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."