Friday, April 29, 2005

Springtime Fun

An area school hosted face painting, slides, climbing, karaoke, and prize drawings for Spring. When I picked my daughter up from school she hung on the monkey bars for a while, then we killed an hour at Chuck E. Cheese's waiting for it to start. A good time was had by all, and I took a few pictures with my camera phone. Sorry for the low quality....

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Lucky Number 13?

We are very pleased that you will be joining the Thirteenth Court of Appeals for the Summer 2005 Judicial Internship Program. Although the Court is unable to offer salaried compensation or other state employee benefits for your service as a volunteer judicial intern, we hope to provide you with valuable experience in legal research and writing, as well as a little bit of fun. Through some extracurricular "field trips," we also plan to give you a taste of legal proceedings at the trial level and introduce you to members of the local bar.

Yay! The Thirteenth Court of Appeals handles cases from Corpus Christi down the coast of Texas to Brownsville. I'll be in Corpus Christi for six weeks, interning while burning through all my vacation days at work. Nora's from Corpus and she assures me it's a completely different way of life there. Slower-paced, more friendly. I'll find out more in July, and you'll be able to read about it here. Stay tuned....

Monday, April 18, 2005

Οξυρυνχος Revisited

Two thousand years ago, the Greek city of Oxyrhynchus stood along a branch of the Nile river. Once the Egyptian village of Per-medjed, Oxyrhynchus rose to prominence and became a regional capital in Roman times. Like most capitals, it produced mountains (literally!) of paper, which was periodically dumped outside of town. Unlike most capitals, however, it was in the arid Egyptian countryside. Those scraps of paper survived, buried in mounds, until 1896, when Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt began excavations. Some 800 boxes of documents and scraps of documents were recovered. Some have been cleaned and translated. About 90% of it consisted of government documents, receipts, licenses, etc. About 10% was literature--some of which had been thought lost forever. Volumes are periodically published as to the latest findings and translations.

Many of the documents were illegible, as the ink had faded into illegible stray marks. Now, using infrared technology, scientists have discovered they can recover these lost writings. The newspapers are hyping it up as "the 'classical holy grail' that may rewrite the history of the world." Well... not too likely. Certainly it is exciting. But so far Oxyrhynchus is not Boğazköy, nor even Nag Hammadi. Based on the scraps already translated, we know that most of them are going to be farm reports, census records, etc. Important, yes. Each document is an invaluable link to history. Perhaps we'll find unknown works of Menander, Euripidies, or Sophocles. But even if we don't, we will have a clearer picture as to daily life in a world a hundred generations removed from our own. And that, my friends, is newsworthy.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Golden Triangle

My mother sent me a longer version of this list; I had to laugh at some of these statements. One side of my family moved into the Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange area (the "Golden Triangle") in the 1830s and never left. It's depressed, repressed, and dispossessed.

You know you're from the Golden Triangle (or lived there too long) if:
  • "Meeting a celebrity" means standing in line at the Olive Garden next to the local weatherman.
  • Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a camper on the Eastex Freeway.
  • You vacation in Houston and honeymooned in Galveston.
  • You've seen all the biggest bands ten years after they were popular.
  • You own a 'swirl' painting from the SE Texas State Fair that you made as a child.
  • The local paper covers national and international headlines on one page, but requires 6 pages for high school football.
  • You've had to switch from Heat to A/C in the same day.
  • You find 98 degrees "a little warm," and 60 degrees downright freezing.
  • You know if someone is from out of town the second he or she walks in the door.
  • You've had several friends move off and move back within a couple of months.
  • Your third field trip to Gladys City sucked as much as the first.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Articles Edited--Free!

