Friday, December 15, 2006

Misson accomplished!

Observation made by an 8th grader: Your room looks like an Elementary school classroom.

(remember: I teach grade 5 and am on the Elementary floor of the school)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Carols from the DSM-IV

1) Schizophrenia---- Do You Hear What I Hear, the Voices, the Voices?
2) Amnesia-- I Don't Remember If I'll be Home for Christmas (I'm not sure where home is??)
3) Narcissistic-- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me
4) Manic-- Deck The Halls And Walls And House And Lawn And Streets And Stores And Office And Town And Cars And Buses And Trucks And Trees And Fire Hydrants And----
5) Multiple Personality Disorder----We Three Queens Disoriented Are
6) Paranoid---Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Us
7) Borderline Personality Disorder--- You Better Watch Out, You Better not Shout, I'm Gonna Cry, and I'll not Tell You Why
8) Full Personality Disorder--- Thoughts of Roasting You On an Open Fire
9) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder---Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
10) Agoraphobia---I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House
11) Senile Dementia---Walking In a Winter Wonderland Miles from My House in My Slippers and Robe
12) Oppositional Defiant Disorder---I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus So I Burned Down the House
13) Social Anxiety Disorder---Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas While I Sit Here and Hyperventilate

and the last one (for Monica) (=

14) Attention Deficit Disorder--We Wish You......Hey Look!! It's Snowing!.............HEY IT IS!!!!! ;)

Friday, December 08, 2006

We can work together!

AIM conversation debating whether or not a study group is in order:

Student 1: I think I have a pretty good handle on things
Student 1: it would help me to hash everything out
Student 1: if that meant TRYING to explain it
Student 2: good for you
Student 2: explain it to my cat
Student 2: while i read the study guide

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

You may use a calculator and a pair of dice.

Student: I notice on this practice exam there are no tax calculations. Are tax calculations fair game on the exam?

Prof: Everything’s fair game. The good news is there is multiple choice. So if you see numbers and you don’t want to deal with them, what does it cost, right?


Tax prof: I'm not trying to make you experts on (the estate tax). If we can get the bare bones--excuse my pun...

Ho ho ho!

Tax prof (re: convincing a rich client to give his kids a bunch of money because of the favorable tax consequences): I don't know that (the kids) knew that I was sort of Santa Claus.

In support of euthanasia...?

Tax prof (re: the estate tax's being done away with but then resurrected): Remember the story about bumpin' off your grandmother (before 2010).

I'm not even going to touch that.

Prof, explaining why the IRS expressly denies deductions for contributions of used stuff of minimal value: You laugh, but we’ve had Presidents give away used socks and underwear and claim large charitable deductions, because it’s Presidential socks and underwear.

Happy Birthday to one of our own.

Happy Birthday Melanie!! She is more than likely being a good student and studying for finals right now.

Melanie is the one who resurrected my blog when I was forced to delete it under dubious circumstances which I shall not go into here...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Magic-8 Ball concurs.

Student [in the role of defense counsel]: I would ask for a [Rule] 5(k)(1) motion [which, for you who care, would inform the sentencing judge that the defendant gave substantial assistance during the investigation]..

Prof: Student [in role of prosecutor], are you going to give the defendant a 5(k)(1) for his help?

Student: Ummm… No.

Prof: That’s a fairly arbitrary exercise of discretion there.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Somebody give that contract a blanket!

From Commissioner v. Ferrer, Judge Friendly:

“Attempts to do this [frame a definition] in terms of the degree of clothing adorning the contract cannot explain all the cases, however helpful they me in deciding some…; it would be hard to think of a contract more ‘naked’ than a debenture…”

Why are these words taking up space in my book?

From Federal Income Taxation, p. 727:

“The fact that there are a host of recent cases revolving around self-employment tax due on insurance termination payments suggests, correctly, that the self-employment tax generates considerable litigation.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tax reform, anyone?

From Nonprofit Organizations, p. 785:

“If this discussion of public support leaves you hopelessly confused, do not feel alone. The U.S. Tax Court stated that these rules are ‘almost frighteningly complex and technical.’”

Monday, November 27, 2006

Don't mess with lawyers!

Prof (re: getting the attention of a person whom a client was trying to sue): But after I threatened to take his house and put his family out on the street, he started taking my calls. After that I was busy for a week or two and I wouldn't take his calls--let him sweat a little bit.

Does Al Gore know about this?

Sifting through legislative history for a bill passed in 1988 I came across this gem:

"States routinely exchange information with each other for unemployment purposes through an arrangement sometimes referred to as "INTERNET."

Has it really been that long?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I hate Blogger bugs


Sorry, folks. Not sure what's causing the problems...

This is not the kind of question law students like to answer either.

From An Invitation to Family Law, in an evaluation of alimony policy:

"This is not the kind of question law professors like to ask because answering it would require them to do degrading things like empirical research."

[Originally posted by Becca. Reposted by Monica to try to fix techie bugs.]

Monday, November 20, 2006

Heh Heh

Saturday, November 18, 2006

At least the authors have a sense of humor.

Tax textbook (p. 17-3): "[T]he estate tax is reincarnated for transfers by death after 2010."

Get it? Death? Reincarnation? Ha ha.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Just speculating

Student: You say these are simple examples. If we were to have, say, an exam, and I'm sure we will, would you say those examples will be this "simple"?

Prof: You will have an exam. Unless I get hit by a bus. Don't try it...

capitulation at its finest

Prof [after attempting to answer a student's question]: You still look confused. Did that answer your question?

Student: I'm probably about as close as I'm ever going to be to understanding this.

Winter in South Bend

Student 1, passing in staircase: Hey, stop looking out the window forlornly.

Student 2, still sadly staring out the window: ...Someday I'll see the sun again...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Surviving the IRS

Prof: (The character in the textbook problem) underpaid her taxes by a fairly noticeable amount, $250,000. ... Maybe she was one of those "Survivor" people. ... The IRS must be harder than hanging out under palm trees or in Mongolia or whatever.

McDonald's Dollar Menu?

[Background info: All the grad students got an email today that we were charged an extra $1 on our most recent tuition statements, and that the correction will be on our next statements. A discussion erupted before class.]

Student 1: So think about what you're gonna do with your dollar!
Student 2 (who is perhaps ready to be finished with school): Maybe I'll go buy a noose to hang myself.

Advanced communication

Speaker: The defendant has made it clear that he doesn’t want to go to jail and he’ll do anything.

Prof: How has he made it clear?

Speaker: He said, “I don’t want to go to jail and I’ll do anything.”

Is there a right to remain silent in class?

Prof: Let me give you a hint: The feds had no problem getting the kilo [of cocaine]. Student, could you get a kilo easily?

FBI Agent: [surveying room with raised eyebrow] Could anybody here?


Prof: I suppose there may be some isolated counties somewhere--Alabama comes to mind as a place where that might be the case--but in most places you're allowed to play bingo.

Pretty sure that's unrelated

Prof: Say you're a cemetery, but on the side you operate a driving range or something.

