Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Went to help Lorraine with planning and preparing to turn the "extra room" into a nursery. Oh, the themes one could choose... Trains, horses, frogs, ducks, yellow, blue, green... Where does one start? Well, usually by cleaning out the closet. Where does all that stuff we all seem to own come from? The wrapping paper we can never find when we need it (so we always buy a new roll), the craft materials we haven't touched in years but bought with such good intentions, the old linens and clothes that we really have no need for (and would probably want new even if we did) but are still perfectly good and too nice to get rid of... It's possible that an overabundance of closets in houses will be the downfall of our civilization because of all the extra stuff they breed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Parents got a digital SLR camera for Christmas and Mom and I went to Lake Morton to play with it yesterday. We found some winter visitors who grudgingly posed for us.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yesterday I went with my bro and sis-in-law to see the sonogram of the new french fry. And... it's a baby! That's all we know for now, though the nurse knows more. It has fingers and toes and all the necessary bits in between, just really tiny. We watched it yawn and grab its feet and generally look annoyed and wishing to sleep. Due date's May 8. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Back home in sunny Florida. People say it's cold, and I'll grant them that the dampness makes it a bit chilly, but it's definitely on a different scale--no wrapping up like an Eskimo every time you leave your house. Yesterday was upper 60' (not to brag).

I missed my Public Radio station. I must say, WUSF is one of the finer NPR stations. The one in South Bend seems to do a lot of interviews with local folks, which would be cool if they had some expertise on their topic, or even something interesting to say. But they don't, so it's not really. The station in Greenville had Polka Hour. Need we say more?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

If you're not already on law overload (I am), this is mildly interesting. Several states have passed laws known as Make My Day laws that expand a homeowner's right to protect himself using force within his own home. Republicans with guns love it, but other folks are concerned it will encourage trigger-happy rednecks. Looks like they may have reason to be concerned according to this story. Smells a little like jury nullification.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Temperature has finally reached freezing. First time since November. Now all the snow can melt and re-freeze on the sidewalks making them hazardous to walk on. Winter is so much fun!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Okay, this is just funny. You environmental law geeks will enjoy this. An environmental law makes it impossible for this Brazilian city to expand its cemetaries, so its mayor forbid its citizens to die. So is that a capital crime...?
I stole this from Brendan's blog: Year in review. It was too good not to share. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this link do not necessarily reflect the views of this poster. The poster's views are well known; should any questions arise, they should be directed to her secretary/public liaison.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Heh. I'm sure I'll love Professor Garnett for his amazingly hard final exams some day. Right now I just want to quit school and open a Starbucks.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

ACLU is suing Polk County. History: Last Christmas some zealous Sunday School class put up a nativity scene on the county building lawn in the middle of the night after being denied permission. This, of course, sparked some protests by offended parties who had nothing better to do, and so this year apparently the county is designating a "free speech zone" where people can put up whatever they want -- within the guidelines. What I can't figure out is why the ACLU thinks Polk County, Florida is worth all the attention. tbobdole: "I honestly wonder if these people just have nothing to do... They should get a dog or an xbox or something."

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Two more:

I am beginning to suspect I am quickly losing capability of socializing with normal people. All my jokes involve latin phrases and doctrines of interpretation or reasonable-person standards or jury instructions.

Please note the new-ish link to the right to Brendansphere. Brendan's a fellow NDLS student whose blog is much cooler than mine. The site is almost always good for something controversial, or at least interesting, and he posts frequently. He has an interest in meteorology, specifically hurricanes, that borders on the unhealthy, and during the Katrina stuff gained an amazingly (and newsworthy) wide readership. Pay him a visit sometime.
Two items:

Civil Procedure exam: Check. Three more to go.

Jubilant Sykes. You gotta hear this. Seriously, if you're in the South Bend area and you don't take advantage of the amazing concerts they bring to DeBartelo, you've got to get on the ball. Tonight I heard Jubilant live for the second time, and I still think he has the most inexpressibly powerful voice I've ever heard. Yes, he does deep and rich, but it's the soft high stuff that really gives me chills. At least get a CD, folks - this man needs to be heard.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Radio folks this morning said we got nine inches last night. Wow.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Okay, stupid weather question of the day from your local Floridian...

