Category: Just for Fun

1

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!

1

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. Science.gov 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.

3

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.

7

Santorum: Please Don’t Google

If you Google “Santorum,” you’ll find that two of the top three search results take an unusual angle on the Republican candidate, thanks to sex columnist Dan Savage. (I very nearly used “Santorum” as a Google example in class last semester, and only just thought better of it.) Santorum’s supporters want Google to push the, er, less conventional site further down the rankings, and allege that Google’s failure to do so is political biased. That claim is obviously a load of Santorum, but the situation has drawn more thoughtful responses. Danny Sullivan argues that Google should implement a disclaimer, because kids may search on “Santorum” and be disturbed by what they find, or because they may think Google has a political agenda. (The site has one for “jew,” for example. For a long time, the first result for that search term was to the odious and anti-Semitic JewWatch site.)

This suggestion is well-intentioned but flatly wrong. I’m not an absolutist: I like how Google handled the problem of having a bunch of skinheads show up as a top result for “jew.” But I don’t want Google as the Web police, though many disagree. Should the site implement a disclaimer if you search for “Tommy Lee Pamela Anderson”? (Warning: sex tape.) If you search for “flat earth theory,” should Google tell you that you are potentially a moron? I don’t think so. Disclaimers should be the nuclear option for Google – partly so they continue to attract attention, and partly because they move Google from a primarily passive role as filter to a more active one as commentator. I generally like my Web results without knowing what Google thinks about them.

Evgeny Morozov has made a similar suggestion, though along different lines: he wants Google to put up a banner or signal when someone searches for links between vaccines and autism, or proof that the Pentagon / Israelis / Santa Claus was behind the 9/11 attacks. I’m more sympathetic to Evgeny’s idea, but I would limit banners or disclaimers to situations that meet two criteria. First, the facts of the issue must be clear-cut: pi is not equal to three (and no one really thinks so), and the planet is indisputably getting warmer. And second, the issue must be one that is both currently relevant and with significant consequences. The flat earthers don’t count; the anti-vaccine nuts do. (People who fail to immunize their children not only put them at risk; they put their classmates and friends at risk, too.) Lastly, I think there’s importance to having both a sense of humor and a respect for discordant, even false speech. The Santorum thing is darn funny. And, in the political realm, we have a laudable history of tolerating false or inflammatory speech, because we know the perils of censorship. So, keeping spreading Santorum!

Danielle, Frank, and the other CoOp folks have kindly let me hang around their blog like a slovenly houseguest, and I’d like to thank them for it. See you soon!

Cross-posted at Info/Law.

1

Some Selected New Year’s Resolutions of the Federal Judiciary

Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

Write at least one opinion in which every word is a contraction

United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts:

On June 29, at precisely 6:30 a.m., move part in hair from left side of head to the right side; change it back moments later

United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (retired):

Track down John Riggins; tell him to “loosen up”

Guido Calabresi, Senior Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit:

Climactic showdown with 101-year-old Ron Coase atop the Eiffel Tower

United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy:

Finally receive “SWNGVOT” personalized license plate from the Washington, DC, Department of Motor Vehicles

***

If any of you have heard of any other judge’s resolution, please feel free to relate it in the comments below.



1

Trivia Time: (Legal) Person of the Year

As Gerard indicated when he introduced me to this blog, he and I were on the Stanford College Bowl team together way-back-when.  I remain amazed by Gerard’s encyclopedic knowledge of Roman emperors. I was merely the go-to guy for pop culture and sports trivia.

In any event, in honor of Time’s unveiling of “The Protester” as its 2011 Person of the Year, consider the following trivia question:

Who is, or was, the only United States judge to be named Man (or Person) of the Year while he (or she) was sitting on the bench?

(And no, one cannot point to Time’s designation, say, of “American Women” as its People of the Year for 1975, and say that this cohort captured many judges; we’re talking about specific individuals here—even though North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Susie Sharp was among the women on the cover of that issue.)

The answer, after the jump.

Read More

2

The Annals of Article Placement

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: January 5, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please find attached, for your review and publication consideration, a copy of my recent article, “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.” As you will see, my scholarship sheds light on this heretofore overlooked, but (as I discuss) extremely important, provision.

I am prepared to give the Impressive Law Review exclusive publication rights for this piece until January 12, 2012.

Please contact me at your first convenience, should you wish to publish this article.

Regards,

Kyle Graham

***

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: January 12, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

This message follows upon my earlier note to you, sent via e-mail on January 5, 2012. As indicated in that e-mail, I had originally planned to make my article available to other journals as of today. However, I appreciate that with the New Year, the Winter Break, and the various college football bowl games on television, you may not have been able to turn to the piece quite yet. Or, perhaps, you did not receive my earlier e-mail; I know how sometimes these messages can get lost in the wires. Accordingly, I am pleased to relate that I will continue to hold my “exclusive” window open for another two weeks, through January 26, 2012.

Regards,

Kyle Graham

***

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: January 26, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

I am just about to distribute my article to a variety of other law journals via ExpressO—seriously, my right index finger is hovering above the “submit” button, even as my left hand types this message—but before I do, I want to make absolutely certain that you have (1) received the article; and (2) had an opportunity to review it.