What your university really does

Prof (re: unrelated business income and Cornell's inheriting a pasta factory): They hope they're not just in the business of making pasta, although I have to admit that in the engineering program, they seem to make pasta out of the minds of some of the students...

What do bears, stem cells and "herbs" have in common?

Prof: [Tax-exempt organizations that might want to exert political influence include] anything from the Sierra Club, who thinks you should go out and hug bears, to people who oppose stem-cell research, to people who think you should grow herbs and, uh, other things that other people don't think are legal.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

When you put it that way...

Prof: Litigation over those trusts was enough to send about twenty lawyers’ children through college.

So do they have dependent clauses?

From our oh-so-profound tax book (yes, this is a grad-level text) on p. 632:

"A complex trust is any trust that is not a simple trust."

Yes, folks, that's all the explanation you get. From there we launch into an explanation of how said complex trusts are taxed.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'd represent the other one?

Prof: Now if you were a liberal, which party would you be representing? ...Who's the good guy in this case?

At least she enjoyed her work

Prof: We actually filed one of these (lawsuits) for fun when I was practicing law. Oh, it was lots of fun. (The landlord) breached the (lease) contract. ... I mean, come on now, you've got four lawyers. What makes you think they're not gonna sue? We did it over lunch one day.

So do I have to pay my rent?

Prof: And certainly the room is not habitable if you've got to fight the bees to go to bed.

One big happy family...

Prof: And that's one of the things I love about [a specific area of NC]; they're all related, and they can all tell you exactly how they're related.

Friday, November 10, 2006

But Career Services might be able to help you.

Prof [re filing joint tax returns]: Imagine Cindy says to Doug, “I know you don’t like me and don’t even know me, but if you marry me, you’ll save $3,000 on your taxes.” What do you think about that system?

Student: Does Cindy have a sister?

Prof: *laughs* It’s a hypo.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Does that mean I need to buy new shoes?

Nik Nikas, describing the arguments before the Supreme Court on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban: Justice Stevens is the new O'Connor!

Smart cats!

Prof: So if my cats join the S corp ... they must be paid reasonable amounts.

Honesty is the best policy!

Prof: If I've lost you (in explaining the lecture material), I have failed, and I will go home and [pause] forget about it.

Tax terminology...

Prof: Now we have ... the AAA bypass election. Sounds like a kind of surgery or something.

Is this why you combed your hair today, too?

Prof: And, undoubtedly, some of you are wondering, "Why is he wearing a tie? He doesn't seem to be a tie kind of person." Well, you're right; I'm not. ... We have some folks coming in from (an accounting firm) later this afternoon, and consequently, I thought I should look a little more presentable than I usually do. ... And I didn't want to pull a Superman and try to find my tie between classes.

Tell it like it is.

Prof: But I find that liking and disliking (the lecture material) is sort of irrelevant; I'm supposed to teach it, and you're supposed to learn it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Have a little respect for yourself.

Prof [re writing tax opinion letters for less than $2 million]: If you're going to sell yourself, sell yourself for a lot.

Let's hope the lawyers and the doctors don't get together on this.

Prof [explaining that the estate tax holiday will sunset in 2010 and probably won’t be renewed]: So 2009 is the last year this provision will be available. This is the year your relatives should die. You should inform them of that.

It really is the economy, stupid.

Prof: I don’t really care what the elections mean for minor issues, like Iraq policies. What really matters, of course, is what they mean for tax regulations.

...but if you want to ask us later, we'll be happy to tell you.

From Church of Scientology of California v. Commissioner, 9th Cir. 1987, Judge Tang:

"Because it is unnecessary to our decision, we express no opinion on whether supporting a Church's founder and his family aboard a yacht cruising the Mediterranean constitutes a reasonable Church expense."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And he's always right.

Conductor [introducing a stand-in trumpet player]: You might remember him as a pianist. He played the Mendelssohn Concerto with us two years ago. He's also an Air Force man, which means he can kill you like ten different ways. With his bare hands.

Just try not to levitate.

Conductor: We'll probably go into one four measures before the presto, but for now I'll just... flail like Ahab.

Only if he asks a question about it on the exam.

Prof [after showing this video clip]: Can the teacher deduct the cost of the cell phone as an "ordinary and necessary" business expense?

Thank goodness we've grown up!

Student: [Studies have shown that corporal punishment is not that effective.]

Prof: That’s been my policy with students. Have you noticed that?

Student: Well, I’ve heard stories from your first-year students…

Prof: That’s first year. [Student #2] already said it works for the younger students.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Choosing your clientele...

Prof (re: an audit question regarding welfare recipients): Although, really, was this the best deal you were able to get? Are these the kind of clients that you're going to really get the big bribery bucks from?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Face it, we have wireless.

Prof [While student struggles for an answer]: Somebody email or IM him an answer.

[a minute later]
Prof: What time does the football game start?
Student: [calling out] Six minutes ago.
Prof: *laughs*
Student: It’s nothing-nothing.

Hey, one's an improvement.

Prof: Student… you’ve been a hard one for me because in your picture you have glasses.

Student: I get more girls without them.

Prof: Yeah. I can tell [observing who’s sitting near student]… You’re surrounded by one girl. And that line of guys behind you… That’s all I wanted to ask. [Calls on another student]

No problem--we do what we can.

Prof [re Social Security]: I want to thank the younger generation for participating in this pyramid scheme.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Tragedy in One Act

[Scene: Oct. 31, entering Law of Education class]

Prof (a.k.a. "The Smiling Assassin"--ref to test grades): Hail Caesar!

Student wearing a toga: Et tu, Brute?


Prof: I'm not going to teach you how to create tax shelters for yourselves; I'm going to tell you how to not go to jail for other people's tax shelters.

I went to this school so I could avoid those clients...

Prof: IRC § 280E denies a deduction for expenses of drug trafficking, but you can still deduct for cost of goods sold. So remember, for your drug-dealing clients, they have to choose FIFO or LIFO system of accounting.

The good ol' days

Student: [Outlines defendant’s argument in a case]
Prof: [sarcastically] They’re complaining about the definition of a tax term?
Student: *giggle*
Prof: Well, it was 1945. It was an innocent age.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Have you hugged an S Corp today?

Prof: [Tells us that Subchapter S corporations are much easier than partnerships, as far as taxes are concerned.] I mean, hug a Sub S. They're good guys. Or, whatever. I'm not sure exactly what gender they are.

It isn't obvious?

Prof (to class): And of course the partner's outside basis has to be--everybody? Anybody?

Who writes these tax laws, anyway?

Prof: The people who developed this law were either thrown out of Congress or went to jail. And yet the law remains.

Reader discretion advised

Prof (trying to encourage us not to be too embarrassed to ask questions in class): Embarrassment is just--I mean, you could parade around the room with no clothes on and it doesn't matter in this world we live in. [reaction from class] ... It was just a figure of speech. I can see it now--"[Professor] dismissed from faculty for..."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Finally, an honest assessment of Justice Cardozo!

From Federal Income Taxation regarding a tax case printed in the book:

"Welch is a famous and often-cited decision. This reflects its showy, relentless phrasemaking and the fame of its author [Cardozo] rather than its capacity to aid in the analysis of subsequent fact patterns, which (to put it as kindly as possible) is extremely limited. Pompous and needlessly Delphic, it has generated considerable confusion."

