whether a bank robber could be immune from charges for giving a bank teller this note:

"Roses are red. Violets are blue. Give me the money or I'll shoot you."

Justice Brown makes an interesting argument, however, it is extremely weak. Under a criminal threat statute it is clear that the poem from a bank robber is a threat with intent. The robber is there at the bank handing the note to the teller.

If I went to the the store and bought a gun the day my calendar said to "Kill my roommate" there would be, in my mind, a situation more like the bank robber. I'm in the process of performing the act, or actus reus, of the crime. Turning in a poem to an English teacher is a different situation. I think that the immediacy is not there and there is no real reason to consider this a threat.

If the statute covers situations like this then it seems to be overbroad. From the arguments I have read, this doesn't appear to be anything more than artistic expression.

Swimming Lessons

The other night I was talking to my mom about my little sister starting swimming lessons. It reminded me that during the summers, I would always do something to better myself. Be it swimming lessons, library reading programs, or running summer track and field. This summer I've started out by just working and reading on my own. That hardly seems to count for self-improvement. I'm planning on signing up for a summer Spanish course at a local community college and I will probably be taking one of the MIT classes I spoke of a last month. It'll have to be in something like calculus or physics as I know nothing about those subjects right now.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Why I hate weddings

I think because I'm single they always make me depressed as I can't help but think about lost chances.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Fun with homonyms

I received a link to check out the title of an auction at eBay for an entertainment center. It reads,

"Entertainment Unit with naughty pine finish."

Initially I was confused by the sporadic use of capitalization, but I came to enjoy the title the more I read it. Is it really a homonym?

It should be considered a homonym regardless of the fact that they are spelled differently. In most cases, homonyms have the same spelling but different meanings, however, that is not required. They simply need to sound similar. While the two don't sound exactly the same, I believe they are substantially similar. I think they are close enough to fall under the category of homonyms.

The issue is whether knotty means the same thing as naughty. For instance, "I went to this strip club last night and saw an amazing dancer; she was so knotty it was unbelievable." What do you think now?

Public apology: I apologize for the recent incidents of talking about strippers and strip clubs. I place all the blame on Dylan at The Slithery D, and I will cease this moral turpitude post haste.

Attention Buffalonians

I get a few visitors from the Buffalo area, so I will enlist your help on this one. Claire is going to be heading to Buffalo for the weekend and would like to know what sorts of things are fun to do. I would like to comment, but I'm sure you're advice would be far more beneficial.

Call to the Left to act right

Ted Barlow at Crooked Timber asks the left-of-center bloggers to leave out personal attacks on Jenna and Barbara Bush this election year. I concur, however, I forecast a few nasty months in our future. My caveat to personal attacks is that I agree with them only when the attack is relevant to the politician's ability to perform the functions of his or her job.

Advice for the Bachelor - what not to say.

I know a certain friend will be reading this after he picks himself up from his yard where he fell asleep. Hopefully you receive my advice before you are intercepted by the bride. Please don't say these things.

  • No we did not go to Hooters! I'm a little insulted you would suggest that we would go to a place like that when there is much better out there. The women at the barbecue place we went (Bone Daddies) wear shorter shorts that are a little bit see-through.

  • In this picture with all the waitresses from the restaurant around me I was actually saying, "I'll show you the real Bone Daddy."

  • Yeah....I did respect your wishes for a five drink limit...

  • Look at this teddy bear I won for you at Dave and Busters! I had 3000 tickets which only cost $50 dollars.

  • No I didn't just get a "cheap teddy bear" for you. I also got this cheap plastic kazoo

  • Of course we didn't go to a "tittie" bar. We went to the one that has full nudity.

  • By the way, that saying about how there is no touching allowed. Yeah, lie!

  • Remember how drunk you were on Monday after your bachelorette party? Multiply that by three and you got me last night.

Remember we went out for barbecue and had a very tame evening at Dave and Busters playing video games.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Bachelor Party tonight

I'd rather stay at work than go to this party, but I'm a groomsman in the wedding which obligates me. Tomorrow I will post something of observations.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Cat and Barrel

From boing boing we get this nice link. Time to buy new furniture for your cat or dog.

A couple weeks before a move

We've started to buy the carpet cleaning products, the stuff to fill the holes in the wall, and whatever else people do before moving. Tonight I decided that cleaning the stains in the carpet (there are really only a few big ones) and was busy for a couple hours. I think I should stop and just wait to rent a little steam cleaning vacuum. This is a silly use of time and energy.

How did I get power?

Something has gone terribly wrong. I think for the first time I've had someone in a workplace ask me if I "need help with anything?" While I don't have anything that needs assistance, I might try to come up with a few things.

Perhaps he could search the internet to find interesting articles to blog about and make a rough draft for me. Better yet, he could write down some quirky stories from his life and allow me to act as if they were mine.

The customer is always right...

The method of attack seems a little wrongheaded. Suing the music file sharers is only going to go so far. The music industry, more than any other industry I can think of, has maligned itself from the consumer in a very dangerous way.

In 1998, I had an FTP set up on my computer that served files to the few people downloading MP3s at that point. I had to be listed at different sites like audiogalaxy (before it became it's own file sharer) and When audiogalaxy released software that managed your downloading, I quickly joined ranks. It wasn't long before I went over to Napster because of it's ease. However, I've never used KaZaa or anything besides Itunes in recent years.

It has been a mixture of things that have turned me away from illegal downloading. First, I do believe it's wrong to take what you don't own the rights to. I've heard all the justifications for it and think that it's nothing more than people trying to rationalize their conduct. Second, I care about quality and don't like having to search for hours to find a suitable song. Third, spyware. Fourth, I think that overall, it is more work than it is worth for me. I don't like many new albums that are coming out, and the ones that I do like I'll buy.

It seems odd to me that the music industry hasn't followed what the movie industry has done --- priced releases low. When DVDs come out (same with VHS when they were the main video format) they are reasonably priced. For most people, it isn't worth the time it would take to illegally copy the movie when they could just buy their own copy for $15. It seems to me that if a music album was priced from $8.99 to $11.99, it would get to the point where finding albums online just is not worth the hassle.

The music industry should focus its efforts more on figuring out new business models and less on the RIAA.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Is artistic expression protected speech? Look no further than performance artists

Forgive me if I'm not understanding the message that has caused an argument between Amanda Butler and Spencer Short. Basically they appear to be arguing about what constitutes an expressive act that has First Amendment protection. This area of First Amendment law is a little nuanced. The Supreme Court has muddled doctrine in this area, but it's not nearly as bad as many other areas (for instance Copyright law) of Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Amanda Butler says,

Spencer Short assumes that I believe "that Martha Graham or Nijinsky would be covered under 1st Amendment law." Given that I'm willing to dump the 'understandable meaning' test for expressive movements and displays, he's assumed wrongly

and Spencer Short sums up their disagreement as nothing more than,

I believe that the performative aspect of art enables it to fit comfortably under the protection of the First Amendment, she doesn't.

