In re: OSU Intramural Hockey Woes

So the Maroons will live on (the hockey team of Moritz) however it won’t really be a law school team this season as we only have four law students on it. (The way ice hockey works at OSU intramural fills up all the teams so you don’t have to find your own teams, the Maroons name is their name, by the way, we just sign up on to it) Well anyway, last night was the registration, and I must say that the system OSU rec sports uses is amazing, amazing in that they somehow have been able to design the most convoluted system imaginable.

Essentially yesterday I had to get to our new rec center (RPAC) before 5pm to sign up as an eligible player (they slide your card, check you are student, you pay etc.) at this point you also choose a league level (A,B,C,D) we play in B. This process could occur anytime mon, tue, wed, also I should say. Once registered you need to come back at 10pm to RPAC with the registration card you were given. You then wait in line and are given a little carnival style ticket with a number and trade the registration card for the other registration card you filled out earlier (why this was done I have no idea) Also you are able to bring the cards of up to 2 more players, but no more.

The person I went there with and I didn’t realize how popular hockey was and when we saw a line, that was roughly co-ed and with 100 people in it, we didn’t think it was hockey, and walked into the gym without a ticket. Later we found out the system and were way back in line. So fast forward, a long wait in line of probably 20-30 mins and we have our ticket. Then they talk to everyone about the league, rule changes, rules against drinking during the games (mostly applicable to D level I suppose) Then they start calling out numbers to go sign up for leagues, but it seems they made a mistake, people are angry as the people who were first in line apparently aren’t being called. Already seeing that this is a horrible system I laugh, and eventually they announce we will not be using are tickets as they were given out in some manner that made them out of order (oops) and instead they announce we will be using the honor system, so if you got here early come up and register. Great idea, here at law school and at my undergrad we had the honor system and people (for the most part) seem to abide by it.

So when the honor system was announced people started coming up, then more people, and within 30 seconds the entire bleachers had emptied into a chaotic rush that I imagine occurs only in Pamplona at the running of the bulls. The rush is pretty much exclusive to D league and a bit toward C, as the A league doesn’t have many people signing up (these are setup at different stations) and the B league doesn’t fill up either, so we walked up to the table in an unhurried fashion (but still possibly violating the honor code as we didn’t get in line til late, although we did get to the gym earlier, not sure which time we should use in this secondary system) So we get up there and register and we hand back our registration cards (again?) and the process is final. So with only minimal effort and around an hour of time invested the Maroons are ready to skate again, first game is this Tuesday, unless we have a bye, as the schedule isn’t out yet. So I have to give congratulations to the Rec Sports staff for making quite a night of IM hockey registration.

In re: McDonald’s Lawsuit: Fact & Fiction

In Civil Procedure II today we had a guest speaker talking about jury selection and voir dire. His talk was great, but one thing struck me particularly and it was when he mentioned Tort reform and the case that comes to mind with frivolous lawsuits – the McDonald's coffee spill suit. Of course I remember hearing about the case, most people do I feel, and most people I think-myself included, remember that it was someone spilling coffee on themselves in their car — clearly their fault. Well our guest speaker explained how he discusses it in court when getting jurors to realize that it might not have been so frivolous (remember 12 jurors sat on the case).

My mind on the case and most peoples minds may change a bit when they learn about the case, and that McDonald's had been serving their coffee at 180 degrees, whereas most other fast foods chains wouldn't serve at above 140. The result of this decision was hundreds of burn settlements, to such an extent that McDonald's had a department setup to deal exclusively with their burn problems. However, that never led them to change their temperature, on which is so hot that it caused 3rd degree burns in 2-7 seconds. Just as car manufactures did (read Unsafe at Any Speed) they did the cost calculation of changing and the cost of paying burn victims, and decided to keep the temperature.

While that still might not change your mind, it might at least give you a few more facts on the case, not to mention that the lady who was spilled on had $20,000 in medical fees for her 3rd degree burns. Anyway, there are several sites (see here) I found that have the facts of the case.
Also see a Washington Post article from 1994 (via a firms website here) that covers the case.