Prof: Don't you dare quote any of the language in this case back to me on the exam. Automatic five points off.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Product alert

I'm a fermata... hold me.

HT: Monica/facebook

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What is is

Prof: [Making fun of a student's answer about the materiality of a saleman's misrepresentation about a car] Now we're getting all metaphysical... But Plato said... It's the cave behind the car.

The defenses of the mind

Also from the Seventh Circuit's Judge Posner in United States v. Coffman:

"The fact that a reasonable person would not have been deceived [by a 'scheme (that) was aimed at an idiot'] would be no more relevant than the fact that a murder victim would have survived had he been wearing a bulletproof vest."

Not sure if the defendant should feel insulted or not.

From United States v. Coffman, 94 F.3d 330 (7th Cir. 1996) (Chief Judge Posner):

"There may be attempts so feeble, such as sticking a pin into a voodoo doll of your enemy in an effort to kill him, that the attempter is entitled to be acquitted, as a harmless fool. The defendants' scheme, though harebrained, was not that harebrained."

Monday, October 23, 2006

slow day in class

[IM discussion between students concurrent with class discussion on religious implications of a tax provision]

montana chica40: so if I had kids because I'm Catholic and don't use birth control, can I deduct the cost of their care?
montana chica40: :-)
LegolasBec: um
LegolasBec: you could try it...
montana chica40: probably not
LegolasBec: Yeah, I wouldn't get pregnant in reliance.

It's going to their heads.

Proffered argument in Income Tax text for childcare deductions: "Child-care allowances will encourage people to have more children." Now I don't know how tax lawyers operate, but I'm doubting normal people sit around and think, "Hmm, let's have a baby so we can get a tax deduction for the childcare!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chill out!

Prof: And if I don't adhere to that, I want a couple of you to stand up and say, "Chill out, [prof's name]!"


Student: What was the average score on the exam?
Prof: Do you have to know?
Student: It makes us feel better. ... It helps me rationalize.
Prof: It might make some of you feel worse. All right, as long as you understand that I care about each of you as individuals, it was 79.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Kids are kids the world over and sometimes we need to teach them things that are not in the lesson book. This week I did that twice. One time it started as a discussion about tattleing and ended up talking about rules. During the "lesson" I brought up the "WWJD" thing to encourage the kids to think through things before they did them. Would Jesus do _____? Later in the day I heard John C. say to Jack "Remember; What would Jesus do?....Can you borrow me a piece of paper?" Then Jamie told me at the end of the day that John K. did the same to him.

(The kids confuse "lend" and "borrow" all the time.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A new perspective on predestination?

Prof: [Engineers] think they're preordained to immediately understand everything about tax.

[Ed.--I'm bitter with Blogger for not letting me in while I was still in class and could still remember the entire quotation. It was good. This particular prof has some sort of issue with engineers, I think.]

Fall Break starts tomorrow.

Prof: What does Title VII cover?
Class: *silence*
*pin drops*
Prof: Right! Employment.

Judicial Activism License

Prof: What kind of relief can she seek? Look at the statute.
Student: “Such relief as may be appropriate.”
Prof: Clears that one right up.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am your...

This week at SCS is Spirit Week and today we did the teacher skit. The kindergarten teacher is Korean and her line was "Luke I am your father" (no it was not a Star Wars skit - we chose our lines and her son is named Luke). Once she got back to her class her students (who speak very little English) kept telling her "I am your student". It was cute to see how they picked up on that. This is a picture of the kindergarteners doing their career song. If you look closely at the Fireman you can see he has a cup of fire in his hand. It was sooo cute.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Prof: Honeybees, I mean, what the heck, they're pretty wholesome creatures. Unless you happen to sit on one. Which brings me to another story, but I won't go into that. It involved one of my students.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ignorance is hard to prosecute

Prof: Don't ask me if your moving expenses for the summer are deductible if your firm reimburses you for them. You don't want to know, because then you can't claim ignorance when you do deduct them. Just don't ask.

On the up side...

According to the Income Tax professor, you can claim a roommate who is bumming off you and refuses to get a job as a dependent on your income tax return. Just so ya know...

Excuse me, do you have more than 12 items?

My Family Law professor just revealed that sometimes she gets exam questions from "those magazines you read in the grocery store line." I know where I'm going to study...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Politically incorrect

Student: Is Scientology considered religious for tax deduction purposes?

Prof: Oooh, Scientology… Now there’s an interesting story…. If you are a Scientologist and I’m slandering you, I apologize, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fun in tax class!

Sorry--I've been saving up again. The following specimens of quotable material are all courtesy of my tax professor:
  • I've always dreamed of having a gnome [i.e., assistant] or something. ... If I were at a great big school teaching 500 students, I would have a gnome. But I don't want to teach 500 students.
  • I'm glad [the computer that I just accidentally shut down] isn't some sort of nuclear reactor. I always loved chemistry, but I wasn't any good in the lab.
  • Again, if you miss a [easy] question like that ... you need to do something else. Become an artist or a marketer or something.
  • As an aside, if you have family out there, make sure they die in the right state.
  • I'm really into saving people money. I think it adds value to the course.
  • I always hear about a professor being brilliant, and sometimes I think the measure of brilliance is how fast he can put his subjects to sleep.
  • Oh, man. Too many numbers and names and whatever. It's a wonder I can find my way back up to my office.
  • There were a lot of really good grades [on the test], and a lot of not-so-good grades. What distinguished the good and the not-so-good, other than a lot of red marks...

Perceptions of the tax collector

My Federal Tax Research book quotes Christopher Bergin: "When I was young, I was taught the story of Jesus and the taxman. The point was that Jesus was good to everyone; so much so that he would even eat with the taxman. The story tells a lot about being good, but it also tells a lot about historical perceptions of the tax collector."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Legal realism

Hypo: You’re the newly-hired lawyer of United Way and you discover a bunch of scandals in the governance. What should your first step be?

Student: Meet with the board. And make sure your resume is up-to-date.

Lawsuits are fun!

Prof (re: defective products and the implied warranty of merchantibility): I would argue that [a washing machine that broke after only five years] was defective. ... That would be fun for me; it would be annoying for most people. ... Some people play basketball [for fun]; I file lawsuits.

Monday, October 02, 2006

News flash: Prof hates CPA exam writers

Prof: "I want you to make a note of [rules regarding the identification of] unborn animals and growing crops [in sales contracts], because we will win. We will not be defeated by the CPA exam. ... Sorry, I've been in a little bit of a tiff with them since the first year I taught, they asked my students eight environmental law questions. Eight! Do you know how absurd that is? ... The only thing they should be asking you about environmental law is, 'Do you know that environmental law exists?' 'Yes.' 'What do you do if you have an environmental law question?' 'You pick up the phone and call an environmental lawyer.'"

Friday, September 29, 2006


I am the sixth grade teacher at our school, but I am also teaching the seventh grade speech class this year. It's loads of fun and pretty humorous sometimes.
Right now we're working on Robert Louis Stevenson's "My Shadow"

It begins:
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me

Ricky said:
I have a little shadow that goes out with me....