It seems that anymore performance art has turned into whether the "artist" can shock the audience anymore or not. Given that we've seen just about everything, it is no surprise that even Smut Fest didn't surprise the audience; although it did find a few lawsuits. This recent surge in mixing political messages with highly offensive stage performance has caused the court to examine the tension between freedom of artistic expression and public interests.

In NEA v. Finley, Justice Souter does explain that the Supreme Court has assumed that artistic expression is entitled to First Amendment protection; although, it has never fully articulated it's reasoning for that assumption. 524 US 569 (1998). The Court has determined that a variety of categories of artistic expressive conduct is entitled to First Amendment protection. As a result, the Court has stated that "each medium of expression . . . must be assessed for First Amendment purposes by standards suited to it, for each may present its own problems," but that the "basic principles of freedom of speech" remain consistent. Southeastern Promotions, Ltd. v. Conrad, 420 U.S. 546, 558 (1975).

Certainly, conduct or action is not traditional verbal speech. The Supreme Court has, however, stated that conduct can fall within the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. I remember one article by Peter Meijes Tiersma, Nonverbal Communication and the Freedom of "Speech," that addresses the circumstances under which physical action gets First Amendment protections.

Conduct, however, has always received First Amendment protection. Such as a sit-in to protest against segregation, wearing arm-bands to protest the war, marching in a parade, not saluting the flag in class, and more. The Court has even said that nude dancing is expressive conduct that is "marginally" within the "outer perimeters of the First Amendment." Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc., 501 U.S. 560, 566 (1991). The Court has to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether the conduct at issue is "sufficiently imbued with elements of communication" (Spence v. Washington) and the effectiveness of those communicative elements.

As Justice Marshall has stated, "one should look first to the intent of the speaker -- whether there was an 'intent to convey a particularized message' -- and second to the perception of the audience -- whether 'the likelihood was great that the message would be understood by those who viewed it.'" Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence, 468 U.S. 288, 305 (1984).

Marshall was in the dissent and was actually advocating requiring more elements than the majority required. It seems clear that if nude dancing can be found to have a communicative elements, then performance artists or modern dance or a mime or a classical ballet artist will all receive First Amendment protection.

In short, do I believe a Martha Graham Ballet performance would be considered protected speech? Most certainly. Would nude dancing be closer to speech than running a printing press (i.e. commercial speech)? Let's leave that one for Scalia.

Monday, May 24, 2004

The Young and the Restless, or congrats Iman

An actor who helped me tremendously, and is just an all around good guy, won some audition and voting contest for a role on the Young and the Restless. I wish you luck there and the future places you'll go in acting, Iman.

If you have the time, watch is audition video to see someone reading soap opera dialogue yet having a lot of talent.

Beware: Necktie threats

A few weeks ago there was much discussion about suits in the law blog world. (I pointed out that capes ought to make a come back in our daily attire). However, all of these discussions left out one negative aspect of wearing suits: the germ ridden tie.

A new study found plenty of germs lurking in the neckties worn by physicians at a New York City hospital.

Female suits successful get around this, but the only recourse men have is to go tieless or wear the bowtie.

Nurkin said he's heard many suggestions about how doctors could deal with the potential necktie threat, from wearing bow ties or tie pins to using tie disinfectants or developing a "necktie condom." [editorial comment: Huh?!?] Anther [sic] alternative would be to dump neckties altogether, said Nurkin, who added that there's room for more study of the possible danger of ties.

I like the tie. My current job is causal, so I look out of place if I wear a tie. It is unfortunate because I enjoy ties enough to forgive the possibility of harboring germs. Besides, since I'm a lawyer-to-be, not a doctor, the amount of deadly bacterial things I run into will possibly be a little less than doctors Although, from days spent at the courthouse, I would not be confident about the sanitary aspects of lawyering.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Paper anyone?

The nightmare has ended and my life can begin again: I finished my paper. It came to 47 pages of copyright and First Amendment goodness. Basically I showed why the DMCA is not considered to be an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. Then I showed, using the framework courts have applied to the DMCA, why the Super DMCA bills (state bills that protect against digital theft of copyrighted works) are unconstitutional. It's done, hooray.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Google's Law School Rankings - My solution to Law School Ranking

Law students and prospective law students have seen the US News Reports ranking of law schools. Many of these people have also seen the Educational Quality Ranking done by Professor Brian Leiter. How boring.

None of these methods take what really matters into account; how often does your school get linked to by other websites, and searched for at Goggle? With Google taking over everything, it is time that people realize that the best law schools are the most popular schools. Let's see how the school ranking changes when using the Google PageRank.

Top 10 Schools on US News:
1. Yale
2. Harvard
3. Stanford
4. Columbia
5. NYU
6. U. Chicago
7. U. Michigan Ann Arbor
7. U. Penn
9. U. Virginia
10. Duke
10. Northwestern

Brian Leiter:
1. Yale
2. Harvard
2. U. Chicago
4. Stanford
5. Columbia
5. NYU
7. U. Cal., Berkeley
8. U. Michigan, Ann Arbor
8. U. Texas, Austin
10. U. Virginia

Google PageRanking of US Law Schools (Just surveying schools in the other two top 10 lists):
1. Harvard (4,760)
2. Stanford (3,370)
3. NYU (3,320)
4. Duke (2,040)
5. Columbia (2,030)
6. U. Cal., Berkeley (1,520)
7. U. Michigan, Ann Arbor (1,460)
8. U. Chicago (1,310)
8. Yale (1,310)
10. U. Texas, Austin (1,250)
11. Northwestern (1,150)
12. U. Virginia (776)
13. U. Penn (686)

If I am bored on one of these restless summer nights, I will consider coming up with a more comprehensive Google PageRanking of Law Schools. It is, no doubt, the most accurate means of determining which school is the best.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Huh, beer?

If you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose. - Deep Thought, Jack Handy

I've decided that my beer preferences can be distilled into four categories:

Enjoy Sports with friends
Miller Lite: It is, in my opinion, the best of the cheap beers. I like the flavor and I like that it isn't too heavy. I can easily have three or so without worrying much about feeling sick as a result.