Having not heard from you as yet, I assume the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” but one never knows.  I really think the piece is a good fit for your journal, especially seeing as how your law school is in a coastal state. Accordingly, I am pleased to relate that I will grant one final extension of my “exclusive” window, now holding it open to February 3, 2012.

Regards,

Kyle Graham

***

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: February 3, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

Just a friendly reminder that this is the expiration date of my “exclusive” offer!

Regards,

Kyle Graham

P.S. Did you get the gift basket I sent?

***

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: February 10, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

This letter follows upon my earlier communications. As previously related, I have circulated my article to other journals via ExpressO, such that my “exclusive” offer is no longer in effect. However, I remain open to publication with your journal; please contact me if interested.

Regards,

Kyle Graham

***

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: February 21, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

I have just received offers to have my article published by several highly reputable journals that I cannot disclose at this time and which I absolutely, positively did not just make up.  Given this turn of events, I ask that you expedite your consideration of my piece.

Regards,

Kyle Graham

***

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: February 29, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

Thank you very much for your letter of February 24, 2012; it is nice to finally hear from you, and to put an autopen signature to your journal’s face.

I admit that I was both surprised and impressed by your diligence in checking with the editorial board of, apparently, every other law journal in the United States and Canada.  Based on your report, I must acknowledge that I may have misconstrued their prior communications to me.  In my defense, how was I to know that an advisement that my article was “under review” was anything less than a binding commitment to publish?  I’m just a law professor, not a rocket scientist, after all.

In any event, I do hope that this little misunderstanding does not affect your continued consideration of my article. I remain eager to see it published in your journal.

I may be in the neighborhood of your institution for a conference within the next few weeks.  If so, I hope you will not mind if I take the liberty of dropping by your office to discuss the potential publication of my piece.

Regards,

Kyle Graham

***

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: March 12, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

I write this letter to acknowledge my receipt of a restraining order, apparently taken out by your publication against me.

In response, this letter also serves as a formal withdrawal of my article, “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution” from consideration by your publication.  This is your loss, but I feel that your recent actions leave me no choice in the matter.

Regards,

Kyle Graham

P.S. There was a glaring citation error on page 2340 of your last volume.  Which sucked, by the way.

***

To: Editor-In-Chief, Impressive Law Review
From: Kyle Graham
Date: May 26, 2012
Re: My Article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution.”

How are you doing? Well, I hope.  How are classes?  Looking forward to that post-graduation clerkship?

I also hope that you realize by now that I was just joking with my last message. If you don’t remember, don’t worry about it. It was nothing important. I simply wanted to “lighten” what I am certain is a laborious review process for you and your staff.

In any event, I write to offer my article “Madison’s ‘dock-Yards’? The Founding Fathers, Sailing, and Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution” for inclusion in your online journal “Supplement.” As you will see, I have modified the introduction and thesis so as to draw a closer connection to the 2013 America’s Cup, such that I believe the piece will be cited frequently in connection with that regatta.

Please contact me at your first convenience, should you wish to publish this article.

Regards,

Kyle Graham

5

Professor Graham’s Top Nine Failed Attempts to Increase His SSRN Downloads

9. Offering Justin Bieber $2,500 to rave about latest article on Twitter

8. Frequent integration of trendy words and phrases like “jeggings,” “Winning!” and “Tebowing” into article titles

7. Legally changing my name to “Eddie Murphy” for one month prior to, and following, the posting of each new piece, because if Eddie Murphy were to write a law-review article, that would really be something else

6. Ill-fated promise to students that if I get up to 5,000 total downloads, A+ grades for everyone, unless I don’t like them

5. Offering Charlie Sheen $2,500 to rave about latest article on Twitter

4. Having article titles painted on the sides of the turkeys thrown from the WKRP helicopter pursuant to their Thanksgiving giveaway

3. Extensive unsuccessful efforts to have Oprah name “Why Torts Die” as her Book of the Month

2. “Rick-Rolling” people over from Cass Sunstein’s latest article on SSRN

1. Prominent advertisements that each article is guaranteed to be “100 percent Kardashian-Free”

12

A Guide to the Eight Most Suspect Types of Law Review Articles

This is simply my list of the eight most suspect types of articles; I appreciate that others may suggest different, or additional, entries.

1. The Repository of Hope

“As the single-word title connotes, I am very disappointed that this article did not place in a T14 journal.”

2. The Strained Debunker

“In Part I, I will characterize a 1974 Pace Law Review note and a 2007 MySpace entry as embodying ‘conventional wisdom.’ ”

3. The Old-Wine-In-New-Bottles

“No one has evaluated the rule against perpetuities from an animal-rights perspective before, so, you know, what the hell.”

4. The One-Off

“In my previous article, I made a significant contribution to the literature. In this piece, I will coast on the vapors of that article.”

5. The Something Is Unconstitutional

“This article would make a fairly solid student note. It is my tenure piece.”

6. The Turf Staker

“My pre-emption check discovered no articles that cover this territory. I pretty much worked backward from there.”

7. The Half-Hearted Symposium Submission

“We would have tried harder, but hey, we’re talking about a symposium here.”

8. The Torn from the Headlines

“Few would recognize that the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in ___ vs. ___ would fundamentally alter ___ law. Yet it did, or at least, you won’t be able to prove that it didn’t until this article is already well on its way to publication.”