There was no more poem after that. I was laughing so hard. Maybe you had to be there??
Stevenson would be so insulted :D

Thursday, September 28, 2006

State taxes

Prof: It's worse than herding cats. Herding cats is much easier than dealing with the fifty states.

College athletics...

Prof: My daughter was a college athlete.
Student: What did she play?
Prof: She played swimming.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Motivation at its finest

[From Federal Income Taxation:]

"The case that follows ... has little if any remaining importance for the rule it adopts."

[...which is exactly how much remaining interest I have in reading it.--ed.]

Note: The first printed line under the case heading is as follows: "The facts in the case are complicated and confusing." That's the part where I went to get another cup of coffee.

heckler's veto

Prof: I did not have you read the Deferred Interest code sections because you would have lynched me.


Student: "Sorry. There was a spider on her chair."

Delusional professor?

"My students do not guess. They reason; they analyze; they reflect; but they do not guess."

... and I had a lucky rabbit's foot

Prof [on how he got here]: They were looking for a tax professor, I was in the market, and the first guy they offered the job said no.

Friday, September 22, 2006

More picking on Congress

Student: Why does this statute say "knowingly and willfully" if it just meant Knowingly and not willfully?

Prof: Because Strom Thurmond wrote it, probably. I don't know. It's Congress.

People skills--the one thing law students can't figure out

Prof: Don't look at your screen. Your answers are are not on the screen. They're on my face.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My apologies...

... I had two classes over the past two days with entertaining professors, but I didn't have my laptop out to live-blog their comments. So I'm going to indulge in a rather lengthy post. Sorry. (Not really.)

  • "[Scientists] all think they're so smart, but eventually a tax person will get the best of them. Because we know arithmetic, and they know differential equations."
  • "Seven minus ten equals zero. That's exactly right. No, really!" (ed.--this had to do with taxes, so it really was right)
  • "The way the tax law works is, they're gonna say, 'Is there any way we can tax these retained earning as dividends?'"
  • "I'm putting on my border collie suit here and I'll nip at your heels on this for the rest of the semester."
  • "And I don't want you all going around naked or looking like you don't know what's going on because you've been in my class." (ed.--I have no idea where that came from!)
  • "Any CEO who has a nickname like 'Chainsaw,' uh, it's probably not only a company you don't want to work for; it's probably a company you don't want to audit."
  • Re: hackers lowballing to get janitorial contracts: "Think about it. You're cleaning out trash cans, but you can clean out the company's bank accounts at the same time."
  • Prof: "We have a lot of people sick--mono, strep throat--" Student: "Bird flu." Prof: "What? ... Oh, bird flu. I thought you said 'birthdays.' Like, twenty-first birthdays, maybe."
  • "The KGB is still all over the U.S., is my understanding. I'm paranoid. ... O'Reilly said it last night, so it must be true, right?"

Why don't most MBA programs have a "tax person"?

Prof: "Maybe they have powerful lobbying skills or something and can sort of talk their way through taxes with Congress."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Traffic tickets

Prof: "My husband got a ticket for failure to yield right-of-way to a train. ... The police officer wrote him the ticket as he got his foot stitched up in the emergency room. He said, 'Were you the one whose car hit that train?' Now, I would argue that the train hit him."

The Law vs. Law School

Prof: "I've been able to separate the law from law school in my mind. The law is fun. Law school was traumatic."

A most gentlemanly "Forget it!"

From the court's opinion in George Pepperdine Foundation v. Pepperdine:

"A regrettable situation! but is it one that requires a burnt offering or that demands the swinging of human forms from the gibbet to gratify the rancor of intimate observers? ... While [plaintiff's] counsel has brilliantly unraveled the mysteries of a pleading and argued well for the certainty of causes not united and separately stated, yet he has not woven a pattern of justice out of the materials at hand whereby to adjudicate liability on the part of respondents."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Isn't that what lawyers do?

Prof: But we're not here to talk about standing for a bunch of reasons, one of which is I don't know anything about it. [musing] Though... That hasn't precluded me from talking about a lot of other things.

If a case appears in Westlaw and no one reads it...

Prof: The name of that case is [name of case], if you're interested. Or even if you aren't, that's still the name of the case.

Can we pretend we didn't?

Prof: Good morning. How was the Michigan [vs. Notre Dame] game? Did anyone see that?

[You may need to be somewhat familiar with Notre Dame culture to realize the irony in this query. Let's just say that, yes, we did see the game, and no, we don't want to talk about it. --ed.]

Friday, September 15, 2006

Peg Leg Lucy (a.k.a. - Miss Delaura Talbert)

The only problem is that she'll be able to do the same at some point I'm sure...we did a Pirate skit in chapel the otherday. I read the story she acted it out. It was to tell the kids that they needed to come to school dressed like a pirate for "Talk Like a Pirate Day". They loved it.

That's all the explanation we need.

Prof: Any questions about land value basis?

Student: Why does the IRS depreciate the basis of things like property, when it is obviously appreciating in value? That doesn't make any sense.

Prof: [mumble mumble words that don't make a lot of sense] The short answer is, Congress decided it should.

So it happens to you too...

Prof: [soliciting principles of liability] Don't mention cases yet. You'll make my head hurt.

It's a science

Prof: Moment of honesty: raise your hand if you've played Mortal Kombat... Okay, women who've played, raise your hands. [Woman student], you play? What button do you push to make the "kick"?

Woman student: I just push all the buttons at once. Sometimes I win.

Prof: Oh. Well it's nice to see women playing that game. [indicating another woman student who had her hand up] You're both on call.

Should've shared.

Prof: Who's the final arbiter of the facts at a sentencing hearing?

Student: uhhh

Prof: Guess.

Student: The judge?

Prof: The judge. You have a piece of Snickers on your tooth. Right here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ah, tenure...

Prof: ...[Dean's name], who was dean at that time, and was in fact for most of the post-Renaissance period...

... Let's go picket!

Student [in response to another student's discussion]: I disagree.
Prof: Hey, it's America.

But don't worry...

Prof: There will always be prayer in the public school as long as there's algebra.

Like Intelligent Design?

Prof: Could we have an 'Ode to Electricity' [in a public school classroom]? Is that Constitutional? I mean it is kind of supernatural...

Suspicious clients

Student: "Perhaps [the accountant in the problem] is concerned that this is a cash-run business, and that [the client is] funneling some of that cash to fund illegal activities, like his meth lab in the basement."

How is this related to accounting?

Prof: "When I was a little kid, we had air raid drills. ... We were supposed to look out for German planes--never mind that we were in the hills of West Virginia. We had a big ammonia plant. If they'd hit that, we would have all been incinerated."

The professor's cats

Prof: "I feel a little like I'm talking to my cats today, and that's not good!"
Student: "I thought those cats could solve anything."
Prof: "Well they really can, but they stare and think for a long time."

That explains a lot...

Prof: "I'm not really into ironing, obviously. I wish I were. I don't have the time."