At a bar talking with friends
Guinness: I realize that it tastes better in Ireland than here, but I love it regardless. Everything from the beautiful head, the refreshing taste, and the way it is so filling. I can sip on one for an hour without feeling like I'm taking to long -- in part because it tastes better lukewarm than cold -- so it isn't costly. I usually only need to buy three drinks to last me the evening.

Party drink
Red Stripe: It tastes good, looks pretty cool, and isn't as trendy as having a Heineken or Hoegaarden.

Dinner Party/Nice Movie at home
Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue Label): This beer is near perfection. It is a bit more expensive than I like to spend on a regular basis, but I enjoy the taste. It goes down very smooth, despite the fact that it's 9% beer. Besides, it is just fun to drink a beer that was made in the town monastery somewhere in Belgium.

In a nutshell, those are the beers those are the beers I will drink in the given situations. I believe that Ernest Hemingway quotes, when talking about drinking, are always appropriate.

An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. - For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway

What are you laughing about?

Caveat: I admit that my understanding of both psychology and anything dealing with human instincts is far below par as you will soon see.

Yesterday I picked up some great Mexican food from restaurant that I love. While I was waiting on the food, I was trying to entertain myself by looking at all of the nick-nacks on the wall; however, I became bored of that very quickly. I noticed that one table of guys weren't making any noise except for frequent laughs. Of course, being curious and nosy, I decided to watch them to see what was going on that was so funny. As it turns out, they weren't talking at all because they were all deaf.

While it was just really cool to watch six 30-40 year old guys having a conversation in sign language, I wondered something about laughter. Why do we laugh? I always guessed that it was a way of showing others our emotions. I'm not sure if it is instinctual or a learned behavior? I know that babies often laugh when their parents are cooing and smiling. Is that imitation?

I'm curious because a laugh doesn't seem to do much more than a good smile unless it's an auditory signal to others that you think something is funny. Yet, all of these guys were laughing despite the fact they weren't meaning to use auditory signals for others. Is that enough to show that laughter is instinctual?

Legal Lessons

My task a couple days ago was to write a memo detailing the contours of the legal definition for "abandonment." It is a somewhat important component of a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) application, as the child needs to be declared dependent on the courts because of "neglect, abuse, or abandonment." Finding the definitions for neglect and abuse are quite easy.

Abandonment was much more difficult. After a few hours of research on Lexis, I finally started to come across some really solid caselaw that helped me to write the memo. By the end of the day, I had a nice shiny memo ready to be turned into my supervisor. I was the last one to leave, so I dropped it in her inbox and skipped out the door feeling accomplished.

Yesterday I was trying to get a hold a lawyer who has dealt with SIJS cases, so that I could get some redacted files. After a few fun rounds of phone tag we got a hold of each other, and I secured some redacted case files. Then I decided to throw out there, "hey, do you know how the courts handle the term "abandonment.""? Of course, he was able to say a better version of what I wrote in my memo along with a few other gems. What took me four hours took about fifteen minutes on the phone.

Lesson: don't research -- just call people who already know.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Have you Boggled today?

Weboggle is the game for you. I am a pretty good bogger player, but I am nowhere near the current high score of 86. My best thus far is 64; the competitive side of me is about to surface.

Tardiness and manners

If a group of people are meeting to carpool somewhere (or any other activity that requires all the people to be present) and you are late, do you get off the hook for the tardiness if someone else (not as a result of your tardiness) is later than you?

Cheap Tickets

Last night I went to a baseball game -- which we lost -- with great tickets that I found for $10. They also had dollar hotdogs, of which, I took full pleasure in devouring many. I'm not sure why, but I can only eat hotdogs when I'm at a ballpark.

Now, in my hopes of finding more cheap tickets, I started to scour the internet airfare listings to see how much it would cost to go to Europe for a couple weeks this summer. I found that flying to Paris in July couldn't be done for under $1000. It would be a little bit more to fly into London. The cheapest that I found for Dublin was $850.

I know that I can find better than $850 somewhere, right? I guess that isn't terrible, and I could easily hop on ryanair or something and fly to Paris or London for less than $200 once I'm in Dublin.

Where does one find good prices?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

My bestfriend jumped into the lake...

Last night my roommate and I were heading to a bar for queso and beer at about 10pm. As we drove by the lake we noticed a news van getting ready to take a shot near the dam. Naturally curious, I asked Ben if he had any idea why they would be shooting a story at that location. Always oblivious to anything happening, he had no clue. I'm never happy with that answer, so I decided that what happened was he jumped in the lake to do himself in, and I'm now being interviewed by the reporter.

R: You say you knew the victim.
C: Yeah, that's right, I did.
R: Are you surprised that he did this?
C: Eh, not really. He seemed a little weird the past couple weeks.
R: Weird?
C: Yup.
R: Did he say anything that made you think there were problems?
C: Yeah, he said something about this guy named Byron. I think Bryon Melton, who is a theater major and was dating some girl. It made Ben mad.
R: Mad how?
C: Oh you know, the normal, Ben was saying he was going to get a baseball bat.
R: Hmm.
C: Yeah, it was fun to bring up Byron and get Ben raging. "Hey Ben, I saw Byron today, he said that this summer he's going to be living in the spare room at Heidi's house. Isn't that cool?"
R: You taunted him?
C: Sure. Funny thing is, Byron wasn't even dating Heidi, I made it up.
R: Was there anything that made you think he was depressed?
C: I guess so. I mean, he dumped his girlfriend of a year the day before Christmas Eve. Perhaps he realized that he is a despicable human.
R: That's not very nice.
C: No it's not nice, he should have waited until after new years.
R: I meant your statement about your deceased bestfriend.
C: Oh.
R: Reporting live from the scene of the suicide, this is Melissa Melrose.

Rumbling indecision

I was too lazy last night to go shopping for food, yet I was too indecisive this morning at the convenience store, so I have no lunch.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Perfect game

Bloggers can publish a lot quicker than those silly newspapers. Randy Johnson just pitched a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves. I think they said it was the first time in the NL has had a perfect game since 1990-something. Johnson owes a lot of his turnaround, from AAA to majors, to Nolan Ryan.

Rat-tat-tat-tat-et al-on the drums

Thanks to American Idol for making me sing this over and over in my mind for the past 12 hours.

Cons of Magazine Subscriptions Part 2

I know my New Yorker is a little late getting to me when even the federal government has replied to an article contained in the issue.

Via the CIA,

The New Yorker story is fundamentally wrong. There was no DoD/CIA program to abuse and humiliate Iraqi prisoners. Despite what is alleged in the article, I am aware of no CIA official who would have--or possibly could have--confirmed the details of The New Yorker's inaccurate account.

They ruined the ending for me.

Lmail or Gmail?

