Site Meter

Category: Just for Fun


Admittedly Dumb Idea (Number Three): Baby’s First Book of _____ Law

This is the third in a series (prior entries here and here) of admittedly dumb law-related ideas that I’ve had, and don’t quite have the filter to suppress.

A while ago, on my other site, I posted a simple Gashlycrumb Tinies-inspired abecedarian that drew from some notable Torts cases. The text provided as follows:

A is for Adams who a wire imperiled / B is for Byrne crushed flat by a barrel / C is for Carter who slipped on some ice / D is for Dillon who might have died twice / E is for Escola nicked by some pop / F is for Fletcher whose mine needed a mop / G is for Goodman who caught a train the wrong way / H is for Hood who said his saw didn’t say / I is for Intel whose computers were smeared / J is for Johnson whose baby flat disappeared / K is for Katko shot while he stole / L is for Levandoski who fell into a hole / M is for Murphy maimed on “The Flopper” / N is for Negri who slipped as a shopper / O is for O’Brien halting pool sales / P is for Palsgraf squashed by some scales / Q is for Quill who received quite a scare / R is for Rowland owed reasonable care / S is for Summers who can’t ID his shooter / T is for Tedla struck by a commuter / U is for Ultramares from whom a company did steal / V is for Vosburg whose leg didn’t heal / W is for Wagon Mound done in by a spark / X is for the unreasonable man who takes stairs in the dark / Y is for Ybarra who sued the whole set / Z is for Zeran defamed over the Net

Prior to posting the rhyme, I had thought a little bit about trying to find an artist who could prepare illustrations to accompany the text, combining the two, and then marketing the resulting book as something like “Baby’s First Book of Tort Law. ” I dropped this idea when other projects intervened, but still I think that someone could do well with a series of children’s books along similar lines: e.g., “Baby’s First Book of Secured Transactions,” “Baby’s First Book of Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law,” etc.

These books might not all fit within the abecedarian format. The letter X poses a huge problem here, seeing as how Black’s Law Dictionary includes only four words that begin with the letter. But that’s OK. “Baby’s First Book of Securities Regulation Law” could relate the story of a little lemonade stand that grew and grew, such that its founders ultimately had to decide whether to conduct a private stock placement and then an IPO, or alternatively, to seek funding for expansion through the JOBS Act’s crowd-sourcing option. “Baby’s First Book of Federal Jurisdiction” might discuss how, under AEDPA, a series of courts would assess an arguably untimely habeas petition filed by a plush stuffed-animal tiger that’s being detained in a cardboard-box jail in the living room. “Baby’s First Book of Law and Economics” would . . . you get the idea.

Admittedly, I suspect that very few children would purchase these books. At least the focus groups of four-year-olds that I’ve convened seem to suggest as much. But that’s not really the target market.  So if there are any interested illustrators out there, drop me a line.





Curiosity! It Landed!

Congratulations to NASA/JPL/Caltech! The latest rover appears to have landed safely. I love this stuff in general, but I happen to have had a special connection to the rovers. A dear friend has worked on the rovers from when they were just tiny vehicles to the current Mini-sized one. Brett Kennedy, you rock.

I also happen to be re-reading Spin which has some a great Mars storyline. Despite John Carter, think of all the science fiction about Mars. What we find won’t live up to that, but the science and truth may prove more fascinating.


Should be, and now is …

… reaffirmed?

This is pure speculation — the coin of the realm for at least another day — but if you’re at all familiar with major constitutional cases, I imagine that you probably filled in the word “overruled.” And for good reason — as far as I can tell, that’s the only word the Court has ever used to complete the phrase “should be and now is ….” My admittedly brief search has turned up seven examples, including such luminaries as Darby, Lopez, Seminole Tribe, Lawrence, and Citizens United. (A full list of cites is below the jump.)

Given the Court’s apparent proclivity for using the phrase in major, doctrine-altering constitutional decisions, it might well be making an appearance in the next 24 hours. While our collective thumb-twiddling reaches ever-higher rpm in the lead up to the health care decision, does anybody have an explanation for this odd locution? Does it ever pop up in any other context?

