Friday, May 30, 2008

The Sex in the City movie is exactly what you think it is

If you like that, go for it. If you don't, don't go.

A major Charlotte fan.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

So what DID CC end up doing with her weekend?

Will asked me a couple of days ago in the comments of my post on vacation sites for a girls' weekend.

Smiley Dave, ZombieKid and The Gnome were going to hang out with some friends of Smiley Dave's near Hershey Park, so Saturday we all drove up to Hershey Park and had an exhausting but very fun day where she learned that amusement parks are way more fun when one does not attend them with the ChaliceMom and ChaliceDad.

(E.g. When I was a kid, my mother would HARASS me until I went on the log flume with her. I HATED the log flume. I was SCARED of the log flume. I would dread her starting in with the "Oh, it's not that high and we should all go if one of us goes..." routine. As an adult, if you don't want to ride the log flume, you say "Hey, I don't want to ride the long flume. I'm going to wander while you people ride the log flume, call me on my cell phone when you're done" and nobody gives you crap about it. It's awesome.)

The Chaliceparents also maintained that nobody ever wins the carnival games at Amusement parks so we were never allowed to play them ever. I won a medium-sized stuffed monkey for theCSO on my third try at a two dollar game. (Yes, it was a monkey probably worth less than six bucks, but shut up.) Smiley Dave came away with a stuffed monkey AND this giant daisy.

Then Smiley Dave took the kids and headed to go hang out with his friends and Jana and I went up to Corning, NY. We were in the convertible and we could not have asked for better weather. We listened to Meg Barnhouse and Hairspray and the Indigo Girls and this goofy mix cd of songs I liked in college. Twas awesome.

We had the ultimate bed and breakfast experience in Corning here. Y'all, it's a Greek revival mansion that is full of beautiful antiques and run my two charming men whose moved to Corning from Seattle was primarily motivated by their love of Steuben glass. In fact, a discussion of Steuben glass with one of the guys enthused CC so much that she ALMOST dropped $250 on this small sculpture at the Corning Glass Museum's gift shop the following day before realizing that Steuben glass Victorian hand cooler collectors were really Hummel figurine collectors with more expensive educations. OK, I still kind of want the elephant, but again, shut up.

So we had this incredibly blissful time in Corning, so much so that she and I are already booked for next year at the Bed and Breakfast of the awesome, where they proudly display a signed photo of Eartha Kitt wishing the two guys luck on their business venture.

At the Corning glass museum, we went to these beginner glass classes and got totally enthused about bringing Smiley Dave, Zombie Kid and theGnome back next year, though the kids would need to stay someplace with less fragile surroundings.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


FortiesGirl, Dr.When, theCSO and I were a team in the first PostHunt, which was a competition where we ran around DC answering complex, multi-step puzzles. It was a lot of fun, though of the five puzzles we only completely solved one. We got a solid halfway on three others and were totally lost on the fifth. It was really, really, hard, y'all. (We missed one puzzle because we couldn't tell that a fortune cookie was coconut-flavored.) But at least half a dozen teams finished the whole thing, so it was us, not the puzzles.

TheCSO, FG and DW were really disappointed that we didn't do better, though I was more Zen about it because frankly these days I'm used to feeling like lots of people are smarter or at least better prepared than me and seeing things I can't. Thank you, Law school.

Anyway, I've been talking it up for the last two days and at least Jana-who-creates and Kate-the-lawyer are wanting to participate next year with their respective mates, so I don't think I'm going to have a problem getting a team together if they bail. Besides, if Jana is in, her kids are in and there's no way TheGnome would have missed the coconut.

I think the highlight of the day for FG and DW was getting to meet Dave Barry and I took this picture of them. (Dave Barry was really nice about posing for pictures and signing books.)

It was a good day.


Excuses, the Bones season finale, and writers strike bitching.

Sorry I've been so lax in updating. The Write-On competition (which is how you get on to journals at GULC) is kicking my ass. My grades were respectable by any non-law-school standard, but not that great law-school-wise, so I'm going to have to rock this to make it onto a journal.