Quotable Quote of the Week

This delicious little tidbit was inserted (not by me) into an otherwise perfectly serious conversation:

The trouble with the rhythm method is that people are synchopated.


Prof (re: Congress's "contemplating" changing tax laws): "You don't have to worry about them too much, because they contemplate all the time and rarely do anything."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Huh? again

Prof (sorry, I don't know what he was talking about, other than that it was tax-related): "This is something come up with by the Democrats back in the 1940s, when people drank hard and smoke filled the rooms."


Tax prof: "Tax legislation is like making sausage."

Form 4797

Prof: "That was sort of like explaining in five minutes the nerve endings in somebody's hand or something. ... Don't go talking about this to people at cocktail parties."

Reserved for final judgement

Prof [re: a prominent atheist]: She's now in a graveyard in Texas. I guess she's found out whether she's right, one way or another. We've not heard back.

precocious law students

Prof: It's really different for all you young kids. I mean you were all born in, what, 1997?

My new dream job

Prof: I don't know, just thinkin' out loud. That's what I get paid to do.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Did that go in the court brief?

Prof: How did [the plaintiff] win this case?

Student: I don't know.

Prof: He had a good lawyer and a lot of money. DON'T TRY THIS.

The little old lady from Pasadena?

Professor: "My husband has an aunt who's 90, and she still drives--with no license, I might add."


Story 1
Last week two of my girls had birthdays on the same day. Dain's mum brought spaghetti from on of the many pizza places. Laura's mum brought the cake and drinks. We were eating and I was with the girls. The following took place;

Dain: "Miss Straub, I bet you are glad that this lunch does not need chopsticks."

"Why Dain?"

"Because you are not very good with them."

"How do you know?"

"I watch you eat at lunch when you use chopsticks."

Grrrr...why can't they pay that much attention in class...

Story 2
Chris (one of Delaura's students) has informed her and myself that Americans have long noses "like chopsticks". The mental image that creates....

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Some funny things from this school year:

John's Spelling Test:
durama (actual word: drama)
agesabition (actual word: exhibition)
babitaion (actual word: habitation)

We have a talk with the fifth and sixth grade about personal hygene. Miss Straub talked to the boys about bacteria and how it can make you stinky. It really grossed some of them about, and one of them took it particularly to heart. The next morning the fifth grade classroom smelled of man's perfume as Jason has made sure that he smelled nice. I would have been happy for Dial soap, but that works too.

Miss Anderson's quiz:
Question: Which two middle eastern countries were at war this summer?
Student's Answer: Canada and Vermont.

Note: student was serious.............

Friday, September 08, 2006

It's all in your paradigm

Prof: Is there an argument that a rational person could believe the earth is flat?

Student #1: Well, unless they came up with some really contorted definition of "flat"...

Student #2: Well sure, why are we thinking in three dimensions anyway? That's so arbitrary.

Ah, Notre Dame...

Prof: How does the insurance company make money off this (annuity program)?

Student: I am not a good person for this question. The only thing I know about money is how to spend it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Comparison/Contrast Essays

My kids are learning how to write essays this week in English. As they usually do they start with a Comparison/Contrast Essay. I had them write two paragraphs; one comparing one contrasting. They had to have six sentences each. They could choose any subject.

This is John Choi’s essay in all its glory, save the messy handwriting. If anyone can tell me what he’s talking about I’d appreciate it…

1. A pirras and chickens alike in several ways
2. Bath a pirras and a chickens are around and most have a small hole in the middle.
3. Bath a pirras and a chickens are about three or four inches in diameter and about an inch thick.
4. pirras and chickens are also similar in popularity
5. many people bay pirras or chickens for a special lunch.
6. Bath pirras shops and doughnut shops are popular places for families and friends to enjoy together.
7. pirras are baked in the oven but chickens are fired.
8. Although they look alike pirras and chickens are different in many ways.
9. Pirras have cherry insider while chickens are coarse inside like a fired food
10. many people slice their pirras and eat them as meet with cheese with them.
11. I usually have cereal for breakfast
12. however most people like to eat their chicken with nothing on them

just discovered something - John copied the essay from the example in the book but changed only the subjects. He gets a 0% and has to rewrite it for Monday. It's still amusing though.

A better investment

Professor [on writing a non-orthodox court brief]: Good advocates are gamblers. They've gotta be gamblers, because hey, it's somebody else's money.

I'd stick to the stock market.

[In the context of a policy discussion about state lotteries]

Professor: What about blackjack? Is that a good investment?

Student: Well, I don't know how good you are at blackjack.

Professor: Well, I can count to 21...

Creative accounting? (Or, How many states?)

Tax prof: "And that [deduction is] the same in all 42 states. And I'm counting the District of Columbia as a state."
[Students all look puzzled]
Student: "What about the other states?"
Prof: "They don't have income tax."

(And I was thinking that either, (1) the professor was showing us the "unofficial" addition method to use when figuring taxable income, or (2) he had forgotten the addition of a few states since he was younger.)

Regional accents

Professor (after misspelling "veterinary" as "vetrinary"): "It sounds like I'm from West Virginia or something."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bungee jumping!

Professor: "Whenever I think of exculpatory clauses, I think of bungee jumping. ... If the rope snaps and you go 'splat,' is that ordinary negligence or gross negligence?"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

And they wonder why people hate them

From Federal Income Taxation:

"As far as the IRS is concerned, once money is stolen, that money belongs to the thief and the thief must pay his or her taxes [on the stolen money as income] before returning anything to the victim."

Monday, September 04, 2006

No blaming the victim here

[in Family Law]

Student: The husband should be able to sue the wife in tort for hiring a hitman to kill him, but only as long as he's prepared for her to bring counterclaims for infliction of emotional distress.

Prof: Nah, there was none of that. She was just tired of him. I don't know what her problem was.

Why bother signing?

Prof: "You pay your bills this month and sign 'Mickey Mouse' [on your checks]. They'll all go through. Nobody looks at them."
Student: "Will you pay the late fees?"

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bumper sticker of the week

Come over to the dark side...we have cookies.

Probably a story behind that

Student: [answering a question about going after illegal activity as an IRS agent] I don't really want to get killed by Al Capone.

Professor: Well, the IRS tends to protect its own. Although I did know one guy who was killed by the Church of Scientology...


Professor: Here's a hypo for you: You're an IRS agent (sorry, I don't mean to slander you in any way)...

In case you were wondering

IRS Publication 525: "Illegal income, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ [relating to self-employment income] if from your self-employment activity."

Career hazards

Tax law professor: The most common tax offense among lawyers is failing to file a tax return at all. This is usually a result of alcoholism, substance abuse, or depression.


Here in Korea the water is rather unpalatable so everyone drinks bottled water. We have water coolers on all the floors in the school and the kids provide their own cups (which often have lids because of the dust here). Jamies cup is cute - it's a bear. The lid is it's head. Today he lost the lid -

"Miss Straub! I lost my head!" I knew what he meant (even English speaking kids might say something like that) but could not resist...

"It looks like it's on your body Jamie."

Jamie gets a very confused look and feels his head...