Lycos Europe has answered the Gmail threat in a rather poor way: making users pay for the gig. The Lycos email will be completely add free, however, as I have said, the gmail service has very little by way of advertisements.

Scarface on trial

Now when I'm wasting time on Lexis-Nexis in the library, searching for random things, Scarface is going to pull up a case.

Bradley at the Texas Law Blog points out that the Fifth Circuit has issued a humourously styled opinion: United States v. Robinson also known as Face, also known as Scar, also known as Scarface. If you wish to look over the opinion, apparently a run of the mill death penalty decision, you can see it here. (PDF required)

Arson anyone?

The Washington Post reports that fire in a Honduras prison killed 103 prisoners.

It's not surprising that a few prisoners will die when there is a prison fire. However, the fact that Honduras prisons are over-filled doesn't lean much to believing this fire was accidental. The statements of a few prisoners who managed to escape, after breaking down the doors, indicate that the guards were not opening the doors. Most of the prisoners are members of "street gangs" who have been rounded up by the government.

Indicative of the problem,

It was the second deadly fire in Honduras's outdated and overcrowded prisons in less than 14 months. In April 2003, some prisoners were locked in their cells, doused with gasoline and set on fire during an uprising at El Porvenir prison. Nearly 70 people, including guards and visitors, died.

The problem with outlawing street gangs is that it is often, if not usually, a way to get rid of any political opposition. In the case of Honduras, it would be my guess that this is exactly the reason the law was passed. There is a need in most countries to keep violent gangs out of the streets, however, that can usually be done with laws that are already on the books. Overbroad laws are never the answer.

Monday, May 17, 2004

The cons of magazine subscription

In return for showing my loyalty to a magazine by subscribing, I get to also wait longer than if I bought it at a newstand. I guess that is what I get for paying less money.

Mixed Blessing

My workplace is in a highrise with a boardroom that has windows almost all around. During the morning office meeting, I loved the view. However, this afternoon all bets were off, as I watched the highway below go from low traffic to slow traffic to stopped traffic. How depressing.

One up

I've started my half-summer job today. Thus far everything has been great. I'm sort of being thrown into the fray without a whole lot of assistance, but I think I get get my bearings straight. The position is very research intensive, which is right up my alley. Essentially, I will be creating a new program that this non-profit will use to help juveniles seeking residency. And now, back to the research.

Enthusiastic indeed

How can I not enjoy someone who is fearless enough to make such eggregious puns, goes to see live theater, and seems to have a great taste in clothing? The next task for the enthusiast is to allow comments; I have been told comments are under consideration.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Yahoo! fires back

The Washington Posts reports that Yahoo! has attempted to answer the gmail threat. Instead of the 4mb (twice the generosity of hotmail) currently offered, they will up the storage space to 100mb. People who pay for space (oh my, do people do this?), will be given "virtually unlimited space."

100mb is certainly not a gigabyte, but my guess is that some people are attached to their current email name enough that they will not want to change. However, there are still enough people out there who want a taste of gmail, that I doubt Google will have to do anything in retaliation.

Get a job

I'm starting work tomorrow, which means no more lazy days. I can't lay around in bed until 9:30, mess around the apartment, work on my paper for a few hours, and veg out any longer.

It sounds like it should be a lot of fun. I get to take the tour of the place in the morning, attend a meeting, and work on intake for the first week. They are interviewing a couple potential clients to see if they want to represent them. Since this is a non-profit political asylum organization they have limited resources.

My main task this summer will be to develop a juvenile assistance program. I'll probably be doing quite a bit of research to help them set up the program. I'm happy to be able to put my political science degree to use.
-x- - Casey: A lawyer's case for lawyer tax

Is your school's budget diminishing? Are property taxes too high already? No, don't think about a state income tax, it's time to tax the lawyers.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Beep, Beep

Ma'am, the light is green, we can go. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't notice the phone.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Sophia's World

The recent trend in the blog world seems to be putting pictures of you cat online. As I am nothing if not trendy...

Sophia sleeping in the closet

Sophia looking towards the bathroom?

That should be enough.

Weekend indecision

I want to go to either a movie, the theater, or possibly a comedy show. Movies, True West, or haha?

On rewriting plays - Kushner style

I'm still browsing the NYTs and came across a review of the production of Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul. It is starring Linda Emond who plays Homebody and Maggie Gyllenhaal as the daughter in Kabul trying to discover her mother.

I read this play a couple years ago while sitting in a Borders in my hometown, Wichita, KS. After reading it, I came back a couple days later to buy the play, but I would up rereading it again. I think that I want to go and find a copy of it now, as I did not know that the play had script changes.

In rewriting Priscilla, Mr. Kushner has softened a character who was originally a relentlessly hostile overgrown adolescent. But it's Ms. Gyllenhaal who locates the awakening wonder in Priscilla, a dawning respect for the ambiguities of life so cherished by the Homebody. The highest compliment that can be paid to Ms. Gyllenhaal is that Priscilla is now unmistakably her mother's daughter.

I'd like to see exactly what the "subtle script changes" really are, so that I can figure out how Tony Kushner deals with changes. Script changes and rewrites are one of the worst parts of writing. I never look forward to having to do them, however, they are usually necessary.

Typically, I will write the play and set it aside for a few weeks before going over it. Then I will read through it and see whether things flow right, as I imagine the characters in my head. After this, I'll make a few minor changes, usually changing words or the delivery of lines. Finally, the play will be workshopped and I'll see it going and work with the director. That is always the difficult part.

Changing the way a character comes across to the audience doesn't seem like a minor script change. Usually that is massive. Even if it is just changing a few words or the structure of her lines, it requires quite a bit of work. If anyone can do it well, it would be Kushner.

Google Mail: Virtue Lies in the In-Box

I saw this story about Gmail while browsing through the New York Times website,State of the Art: Google Mail: Virtue Lies in the In-Box. (Subscription required). Essentially the article details the good and the bad of gmail. On the good are things like autocompleting addresses (which does work amazingly well), filters (I still haven't tried), labels instead of folders (I didn't realize you could give one conversation mutiple labels until I read this), and conversations instead of a lot of messages. The bad, thus far, are things like not being compatible with Apple's Safari browser, not working in Outlook, and not having signatures.

Of course, David Pogue, after using the service for awhile, agrees that the privacy advocates issues were far overblown. I think that the ads have been useful. For him, they appear in about half of his conversations, while for me it seems to be 1/3. When they do appear they are on point and unobtrusive.