Read More


Music of the Spheres

Somewhere the ancients who thought there was a musica universalis or music of the spheres are smiling. Apparently “members of the team that work with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) have translated gamma-ray measurements into musical notes and have created a ‘song’ from the photons from one of the most energetic of these powerful explosions, GRB 080916C which occurred in September of 2008.” The link explains more but here is the clip. Enjoy.


Did you miss it? The power of curiosity and schoolboy naivety

I have been traveling and storing up some blog material. So I apologize if you have seen some of these stories, but in case not; here goes the first one. According to the Ottowa Citizen “An Indian-born teenager has won a research award for solving a mathematical problem first posed by Sir Isaac Newton more than 300 years ago that has baffled mathematicians ever since.” The problem was “to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance.” The student’s response to there was no solution was “well. there’s no harm in trying.” Man, I love that reply. It probably did not hurt that he learned calculus at 6. To me, however, I think the attitude is a big part of the success. It reminds me of tinkering. In story or research it is the willingness to say “What if” and see where it takes you. There are of course times when those who came before can tell you with good reason not to pursue something. But the cases where the question is known but no one has figured out how to solve it, the will to say let me give it try is hugely important. Even if you don’t succeed, what you discover along the way may be fruitful. Anyway, I rather liked the breakthrough and that youthful inquisitiveness won the day.


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Later this month, a new constitutional interpretation will be advanced about a major public policy issue.  Monsters will try to end human freedom as we know it, only to be stopped by a heroic President.

I am referring, of course, to the movie of Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter.  Ever since his Second Inaugural, people have tried to understand the conflict over slavery in a way that healed the country by saying that the Civil War was about something more than human evil in the South.  (“The Almighty has His own purposes.”). Turns out that slavery was all about vampires looking for food.  It wasn’t our fault at all.  What a relief!


Whoa, Just So Many Online Ed Resources

Like John Cusack in Better Off Dead when all songs seem to be about what is on your mind (see below), education seems to pop up everywhere I look right now. Well, why fight it? This link is to a host of online resources (HT: Esther Wojcicki). I listen to lectures while exercising. So far Berkeley has proven the best source for excellent lectures on philosophy (try Hubert Dreyfus, Wendy Brown, and Nathan Sayre (geography)). Some of the links take more work than others. has a wealth of government studies etc., but you must hunt for what you want. In Property, Persona, and Preservation, I draw on Richard Lanham’s work to show that the ability to parse, sort, and organize is a source of value that can be seen in professors’ syllabi and other means of focusing attention. The list above sits in an odd place. It parses and sorts an array of options for online resources. Yet, the quality of the resources (how good and how easy to use) is not that clear. I’ll take the list and do some work, but in some possible future, a tool will do more to let me know which of this excellent list is most useful to various things one may want. Maybe a directory…paging Yahoo! white courtesy telephone. Or perhaps that whole search thing will evolve to read our minds, but only in the way we want. Well if I am in dreamland, I suppose I am still in Better Off Dead and about to hear Van Halen as burgers come to life.


If God Had Wanted Man to Fly…Turns Out Someone Is Giving Us Wings

Calling China Mieville and Perdido Street Station fans. TechCrunch reports on Jarno Smeets, a man who wants to fly with wings, and he has done it! Apparently Wii and HTC devices are part of the invention. He had a test flight in January. And, as the video below shows, he flapped and took flight. I hope this is not a hoax (and even if it is I am rather happy right now and enjoy the idea of winged flight). As Tech Crunch invoked “Orville, Wilbur, and Leo Da Vinci,” I wonder whether we will see a rush of hobbyists improving on Smeets idea and winged flight clubs opening up. Given that I distrust biking to work because drivers and cyclists fail miserably in their respect for the laws and each other around where I live, I love the idea of flying to work without an engine. Probably far off as a dream (though I will bet that someone at Google will try soon). Anyway enjoy and remember you can fly perhaps now without pixie dust.