After a second (still feeling for his own head) "No Miss Straub, my cup's head."

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The not so full-service professor

Professor [as he writes Latin term on the board]: I may have the spelling wrong, guys, and I really apologize, but I really don't care.

Come on, it was orientation day...

Professor [in a class of about 70 students]: This is the online directory. That's why I have trouble identifying you. Some of your pictures are so bad... Look at this one! This is [one of the students in the class].

Free class pass... and I get to make fun of you

Professor: Who can tell me what [the USSG] is? I won't call on you next class if you can get this one.

[hand shoots into the air]

Professor: [pointing at her] Oh-ho-ho-ho! It's the gunner!

A pretty good one...

Prof: [Student], were you here last class?

Student: No, I wasn't enrolled yet.

Prof: What kind of excuse is that?

Accounting textbook examples

"Our author and other authors love to kill off the key employee. It doesn't usually work that way, unless you operate in Baghdad, or somewhere like that."

Is it really that easy?

Prof: "My pet dog could do [a Schedule M-1]! The cats of course could do it, but the dog, with a little training."

What are we coming to?

Prof: [question about representing the wishes of a minor vs. the kid's best interests]

Student: I think that's an ethics question.

Prof: I'm not above raising those.

Is this how attorneys operate?

Prof (telling us about an excessively complicated legal document that he and other auditors couldn't figure out): "We wrote the opinion that that particular attorney had perhaps been tussling with the bottle too much. Maybe that's why we could never reach him--he was in the tank, drying out."


Miss Talbert: Lorie, did you copy your answers from the back of the book?

Lorie: Oh, no Miss Talbert. I did not.

Lorie's Answers:
Question 1. Answers will vary
Question 2. Answers will vary
Question 3. Answers will vary

Miss Talbert: Yup, pretty sure you did.

The Plan

A few nights ago I got a call from a student. John was telling me that Matthew had been at his house to play and accidentally took John's bag and left his own. So told him he could turn his work in the day after, instead of the next day when it was due.

"Is that a plan?" I asked.

"No." John said

Oooookayyyy....expained again, same question, same answer. Try again...same thing. Finally I asked him what he thought was a good plan.

"No, no Miss Straub. It was not a plan. It was an accident. Matthew not mean to take my bag with him. He have the same bag as me."

Ah language barriers...I did explain to him what I meant about "Is that a plan."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Every lecture should have a llama

Professor: [After drawing our attention to a headline article in the Wall Street Journal two years ago about how it was trendy to buy live llamas as lawn decorations] I digress. Should this client incorporate as a not-for-profit?

Say what?

"The tax law of the United States, like automobiles and hot dogs, is created in a multistep process." (Federal Tax Research textbook)

Business ethics

Prof: "We're trying to integrate business ethics throughout the curriculum, so this is my contribution." (As the class enjoyed listening to a Weird Al song called "Don't Download This Song.")


Prof: "I have a cousin... He saved his money, and we were all broke all the time, so we'd borrow money from him. ... He foreclosed on his brother's tennis shoe once--buried it in a box in the backyard.... [His brother] would give you the shirt of his back, and [my cousin] would give you the shirt off his back, if you had collateral."


Hi all! This is the first posting of the Laura on Frittering Away, so I shall share a story from class yesterday. We were writing letters in class yesterday and I was going around and checking to see what kind of progress the kids were making. When I got to John I asked him, "OK, John. Where are you?" John, without skipping a beat, looked up at me and, with a puzzled look on his face, replyed, "right here." It was like I was asking him a trick question and he was trying very hard to figure out what the catch was. I need to be more careful about how I word things.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nutty professor

"The other day I was busy all day and got home and realized that I hadn't talked to a single person all day. So I commented to my cat..."

That nutty tax code!

Tax prof: "This is kind of nutty, but there are a lot of nutty things in tax."

Run now while you still can.

Professor: If you look at our tax structure--and you're better off not to--it's rather curious.

What indeed...

Professor: [explaining that some homeschooling is now structured so that parents hire a tutor to come in an teach their kids] Some teachers love this arrangment. I can just see the teacher sitting out by the pool in the back of the mansion with the kids. I mean, hey, what could go wrong?

Class: *nervous laughter*

Your tuition at work

Student: [after prof corrects a grammar distinction in a student's answer] Thank you, sir.
Professor: That's why we're here. I'm a full-service professor.

Law school hiring practices

Professor: Neither of my parents had high school degrees. My mother went through third grade and my father went through ninth. Then I went to tenth and I thought that was something! Then this job [as a law professor] came up...

Monday, August 28, 2006


Prof: "My cousin... I mean, she took some cleaner back [to the store] once because it cleaned, but it did not shine. The ad said, 'Cleans and shines.'"

Valid contracts

Prof: "You all know I'm always offering A's for your firstborn child. I love babies, they're so sweet. ... Is that a valid contract? Yes, but it's not enforceable. ... I can't deal in live children."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Reasons for not grading papers in class...

My students had to write 10 sentences for Reading using Selling words and other vocab I give them. One of the 6th graders Chris used the word "depress";

"I depress my thumb into his back."

Jack used some English Vocab "imperative";
“I was imperatived by my sister.”

He used interrogative and declairative in similar ways.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Now that's noble advocacy.

Professor: There's a saying among defense attorneys--"Innocent until proven broke."

And no dinner, either.

Professor: Pretend you're [fictional character in complex hypo].

Student: Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to jail.

At least some candy?

Professor: So you need the bag man to cooperate with you to make your case and he says, What's in it for me? What do you say?

Student: I don't know.

Professor: Well that's helpful.

Federal Criminal Prosecution: nutshell version

Professor: What does a federal prosecutor do?
Student: Prosecute.
Professor: Prosecute who?
Student: Criminals.
Professor: Okaaay...

At least he's honest

Professor: "That question [on course evaluations], 'Is the professor enthusiastic about his subject?' The answer is, 'No.' Having taught this for a long time, I'm not enthusiastic about it. ... but I'm paid to stand up here and tell you things."

The same professor, critiquing a sample letter in the textbook: "The people who wrote the book are in California, so everything is all loose and casual. ... 'By the way, half your family died, we're really sorry, see you at the barbecue!'"

quod erat demonstrandum

Professor: Normal people do not really speak Latin. We do have a professor visiting this afternoon who actually speaks Latin, but he's not persona typica.

The *other* sacrament

Professor: [Waiting for a student to volunteer an answer and finally getting one to raise her hand] There you go! Bless you my child.

When I was your age...

Professor: When I was being educated 100 years ago and I came home and said the teacher scolded me, my parents didn't say, "Let's sue the teacher." They said, "Well, the teacher was probably right, you little rascal," and they took away my ipod... Well, no, maybe my abacus.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Newly-tenured prof: "For some people, tenure is kind of like taking a permanent sabbatical."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006


Now am grading English papers. The assignment is to write one each of the four kinds of sentences (exc., interr., etc..).

Jason's Declaritave sentence - "I hate dung."

For this we can all be thankful.

New Kind of Instrument

For homework my 5th graders were to list things that are "harmonious to the ear"...

