The Academy

Blogging about nothing.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Saturday, March 08, 2003
In other news, I am becoming a better poker player.

I want to report that I schooled Robert last night in a poker tournament. Normally, I don't bet against him because, well, he's him, and I just assume he's got a better hand than I do. Plus, he tells me not to bet against him if we're going head to head for real money because of the couple-thing, even though last time I checked my fingers are jewelry-free so I don't really agree that our interests are completely coextensive. Unless its one of those special occasions where he gives me money to gamble. (Which is really nice. Thanks, honey!)

But, back to how I kicked his ass. I TOTALLY DID. First, I beat him a couple of times when he made the mistake of staying in with a flush WHEN I HAD A HIGHER FLUSH (hee hee hee). Then, I knocked him out personally and permanently in a head-to-head. Then I won the whole thing. Wheeee.

There's a reason I read Attorneys Suck, a masterfully anonymous blawg. Without IA, I would never have learned about this tasty sounding but oh so wrong snack. Every time they find a new place to put cheese in a pizza, my friend Meg refers to that as a "pizzavation." Or when they find a new delivery system for candy, that is, of course, a "candyvation." What is this? Snackcakeavation just doesn't sound right. Fryervation? Help, please.

To the contrary, Willy, I think we can agree that amongst Academy members you are Most Likely To Face A Senate Confirmation Committee With Favorable Results. I, on the other hand, am Most Likely To Face A Senate Committee Other Than Judiciary Unwillingly. Having had a completely different life before I came to the law, I was unconfirmable before I entered the hallowed halls of my alma mater, Jolly Fat's Law Hut. In my other life, you got extra points for being extra outrageous. In this one, I keep forgetting I'm supposed to be respectable.

In retrospect, it probably would have been better to have been a lot more careful about anonymity. But this little blawg got noticed a lot faster than I ever thought possible. I never expected it to be noticed at all, for crying out loud. If I had been more careful, I might be more comfortable blawgging at length about topics beyond that of the Giant Chee-to. Even now, I ask myself, is a controversy surrounding the Giant Chee-to likely to come before the Circuit for which I work? I ultimately concluded that it was okay to wax poetic about the Chee-to because any ownership dispute is likely going to be handled by one of those Big Square State Circuits. I think, however, that the comfort level that anonymity affords would ultimately be dangerous. Whether people can figure out who I am or not, there are some topics I just should not talk publicly about for the next six months. There are some topics that I will forever resist the urge to talk publicly about, even though shameless grabs for fame by doing so have worked out okay for some. Me, I'd feel gross.

You know, gross. Gross like that former professor who tried to quid pro quo some inside baseball info from me should feel. Yeah, I'm still mad about that. Its all I can do not to hyperlink to his face. But that would also make me feel gross. And scared. Gross and scared. Glad it all happened in Canada, which is far away.

Friday, March 07, 2003
Confirmation dreams doomed: To the extent that any of us Academicians dream of one day being judges (specifically, judges who face some kind of legislative confirmation), this article suggests we better stop blogging. (Link via Sam Heldman, who says that, like me, he is already unconfirmable, blog or no blog.)

I hope this doesn't mean that America will be deprived of the services of Judge Bashman or Justice(s) Volokh.

Well, the human shields are arguably providing "aid" to Iraq. But is Iraq an "enemy"? There is no declared war against Iraq (but then, I haven't checked CNN yet today). This raises the question of when a foreign country becomes an "enemy." Unfortuntely, Congress didn't do a very good job defining terms in the Constitution.

Following Willy's lead in the IP area of Cheetos, I cam across a registration with the US Copyright Office. Artwork sells cheesy snacks:
Registered Works Database (Title Search)
1 Item
1. Registration Number: VA-228-845
Title: Cheetos brand Astrobites brand cheese flavored snacks.
Note: Cataloged from appl. only.
Claimant: acFrito-Lay, Inc.
Created: 1985
Published: 19May86
Registered: 26Jun86
Date in © Notice: notice: 1985
Previous Related Version: Prev. reg. 1983, VA 147-731.
Claim Limit: NEW MATTER: "the front panel includes new design elements, illustrations; back panel includes new text."
Special Codes: 5/S

I ran the unhyphenated term and found three inventions that at least used Cheetos in the testing process.

I decided to see if Chee-Tos were patented. Unfortunately, a quick search of the Patent and Trademark Office patent listings turned up nothing.

You can play an amusing form of googlewhacking -- trying to search for a string that will yield one, and only one, result -- with the Patent and Trademark Office search engine. Here's the one entry I found for nose-picking. It is apparently a device for preventing nose-picking and other socially unacceptable habits involving the use of the hands.