Hotmail is pretty much a forgotten service for my purposes. I'm curious to see what will happen to yahoo and hotmail when gmail goes live.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Final Frasier

What sort of tricks do the writers employ to make the final show nostalgic? In Seinfeld it was the trial where everyone came to testify against all the main characters. Hell for all of these characters would be having to face responsiblity for the pain they caused others. In the end, they were sent to hell for what they did. Most people didn't seem to catch that view of the finale, however, they did see that most of the fun secondary roles came back to testify. In Frasier, a few of the main characters went to the wedding. Both are acts that have to be performed by someone licensed by the state, that have legal consequences, and that draw in many spectators and participants. It is fun to watch how the writers try to deal with the final episodes. Most people seem to hate the final Seinfeld: I loved it. I think that the Finale of Frasier was alright but not too wonderful. Oh well.


I'm not really cognitive enough to post anything of substance tonight, but I saw that Amanda Butler posted about Homebody/Kabul being a good play to go and see. If you are in an area that will show it, I agree. Personally, I think that Tony Kushner is the best living American playwright. Angels in America might be the best American play ever written. It is at least up there with A Long Day's Journey Into Night. If you ever catch a Kushner play in your area, watch it. I often wish I had gone to NYU so that I could have studied with him. He's as wonderful to speak with as he is to read or watch his work.

Alumni giving

Do people try to find reasons to not give to their alma maters? In undergrad, I always heard people come up with insane reasons they would "never give money to this school." Occasionally I will hear the same thing out of law students. I'm definately going to give back to my schools when I'm finished with school. Of course, everything hasn't been perfect with my schools, but I'm still appreciative for the knowledge and experiences they have given me.

Wishing I were there

The Cannes Film Festival opened with Bad Education, the newest film by Pedro Almodovar. From the time when I first began to love movies, I think after watching Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet, I have been continually amazed by Almodovar's films. This one sounds like it should be very interesting as it "is a deliberate throwback to a kind of vintage film noir."

Set in 1980, with a flashback to 15 years earlier, it weaves a tale of two men, a director and an actor, who knew each other when they were schoolboys, and one of them was victim of a pedophile priest.

From how it sounds, I'm sure that he will get a lot of criticism for the subject he attacks. But, as he says better,
Although the film presents priests as pedophiles and murderers, he says he does not view the film as "anti-clerical" because "it is not necessary to be anti-clerical, because the Church is destroying itself every time it speaks to the press. In Spain, at any rate, the Church's worst enemy is the Church."

The rest of the article goes into boring stories about Quentin Tarantino.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

A book is a book

I concur in part and dissent in part with Class Maledictorian about whether hardbound books are better than paperbacks. I think that on bookcases a nice hardbound book does look better than it's paperback counterpart. Does that mean I would only buy hardbound? Not a chance because they are more expensive, more difficult to carry around, take up more space, and make me too careful with them.

My favorite type of book to buy are a certain type of paperback book. The absolute best book to own are Samuel French, Inc. paperbacks editions of plays. They are the perfect size, they come in wonderful colors, and they hold up extremely well. Just think of how actors treat their scripts and you'll understand why they have such incredible binding. They seem to hold up well as hardbound books.

Comedic urges

Tonight I feel the desire to watch Eddie Izzard. Yes, I think that I will be doing that very shortly.

Kerry, oh Kerry

"Gas prices are up, the stock market is down, Iraq is a mess, and John Kerry is saying to himself, 'How am I going to beat this guy?' " David Letterman joked Monday night on CBS.

The USA Today has a pretty good article about a split of opinions by Democrats on whether Kerry is doing well or not.

Kerry's team says it's amazing that he's tied with a wartime president after a $60 million ad campaign against him. "They (the Bush campaign) thought they would unleash this and we would be standing before you dead. That is not the case," Kerry's campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, said in an interview Tuesday.

Well, yeah, but it's not the same wartime President that we had two years ago. This isn't an overwhelmingly popular war. And the $60 million ad campaign hasn't been completely unleashed yet.


Ok, today I need to run by the post office to mail a package to friends, write my paper that has now been outlined, call my friend Kristy, and maybe happy hour if enough gets done. The paper is the key thing here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Using Caffeine The Wrong Way?

Can there really be a "wrong" way to use caffeine?

Triple the fun...

I personally do not buy lottery tickets, but I have have always thought it would be funny to buy 2 identical tickets. Then if another person wins you get 2/3 and he would get 1/3 instead of half and half. Well, this guy accidentially won the lottery three times in one night.

Schools out for summer

In a bit sunnier news, it appears that Kansas schools have to be immediately closed. It is based on potentially unconstitutional funding provisions. Oh how I wish to still be in Kansas.

And the result...

As I thought, the Professor was very unresponsive to my appeal. He did explain the way grades were assigned and told me that my grade is "not a bad grade." The sytem of determining the grade seemed to me a unfair. Primarily because it left out the input people who really understand what we do in the performance based class. Perhaps it's the cynic in me, but my perception is that those who were best at kissing ass, even if there was little substance to their work, came out on top. At least I can keep my dignity that the people who matter are happy with my performance as they aren't in jail.


Sorry, I have been a little remiss on coming up with some posts. I'm extremely frustrated with a grade that I received, so I'm currently in the midst of appealing it. I haven't done this before, however, I know it's a very difficult process in law school. There were always rumors of how easy it was to change grades in undergraduate. I wish it were that way now. I didn't get a bad grade, but I also didn't get what my performance merited. I've written an appeal and will speak with the professor in about 20 minutes.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Greenless in Texas

It seems that Ralph Nader did not collect the 64,076 signatures necessary to be on the state's presidential ballot.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Austin, charges that Texas' ballot access law is unconstitutional because it sets stricter standards for independent candidates than it does for third-party challengers.

I don't have an issue with the different requirements, because the state has an interest in helping to make the ballot understandable to voters. I'm sure the state would claim they do not want candidates on the ballot who are not serious about running. Third party candidates might have less a burden in Texas, but they still have to be selected by their party. Independents, on the contrary, have a little more stringent burden to get on the ballot.

My issue is more that volunteers for Nader have been banned from some street festivals and public university campuses in Texas. I'm sure that if his volunteers had been able to solicit signatures at University of Texas in Austin, he would have had more than enough to meet the requirements.

I guess the state thought it would be annoying to students to have volunteers soliciting their signatures. How is that any worse than being attacked by people with their "free gifts" for signing up for a credit card?

Tony awards

The NY Times has a story about the nominees for this years Tonys The musical "Wicked" received 10 nominations, while Henry IV received six, the most ever for a play.

The Tony Awards are my favorite award shows to watch, because of my affiliation with theater. I also like it because it seems a little less about how you look and more about their common love for the art. It is fun to watch them do different scenes, so I can see what I'm missing by not living in NYC.