(I probably won't rock this. Seriously. Even the case we're supposed to be commenting on completely sucks. But I am trying.)

Anyway... I did catch the season finale for Bones last night. And as much as I appreciated the bathtub scene with David Boreanaz (Seriously. Thank you for that scene.) I am confused on a couple of points.

If everything happened the way it looked like it happened with the explosion:

What was the point?

Who stole the skeleton?

Why did Goremegon's assistant think it was rational to sacrifice himself for something so, well, silly? (That might be question one again, but seriously...)

What's the deal with his motivation for working with Gormegon anyway? I mean, an earlier episode revealed that this person had a support system that I envied. Why did he do this?

I assume they are going for brainwashing here, but I just did a paper on brainwashing (indeed, my entire practice case comment for my legal writing class was on the admissibility of evidence of brainwashing and the jurisprudential upshot of accepting brainwashing as a defense, explanation or mitigating factor) and brainwashing doesn't really work the way Bones made it look at all, and this is a show that is normally pretty decent on the science.

The acting in the episode was awesome. But the writing was some of the worst I've ever seen in TV, though I've gotten used to that this season. The writer's strike has not made me appreciate the writers at all as I wasn't terribly sympathetic to large portions of their cause in the first place* and it has produced so much bad writing.


* The Networks' argument "You did get paid once to write the five minute episode we're putting on the web for free to promote the show. We're not getting paid when we show it, so we're not going to pay royalties for every view. That said, these things make the show more popular, which helps keep you in a job and insures that the show will end up syndicated, so everybody wins." made sense to me.

But then every bit of writing I've ever done professionally I did on a "We paid you to write it once, now we own it and will use it as we like" basis, so the "We're not being fairly compensated unless we get paid every time you use our work" argument seems really odd. Or maybe I'm just jealous.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I hope they have free coffee.

After you die...
the Beetlejuice Waiting Room

After death, you will end up in an overcrowded waiting room sitting beside Beetlejuice. You've been given the number 736 076 827 378 919 023, but they are currently serving number 3. Good Luck.

Take this quiz at

Friday, May 16, 2008

Those wacky South Carolina laws

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is going after wacky and obsolete South Carolina laws.

So, when do you think he will get to that bit about Atheists not being allowed to hold public office?


Let's play "what's wrong with this picture."

“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,'’ Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. “I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.'’

Hint: I don't mean the Godwin's law violation.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

This is Cutus

He belongs to my brother's friend, God help him

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

DC Folks: Wanna go see Zombie Strippers?

I realized that if I left Georgetown right after my Contracts final and booked it over to the E street cinema, I could catch the 9:55 showing of Zombie Strippers.

Anybody want to meet me?


Monday, May 05, 2008


How sad. Mildred Loving died.


Futher adventures of the last holdouts to gentrification.

It sort of defies explanation how I ended up at my mother’s house on Saturday morning in my pajamas, knowing that the police were on their way.

Well, no, it doesn’t. She'd brought my brother Oliver over to my house that morning and theCSO and I had rolled out of bed, pulled on jeans and met them at the door. My brother and my husband had business to discuss. After fifteen minutes of negotiations about how much extra Oliver was going to charge theCSO and me when he mowed around all the construction stuff in our yard, my mother needed to get back to her house.

I’d told Oliver I would drive him to his first job of the morning so he and theCSO could finish their negotiation. As he was getting out of the car, Oliver casually mentioned that I should probably call and check on my mother. She’d had to leave because she was kicking a big mean guy out of her house.

(The ChaliceMom and ChaliceDad for reasons CC can’t fathom allow Jason and Oliver to run a flophouse for their degenerate little friends in the basement. Sometimes, those friends need to get kicked out.)


I drove over to my mother’s house.

This was one UGLY big mean guy. He stomped around halfassedly packing his car, but mostly yelling threats and in general making a spectacle of himself. My parents’ neighbors paused at their flowerbeds and looked up to watch. They have to be used to this by now, but I was still dying a bit inside.