I just read a news article about a deadly car crash. After reading it, I copied it into an email with interlinear notes and sent it back to the admins:

Police Say Alcohol May Be To Blame For Deadly Crash
HOUSTON -- Investigators are trying to determine if alcohol was behind a deadly head-on collision that sent six people to a hospital Wednesday night. Deadly? Six people? Who died? Police said a man driving his car the wrong way on Westheimer Parkway slammed head-on into a sport utility vehicle.... He's expected to survive. Okay, so he killed someone, right? The other five victims... were taken to nearby hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Wait--"non-life-threatening?" Hype! Hype!

So when I decided to blog about it, I went back to the article and found the word "deadly" had disappeared. Huh? ¿Que pasó? So I checked my email, and they had written me back!

Thank you for your e-mail, and for pointing out our error. It's being fixed immediately. We sincerely apologize for the mistake. The writer and proofreader have also been forwarded your e-mail, so they will know it happened. Again, thank you for taking the time to make sure all of our stories are free of errors.

Wait, I didn't plan to check all your stories. I showed the original to my students, and they argued "deadly" can mean something that's merely potentially deadly, but I still thought it was misleading and I'm impressed they changed it so quickly. But I'm still not going to make sure all their stories are free from errors.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I'm Officially Professionally Responsible

Today we finally got our MPRE scores via email. The required minimum in Texas is an 85; I got a 118. w00t! Now someone gimme a friggin' internship!

For anyone who might be studying for it, I can tell you that all I did is read the Model Rules and the Codes of Judicial Conduct. Study the rules and all the comments. Don't waste your time with a BAR/BRI course.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Intern Quest Update

So, you ask, how’s the search for summer internship going? On the bright side, my employer says go for it – I can take the time off, just let them know. On the bad side, well, there isn’t a lot out there and when there is, everyone jumps on it. This is one area where you can’t be slow—positions appear and disappear within moments. Here’s an example: our Office of Career Development sent everyone an email about an exciting opportunity for an internship. The email was sent on FRIDAY at 3:30; they wanted resumes THAT DAY and the position starts NEXT WEEK. It’s a little like playing Whack-a-Mole: the positions pop up and disappear before you can grab them.

I had considered taking the summer mediation clinic, but somehow it filled up a week before registration even started! They told me 80 applications were received for about 16 positions. Argh! It’s a tough business.

Many have pointed out I should have been looking in October for a summer internship and this is waaay past last minute. I did the on-campus interviews back then, thank you., and because I wasn’t graduating until ’07 they blew me off. Now I could have kept looking, but honestly I was discouraged enough by the cold reception that I decided to put off interning till next year. Then in February I got a “pep talk” from Student Services and they pushed me into looking again. And I’m still looking.

Monday is registration for Summer / Fall and I still have no idea whether I will be clerking somewhere. Right now it’s not looking too good. I’ve had one interview with a personal injury firm, and I’m hoping they’ll call me next week. (I know personal injury has a bad rep, but if you were injured, who would you be calling?) Monday I’m going to send a resume to the Legal Aid group in Galveston. Not what I wanted, but any experience is better than none. Nora pointed out I could just sign up for classes and then withdraw if something comes up. That’s what I’ll have to do.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Ave, atque vale!

I just turned off Paula Zahn’s tribute program for Pope John Paul II. Seems like she could at least wait until he died. Under the circumstances, though, I can forgive her. We witness a momentous juncture as the torch is passed once again. The death and election of a new pope, whether you’re Catholic or not, represents a tradition stretching back two thousand years. No other present-day seat of power has endured so many centuries. What does your world have in common with that of Constantine, Justinian, Charlemagne, Erik the Red, Marco Polo, and William Shakespeare? That’s right, the papacy.

There was a time wherein Pope Gregory VII could make Henry IV stand barefoot in the snow for three days. Those days are long past. For better or worse, the Holy See of Rome has contributed much to shape the world in which we all live. Whatever our religious convictions, the Catholic church is an indelible part of our Western heritage, and it gives us a degree of, well, continuity, that I can and do appreciate. Were I in Rome, I too would stand vigil.

Ite, missa est.