Why don't you have lightning during snow storms? I've never heard of a thunder-snow-storm. Is it because they don't happen, or because it's really long and tedious to say? Does electricity just not jump around as well in the cold? Forgive me; I'm just used to electricity and precipitation going together. All this quietness during storms is weirding me out.
Here, I'll toss a bone. Article on CNN legal analysis that prompted some discussion:

Has all the good elements: defamation, First Amendment free speech, society's view of homosexuality, oh, and Tom Cruise. What else could you want?
Pardon the slow posting these days. All that stuff you hear about law school finals time being all-engrossing is half-true. Somehow I have managed to neglect all my normal necessary activities, like stocking the fridge, cleaning the apartment, and doing laundry, but that's not really because I'm studying all the time. I think it's more because I'm worrying about studying all the time. Makes a person restless. Well, maybe the laundry part is because it's cold outside and I have no great desire to haul my laundry across the apartment complex in the blowing snow (which is coming down pretty heavily at the moment). But I'm running out of socks, so I might just have to buckle down and do it. Nah, I've got a sink. I can hand wash a couple pairs. It's finals time, after all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Mark your calenders: Next spring the Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra plays with The Chieftains at DeBartolo on March 2 and at Carnegie Hall on March 17. We got the music tonight, and it should be fun. There's a corruption of a Mozart horn concerto in the program, so I get to solo! Don't miss it...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Some pretty trees that live in between.
Where I go to sleep at night (no, silly, not the car, the apartments behind it).

This is where I live.

My criminal law professor is teaching with a Starbucks cup, size grande, in his hands. I am torn between admiration and wanting some.
The outside temperature has not been above freezing since last Wednesday and it is not predicted to until next Saturday. It is currently 8 degrees, wind chill of minus 4. It's not even officially winter yet. Why do people live in climates like this?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's that time of year again... When we fall asleep making lists of things we have to do when we wake up, when we schedule out our bathroom breaks so we have as much available time to study as possible, and when our professors feel like it's time to double the reading load so as to cram in all the stuff we didn't get to during the first 15 sixteenths of the semester. In that light, I think it's a good time to take out a moment and remember some things that make us smile. Here, I'll go first...

The soft, crunchy-squeaky sound snow makes when you step on it.
My new pink watch. The band is plastic, like those watches we used to have as little kids.
Stupid inside jokes with friends.
The way classmates I don't really know and never talk to in the law building always smile and say hi like we're members of a conspiracy when I see them anywhere outside the law building.

Now your turn.
And this was how I spent much of Thanksgiving... cradling not a niece but a laptop, working on that take-home final for Legal Writing. Somehow just not as cute, but such is life. I expect my niece (or nephew - I'm not picky) to be much cuter than a Gateway. You listening out there, bro and sis-in-law?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How cute is this? No, it's not Kyle's kid; it's his niece Taylor Nicole. She's about 3 mos and met her uncle for the first time this Thanksgiving.
News has come out that all the Legal Research finals have been graded and everyone has passed. No specific grades released, but at least we all know we have one credit on the books. Congratulations, me hearties!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Fun with Food

Two fool-proof recipes to make guests think you are a fabulous cook:


At the store:
2 lbs. salmon (this can be fresh or frozen, but thaw before you start)
4 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. shallots (yeah, diced onion works, too)
3/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbs. lemon juice

Rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Mix the rest of the ingredients (a small wire whisk works magic with the oil). Pour in a shallow baking dish. Roll the salmon in it and leave it to marinate in the fridge 1-2 hours. Grill 10-12 minutes per inches of thickness on oiled foil, or just broil it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Trust me; it's always amazing and your friends won't know how you did it.

Another crowd-pleaser I got from my very good friend Joanna Straub:

Chocolate Chess pies

Preheat oven to 400. Blend:
1 cup evaporated milk (a 5 oz. can works)
6 Tbs. cocoa
1/2 cup melted butter
2 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla

Pour the mixture into two pre-made 9" shallow pie crusts (the frozen kind are great) and bake at 400 for ten minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until set in the middle (sometimes it takes up to 30 minutes). Word of wisdom: DON'T try to get creative with this one. You have to do the ingredients just so, and put both pies in at once. Somehow the chemistry just doesn't work otherwise. The pies are good served cold or warm, just know that it gets runny when it's warm.

Hope you enjoy. Let me know how it turned out if you try either of these.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A friend of mine referred me to this article recently:

Perhaps some of you have heard of this man or of the FLDS before. I had not and find this rather scary. It is interesting how life throws little themes at you every now and then, though. This article is yet another in a stream of random encounters with cult religions I have been having recently. It started a couple of weeks ago with a case we debated in my medical ethics class regarding Jehova's Witnesses and their refusal of blood products. This sparked an interesting debate about the lines between religious devotion and psychologic delusion. Since then, this stuff has been rearing its head everywhere. Given the population of BJU grads posting here I am curious as to your thoughts on this matter. Can we declare one religion to be inherently less sensical than another? Is there a line someone can cross at which point their religious beliefs are considered absurd? What is more important, the doctrine or its implementation? In medical school we tend to believe patients have the right to make their own decisions about healthcare unless they are considered to be incapacitated to do so. In general we don't see refusal of blood products on religious grounds to be incapacity. But what about stranger beliefs? What about Christian Scientists who refuse all medical care? Or scientologists who believe they can heal themselves with thetan energy? Or Raelians who want to get in touch with the alien race that cloned humans? Can I segregate these beliefs on their merits and refer one for psychiatric treatment while granting the wishes of the other? Do I draw the line only when ones religious beliefs bring harm to another, like with the FLDS or fundamentalist sects of Islam? If so, am I obligated to fight against the religion that gave birth to the crime, or those who perpetrated the crime alone?

