Posts filed under ‘Ranting’

Lies About the 1L Experience

“If you’re a good writer, you’ll have a huge advantage as a student.”

Most first-year legal writing is almost entirely devoid of creativity and requires a penchant for monotony and verbosity.  Even during second semester exams, I was very distracted by my instinct to write good prose.  On a timed exam, your spelling, grammar, diction, and syntax aren’t worth a damn.  And for every second you spend thinking about how to rephrase something so it flows better, you’re losing precious, precious points.

“You should learn to think beyond the legal doctrine.”

Professors will tell you it’s not about the black letter law, but it really is.  And it’s about IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion).  That’s it.  Nothing else really matters.  The most fascinating things—policy concerns, socioeconomic implications, historical backgrounds—are rarely tested and, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant during the first year.

“Having a life is not mutually exclusive with being a 1L.”

You can have a life.  People do it.  But those people do not get very much sleep, or they simply do not care about their grades, or they never had lives to begin with.  To really have a life as a 1L, you have to…painstakingly…carve…out…your…opportunities.

But, hey, at least it’s not med school!

September 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm 2 comments

Awkward Facebook Moments #1-3

It’s totally awkward…

#1 …when someone unacceptably rejects a friend request

Sometimes it’s not okay to not be someone’s friend. We all have different thresholds of who we will “accept” as friends on Facebook, but I think a vast majority of people would agree with me that “rejecting” or “quietly ignoring” the following people is unacceptable:  someone you’ve slept with (assuming, of course, there’s no drama involved); a close friend from high school, even if you haven’t spoken for many years; a family member you’re on at least mildly decent terms with; a fourth-grade “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”; a friend’s pet or child or sibling; someone with the same first and last name as you; someone who accompanies a friend request with a totally clever message explaining why you don’t know him but should “accept” anyway.

So remember: The next time you log onto your account, think twice before rejecting or ignoring. Karma is a bitch (See awkward moment #3).

#2…when you’re in a relationship but not “in a relationship”

Tsk, tsk, tsk. I just don’t get it. I understand not putting “in a relationship” or even “it’s complicated” when “it’s” legitimately complicated or not too serious, but when two people are in a bona fide relationship, there should be some indication thereof (and leaving relationship status completely blank doesn’t count). Unless your profile is completely bare-bones, hiding love behind privacy settings is unfair to you and to your partner.

#3…when you realize you were…D-E-F-R-I-E-N-D-E-D

I’ve been on Facebook since it was called “The Facebook,” so I have quite a few friends. The great thing about having a lot of friends is that you’re much less likely to realize someone’s done the d-word to you. Unless, of course, you happen to be stalking that person. (But only sociopaths with too much time on their hands use Facebook to stalk, right?)

In all seriousness, being “defriended” is awkward as hell, especially if you have no idea as to why. It’s happened to me at least once (that I know of…eek!), and I remember thinking, “Hmmm…glad I’ll never be stumbling into you again.” Then I realized that the awkwardness would really be on the “defriender” and not the “defriendee” if the two were to cross paths again.

Think about it: What’s more awkward than bumping right smack into someone you “defriended” unnecessarily? Karma’s a bitch, indeed.

July 8, 2010 at 5:11 am 2 comments

“Jumbo Jessica” and the Marlon Brando Paradox

Jessica Simpson needs to fire her stylist. Ever since the singer donned a pair of high-waisted jeans and double-layered leopard print belt to the KISS Country Chili Cookoff, the tabloids haven’t given her body a break. The New York Post described her as a “corpulent country star” and assigned her the hurtful “Jumbo Jessica” moniker. Us Weekly eagerly repeated the nickname, and People used the same series of unflattering pictures to publicize “her new fat curvy body.”

Days before her humiliating and oh-so-public breakup with Tony Romo, Jessica sang the National Anthem at the AT&T National golf tournament in a horizontally striped Michael Kors dress. The Daily Fix commented, “As the ditzy blonde singer’s career shrinks, her bottom line continues to expand.” Not to be outdone, Perez Hilton blogged, “Is JSimpleson finally pregnant with her dream baby?…That’s an ass you could serve Thanksgiving dinner on!”