One answer: "mp3 player" listed along with violin, cello, piano and other instruments

Conjugating IRS provisions

Federal Income Taxation prof: The IRS code looks like it's written in English because there are English words in it. Don't be fooled. It's not.

Computer Orientation

I spent nearly two hours in "computer orientation" this afternoon, but at least the guy in charge of the session was entertaining! Here's a sampling...

  • "That's like ignoring a gaping flesh wound." (on ignoring anti-virus scans)
  • "I could treat that with medication, but I choose not to." (on his tendency to save important documents on his hard drive, his thumb drive, and a CD)
  • "[Your laptop] doesn't like to be where you don't like to be. I don't like the trunk of my car in August, it doesn't like the trunk of my car in August."
  • "If you need WeatherBug, try the window. It doesn't tell you the temperature, but you can tell if it's raining."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What is that supposed to mean?

"The ABC's of Finding a Good Wife... It just sounds like a Protestant book."

--my very Catholic friend

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bumper sticker of the week

Dyslexic devil worshippers sell their souls to Santa.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Too cute!

A prayer request from one of the kids in the 5-year-olds class I'm helping with at church:

"Pray for my dad, because he's going to Ping Pong. ... I think it's near China."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Think Before You Speak...

A story from one of my co-workers...

...Our building has several levels, one of which is the "parking" (or, as the elevator button is labeled, "P") level. A few weeks ago, my co-worker got onto an elevator (heading down) that was already occupied by a man from another floor of the building. The conversation reportedly went like this:

My co-worker: [Steps into elevator]
Man: Are you going down to "P"?
My co-worker: [Choking back laughter] Yes...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The economics of a law career

Law student: [question about impact on children when men work long hours (as in the legal field)]

Economist Lecturer: Well first of all, understand that no normal woman will ever marry you.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

So what for then?

Dad to daughter who is eating pickles: "What are you eating those for? I don't purchase those to be eaten!!"

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


It's good to be back. I'm sure I'll have all sorts of fun things to post, especally once I have a class full of 11 year-olds (= but for now...

Said by the 3-year-old I baby sat for today: "Will you please put on Bach's Christmas Oratorio? But the Brandenburg Concertos are in the CD player and you will have to take them out." Would that all three year olds were that smart....

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

We interrupt this station's regular scheduled programming

To announce that the illustrious founder of Frittering Away has returned as if from the dead to join us in the ever-present hilarity of this blog!

Welcome back, Joanna!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Interpreting dreams?

One Sunday almost a year ago, my pastor commented on the full auditorium at the morning worship service. He pointed out that attendance tends to fluctuate during the summer months:

"You never know whether you'll have the lean cows or--"

He stopped abruptly as he realized what he was saying.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

You need a cite for that!?

From a NJ Supreme Court case:

"The complete pleasure of swimming must be accompanied by intermittent periods of rest and relaxation beyond the water's edge. See State ex rel. Thornton v. Hay, 254 Or. 584, 599-602, 462 P.2d 671, 678-79 (1969) (Denecke, J., concurring)."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Alternative to law school?

Professor: So, if any of you are old enough and have enough money, Nicole Kidman is probably looking for another husband.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Some teachers you just don't argue with...

Student: That's true, but--
Professor: I know that's true; I just said it.

Culture in the Deep South

Professor (quoting her son, who had gone to college in Mississippi): "He said, 'You know one thing I like about this school? They have a rule about cleaning game in the dorm, and they really need it.' Some guy had gotten a wild turkey and was in the bathroom..."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

More executive fun

Professor (on impeaching judges for getting reversed too often): Your “high crimes and misdemeanors” is being stupid.

Professor (Regarding the executive pardon): It’s kind of like having an appendix or something—this vestige left over from monarchy.

Lost innocence

Two key things to take from this case: First, if your contract crashes and burns you go into restitution to sort things out. Second, professional wrestling is not real. If you know those two things you’ll be fine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

No fooling the prof

Student: [explains an eminent domain problem in her community (a major U.S. city)]

Professor: Yeah, they called me about that… I told them they were going to lose.

read the signals

[Professor shows a slide of a typical residential “urban sprawl”]

Professor: Is this terrifying, or is this something we should be proud of?

Student: [commences to explain why the residential community model is a good one while the professor immediately goes into a sneezing fit]

Student: Do you really hate it that much?

We are academia

Professor (walking in a good 10 minutes after we finished Teacher Evaluations): I’m a little late because no one came to get me… I’m not an independent thinker, you know.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Is it that obvious?

Student: *sneeze*

Professor: God bless you. *pause* You look like you should go home and get some sleep.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Exam time

Professor: (after explaining that the exam will be all essay) Are there any questions?

Student 1: Care to negotiate?

Professor: No. I mean, what would you like?

Student 2: Fill in the blank with a word bank.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Bribing kids?

Professor: [Tells us about paying her kids not to watch TV.]

Student: How much would you pay us to not watch TV?

Professor: Brad, you've obviously mistaken me for someone who cares how much TV you watch.

Friday, April 21, 2006

All in the family

Professor (as we approach discussion of Gasperini v. Center for Humanities, Inc.): I know you’ve been waiting for this all year, so I’m going to call on Mr. Gasperini for this case.

Student (with the unfortunate last name of Gasperini): I’m afraid I’m going to have to recuse myself for this for conflict of interest.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Just for fun

Great quotes here. :-)

I'm going to herbal remedies.

Professor (after telling us how narrow our field of knowledge will be in a few years): That shouldn't scare you. What should fill you with horror is that your friends in medical school are in the same situation… Think of them as knowing as much about medicine as you know about law.

In a positive light

Professor (re: Nixon): He’s not the most principled person in the world. I don’t mean that as an insult; he’s just more… pragmatic.


Professor: Watch for words like “it’s constitutionally based” and has “constitutional dimensions.” That’s code for “It’s not really in the Constitution.”

Professor: One of the tools they have is this subpoena duces tecum, which is Latin for “gimme all the documents you have” or “come to our offices and eat our doughnuts and bring the documents so we can look at them.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Where does that go in my outline?

Professor: John Robinson lived in a purple house. I don’t know if you knew. But it’s a very tasteful purple.

Legal Realism in Covenants

Professor: Most of these deed restriction problems get worked out, although not so much legally because most of it gets worked out through nasty letters.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Birth Control...

Unfortunately, since I'm not presently a student, I have no recent professor quotations to publish on this blog. But we can't let Becca do all the work here, so I've pulled out some old material.

A professor of mine who is a former Roman Catholic describes the reaction of her college's Catholic Club to the pope's proclamation that Catholic women should not use birth control:
[We wrote] an article with the suggestion that all the Catholic women bring their birth control pills to church to give to the nuns to string together to use as rosary beads. The bishop stopped our newspaper.

For the love of learning...

Professor: How many of you would come to a review session after the final exam?
Student: Will you be there?
Professor: Aww. I expect an apple up here after class, too.

ConLaw for Dummies

Professor (re: Bowsher v. Synar): The rule established here for Constitutionality is “This seems okay.”

You seem to hear this a lot

Professor: No, I don’t think that’s a dumb question at all, and of course the answer is “it depends.”