A complete list of the nominations along with links to their reviews is at this page on the NYT website

Charles Wallace, Meg, and Calvin...

Until today, I had no clue that ABC was showing a made-for-tv production of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. It looks like David Dorfman, who was the boy in The Ring, is playing Charles Wallace. I think that is a pretty good fit. I love A Wrinkle in Time, so I think I'm going to watch this and see if I like how they adapt it.

I love music

This link comes courtesy of Boing Boing. This is a visual search engine that allows you to type in any band and see other bands that are similiar. It is interesting how they do it. You'll have to see it to understand how fun it is to waste a couple hours searching bands.

Monster Mash?

From what I can tell, Van Helsing looks like a very bad movie. Ebert and Roeper are really disagreeing about whether it is a good movie. Roeper believes that it's one of the worst movies because it takes two great actors and puts them in roles where they can never show their talent. As can be guessed, watching all the CGI scenes soon makes you think you're playing Playstation or Xbox. It was for that reason that Ebert thinks it is a good movie, I guess because it's fun? Normally I agree with Roeper a little bit more than I agree with Ebert.

By the way, they recommend both Seeing Other People and A Foreign Affair. A Foreign Affair, giving me reason enough to want to see it, has Tim Blake Nelson in it. In Seeing Other People, you will be able to see one of my favorite guys, Andy Richter, in a good role, and Lauren Graham.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

A new template

Alright, I have updated my template. I'm still not one hundred percent sure I want to keep it this way or not. What do you think?

Blogger has changed...

Before long I will have comments on the blogger update that occurred today, however, in the spirit of change, I have been working on a new template. I should be finished with it in the next couple hours.

Something for Scalia -- Duck Hunt

Anybody up for a few rounds of Duck Hunt? Let me warn you, it is really difficult to play with a touchpad. Does that stop me? No....

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Rangers and Tigers

I cannot believe this wonderful game! The Texas Rangers versus Detroit Tigers are playing and the score is 14 to 14 in the fifth inning. So far, the fifth inning is the MLB record for the most runs ever scored in a single inning. This could, possibly, become the highest scoring game ever.

Bad Cat

I just got home from Central Market and was busy putting up some of the various beers I want to try, when my cat went nuts. I saw her run up and down jumping over furniture, then she ran across my couch and launched into the wall. She kind of latched onto the corner of the wall, and slowly slide down. Looks like she put a little gouge into the wall, oh well.

In memorium

Rockstar Ryan Adams marks Friends end by closing his website for the time being. Seems a little, what's the word, silly.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Who killed sculpture?

Ken Johnson of the New York Times asks, is sculpture too free for its own good? Living with two artists, one of whom is a sculptor, has opened my eyes to what visual artists think about art. I think that often, when people see a box by Donald Judd they get annoyed that he is trying to pass that off as art, because they think he is trying to pull a fast one on them. Nobody likes to feel stupid, especially when it comes to artwork, so they claim it can't be art.

Now, the more important question posed by Johnson is that "if sculpture can be anything, then maybe it is not anything in particular." He points out that the only limits in sculpture is that it not be two-dimensional. I would guess that there could be a second article on painting which really is as broad as sculpture.

I'm going to talk to my roommate about sculpture tonight to see what his thoughts are on whether or not he feels like the limitless nature of sculpture is bad for art. I tend to love contempary art because I like how much it makes my imagination take off. Have artists pushed scupture to far?

Grammar for the masters

I will be the first to admit that my grammar could benefit from an overhaul, which might be why I'm drawn towards books on grammar. This morning I was reading the New York Times Book Review, and I noticed "Punctuation and It's Discontent: A British journalist explains how to use commas, dashes and, of course, apostrophes." It is a review written by Edmund Morris of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.

Later today I will probably drop by a bookstore to see if they have a copy of this. In the review there are quite a few things I agree with,
she is often persuasive, as on the tendency of lazy writers to reticulate their sentences with dashes: "The dash is less formal than the semicolon, which makes it more attractive; it enhances conversational tone; is capable of quite subtle effects. The main reason people use it, however, is that they know you can't use it wrongly -- which, for a punctuation marker is an uncommon virtue."
Bravo. In the book she analyzes how different writers have used punctuation, and she notes that some writers, such as Evelyn Waugh, use punctuation incorrectly to their benefit.
Evelyn Waugh cut commas to convey the clipped dispatch of upperclass speech: "You see I wasn't so much asking you to agree to anything as explaining what our side propose to do."
There are also many illustrations about how some writers (Beckett, Tom Wolfe, and James Joyce) break rules such as the comma splice, always ending sentences with periods, and not using exclamation points, respectively.

Typically I stick with fiction for my leisurely reading, but I am occasionally drawn away to the fun that can be had with a nonfiction book, especially when it analyzes how writers deal with conventions.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

With husbands like this...

Do you really have to be told to clear your browser history when you're searching for death by electrocution? Thankfully the lady who was nearly killed, is doing alright despite coming home to a nice card, flowers, a warm bubble bath, and a deranged husband.

It was Jeniifer at All Things Jen(nifer) who alerted me that this story had become national.

Finish this Semester

I have gotten all of my research to write the paper for my First Amendment class. My rough draft is so rough that I'm pretty much going to completely start from scratch. My best estimate is that I should have an A paper done by Wednesday of next week if I spent four hours a day writing.

Picasso v. Van Gogh

Yesterday I went and saw a Picasso exhibit of his sculptural works of Fernande Olivier, and today I see that a Picasso was sold for a record $104 million. This sold for almost double the highest a Picasso has ever gone for and about $20 million more than the previous record for highest auction of a painting.

The 24-year-old Picasso painted "Boy With a Pipe" soon after settling in the Montmartre district of Paris. Depicting a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand and wearing a garland of flowers, it was one of 34 works up for auction from the collection of publisher John Hay Whitney and Betsey Whitney, who bought the painting in 1950 for $30,000.
The painting was from 1905 which is a little earlier than his relationship with Olivier. Most of the works I saw were around 1909-1916 which was an interesting period for Picasso.

The previous auction record was set by Vincent van Gogh's 1890 "Portrait of Doctor Gachet," which was sold to a Japanese billionaire for $82.5 million in 1990 at Christie's. That price included the auction house's premium.
Personally, I am much more drawn to Van Gogh's work than Picasso's. Part of it is the psychological implications that one draw from the history of Doctor Gachet when looking at the painting. Was Dr. Gachet "sicker than [Van Gogh]"?

I wonder if the reason this Picasso sold for so much is because art collecting is becoming hot again or because Picasso is becoming hot again?