Notre Dame vs. Navy. Yeah, we won that one.
The Mercied is pleased to welcome two new "guest posters" to the party. Everyone give a round of applesause to.... Monkey Lung and The Bard!!!

Okay, maybe three exclamation points is overdoing it just a bit, but really, I'm pleased to have them initiate posts on their own every now and again. They're going to do it anyway by proxy, so I figured I'd just make it official. Blog away, ye scurrrrrrvy mates!
Today four adventurers from good ol' Bob Jones University plan to trek halfway across the country to South Bend. Well, actually only three of them are coming all the way to South Bend. One is getting tossed off Jonah-style in Ohio or somewhere. I was hoping to have snow for their arrival, but it's just not looking like it's going to happen. We got a weather advisory and everything, but got up this morning, and it's just a smattering of sleet. Disappointing. Happy traveling anyway, ye scurrrrvy mates!

Monday, November 21, 2005

And Monkey Lung cross-fires! The following is posted by proxy:

Our student newspaper [at University of Florida -- ed.] has been running a series of editorials for and against the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Here is the latest one, which happens to be against, but raises some good points:

I think this is a fascinating topic, particularly given the recent court decision for intelligent design in Kansas. Arguments about the validity of either theory or about separation of church and state aside, what I find interesting is the mere question of whether intelligent design should be taught based on what it is. One argument claims intelligent design should not be taught because it is not science, inherently. It is outside of the realm of science and therefore outside of the realm of the classroom (or the science classroom, at least). On the other hand, if one is to grant separation of church and state jurisdiction here, is teaching of evolution in public schools also tantamount to advancing a religious agenda, namely atheism? Does this not represent a violation of the separation of church and state? I tend to agree with those who would exclude intelligent design from the classroom mainly because it doesn't need to be there. Christians already do far too much dressing their religion up in socially acceptable clothes as it is. Why spend so much effort justifying something so far above science with limited scientific principles that will inevitably fail to capture your point in a meaningful way? Placing God alongside science as if the two are equal players borders on sacreligious. However, I think the question raises some interesting points and I figure you would be in a better position than I to reference some good information on the matter (not the crumby UF newspaper). I do find it interesting how vehement defenders of evolution have become on this matter. Some of the editorials in response to pro-creationist viewpoints are outright slanderous and angry. It is as if this decision in Kansas represents the beginning of a movement viewed as threatening by most scientists. If supporters of evolution really belive it is such a logical theory, why do they not also believe it will stand on its own merits? The tone of some of their defenses is reminescent of the tone with which members of the Christian right speak about legalized gay marriage; as if the first domino is about to fall in a cascade that threatens their belief system or even their very way of life.

Interestingly the same issue of the newspaper also features an article about a UF student arrested for stealing a sign from a local minister preaching on campus. The sign read "Beware Queer University!" The student was apparently so enraged by the sign that she grabbed it from him and ran off. Ironically the minister himself was arrested only a week earlier for disturbing the peace (disrupting class with his yelling). He is protesting a policy in the dorms on campus that RA's (student hall leaders) are instructed to direct students who express homosexual feelings to one of the campuses Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trangendered student groups or to counseling centers for homosexual students. In his mind this promotes the expansion of homosexuality on college campuses. While the minister is obviously a little off-base in his methods he raises an interesting point. What should a public institution like UF (or public high schools for that matter) do with students who maybe expressing to peers, teachers, or administrators homosexual sentiments for the first time? Or what should we do as Chirstians? Should we make attempts to discourage these feelings? Should we listen with an aim to help the student understand such feelings, knowing this may lead to their justification? Should we do as UF has done and direct them to homosexual support groups that can help them solidify or reject these feelings?
Not to be outdone, Thomas has contributed another time-wasting website for your viewing pleasure. This comes without any endorsement from the publisher; just passing the info along.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

On a far less intellectual note, Monkey Lung sent me this oh-so-helpful guide to Homestarrunner (to which you'll find a link on this page right along with the BJU and NDLaw websites). It was so fabulously comprehensive it was too good not to share. I publish it for your edification:

To begin: Upon typing the URL in your browser you are directed to a picture of Homestar and a choice of coming on in (which randomly selects one of the many main pages for your viewing pleasure) or watching the intro (which is perhaps funnier after becoming better acquainted with Homestar). Note that below this picture are a number of options including "sb emails" which are present beneath every page. This link is one of the few places on the site where you can directly link to Strongbad Emails, the primary purpose of coming to the site.