Big mean guy hadn’t been paying any rent, but he had been there over 30 days, which grants him some rights in our county. When it was pointed out that he couldn’t PROVE he’d been there over 30 days, he decided to call the cops and ask them to work it out.

Fair enough.

It was about then that I realized that I may be a Smith by birth and thus capable of anything as far as law enforcement is concerned, but I usually like to be wearing a bra when I talk to the police.

“Things here seem pretty good,” I said. “I think I’ll head on home.”

My mother reached out and grabbed my wrist, "Please?" she said. I held her hand.

Big mean guy slammed a large box down in the driveway. “My car is legal,” he said mock philosophically, “I don’t know about Oliver’s car.”

The Chalicemom and I looked at each other and shrugged. So what if it’s not? You can have a non-street legal car in your driveway. The cops can only ticket if it’s a junker that has been there for 90 days or so or if they see you driving it. Every Smith knows that.

“And what if they search your house? I bet Oliver has some nasty stuff on his computer.”

My mother and I looked at each other. This might be a problem. If Oliver had any particularly weird porn or had contracted with any hookers and left evidence on his computer, he could go back to jail. And the police have an excellent record of finding probable cause to search the houses where my brothers live.

I will freely admit my brother is a terrible person, but he is a terrible person who is giving making an honest living a shot and on some level I respect that.

My mother looked at me. “Can you get rid of anything weird on Oliver’s computer?” she asked.

“Dunno. Don’t think so. But I can keep the police from looking in it. I’ll be back in ten minutes.”

I took the computer and stuck it in the back of my car. I drove home, trying really hard not to think about those lines from Animal Farm, “Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

I dropped the laptop off and put on some lawyer clothes. One of my more casual suits, some pearls, some nice shoes. Look at me, respectable member of society.

I was back at my parents’ house in time to talk to the police. I talked to them about our unruly houseguest. Big ugly guy stalked off. The police left. I talked to my mom about going to the magistrate to get a stay-away order.

“So,” my mother said. “I’m going to head over to the county courthouse, but the Flower Mart at the National Cathedral is today and your father and I were thinking about going later this afternoon. Would you like to come along?”

I declined. The day was starting to heat up, and my suit was starting to get uncomfortable.

Whose brother insists there was nothing weird on the computer, but who didn’t look herself.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Imagine a chubby law student smiting her forehead.

Yeah, that's me.


CC's exam preparation gets a little silly.

I'm still getting the hang of law school exam writing, so be nice. That said, I'm willing to take suggestions on improving my style. I know the analysis is a little spotty in places, but I gave myself a 90 minute deadline to write this as I felt that analyzing the movie should not be allowed to take longer than the movie itself.

An Analysis of tort law in The Omen

Soon after the movie begins, Ambassador Steven Harris suffers a fatal accident. A fuel truck driver who is driving negligently spills his cargo onto the Ambassador’s limousine. A homeless guy drops a match and Ambassador Harris and his driver are killed in the resulting explosion. Ambassador Harris’ family has quite a few avenues for recovering for negligence.

Firstly, if the driver of the oil truck were driving negligently, he may be held responsible for the entire accident. A driver of an oil truck through London has a duty to be aware of the traffic around him and drive carefully as a result. He breached that duty by driving negligently. Though the homeless man dropping a cigarette was also a cause of the accident, this action would have had not effect had the oil truck not spilled. The homeless man and the driver are in this sense jointly and severally liable for the Ambassador’s death. That said, a homeless man is often judgment-proof. In many states that would place the burden to be divided between the other parties.

Under vicarious liability, the oil company that owned the truck is responsible for the torts of its employee under respondaet superior since transporting oil is presumably within the scope of the deliveryman’s job duties. Even if the company has rules against negligent driving, the driving would still have been in furtherance of the driver’s employment and thus within the scope of vicarious liability.