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Actual jury instruction given by a judge

Now, I have nothing to do with the fact that there may be some ambiguity in [UCC section] 2-306. If there is ambiguity, well, that is too bad. This is the law that the legislature has adopted. With due respect to all these great judges that [Defendant's counsel] has cited and these great academic lawyers he has called to my attention, well, good, they have a lot of time to mull over these problems.

Tricks to help you out

Professor: (in response to a student) Sure, and you can always get out of the problem by changing the hypothetical.

Judicial Writing 101

Professor: I want every one of you to promise me that if you are ever on the Supreme Court you will never write something so pretentious and banal as Kennedy’s “A nation cannot plunder its own treasury without putting its Constitution and its survival in peril.”

Congressional Intent

Professor: This should have been titled the Guess What We’re Thinking About Act.

[Can I put that on my final? --ed.]

Just to be clear

Student: I haven’t studied this case that closely, but…

Prof: Which case have you not studied that closely?

Student: All of them

Get Glasses.

Prof: Who’s on call and looks not quite awake? Ms. Student, you look not quite awake.

Student: I’m not on call. I’m just sitting in the front row.

Prof: WHY?

Student: So I can see.

Prof: Well, for that kind of eager attitude, I’m going to make an exception for you. Tell us the facts of this case.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Perspectives on Fame

Student: About that article you sent out by that one guy, I can’t remember his name…

Prof: *laughs* I’m going to tell the author you said that. It will puncture his ego, which would be good for him.

Monday, April 10, 2006


"A woman must hide her heart so deep in God that a man must seek God to find it."

Sorry for the sappy quote...ation, girls, but I saw it on a friend's facebook page and couldn't resist. I like it a lot.

What I Meant to Say...

*Professor just explained that we would have property on both of the last two days of class.*

Student: That’s awesome!

Prof: *confused look*

Student: well, at least it’s not Con Law.

[The Property professor is married to the Con Law professor. –ed.]

Saturday, April 08, 2006

My favorite things...

I love the smell of new toys. You know what I mean--that fresh, plastic sort of aroma you get when you first take the toy out of its package. It reminds me of Christmas, and how I always loved getting a new game or doll when I was a kid.

Of course, I no longer get games and dolls for Christmas. But I've noticed that new electronic gadgets tend to have that same new-toy smell as Barbie accessories.

I got a new cell phone today. It smells great.

Friday, April 07, 2006

While we're being honest...

Professor: I heard one student say the other day “I don’t actually know any law”

Student: You’ve actually just gotten a sneak preview of my final.

[And I bet in that case she could offer a sneak preview of your grade. --ed.]

You mean that doesn't work?

Professor (talking about a case she had worked on as a clerk): The other side’s brief was gibberish. I mean it was like, Quasi…property… appurtenant… dominant… something… I win.

Forget the stress balls

I found this in a Marine publication that came in to work yesterday. Apparently the Marines have had a couple kids drown during their training exercises, so they've changed a bunch of processes and have a committee making recommendations on what else needs to change. So...the committee determined that one of the things that need to be done was to make the swim training a lower-stress environment. The solution? (I lie not.) Post signs reading, "This is a low-stress environment."

*roll eyes*

Maybe I should get some of those to put up at work.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Make like a Florida...

Professor: So when you're reading the next case, remember two things: first, count the votes. Second… um… I forgot what the second thing was… so count votes! Count them twice!

Benefit of the Doubt

Professor: Does anyone NOT know what the Writ of Habeas Corpus is? It’s okay if you don’t.

Class: *silence*

Professor: Okay, some people don’t. Who are we kidding? Lots of people don’t. *proceeds to explain it*

"Law" by Picasso

Professor: This is law, Baby--I mean, look at this thing! (after drawing an elaborate series of boxes and squiggly lines to illustrate a student’s point)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dipolomacy in Property Policy

Professor: Mr. Student, should the governement provide public housing to drug dealers?

Student: Well, jail would qualify as public housing, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Now I need some advice!

Does anybody know of a good book on the issue of abortion that's a reasonably easy read? (I.e., I could read it and write a good essay about the issue within about a week's time?)

Something that discusses how abortion relates to or affects American culture might be good.

More advice...

...from the aforementioned professor:

If you see a police car pull off the interstate, "Always wait till you're over the next hill before you floor it."

Piece of advice...

... from a particular Bible professor:

Don't slam on the brakes if you see a cop while you're speeding, "because that's a dead giveaway, [if] you go skidding sideways down the interstate past the squad car..."

Not Fair

ConLaw Prof: Where does Justice Black say the powers come from?

Student: You’ve got me. *looks at book*

ConLaw Prof: They’re not in there. He didn’t say.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Property, Monday

(After professor wrote next class's assignment on the board--50 pages)

Student: *blank stare*

Professor: What?

Student: That's a lot of reading.

Professor: *pause* Yeah.

Student: *blank stare*

Professor: Sorry.

Open letter to law school smokers

Dear Law School Smokers:

Please quit smoking. Short of that, please try to smoke wearing a heavy jacket that you remove before coming to class. Your classmates who sit beside you like you very much, but they get headaches when they have to sit next to you for 50 minutes at a time and inhale the leftovers.

Thank you,
A classmate concerned for your health and hers


Not to steal your thunder (heh) or anything, Becca, but we had a nice storm here last night as well. Probably not nearly as good as yours, but I did enjoy falling asleep to the sound of thunder rumbling and rain beating on the house...

... and we have a tornado watch this morning, so I'm expecting another good storm any minute now!

Welcome to Another New Team Member!

Hello, Monica!

Sunday, April 02, 2006


We're currently having the most deliciously bombastic thunderstorm here in South Bend! Just wanted to share the moment...

Oh, and if I thought it couldn't get any better, I just harvested the pork loin I stuck in my crock pot this morning and left on low all day. Unbelievable! Try it yourself--slice a few cloves of garlic, stab your pork randomly and stick the garlic slices in. Then put the pork in a ziploc bag with 8 oz. Italian dressing and leave it in the fridge for a day. Remove to crock pot and leave on low for 8-10 hours. Actually, I didn't let is marinate that long. I figured it could do that while it cooked. But let me tell you, this is amazing pork.

Welcome to our New Team Member!

Say hello to Becca!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I've arrived!

I'm a dissident.

Thanks for leaving the link up, Becca; I'm glad to be getting a few hits!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Welcome to Frittering Away

Welcome to the memorial edition of Frittering Away.

For those of you who have not visited before, Frittering Away is the former blog home of a friend of mine. The blog disappeared rather suddenly several days ago.

Why? I don't know the exact reason, and I may never know for sure. However, I do know that the blog disappeared very shortly after a meeting was to have occurred between my friend and a particular authority figure. That's a bit too much of a coincidence for me to overlook.

Let me clear: I am not laying the blame for the demise of this blog on anyone in particular, since I have heard neither side of the story. (So if you're an "authority figure" reading this, that means that my anonymous friend has not been spreading news of this situation to me. The blame for the Frittering Away Memorial Blog lies solely with yours truly.)