The mainpage: As I am sure you have discovered by now the mainpage contains the classic links that Homestar iterates for you as you highlight them and some sort of antic ensues on the variable backdrop. It's quite fun to run your mouse quickly over these links as this causes the various antics to take place simultaneously and much hilarity ensues. Pale at the bottom left corner of the screen are the numbers 1-23 which link you to the various mainpages in existence. This can keep you busy for sometime. In the top-left corner is the museum link which directs you to historical files about the site. Did you know Homestarrunner started as a children's book? If you have not already done so you should click on the "First time here?" link to the right. This is essential. The rotating current events above this are self explanatory as are the lettered links at the top of the page. The "r" for random toon is a great for a quick fix.

Toons: This is the only link from the main page with enough content to warrant directed exploration.

Big Toons: All of these are worth your time. Most are self contained and do not require any previous experience. Exceptions are: "Shopping for Danger" and "Parsnips a Plenty"

Shorts: These are much more numerous and most of them are related to running themes you'll get to later. Start at the bottom. The essentials:
Strong Bad Sings
Fluffy Puff Commercial
The Interview
The System is Down (see sb emails "techno" and "tape-leg"
Lookin at a Thing in a Bag

Powered by the Cheat: self-explanatory, The Cheat authors his own stuff, see sb email "mile" first. Important: watch sb email "i love you" and then watch "Everybody to the Limit"

Teen Girl Squad: I highly reccomend this portion of the site. Watch the issues in order but watch sb email "comic" first.

Strong Bad E-mails: This is where it all happens. Start at the bottom and enjoy.

Answering Machine: Audio messages left for Marzipan, very funny, just click the buttons on the machine

Trogdor: If you do not know about Trogdor you are not a Homestarrunner fan. Watch sb email "dragon." You may then choose to watch sb email "video games" followed by shorts "Peasant's Quest Preview" and "Peasant's Quest Movie Trailer"

I will leave you to discover the rest on your own. Wikipedia has a VERY extensive reference if you would like to learn more. The site caters to regular viewers and for this reason it is essential to watch the e-mails in order. Have fun not studying!

[Editor's note: The subject line aptly stated "warning: you do not have time for this." I repeat the warning and claim no responsibility for any loss of time resulting from this post.]

Friday, November 18, 2005

The other day David brought to my attention an article that can be found at According to the author, the "morning-after" pill is not what we've all been told it is. The article sparked some interesting (and potentially important) questions about both the "official" Catholic and Protestant positions on contraceptives. What is more important: the motive for using them, or the particular method used? Or are both important? I heard good arguments on all sides. I'm still thinking.

Along similar (but distinguishable) lines, I found a post on Mirror of Justice from last Wednesday particularly on-point about perspectives on abortion. It can be found at

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 all the 1L's at Notre Dame take their first Final Exam. It's Legal Research, and it's 100% of our grades. Dum dum dummmm!! If you need me, I'll be stuck in a Bluebook somewhere trying to figure out how to cite a statute to both the U.S.C. and its pocket part. Or how to update a digest... Who came up with this system!? When I grow up, I'm only using WestLaw.

Many thanks to you in my study group who keep me entertained and at least sometimes marginally informed. Thanks also to Thomas for not squishing Peter in the small compact storage units. That would have been gross and it would have been hard to get Peter off the NE Digest set for years to come (since they're only published every HOW often? I think I'm gonna need a couple pencils...
What I learned in Contracts today: WE HATE INSURANCE COMPANIES. We will rule against them every time, even if we have to make up a new legal doctrine to do it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Foundation

First: A word about blogs.

Blogging is frequently criticized on the ground that it is inherently self-centered to expect the world to read and care about one's daily life and thoughts. I too have engaged in such criticism. However, upon reflection, I am not sure that the charge is entirely fair. Constantly talking about oneself is equally self-centered and annoying, yet few denounce conversation wholesale. I think the analogy is apt; blogging, like conversation, is not wholly tasteless if it is used appropriately. Let us hope I am right. If you disagree, please save us all some annoyance and don't read my blog.

Second: A word about the title.

I was intrigued to find that in Greek, Matthew 5:7 reads roughly, "Blessed are the merciful, because they will be mercied." My Greek scholar friends may take issue with my rudimentary understanding of the language, but I like it. May I be worthy of its promise.

Third: Ground rules.

In light of point one above, I think it fair to establish some parameters. I would hope this blog (like any good conversation) is not all about me. That's not very interesting. I will feel free to share thoughts, impressions, and some interesting happenings that naturally arise from a personal viewpoint, but I would like to keep the focus more broad then that. Accordingly, feel free not to confine your comments (which I welcome) to my perspective. However, when commenting, please keep it appropriate for family viewing. No personal attacks (possible exemption of political figures -- if they are fair game for the media), and please respect your friends, your host (me), and your Creator.