Edited: I found this story to give a few better details about the history of the painting.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A day in the life of Singing Loudly

Normally I stay away from posting too much about my personal life, however, I see that there are bloggers out there who like to read about other's personal lives. Always one to comply with the wishes of others, I am going to tell a little about my day. Right now, I ought to be working on my First Amendment paper, however, I spent a good majority of my day running around to various places.

My day started with actual work at the courthouse, where I watched a part of a trial and meeting with my client. Today was my last meeting in the criminal defense clinic! Then I went out with a girl who I met last year, have seen a couple times, and wanted to get to know better. We grabbed lunch at a place called Cafe Express. I told her a lot about Dublin as she's going to Oxford this summer and Copenhagen in the Fall and was thinking about visiting. Personally, I think that a visit to Ireland is always worth a spare weekend if you're in Europe - if for nothing else the beautiful country, the Abbey Theater in Dublin, and the Cliffs of Moor. Then we got to talking a little about whether or not James Joyce is really as good as his reputation. Personally, I love Joyce. She was more willing to laud Sean O'Casey which seems a little wrong-headed to me.

After lunch we took off to see the Nasher Sculpture Center, which has a Picasso exhibit right now that tracks his relationship with Fernande Olivier. I was very underwhelmed. There were some very, very good drawings. However, that exhibit was not nearly what I thought it would be as far as works of substance. They had a few really wonderful pieces that I could have spent hours look at, but then they had a lot of work that was just repetitive. However, as usual, the permanent collection for the Nasher was outstanding. We went to the outdoor garden and spent about 15 minutes sitting in the Tending, (Blue) by James Turr, which is a free standing "skyspace." And, of course, I could easily spent days looking at the Alberto Giacometti and Alexander Calder pieces.

After all of this, I dropped Courtney off so she could study for a final, and I went apartment hunting with my roommate and his brother. I still have not decided if I want to get an apartment or buy a condo. I am leaning towards renting for the next year and deciding after law school.

Lunar Eclipse Photo

While those of us in North America were not able to see the Lunar Eclipse first hand, there are some great pictures starting to appear on the net. I found this one from Ankara, Turkey to be especially stunning.

Many thanks to Melih Ozbek for posting his photo.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Weird Ducks

Interestingly enough I had an experience with waddling ducks a couple days ago much like Heidi Bond. Heidi attempted to approach the ducks and they stood up and waddled away. I didn't approach the ducks as I've had enough bad experiences with geese to last me another week or two, however, I saw them waddling away from me. To really understand how strange this was you need to know that I was in the middle of campus. The only wildlife I ever see on campus are squirrels sunning on the sidewalk, refusing to move out of my way so I have to walk across the grass.

Yesterday I walked out from a building after a final and saw two ducks waddling across the yard while being followed by a cat. (Was this some sort of a sign?) None of the animals seemed very agitated -- the ducks were just waddling and the cat just seemed a little curious -- so I was tempted to approach them. I didn't because I figured if this was a sign it was best left unmessed with. I would have to guess the ducks were about five miles from any pond, creek, or lake.

Random thoughts

Since my brain has retired for the day--a few random things.

As my lease is coming to a close I am thinking about what I want to do. I don't think I want to live with roommates any longer, so I'm going to get a place of my own. Either I can continue to rent or I could think about a condo or house? I'm trying to weight the pros and cons of both, and I'm unable to make up my mind. Thoughts?

I often wonder how I have been even semi-successful in life as I'm often so uncaring. Then I see blogs like this and remember that part of my success has to be based on the curve.

A-Rod, if you are reading: ta-Dow, how you like the Rangers now.

Ok, I admit, that last thought was solely because I wanted to say ta-dow. My apologies.

Having to write transfer memos in a legal clinic is cruel and unusual punishment for receiving six hours of credit for doing something you love.

Who will win in the finals this year, a western or eastern conference team? My prediction is that the Eastern conference will pull it out -- hopefully that will be through Detroit in this series.

On the subject, my condolences to anyone who actually watched the Lakers and Spurs game on Sunday. That was possibly the most boring two and a half hours of programming I have seen since First Monday got cancelled two years ago.

A sensational show about the Supreme Court. Who comes up with these ideas?

Politics March Madness style

Just today I started to long for the fun of March Madness. Besides the innocence that comes with March -- students still have a couple months before they need to worry about finals while non-students are still a couple months from worrying about what to do for a summer vacation -- there is the fun of picking winners in brackets. I've always longed for bracket type games in my next favorite realm of public activity, politics. Introducing Veepstakes for those of you, who like myself, wish they could guess Kerry's running mate. It's time to pick the winners and see how you come out in the end. All I know is that it sure beats this pathetic NBA playoff.

What about manners?

I was trying to come up with the top five reasons dating never works out too well, so that I could post something witty. As per the usual, I gave up after a minute or two of contemplation. Thanks to The Enthusiast I'm curious what Mr. Baude thinks of the Gothic Miss Manners suggesting that good manners is more of a facade.

Besides, there is a specific kind of fun to be had by being icily polite and civil to your dearest enemy. Feel free to call them names and froth at the mouth in private, but be cool and cordial to them in public. If nothing else, it will confuse them, and isn't that worth something?
Is manners merely a facade or are manners an important part of who you are?

Monday, May 03, 2004

It's all about the BMWs

Anyone looking for a new car? You might want to consider external factors beyond the peace of mind of a new car breaking down less frequently, getting better gas mileage, and newer technology. You'll make the right choice when you weigh all the factors.

Kerry and Buffett

The "Oracle of Omaha" has linked with Kerry to be on the economic advisory team. I like Warren Buffett a great deal so I'm very pleased to see this. Do I think it's going to really help Kerry? Possibly a little but I don't think too terribly much, because Buffett is just advising not playing any key role. Could it hurt Kerry to be associated with Buffett? I don't think so, because Buffett puts out the tell it like it is image that people in the middle could gravitate towards. We'll see how this plays out.

SNL with Lindsay Lohan

It has always been my contention that Mary Kate and Ashley must have a very tight watch over them, because I've never heard of them doing anything that a typical teenager might get in trouble for doing. They haven't been caught drinking, doing something with a boyfriend, or anything else that could tarnish their innocent image. This is why it is interesting that they would be going on SNL for the season finale. Of course, SNL is a show that prides itself on being the opposite of the innocent image Mary Kate and Ashley portray. After seeing the Harry Potter skit this weekend (actually, the entire show seemed to be centered around Lindsay Lohan being under 18 with large breasts), I wonder what SNL has in store for the twins.