Just under 5’3″, Jessica is a petite woman who has been blessed with curves in all the right places. Minor weight fluctuations become exaggerated on her small frame. Case in point: Within the same month, OK! ran stories on Jessica’s wardrobe woes, Romo breakup, and “revenge diet.” She “look[ed] like a blimp” one week and boasted a fit physique the next.

This repulsive practice of inventing weight problems for female celebrities certainly takes its toll on the common (wo)man. I’ve found myself turning down desserts lately and worrying about how I look in form-fitting jeans. It also serves as yet another example of our society’s rampant sexism and double standards: Tom Cruise’s diminutive stature and Jack Nicholson’s gut receive little press/criticism. This is what I call the “Marlon Brando Paradox.”

Marlon Brando is rightfully considered one of the greatest actors of all time. The Academy Award winner’s career spanned over half a century, but his svelte form progressively widened throughout. At almost no point, however, did the media criticize Brando’s weight or deny his talent because he wasn’t as conventionally attractive or as physically fit as he had been as a young man. With performances as “Vito Corleone” in The Godfather and “Paul” in Last Tango in Paris on his impressive résumé, we didn’t need him to look a particular way. But if he had been a woman, he almost certainly would not have landed comparable roles.

The Marlon Brando Paradox perpetuates our society’s commodification and fetishization of the female body.  By scrutinizing the female form in this manner, we are preventing progress and gender equality. While Jessica Simpson is the latest victim, almost no one–celebrity or not–escapes being viewed through this perverse, distorted lens: I am anxiously waiting for it to shatter.

August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm 2 comments

Ding! Dong! The Witch Has Fled: Sarah Palin Throws in the Towel

I smell a real scandal a-brewin’. Sarah Palin announced her resignation from the Alaskan governorship yesterday from her Wasilla home, but her reasons for leaving office with only 18 months to go made little sense. Perhaps that voodoo doll I made during the presidential election finally did its job! She’s loading her ever-burgeoning family onto her broomstick and getting the fuck out of dodge.

Many are speculating that Palin’s presidential aspirations have inspired this decision, but she would have plenty of time to campaign for the 2012 election if she saw her position through. Also, no one likes a quitter. She might as well have resigned from politics altogether.

Palin stated that accepting “lame duck status” is “not what is best for Alaska.” I would argue, however, that there’s a real appeal to a political leader who doesn’t seek re-election. Instead of being motivated by future votes, one could make decisions based completely on public interest. Not pursuing a second term is never a legitimate or sufficient excuse for ending the first term prematurely.

It’s also important to remember that in the Alaskan primaries, the lieutenant governor runs on a separate ticket from the governor. U.S. presidential candidates, if nominated by their respective parties, get to choose their running mates; governors don’t. Although both are members of the Republican Party, Lieutenant Governor Parnell and Governor Palin could represent very different constituencies.

My conclusion is that Sarah Palin (aka Satan with a Snatch) has an ulterior motive. Possible explanations?

  • Palin slept with former-potential-son-in-law, Levi, and is carrying his child, so she has two choices: She can have a clandestine abortion or become the mother of her grandchild’s uncle (think about it).
  • Todd slept with Levi and got caught.
  • Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh had a threesome and got caught.
  • Sarah Palin had a threesome with John and Cindy McCain and got caught.
  • Somebody recorded Palin making racial and homophobic slurs while drunk and high.
  • Palin embezzled money to fuel her crack addiction.
  • Inspired by Tina Fey’s savvy impersonations, Palin plans to pursue an acting career.
  • Palin misses her flying monkeys and Alaska-sized cauldron, so she must return to Oz post-haste.

July 4, 2009 at 10:49 am 4 comments

Penalty Wages: What Every Employee Should Know

Let’s say Joe Blow works as a mechanic at a dealership and earns $17/hour. Fed up with “office” politics and inadequate support from upper management, Joe quits his job. He recently received his bi-weekly paycheck, so he is only owed four more days of pay. Livid at Joe’s inconvenient resignation, the dealership refuses to issue a final paycheck. This obstinacy, however, could cost Joe’s former employers more than they realize.