The invention consists of a glove, "preferably" one whose index and middle finger sleeves are joined, with some other modifications to make it harder to hold a cigarette while wearing.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled billables.

I can't believe I'm saying this

We're debating amongst ourselves here today so I thought I'd bring it out in the open air. Are the Americans who went to Baghdad to serve as human shields guilty of treason?

I do not eat Chee-tos. Until now I had nothing against them. I simply preferred chips. But now I kind of resent Chee-tos. I say that because I really, really love cheese. And I am dismayed to learn that 15 millions pounds of cheese are used each year to make Chee-tos. I just feel like that cheese could be put to better use.

Thursday, March 06, 2003
The Chee-to Has A Following

Fantastic fairy blawgmother Denise Howell has pointed out that my earlier prediction about this being the only blawg that would post the deformed snack turned out to be wrongitty wrong wrong wrong. Once again, I've underestimated the power of the Internet.

The Giant Chee-to

I have more to say about the Giant Chee-to. First, I had no idea really that the word "Chee-to" is hyphenated. I thought it was simply "Cheeto". Or maybe even "Cheetoh". Considering that I've lived some 30 plus years thinking this, its kind of disturbing. But the fact is I have never, until this post, typed the word. Chee-to. It just doesn't look right. Perhaps its because its singular. Chee-tos. Nope. Still weird.

Second, the hoopla surrounding the Giant Chee-to is hilarious. We know this. But do we know why? I'll tell you why. It is hilarious because it is being regarded as if its some amazing natural phenomenon and not just a big Chee-to mistake. If this were a gigantic toma-to or pota-to, that would be one thing. But it is not. It is, as I have already explained, a gigantic Chee-to. You know how such a thing can happen? A big glob of corn meal batter somehow doesn't get separated into seven smaller globs. That's how it happens. Or, as (funniest occupation title ever) Chee-to Development Manager Kevin Cogan notes, its a "Seasoning Accumulation" problem. The thing is -- its not a miracle, its a mistake. Funny.

Third, I wonder if the new-found fame of the Giant Chee-to will prompt Frito-Lay to create a WHOLE NEW LINE of Chee-tos that are as big as lemons.

Fourth, the arrival of the Giant Chee-to reminds me of a game my sister and I used to play while eating Chee-tos. We would withdraw a Chee-to from the bag, hold it up, and proclaim aloud the character from the Dukes of Hazzard that the Chee-to most closely resembled. The very slim Chee-tos were "Daisies," while the slightly larger were "Roscoes" and the medium-sized ones were "Bos" or "Lukes," depending on certain nuances I cannot now recall. Occasionally, we fought. She would contend that a certain Chee-to was an "Uncle Jesse," while I would insist that it was a "Cooter." Not a physical fight, you understand. A civilized Point/Counterpoint kind of thing.

I'm certain my sister and I would agree on the proper category for this most recent specimen.

If you wonder why you visit us, its because no other blawg will post this.

Jen is Sooo Smart

The politicization of the judicial selection process is distressing. But Jen has a point. Its an infection that comes from inside, as is evidenced by some of the rabid commentary out there from those who sound like they would better serve the country as counsel for a legislator or a senate committee or something. There's plenty of jobs out there where you can make yourself some policy, smarties, if that's what you want. If you're a law clerk, though, that ain't your job.

More importantly, folks, we need more questions for HJB. I'd like to get something together to send to him by Monday. There are only so many ways I can ask "How do you find the time to be so prolific?" As is evidenced by the recent gap in content on this blog, even a blog staffed by five people is not the easiest thing in the world to maintain. Never fear, though! I'm sure my mother and I will have another fight about bath decals soon.

I just read what is being said about HJB on the Greedy Clerk's Board. My blood is positively boiling. Do any of them actually read the site? I will concede that if you looked at only one day's postings, you might get the impression that HJB has a conservative leaning. But if you read every day, or even if you review a week's worth of postings, you will see that his postings to commentary (rather than actual cases and hearings and other primary source material) is pretty even-handed. And anyway, he provides many links to primary source material, so readers can feel free to form their own opinions if they care to take the time to read that instead of just relying on the commentary.

But I'm not surprised by what I read on the Greedy Clerk's Board. Unfortunately this nation's courts are inundated with young men and women who are excessively reactionary. They absolutely cannot stand to listen to opposing points of view. They react to labels like "conservative" and "liberal" with wild abandon. It does worry me somewhat that these men and women are, to some extent, shaping our nation's jurisprudence.

