found/learn-ed things...

Thursday, March 06, 2003  

In the news

Ix-nay on the jury service for juror no. 142 (and his secret service escorts) says the NYTimes. (free registration required.)

A committee in the Illinois House of Representatives has opted to ix-nay the death penalty. Reports Salon: "... But that does not mean passage is likely."

posted by elle | Thursday, March 06, 2003 |

Wednesday, March 05, 2003  

A conversation [with internal dialogue]

He beckoned.
"Come into my office a minute."
I followed him behind the paneled oak door and took a seat. He rolled behind his desk.
"So, what's your status? Any news?"
[Wow. He's engaging me in conversation. In his office. I am important!]
"Nothing since being turned down for a scholarship. I'm still waiting to hear from [schools no. 6, 7 and 8]. I have an open house at MWU this weekend, though, and I'm hoping it will be a positive experience."
[It better be, or else ... I might buy fewer law school t-shirts next year when I'm attending MWU anyway. Sheesh.]
"Open house? I'm not familiar with that."
[You don't know about law college open houses? How is this possible?]
"They give potential students a tour, talk to us about financial aid and pretend to grill us in Socratic style. It's on Saturday. H. and I are going."
[Yeah, I'm taking my husband to an open house. I thought I could use the support and the unbiased perspective.]
"Oh, good. So, you're still considering MWU even though they aren't going to give you a scholarship? I thought for sure you'd opt for one of the other schools."
[*pause* The safety schools with the scholarship offers, or the almost-ivy that probably won't admit me? I'm not sure they'd take kindly to me showing up for classes once I get that thin-enveloped rejection letter...]
"Nope. Still planning on MWU. It's significantly less expensive and H. really enjoys his job. The market for [his job] is apparently worsening, and he's not confident of finding a comparable one in some of the other cities."
[Am I talking too loudly? Can people in the other offices hear me? They don't know about law school yet.]
"Ah." Long pause. "Well, keep me apprised."
[Will do, as long as you continually affirm the prudence of my decisions.]
"Will do."

posted by elle | Wednesday, March 05, 2003 |

Tuesday, March 04, 2003  


I remember not knowing how to read. I remember staring at a page of newsprint paper lined with strange symbols that – I knew – meant something. I just didn’t know how the system of words operated.

My mother says that I was three when I learned to read; of course, she her memory is always favorable to me – “Honey, remember when you were class president?” – if not necessarily accurate. I probably learned to read at 4, just before I entered kindergarten. I learned to read because she read to me at night before I went to sleep. She would sit on the edge of the bed, holding a Little House on the Prairie book in her hand. She read stories about big woods, full attics, winter blizzards and trips by wagon and horse. She would hold the book at a strange angle that allowed her to see the text and me to see the pictures; they were there, in black and white on the rough newsprint stock, surrounded by line after line of – something?

I don’t remember the instant it made sense – the eureka moment – when those black lines and circles became somethingmore. (What a glorious thing, to read.) However, I do remember the moment algebra made sense. I took the class in the seventh grade in an old building full of smells more grown up than my classmates and me. The teacher, a man with glasses and graying hair, wrote simple equations on the board: 7 - x = 1 or 8 – x = 5. He was generally disliked by the students, or at least the ones I knew, and the eighth graders would scare us with stories about his meanness.

I remember looking at the green chalkboard and its equations, when I realized that x was simply standing in for some other number. It was a substitute, a representative of a digit that we had to find. (Ah! Puzzles to solve!) That was beautiful – the grasping of something that seemed completing unobtainable until the moment that it wasn’t unobtainable anymore. It just was.

I remember aching for my younger sibling a few years later when he struggled with the same subject. His teachers had given up on him two or three classes ago – still in the “Math” years – and he had never caught up. I was away at college when he left school. I always wished he’d had that “eureka” moment and feared what might have happened to me that the light never switched on...

posted by elle | Tuesday, March 04, 2003 |

Monday, March 03, 2003  

Higher marks for MWU

I spoke today with a guy pal who, it turns out, is a much better cheerleader for MWU than the caller I spoke with last week. He says the atmosphere is collegial and the profs are supportive, especially of students who put in the work. As for marketability, he recognized the fact that, as a regional university, MWU graduates have an easier time finding employment in the midwest; however, he expressed confidence that top-ranked students have more nationally-tuned opportunities. While there is a conservative trend among the students, the academic atmosphere is generally open, he said. His advice: "Get involved. Go to parties. Try everything." I'm getting very exicted about the upcoming open house...

Reference books, etc.

I'd like to solicit suggestions from law students about reference-type books that might be useful come August. I'm going to hold off on study guide purchases until I figure out what will help me after school starts, but would like to make an early purchase of any style guides, dictionaries, law school "survival guides," etc. that folks have found to be particularly helpful. For example, while I wouldn't mind having the latest unabridged version of Black's, won't a smaller pocket legal dictionary be easier to tote around?

Identify your picks using the comments. I'll compile your (muchly-appreciated) responses into a full post later...

posted by elle | Monday, March 03, 2003 |

simplyshe is greatfun

I think this collection is the greatest. I bought the "Notes-to-Go" product this weekend, which is a notebook of perforated small noteslips with fun, girly sayings. My favorites: "Imagine a world where you actually liked the people you worked with" and "You're not bitter, you're cynically hopeful." And, it's pink, which I adore in a legallyblond kind of way...

(And yes, I know it's not a true portrayal of life at law school.)

update: there's more of it.

posted by elle | Monday, March 03, 2003 |

"Contrary to the saying, 'data' is not the plural of 'anecdote.'"

In 1993 Justice Breyer directed federal judges to act as "gatekeepers" regarding the validity of scientific testimony. In light of this instruction, Robert Park has identified the "Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science."

Cheating for fun and profit

Worried Mom checks with the NYTimes Ethicist: It is wrong for my 11 year-old to sell homework assignments to his classmates, right? (free registration required)

posted by elle | Monday, March 03, 2003 |
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