Colloquially know as the “penalty wage law,” ORS 652.150 requires the timely payment of wages upon termination of employment. If the “employer willfully fails to pay any wages or compensation of any employee whose employment ceases, as provided in ORS 652.140 and 652.145, then, as a penalty for such nonpayment, the wages or compensation of such employee shall continue from the due date thereof at the same hourly rate for eight hours per day or until action therefor is commenced.”

While there are some exceptions and limitations, the bottom line is that Joe’s former employer owes him up to $4,080 ($17/hour x 8 hours x 30 days) more than they bargained for. In Oregon, an employer who refuses to issue final payment in a timely manner owes the former employee up to thirty days of pay in addition to the money withheld. Other states have similar wage and hour laws, but Oregon is known for being particularly “employee-friendly” in such cases. An important thing to note is that “30 days of pay” is not the same as “one month’s pay”; it’s more! (30 days = 30 business or work days)

Some people may wonder why employers who understand such wage and hour statutes continue to cheat employees out of money owed, especially if the potential penalty could be costly. The answer is simple: Most people don’t completely understand their rights as workers. In the long run, corrupt employers profit off of this unawareness because, for every person who acts to recover his pay, many more simply write off the nonpayment as an unfortunate loss.

June 10, 2009 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

Blame It (On the Concert Hall)

Warning: This post contains a lot of adult language.

I surprisingly didn’t feel offended when D12 ordered “all the independent women in the house” to “show [them their] tits and shut [their] mother fuckin’ mouth[s]” in 2001’s “Ain’t Nuttin’ But Music.”  Nor did I get upset when Jay-Z boasted, “I thug ’em, fuck ’em, love ’em, leave ’em/’Cause I don’t fuckin’ need ’em/Take ’em out the hood/Keep ’em lookin’ good/But I don’t fuckin’ feed ’em,” in “Big Pimpin.'” With lyrics so blatantly misogynistic, it’s difficult to take these songs too seriously. Maybe that’s why I rhymed along with the rappers instead of sending them hate mail. Lately, however, two songs have almost made me lose sleep at night.

“Baby, Let Me Rape You” might be a more appropriate title for Jamie Foxx’s (feat. T-Pain) latest hit, “Blame It (On the Alcohol).” The song describes a relatively innocuous situation: A bachelor is in town for the weekend and hits up the club scene because he wants to get some tail. But then he meets a “girl” whose looks probably wouldn’t suit him in the light of day (I was unaware/How fine you was before my buzz set in), and she doesn’t seem too interested in hooking up (She say she usually don’t/But I know she front). Deciding to create his own window of opportunity, the guy “seduces” the girl with alcoholic beverages (Girl, what you drinkin’?/Go on, let it sink in) until she gives in to his sexual advances (Fill another cup up/Feelin’ on your butt, what?/You don’t even care now).

I could be overreacting. After all, there’s nothing wrong with sippin’ on some “‘tron” and gettin’ it on. But if the prospect of having sex isn’t consensual before drinks enter into the equation, it’s not OK to proceed. Jamie Foxx goes beyond just talking smack about women: He seems to endorse forced sex through inebriation. All that said, the song is catchy as hell. Maybe I just need to take a few shots, crank up the stereo, and blame it on the ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-alcohol.

If “Blame It (On the Alcohol)” teeter-totters the line between impertinence and acceptability, 3OH!3’s “Don’t Trust Me” completely obliterates it. The female victim is under 21 (X’s on the back of your hands/Wash them in the bathroom to drink like the bands), and the guy we shouldn’t trust preys upon her vulnerability and anonymity (B-b-b-bruises cover your arms/Shaking in the fingers with the bottle in your palm/And the best is, no one knows who you are/Just another girl alone at the bar). The instructions he gives her speak for themselves: “Shush, girl! Shut your lips/Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.” If “Don’t Trust Me” is an electronica or hip hop parody, it’s one thing, but the song doesn’t give me satiric vibes a la Weird Al.

