Sunday, May 30

Why didn't you have proper titles!

Sorry, Dan, as you can see I have trashed your blog. I'll repair tommorrow... very tired. I wish you had used proper titles, I spent ages trying to figure out why I couldn't change them, then realised you'd just been putting them in manually. does this look at all like what you want? - Nicholas

Thursday, May 27


I have started the bar review course. It is crushingly boring. Nothing about my life will be interesting or worthwhile for the forseeable future so here are some links:

John Stewart's commencement address at William and Mary is worth reading.

The elder statesman of the Chicago 7, David Dellinger, passed away (note that the NYT requires free registration). David Dellinger was a friend of a friend and I met him in Chicago one time.

Today's NYT has an article about blogs that suggests bloggers are mostly a bunch of sad sacks.

Two more quizes: Al Gore or the Unabomber? (this one is hard) and Late German Fascist or Little Green Football?

Tuesday, May 25


Graduating students assembled on the cross-campus lawn in the morning for a procession to the Old Campus quad. Over a thousand students in robes lined up according to school affiliation behind flag bearers and mace carriers. Someone commented that he felt like an extra in Lord of the Rings. Another said “No, it’s more like Harry Potter and the Law School is Slytherin.” Guido – who has at least 30 honorary degrees – deserved the award for most extravagant costume. I guess he has so many degrees that he can pick and choose the perfect outfit. Some of the ceremonial maces were pretty cool; at one point Ray spontaneously remarked “Oh, I want that scepter!” The procession to Old Campus was accompanied by fanfare (literally). The ceremony itself was basic – Yale doesn’t have a graduation speaker – and mercifully short.

Tom Wolfe and Willie Mays were the most famous recipients of honorary degrees. A creepy bald guy was placing hoods on all of the recipients. Willie Mays started to walk away before he got his hood so one of the marshals stepped in front of him to stop him leaving the stage while the creepy bald guy chased behind with the hood. A student behind me noted that it was like a run-down.*

The law school ceremony was held in our courtyard. Dean Kronman gave an ok speech with the “soaring eloquence” that we’ve come to “accept” (as Koh put it). Koh gave an annoying speech about how “great” the law school is. The school’s most irascible professor, John Langbein, was the main speaker. His topic was how much it sucks to be a lawyer these days. It was an excellent speech (seriously).

. . .

My Mum’s in town for graduation. I think she’s been finding it quite bemusing. Last week we had a good trip up to Vermont where I did some apartment hunting. I start a 2 month bar review course tomorrow and I am not expecting to enjoy it.

* For the Australians: A “rundown” occurs when a runner gets caught in no-man’s land between bases. Two fielders throw the ball to each other over the runner’s head while narrowing the gap until one of them is close enough to tag the runner out. (And Willie Mays is a super-famous baseball player.)

Thursday, May 20


Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the bombing at Yale Law School. The Feds still haven’t solved the crime. As I said in an e-mail immediately after the bombing: “I’m not a big fan of having some playa-hater with a tendency to leave bombs in my school walking around.” Tim replied by asking “What’s a playa-hater?”

We were amazingly lucky that no-one was hurt. The bomb completely destroyed the wall between lecture room 120 and the alumni lounge. If anyone had been in either room they would have been seriously injured if not killed. The bombing took place during exams when many people (myself included) often study in the alumni lounge or take self-scheduled exams in room 120. Also, room 120’s big wooden door was blown into YLS’s main hallway so a lot of people had close calls.

The Feds interviewed every student and professor. Prof. Balkin’s blog has a very interesting post about his interview with the FBI. In the aftermath of the bombing it emerged that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had a sign in his office saying “Save America, Bomb Yale Law School”. I wonder if the FBI interviewed him!

Tuesday, May 18


Ok, so my studies have finally come to an end. At 3.30pm today I handed in my employment discrimination exam and now it’s all over. 11 years of full time tertiary study are behind me and a life of 9 to 5 mediocrity is ahead of me.

I’ve been drinking Miller High Life (“The Champaign of Beers”) at Anchor and Budwieser (“The King of Beers”) at Sullivan’s to celebrate, so this post should be judged accordingly.

Anyways, I wanted to post some quotes and facts about Yale Law School. I cannot personally vouch for the accuracy of all of these stories but I stand behind them:

(1) Last year Carol Rose informed her intellectual property class that she wouldn’t include copyright on the exam because she had given them a short paper on copyright. A student responded, without irony, “But I know so much about copyright, how can I show how much I know about copyright if it’s not on the exam?”