The Ambassador and the oil truck driver might have a reasonable products liability claim against the maker of the oil truck if some material defect in the truck could be considered a cause of the accident. If the brakes were defective in some material way, strict liability would apply as an oil truck is not unavoidably unsafe. But there isn’t enough information to do much more than speculate as the particulars of the accident are not a focus of the movies.

The Ambassador’s family may go so far as to try to call driving an oil truck through the middle of the city an Ultrahazardous activity, but it is likely that the utility of oil deliveries would render that approach unworkable.
Wrongful death is the most obvious legal direction for the ambassador’s family to take. As the entire accident is over in a matter of seconds, it is unlikely that the Ambassador suffered any, but they could easily recover for the economic support and companionship they lost in his death.

Later in the movie, Damien’s nanny hangs herself as the attendees at his birthday party look on in horror. Any person who sees the hanging could indeed suffer distress great enough that they would need to seek medical treatment. But they would not have been afraid for their own safety, nor that of a member of their family, so the woman’s conduct is not tortious.

Years later, Katherine, who is pregnant, is standing on a stool watering a plant on the ledge of a mezzanine. Damien is riding his tricycle along and knocks her over the ledge. She hangs there for a moment begging Damien to help her. He doesn’t and she falls, breaking her collarbone and losing the baby when she hits the ground.
If Damien’s contact with his mother’s person was intentional, he could be held fully liable as battery is an intentional tort and children can be held responsible for intentional torts. Even if he only intended to scare her, the doctrine of transferred intent indicates that the intent will transfer to a battery claim. As Damien approaches Katherine, she screams and tells him to stop, meaning that she did have reasonable apprehension of what was to come, which adds an assault claim to the aforementioned.

Assuming, arguendo, that it was in fact an accident, Damien will be held to the “Reasonable child” standard, wherein the courts will ask themselves what a reasonable five-year-old would do in that situation. Anyone riding a tricycle has a duty not to hit people with it. This goes double for people who are riding tricycles on the second floor. His careless riding of the tricycle is a breach of this duty, and directly causes his mother’s fall. That her injuries put her in the hospital serves as ample evidence that she was harmed. A court would probably find that Damien was negligent as the reasonable six year old would know that both riding tricycles into people and riding them indoors are bad ideas.

Courts are split on whether Katherine would be able to recover for the death of her unborn child.

Keith and David, while in a cemetery at night, are chased by wild dogs. They had been directed to the cemetery by Father Spileto, meaning that they weren’t trespassers, so the licensee standard of care would apply. If Father Spileto keeps guard dogs, or if wild dogs have been roaming the area, then the priest had a duty to tell the father and Keith about the potential danger. The dogs do not bite Keith and David, but the priest could be liable for an emotional distress claim if they developed a physical manifestation of their distress.

Keith, however, has bigger problems than his emotional distress claim. While walking down a back alley, he is killed by a falling sign. Keith’s intestate would be able to sue under a negligence theory as the store owner is required to maintain his shop and keep such dangers in good repair.

In what was for my money the scariest scene in the movie, Damien’s nanny murders Katherine by injecting her IV with an air bubble while she is in the hospital. By the end of the scene, it’s clear that nobody in the hospital ever saw Damien or the nanny. Were Damien so inclined, he might well try a medical malpractice claim against the hospital. Though Damien would lack evidence that the hospital’s negligence caused his mother’s death, he could argue that embolisms caused by small punctures in an IV lines do not typically occur unless someone at the hospital has been negligent, and that the negligence was more likely than not that of the hospital staff. Thus, Damien has all of the elements of a res ipsa loquitor case of negligence.

Finally, Damien’s father dies when he is shot by an officer of the diplomatic protection group as he tries tries to stab Damien with a piece of the cross of Meggido. Stabbing someone is unprivileged contact with the plaintiff’s person, so that’s another battery claim. As outlined above, the factors for assualt and intentional infliction of emotional distress also apply.

However, the soldier shooting David is privileged as a defense of others claim. David was mere seconds away from stabbing Damien, thus satisfying the timeliness requirement. Even the officer’s use of deadly force is acceptable as it was reasonable force under the circumstances.