Sometimes I really miss the days when Milli Vanilli and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam dominated the air waves.

May 27, 2009 at 6:57 pm 1 comment

“Fair and Balanced” Fox News Poses Yet Another Slanted Question

The Fox News Blog solicited responses from the opining public in the following manner:

YOU DECIDE: Specter Switches Parties — Do You      Approve or Disapprove?

Arlen Specter, who has been sent to the Senate five times by Pennsylvania Republicans, announced today that he is switching parties. He will run for reelection to his current post as a Democrat in 2010. The move puts Democrats within one vote of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

The devil, of course, is in the details. Notice how the Fox Forum gives entire credit for Specter’s recurring seat in the Senate to Pennsylvania Republicans. While it’s not entirely incorrect to say the PA Republicans sent Specter to the Senate, it would be much more accurate (read: unbiased) to attribute his election to the Pennsylvanian voters. Leave it to Fox to cloak a question in partisanship. Ironically, they’re the ones whining about the media’s ostensible “liberal bias.”

Nearly 6,000 responses have been posted as of 2:00 pm PST, and (understandably) most are heated.  While a majority of the self-selected commenters are flagrantly conservative, a sizable group of liberals have weighed in. You might wonder why members of the latter group would even bother reading Fox News, but the liberal readership likely finds the blatantly skewed news entertaining in its caustic and unapologetic manner. I certainly do: The conservative media never ceases to amaze and amuse me!

April 29, 2009 at 9:17 pm 1 comment

The McPalin Conundrum

Four years ago, a vote for Ralph Nader essentially represented a vote for George “W” Bush because a vast majority of Nader’s supporters would have chosen Kerry if given no better alternative. If Nader had had more than a snowball’s chance in hell to win, I would not have had an issue with his running against Kerry: Besides being the first Arab American and Lebanese American (holla!) to run for President, Nader espouses refreshingly progressive ideologies and has an impressive résumé of activism (not the least of which includes his efforts to pass the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act).  All that said, I have to agree with The Atlantic Monthly‘s 2006 article on the most influential Americans of the 20th century: “[Ralph Nader] made the cars we drive safer; thirty years later, he made George W. Bush the president.”

Now we sit in the same quagmire…except that this time the threat comes from-of all places-a vice presidential candidate. A vote for John McCain is a vote for Sarah (I call her “Scarah”) Palin. Besides opposing Democratic nominees, Ralph Nader and Senator McCain have something else in common: Both men are septuagenarians. At 74, Nader has aged relatively well, but 72-year-old McCain looks like he’s been on Medicare for several years. Statistically speaking, he could very feasibly die in office if he wins. This does not bode well for the American people.

While I disagree with most of his positions, I respect McCain’s refusal to subscribe to a hard-line conservative platform. He has reasonable views on immigration, such as expanding social programs for legal immigrants, and his work on campaign finance reform is commendable. Unlike his running mate, McCain believes that abortion should be legal in certain circumstances (e.g. rape, incest). And while he’s not the greenest candidate (in more ways than one!), he supports the further development and use of alternative energy. Over the past few months, McCain has come across as a clone of George W., but his voting record says otherwise.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is an absolute terror! I’ve dubbed her “Satan with a Snatch.” She thinks schools should employ abstinence-only education (which clearly worked for her unwed 17-year-old). But the pro-life label would be a misnomer because she does, indeed, support the dealth penalty. According to Governor Palin, we should teach creationsim in our public schools (wonder if she’s ever heard of separation of church and state?). She opposes stem cell research, which  McCain supports to an extent, and she feels that global warming is not man-made. With an estimated net worth far exceeding the seven-figure mark, Sarah and Todd Palin have no right to constantly identify themselves as middle Americans. The list goes on and on, but I am becoming increasingly nauseated.

Obviously I’m voting for Barack Obama, but I advise so-called moderates to consider the fact that Palin is literally and figuratively “a heartbeat away” from the presidency. Without Governor Scarah fettered to his wrinkly ankle, John McCain wouldn’t be the worst man in history to enter the Oval Office. But because the Arizonan senator chose the incompetent Alaskan to campaign by his side, the possibility of an electoral victory for the McPalin package is more horrifying than finding a bloody razor in your Halloween candy.