In re: The Judge has an iPod… An iTunes update.

Apple Corps Ltd., the Beatles’ record company is in a dispute with Apple computers over iTunes. Apparently the two companies in their last legal battle in 1991 agreed that Apple Computer wouldn’t enter the music business. Apple Corps alleges that iTunes is a violation of the pact and has gone to court to settle it, the other Apple claims that they aren’t in the music business, but instead are only distributing files… Apparently the judge hearing the case has an iPod.
(see story)

In other iTunes news Denmark has gotten involved in the French iTunes DRM crackdown, or at least has the potential to with ideas to possibly follow the French being looked into. (See story)

And back to the French law which I’ve mentioned before on here, a few articles to read one backing the law – San Francisco Chronicle, and one against – American enterprise insitute(There are of course countless articles on the subject as its become a hot topic) Similarly I’ve seen lots of posts on blogs that have mentioned the subject, many people seem to think that the French law is ridiculous, essentially preventing a private company from selling their product (a DRM protected song) if people want interoperability they could essentially buy something else. — As i’ve mentioned I like iTunes, the interface is simple to use and the pricing was (and hopefully will remain) a smart move. iTunes has proved a sucess as a means for legally distributing music, so Frances move may actually be a step backward. I waiver on the issue though, as you might have noticed from my previous post where I think I liked the French side better. (see In re: French to Crack iTunes?, and its update)

In re: Do these brackets belong to robots?

Interesting article on Slate by a sports writer who is currently tied for 4th place on ESPN's bracket challenge, (he has 3 out of 4 of the final four). He of course doesn't have the George Mason pick, but two people seem to have picked the final four perfectly. How is that possible? Well the message boards apparently have theories, including they are robots, woman, or hackers, or Mason fans. Either way, this is what you get when you enter a pool with millions of people who can each have five brackets, basically you are gonna end up with almost every conceivable combination, including George Mason being in the final four, hope those robots know how to spend their $10K in winnings. (See article here)
Also on a side note, I was pretty excited to see a Colonial Athletic Assocation team make the final four, having attended one myself and going to basketball games, the idea that they could be in the final four still blows my mind…

In re: Careful what you say…

I logged onto our career services message board the other day and I thought it was interesting to see a posting relating to blogging. The message pointed out that employers these days are likely to be ‘googling’ potential employees as part of the hiring process, so posts (who knows maybe even this one?) might get read, and to be wary. While there aren’t too many bloggers at Moritz, and they don’t seem to be putting up things that would make an employer shy away, probably the more pertinent activity that they warned about was the Facebook and Myspace pages (links are to the wikipedia entries on the sites, their websites are just .com). On sites like these many more people are listed and are more likely to have pictures of them in a drunken state. While it still is likely that many firms don’t even know about the facebook (and they likely will when it gets sold for possibly $2billion – see Businessweek ) as its now their careers on the line, folks want to be more careful.
Being worried you might ask? Well I for one don’t like the idea of anything that ‘chills’ dialog and the sharing of ideas (if you can call this that?) None the less, I wouldn’t be to worried, as long as your not writing things you wouldn’t want ANYONE with an internet connection can read. Of course posting to a blog, message board or anything like that which can be found in a quick search would be the riskiest place to start posting scandalous things, but as one Boston law graduate, now know as the bla, bla, bla girl, you might not want to write such things in an email either. (see story here)

In re: Lord of War — Are we complicit?

Just finished watching Lord of War, on DVD, which was a pretty interesting movie (apparently based on actual events…) about an Yuri Orlov, a Ukrainian-American living in Little Odessa, played by Nicolas Cage, who becomes an international arms dealer. The movie addresses the issue of who should be taking the blame for the atrocities around the world, and should Yuri be taking some of such blame or as he claims that someone else will provide them if he doesn’t. The movie ends with an interesting text overlay citing the biggest arms dealers are the governments of the US, UK, France, Russia and China—the permanent members of the security council—further the movie shows the complicity that the US government plays in such arms dealing, themselves getting involved in some of them.