Free Itunes music

I've got to work on my forgetfulness. iTunes is allowing it's users to download a free song every day for a week. I missed a Counting Crows song, because I was about 10 minutes late. I guess the Jane's Addiction song will make due.

Edited: I wanted to see how many of the free downloads I have missed, so I did a little research. I think there are three days left of the daily free downloads. Today is Counting Crows, I am told. I haven't been at my laptop all day. Tomorrow will be Renee Fleming, who I'm unaware of, and then Wednesday will be Nelly Furtado. After that Apple will start giving a free download each week to showcase a particular artist.

Apple is marking the first anniversary of its iTunes Music Store by thanking its customers with a free song of the day for the next eight days from artists who have helped make iTunes a runaway success, including Foo Fighters, Avril Lavigne, Courtney Love, Annie Lennox, Jane’s Addiction, Counting Crows, Renee Fleming and Nelly Furtado. Following the anniversary celebration, the iTunes Music Store will continue to offer a “Free Single of the Week” from up-and-coming bands, spotlighting emerging artists and offering iTunes customers a risk-free way to discover new music.
Source of this information.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Playwrighting, not screenplays

As for why I prefer to write for theater rather than for cinema, it is the interaction. I read a really good article that speaks about what is so special about theater. In it, the star of the Assassins revival, Denis O'Hare, says,
“The reciprocal nature of theater doesn’t exist in film.” To illustrate this dynamism that only live theater can provide, O’Hare shared two anecdotes, one stemming from the performance of Golda’s Balcony he attended. When Tovah Feldshuh (as Golda Meir) read the names of the Nazi concentration camps, someone in the audience—a Holocaust survivor or the relative of a victim, O’Hare surmised—groaned. “The air was charged,” O’Hare said. The theatergoer’s reaction made the horror of the camps “that much more real.”
The immediate reaction you can hear during live theater is part of the magic that I would greatly miss with cinema. Not only that but the reaction to what you write can change in different performances. I'm sure Shaw would have loved to know that the collective meaning of Major Barbara changed in the period immediately following 9/11.
[Denis O'Hare's] other story related to how theater audiences were affected by 9/11. At the time O’Hare was appearing in Roundabout Theatre’s Major Barbara, Shaw’s play about an arms dealer that, in O’Hare’s words, posits that “we cannot choose who has the moral authority to use weapons.” The comedy was getting laughs prior to September 11th, but afterward the audience reacted to it as “a deadly serious polemic,” he said. The experience convinced O’Hare that while theater seemed trivial compared to Ground Zero rescue work, “we were filling an incredibly vital need: to entertain, discuss and educate.”
My guess is that screenwriters get a satisfaction out of the reviews of their work, out of how the actors and directors react, and even in what they see at the theater, but I can't imagine it is nearly as fulfilling as theater.


I've been asked a lot by people why I chose to go to law school instead of getting an MFA in either theater or creative writing or just write with no higher degrees. These questions aren't easy to answer because they involved many different decisions on my part. Probably the most basic decision was whether or not I wanted to write as a playwright or for film. There are people who are successful at both (David Mamet is the obvious candidate) but by and large it's easier to get sucked away from the theater world and write for Hollywood. I was very concious of that when I was deciding if I wanted to go on to law school or to an MFA program.

It wasn't a difficult decision for me to determine that I did not want to just write. I wanted to go on and get a higher degree in writing or in law or in both. This was a personal reason for me that might not hold true for other people. In undergraduate I was an English and Political Science double major, so I had relatively little experience with theater. The interaction that happens between directors and actors was largely foreign to me, despite the fact that I was heavily involved in high school level theater. Actually, my high school experience made me question all the more how professional theater operated. It was around the middle of my Junior year that I really began writing plays and submitting them in contests, to theater companies, and to summer festivals. I was lucky enough to be recognized by people with enough power to stage some of these, so I was able to watch some of the process that occurs. It wasn't enough to make me confident enough not to go on for an MFA.

When I applied to MFA programs I tried to stick to ones that gave a pure playwrighting focus. I was heavily leaning towards the Yale School of Drama, Brown, and a few other programs. However, I was waitlisted by Yale and admitted by NYU's Tisch school and a couple others. At the same time I was applying to law schools and found out that a couple schools were willing to give me enough money to seriously consider it. I decided on law school at that point because NYU, while wonderful, broadly focuses on playwriting, screenwriting, and television instead of really limiting it to playwrighting. My thought is that sometime in the future I can try for Yale again and see if I can weasel my way in. Law school has been a wonderful experience thus far, so I certainly don't feel bad about my choice.

Occassionally he is wrong

It's been a difficult semester for HLS with a racist posting his outlines online despite their usage of racial slurs and an attack on the credibility of the Harvard Law Review because of one student note. My guess is that these sorts of things happen at most law schools in the country at one point or another. There are certainly racists at my school (much to my dismay) and people who write pathetic student notes; although, usually not published.

I hope the students who are considering whether to attend Harvard or not will realize that guilt by association is a fallacy that should be completely ignored by them. Leiter is intelligent enough that I know he's not seriously making this argument. Seniors in the midst of making a big decision should not take those two instances into any account, in my opinion.

Edited: A few hours after posting this Professor Leiter apparantly removed this post from the main page on his blog. However, it still seems to be accessible via the permanent link. I'd assume he realized it was rather silly to link the prestige of HLS with the actions of two students.

Putting down the pens

I was hoping that us writers could persuade the studios to agree to some fairly simple things before the contract expiration.

The main issues this time include the studios' contribution to health care funds, DVD residuals and jurisdiction over areas like the booming "reality" TV genre.
I think that the health care contribution is the most deserving aspect of the talks. Of course, the biggest roadblock is the DVD residuals as it involves the majority of the potential money. My guess is that the writers will cave on the residuals, at least in large part.

Saturday, May 01, 2004


File under "reason I like Justice Souter," he runs. Cross-file under reasons to be careful when running alone after dark.

Summer plans

This summer I will spend half my summer getting paid (thanks to the American Corporate Counsel Association scholarship) to work with the Human Rights Initiative. I think that experience will best suit me with my political science background where I can help on political asylum cases, even if the help is just intake and researching the situations in countries. This makes me very happy for public interest scholarships existing.

Legal accounting, huh?

I'm horrible at figuring out what classes I want to sign up for, so I end up signing onto things because I know someone else who is taking the class. That is what happened with the last class choice I had last semester and it's killing me now. The final is on Monday, and here I sit woefully unprepared. It is basically an accounting class with a lot of GAAP rules thrown in so we can see how accountants and auditors regulate the accounting industry. I have never taken an accounting class before this law-tinged accounting course. Why this masochism?
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