October 17, 2008 at 7:11 am 1 comment

The Wet Frog

I’m sure it’s not scientifically-proven, but have you ever heard the story about the frog in the boiling pot? Apparently, if you put a frog into a pot of water and gradually turn the heat up, the frog will not die, even once the water has begun to boil. The poor amphibian has become acclimated to the water’s temperature, thus surviving the ordeal. If, however, you were to quickly turn the knob, causing the water to boil much sooner, the frog would die.

The fate of the wet frog serves as a metaphor for the current socioeconomic climate. I acquired my driver’s license less than 10 years ago and could fill up my Toyota Tercel on about 10 bucks. Gas prices have almost quadrupled, but wages have not risen accordingly. We should have seen this coming: Over the last 8 years of Bush’s flawed reign, gas prices have – for the most part – risen incrementally until topping out at over four dollars a gallon. We only began feeling the “heat” in a big way when prices crossed the three dollar line. And it’s been less than a year since car companies across the board began airing commercials geared toward fuel efficiency. As figurative frogs, we have been sitting in boiling water for months now with no real plan for hopping out.

Fuel prices are the easiest thing for me to point out, but the temperature is rising in multiple arenas. The problem is that we’ve learned to stand the heat, so we are not getting out of the kitchen anytime soon. Until the pressure cooker boils over, things will continue to worsen before they get better. In the meantime, the wealthiest five percent of Americans will sit on their lily pads and watch as the rest of us suffer second-degree burns.

September 30, 2008 at 6:53 am Leave a comment

I Hate MySpace

For the past handful of years, my MySpace page had been the epitome of anonymity: I had one friend (Tom, the founder, who is friends with everyone) and no information about myself other than an old email address. Today, I uploaded a pic, filled in a few “about me” blurbs, and even added a couple of friends. Mixing one part truth with two parts myth, I concocted a minimalist profile with absolutely none of the bells and whistles. I felt that embellishing my profile a bit and navigating the site as a bona fide patron would allow me to become further cemented in my hatred for MySpace. And here’s why:

MySpace is sleazy. Many of the profile pictures (including my own…to prove a point) depict scantily-clad women or people in the midst of something illegal or profane. A lot of men in the 18-25 age group post pictures of themselves exhaling smoke from an unknown source or kissing a nameless chick at a frat party or bar. People I know have lied about their relationship status or have hooked up with someone they met on the site. If MySpace had a scent, it would smell like a brothel in violation of health code mixed with the sweaty floor of a nightclub.

MySpace promotes idiocy. Poor grammar and spelling seem to have found a home on MySpace: I feel dumber just reading a profile or two! My friend recently posted the following repugnant conversation she had with one of her MySpace fans:

him: Hi
him: how are you?
him: asl?
her: You must have looked at my profile or you wouldn’t be msging me but 21.f.Gainesville
him: yeah i saw your picture
him: your gorgeous (notice the misuse of “your”)
him: looking good enough to eat out for a few hours [drool smiley] [smiley]
her: well… i was actually going to talk to you until that…

A note of caution to those who use MySpace as a dating site (and, by the way, there really are too many of you): If you are going to post information about yourself or write a message on someone’s publicly-read wall, please spell check and have a few buds proofread it before exposing it to the World Wide Web.

MySpace is going out of style. Just like Friendster, MySpace used to be “the” site for social networking. Now that Facebook has opened its doors to all people, regardless of collegiate status, it seems to be on its way (or already there) to becoming the most highly-trafficked site of its kind. But even Facebook has gotten out of control by offering an annoyingly large array of groups to join and programs to add. The beauty of all of these sites is their ability to reunite people and to allow easy access to useful information. On the flipside…well, I’ve already gone over that…

All this said, I still cannot deny the inherent fun of logging in and browsing for a bit. Hate it or not, I guess that’s what keeps us all hooked!

June 15, 2008 at 12:54 am 3 comments

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