(2) Students at YLS are very competitive. This competitiveness crosses domains. For example, two YLS women were recently overheard competing for the attention of a YLS alpha male (who had recently been given a Supreme Court Clerkship or had been voted EIC of the Journal or some such thing). The conversation proceeded as follows:

Breathless co-ed number 1: I have a twenty-four inch waist!
YLS alpha male: [Bemused silence]
Breathless co-ed number 2: Well I have perfect breasts!
YLS alpha male: [Thinks “Life is good”]

Ray claimed that if he had been confronted with this awkward situation he would have said “Ok! I’m prepared to adjudicate this dispute.”

(3) According to this year’s Yale Law School Bulletin, 83 of the 658 students at YLS went to Harvard for undergrad. Would any of them be missed? (Now I’m being nasty). Just to give you a reference point, when I started here I was the only student who had been to Rutgers. Rutgers is a nearby school with over 40,000 students. Clearly, the admissions committee is obsessed with the prestige of one’s undergraduate school.

(4) Yale has a reputation for offering pie in the sky classes. Judge for yourself:

Ray’s transcript includes: (i) Honor, Esteem and the Law; (ii) Ethics in the Practice of Law; (iii) From TV to IP; (iii) Memetics [this is not even a word let alone a legitimate law school course]; (iv) Lawyering Ethics; (v) The Formation of Lawyers; (vi) The Political Economy of Information; (vii) Reading the Constitution.

Bill’s transcript included some (but not quite as many) similarly silly courses but I forget their names. I think both Bill and Ray would also have taken “On Modernity” if it hadn’t been cancelled.

(5) I was going to include the hilarious question on Bill’s final YLS exam but it’s a self scheduled exam and some people may not have taken it yet. I’ll put it up here after exam time is over when I get back from Vermont on Saturday.

Thursday, May 13


Summer has arrived early in New Haven. Ah, summer in the city. Smog, humidity, fetid garbage smells, and a sky that looks like the inside of a lung. I think I have the inverse of the wonderfully named Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). I call it Summer Affective Disorder. Most people welcome the green leaves of spring; I call them the green leaves of impending misery. I can’t understand why anyone would prefer summer to winter. When it gets cold you can always put on another layer or get a thicker wetsuit. When it’s hot what can you do? You can wake up with your hair stuck to your face and wring the sweat out of your sheets. Then you can have a shower, but that’s pointless because you’ll already be stinking again by the time you get to work.

And God help you if you try and visit a beach here during the summer. The same deserted and snow-covered beach with great waves that you remember from February is now packed. If you’re lucky enough to find somewhere to park it will cost $10 and then you get charged again just for the privilege of squeezing your way onto the beach. And the glassy cold barrels of winter have become feeble knee-high crumblers that are impossible to ride because of the mass of humanity in the way. And some people actually like summer. Madness.

Monday, May 10


Remember in The Castle how the Dad would proudly announce “Dale dug a hole” at the dinner table? Well this guy really did dig a hole. And he was so proud of his hole that he made a web page. Now he’s famous just like the Tron guy and the Peter Pan guy. I wonder if you could find internet celebrity by faking a page like this. The ‘I dug a hole’ page starts funny but ends up kind of creepy.

I’m now in the thick of exams. So I’d rather put up stupid links than reflect upon my life.

Saturday, May 8


Open bar two nights in a row has taken its toll and I don’t feel like studying intellectual property. I’ve been wondering why the school has been spending so much to entertain us for the last few days. The cynic in me thinks its part of the school’s long term fundraising strategy.

There were a lot of digital cameras around last night. I’m dreading the inevitable embarrassing photos of me (and accompanying snide remarks) that are going to arrive in my in-box over the next few days. I’m particularly dreading a photo that was taken while Smells Like Teen Spirit was playing. It seemed funny at the time.

. . . .

Brad and Ray have convinced me to join them on a trip to Outback Steakhouse. Menu options include the “Too Right French Onion Soup”, the “Walkabout Soup of the Day” and the “Bloomin’ Onion”. Trust Americans to take another culture and make it better! I’m practicing my thickest Australian accent for ordering.

Program language Inventor or Serial Killer? I scored 7 out of 10. [I'm not sure why, but the Tron costume page reminded Malcolm of this great quiz.]

Tuesday, May 4


I am in the final week of my twenty second semester of full-time study. As Tim said: “That’s one scary fact.” Hopefully, this will be the last one. Here’s how over a decade of tertiary study breaks down:

2 semesters of engineering and commerce classes
2 semesters of math, philosophy and psychology classes
2 semesters of philosophy and psychology classes
A mind boggling 9 semesters of nothing but philosophy classes
1 semester doing an “Area of Specialization” test at Rutgers (writing 11 papers in 62 days)
And finally, 6 semesters of law school

Holy crap! I don’t even want to guess how much time I’ve spent in class over those years. I have exactly six hours of class left. I’ll be counting the minutes.