Here is my advice to Mindy for the interviews. (I think I offered this to her the first time 'round, but this is for the benefit of our MANY readers, too.) When it is getting really tedious and you are absolutely DYING to say something inappropriate, focus on one of the following two images:

1. The interviewer with pants around ankles grunting and straining on the toilet.

2. Some fun little secret you have that the interviewer would NEVER suspect -- perhaps the delicious panties you are wearing, a hidden tatoo, the fabulous, ummm, encounter you had with your BF over the weekend, or something even more deviant if necessary.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003
You know, I've been impressed by Howard's neutrality too. Not so the posters on the Greedy Clerks board, who have been expressing their dismay about supposed Bashman Bias. Whatever. I wish they would provide more information of the kind that their title suggests. I need some hard info about How To Get Money.

Folks, I'm applying for law firm jobs in Los Angeles. I have not interviewed at law firms in some time. I'm afraid. However, I'm remembering the good times we had back in the day, when Jen and I spent a month listening to the same speech over and over again about how Our Firm Is Different From All Other Firms. In order to avoid going insane, we completely mastered the art of the zone-out -- particularly during lengthy whimsical stories about the international tax implications of a particular deal. We had it down, my friends: the vacant yet rapt expression, the lips slightly parted, the well-timed nodding, the occasional interested-sounding "Really? Huh! I wouldn't have guessed that." This time around I have a better idea of what I actually want to do and I'm applying only to places I actually would want to work, so I don't think I'll need to drag those skillz out of the closet. But the prospect of interviewing again scares me anyway. I have two scheduled, both are set to begin at 10 and end around 3 or 4. Eeep.

I suspect Robert is less concerned about saving taxpayers money and more concerned about saving himself the time listening to me complain about AEDPA. Poor dear.

I am going to come right out and say it now.


There, now it's out. It was me.

I had a very nice time talking with Mr. Bashman (I suppose I could call him Howard now that we have dined). I found him to be super smart, witty, and very knowledgable. I enjoyed learning about his career path, including his two-year stint as a Third Circuit law clerk in the early 1990's. Having met several law firm partners, I was struck by how relaxed and friendly Howard is by comparison. He is forthcoming on many topics, though I still don't have a sense of his personal politics. I have always been impressed by his neutrality on How Appealing? and told him so yesterday. That didn't prompt, as I had hoped it would, an outpouring of information from him about his own political and legal philosophy. Maybe we'll get more of a scoop from the 20 questions.

So there. That's my report on My Lunch With Howard Bashman.

Apparently I am alone in applauding the sandwich-board sentence. I stand by my approval, though. I've actually been inside a few jails (including the Tombs in NYC and the Shelby County Jail in Memphis, TN) and I assure you that I would rather do 100 hours in a sandwich board than 100 SECONDS in either of those facilities.

*sigh*, *sigh*, habeas petition denied...

Following today's Supreme Court decisions in Lockyer v. Andrade reversing the Ninth Circuit's grant of habeas relief to the guy in California sentenced to 25 yrs. to life for stealing some videos from a K-Mart, and Ewing v. California affirming the California courts' denial of habeas relief to the guy sentenced to 25 yrs. to life for stealing some golf clubs, I feel that, in the interest of economy, the Supreme Court should simply issue a large rubber stamp and a pad of red ink to the Courts of Appeal and District Courts with the words "HABEAS DENIED" emblazened in large block letters. This solution would save countless taxpayer dollars from being wasted by law clerks researching the ins and outs of AEDPA. I hope the obviously violent and deranged individuals at the subject of these cases didn't get their hopes up.

Actually, let me think about this.... Money saved by rubber stamp: negligible since law clerks and judges are on fixed salaries anyway. Money saved by Not Crowding Our Jails With Stupid, But Non-Violent Alleged Thieves (and while were at it, drug possessors): Hundreds of Millions of Dollars.

It's my money. I choose option two.

Take this Jen!

One hundred hours in shackles might be considered cruel and unusual punishment, but what about 100 hours bearing a sandwich board as if it were a scarlet letter? Arguing that the court-ordered punishment is a form of humiliation that would push the defendant further into a life of crime, an attorney for convicted mail thief Shawn Gementera is asking U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to lift the novel punishment he imposed last week.

The full article is only available with a subscription to, so that's all there is folks.

Statement from Judge Vaughn Walker: "OK. I hereby vacate my previous sentence and impose a new sentence of six months in jail. Have fun."

Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Bashmaniacs, Indeed.

Well, the Academy technicians are cooking up some juicy questions for our Blawgger down in the lab. Either that or someone's makin' cookies. One of our number is said to be lunching with HJB today and will likely return with some of the preliminaries out of the way. For those of you who have demanded that we ask HJB "How on earth do you have time to keep How Appealing so gosh-darned up to date?": we promise to ask that and every possible permutation thereof.