Seeing such a condemnation brought to mind a similar condemnation I saw in a documentary about the drug wars in the favelas, the Rio de Janeiro slums in Brazil, with people questioning the fairness of the US enforcing a drug ban, while simultaneously arming the drug lords with M-16s. I don’t know much about the lobbying by our weapons industry, or how their exports end up in the drug lords hands, but I do know that the warehouse in Rio de Janeiro was filled to the brim with weapons, manufactured in the US, France, Switzerland etc and that someone is profiting from the fighting that goes on there.

Like the movie shows, the issue is complex, but for sure, when massacres and genocide occur in places like Sierra Leone and Sudan, they aren’t making their own guns and while some of the Rwandan genocide was with machetes, these too came from somewhere (Hotel Rwanda has them from China I believe) Anyway, I think the fact that these movies exist (the ones named above, and in the case of Brazil I recommend the amazing movie Cidade de Deus [City of God]) So we may turn our backs on helping such places, but we are already involved.

Related stories:

In re: Beer on the lawn? Dinner at Night Town? Olive oil on my table?

So they don't necessarily relate to each other, but maybe you'll bear with me here while I am up here in Cleveland visiting my parents and some friends for a few days. Anyway to start out I had a great dinner tonight at one of my favorite Cleveland Heights restaurants Night Town, which always makes me feel like I stepped out of the country just a tad and the food is always good, I’d never had their Halloumi Kebob appetizer before (pieces of cheese from Cyprus with veggies on a skewer ) and it was really good. Any way, thought I’d go back and talk about something from a couple days ago…

I was sitting around Saturday morning with WOSU PBS on in the background and I was amazed to see on this gardening show with Jerry Baker (his website is pretty trashy, more on him later) where he makes his own ‘lawn tonics’ and the sort, to help the lawn. The ingredients of his tonic include, dish soap, beer, ammonia, corn syrup etc. I didn’t think too much of it at first, I knew I wasn’t gonna be doing it, but it did strike me as odd that you’d be putting all of this on your grass. Later in another segment I notice he told you to put some chemical on your lawn, but overlaying the show (and showing the shows age) that the chemical was no longer available (EPA has said it is too toxic), which made me wonder if Jerry Baker, who they claim is a master gardener (its a registered trademark no less). They say he wrote the garden section for world book encyclopedia. So I did a quick search and found a host of another garden show claiming that putting ammonia on your lawn (for nitrogen) is pretty silly as it won’t stay long enough to be used (evaporates quickly) and he also mentions how plants can’t use the carbs in beer as plants can only use complex carbs. Anyway, I don’t have the answer, I am no master gardener myself, I struggle with my houseplants, but I’d like to learn and somehow I am a bit doubtful about the beer on the lawn, so I looked a bit more and found only briefly not too much on the guy, but some folks in a message board said he was a snake oil salesman and that those at agriculture schools don't agree with his ideas and that he apparently doesn't have a agricultural education. Who knows

Ok, so it later in the day and I noticed that my dining room table needed some cleaning. Thinking back to a few weeks earlier I remembered reading in the Columbus Dispatch a home cleaning solution for polishing wood, utilizing a mix of four parts olive oil to one part white vinegar. So while I had a can of pledge under the sink I decided to try it out and in an old Poland Springs bottle I added a bit of olive oil and then the vinegar, shook it up and polished the table. I have to say that I was impressed with the result, although I didn’t do the side by side comparison with the pledge. Basically like the lawn care tonics, I started wondering if we really needed all the products that are advertised (and the resulting extra containers and cost) or if maybe their scientific formulations are really any better than household remedies.

The other advantage? Well the leftover cleaning solution you can use as salad dressing for your lunch…