Law Years
Picard's Ponderings #8
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: [on the Crystalline Entity] If we can determine what its needs are, we might find other sources to supply it.
Dr. Kila Marr: Its needs are to slaughter people by the thousands. It is nothing but a giant killing machine!
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Doctor, the sperm whale on Earth devours millions of cuttlefish as it roams the oceans. It is not evil, it is feeding. The same may be true of the Entity.
Dr. Kila Marr: That would be small comfort for those who have died to feed it. We're not talking about cuttlefish, we're talking about people!
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: I would argue that the Crystalline Entity has as much right to be here as we do.
-Star Trek, TNG, "Silicon Avatar".
Moral disfigurement has its roots in the early formative years; the memory of so terrible and macabre an experience as a rat bite can sear the soul of a child of tender age.
Finley v. 102-106 W. 143rd Street Corporation (J. Hofstadter, dissenting).
Brooklyn Egg Creams. No eggs, no cream. Still delicious.

Brooklyn Egg Creams. No eggs, no cream. Still delicious.

click the title to access the music

I have recently made it a habit of dusting off long-forgotten works of great musical artists. Those works that, for one reason or another, never were distributed or heard by very many humans. Most of the time, there is a reason such works were marginalized. They are often terrible. Perhaps they were recorded illegally, a rogue recording for another label during an era where record labels were the Leviathan, and artists were just one of those little dudes inside its belly.

The Leviathan, and a tortured analogy.

Or perhaps the discovery of the recording would so sully the artist’s reputation as to render it irredeemable.

The live bootleg of Louis Armstrong’s 1968 Holiday Concert at Yankee Stadium is such a recording. This recording not only captures the once great jazzman in a disgusting, booze-fueled stupor, it is said to be one of the few documented instances that he fails to pick up his signature horn, the trumpet. He leaves most of the musicianship to a hastily assembled, amateurish group of Harlem and South Bronx church musicians. These poor, forgotten souls do their best to push through Armstrong’s arrhythmic scat singing, slurred monologues and even a cataclysmic foray into the electric guitar (“Like-uh-duh Jimi Hendrix”, Armstrong belched), but the performance is an unmitigated catastrophe on every level. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” is perhaps the recording’s low moment, with Armstrong forgetting the words mid-song, proclaiming “Ain’t nobody like this song, ‘It Came Upon a Midnight What?”, and coercing the stunned musicians into playing a heavily derivative blues riff while Armstrong vomited out an inebriated ode to Christmas in New York City. 

An early sign of things to come. Armstrong with a Chinese Moon Guitar.

The concert came to an abrupt, and chaotic, halt after Armstrong suddenly ended the evening after just five songs (and just under nine minutes of stage time) with the as-yet unwritten “Feliz Navidad”. A full-scale riot ensued, and Armstrong was rushed off stage by the Yankee Stadium security team before any harm could come to him. The damage, though, was done. The public address announcer pleaded with the angered crowd: “That’s it, that’s it”.

The full story behind this mind-bogglingly poor performance may never be known; the masters were apparently eradicated on Armstrong’s orders minutes after the show ended, and local news outlets refused to report on the monstrosity out of respect for the once-great performer. But this document tells you all you need to know; on that night in 1968, Armstrong was out of his goddamn mind. Listen at the Soundcloud link above, if you dare.

William O. Doglas (1939 - 1975)
One Way to Study for the Bar…

Maybe a cool way to study for the bar is to create your own convoluted, messed up, nearly-unanswerable questions and then try and answer them. Here’s one:

O makes a bequest giving MauveAcre to A in his will with the following language: “MauveAcre to A, so long as, if A leases MauveAcre, he enforces the various restrictive racial covenants contained in the original deed to the property, especially the one against the goddamned Irish.” O’s will was handwritten on the back of a KFC receipt, but was signed at the bottom. 

The damned Irish


O dies, and A gains possession of MauveAcre. A duly contracts with D to manage the day-to-day affairs MauveAcre “in accordance with all the documents governing the property, including the original deed”. D, not knowing about the 14 racially restrictive covenants burdening the property, leases an apartment on MauveAcre to a T, a large Irish Family. 

A, furious with D and filled with unbridled racial hatred, files separate suits against D and T. A’s suit with D alleges causes of action for breach of contract and under various tort theories, including trespass and conversion.


What a mean sign. 


A’s suit against T seeks to enforce the racially restrictive covenant and evict the large, unruly Irish family from MauveAcre. The court granted summary judgment for A, and enforced the covenant against A, evicting them from the property. Unbeknownst to the parties, however, was that the sitting judge for the case was actually not a judge at all, but instead was a charismatic maintenance worker who convinced the courthouse staff that his appointment had “finally” gone through the senate. 

The Impostor Judge.

Discuss the rights, liabilities and any defenses of all parties as to the stated causes of action and the merits of any rulings handed down in the facts.

Ugh, well, whatever. 

Get ready Mets fans. 2012 is going to be so good, the only player remotely related to 2012 in this video is Daniel Murphy. Yay. 

Just a Piano

Some of the most treasured (and listened to) entries in my unnecessarily vast music collection are recordings of one person sitting in front of a piano and playing. That’s it. No Auto-tuning, hipping, hopping, bipping OR bopping. There is something about the idea of a person using a single instrument to fill up the vast silence of a room, and doing it well, that is endlessly appealing to me. With that, should you feel the need: 

The recordings are mostly live performances, adding an extra layer of spontaneity. 

What a Treat-ise!

So, during my recent exam preparation, I have unearthed an early work of legal scholarship that I penned in my first year of law school. It’s my poetic Torts outline. Prepare to be dazzled (read: bored and confused):

You harmed someone unintentionally. If you did it, and it made sense, and you shouldn’t have done it, and they are injured and sad, that’s too bad. 

But wait! If it had these traits, you’re okay, mate:

-if they hurt themselves a little bit, their big payday’s throat they slit

-if they took on the risk of being harmed in such a way, it’s not likely you’ll have to pay

-if their injury had no proximate cause, this should give opposing counsel pause

But hold on a second, my embattled friend; you’re not the only one who benefits from this trend. 

-if you broke a law doing what you did, breach and duty into their pouches slid

-if in dangerous activities you engaged, strict liability will have you enraged

-if someone else your canine bit, the only thing I can say is “tough freaking shit”

So say you lost your legal case; to your pockets the other side will race. How much will you have to pay, you ask? The answer will have you wanting to drink a cask. 

-It doesn’t matter if he’s made of clay; for all his medical expenses you must pay

-If his feelings are easily compromised, cash for that suffering must still be supplied

-If Aetna pays his medical costs, I’m sorry to say, your dough is still lost

-Let’s say our man is a CEO; if he misses work, your wallet won’t grow

Intentional Torts

What you’ve done is just deplorable; look at the man, you’ve smashed him to chlorophyll! 

Why, it’s seems you’ve encroached on a close of land; and you did, even if the trespass was the wave of your hand. 

Or maybe you shouted something particularly mean; if it caused them distress, your victim is probably seeing green.

It’s possible you locked someone out in your shed; if you did it on purpose, your trust fund is dead.

Maybe you had a good reason to do one of these; if you did, it can be only one of three:

-if there is an express agreement you both did sign, then he has no reason whatsoever to whine

-If at you threateningly someone did lunge, then it’s ok for your knife to plunge

-If you asked politely to do so beforehand, go on, give him a taste of your forehand

Torts here and torts there, everywhere you look. Why, they can probably happen in a breakfast nook!

But to torts, I’ll raise a glass of beer;  Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year.