And the Winner is...

Lizzie Bennet. Good taste, everyone. Marvelous good taste! In honor of the occasion, here are some of Lizzie's best quotes from Pride and Prejudice. "Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us." Ch. 5. During a dance with the entranced, yet awkward, Mr. Darcy: "It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples." Ch. 18. On her cousin and one-time suitor, Mr. Collins: "Mr. Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man; you know he is, as well as I do; and you must feel, as well as I do, that the woman who married him cannot have a proper way of thinking." Ch. 24. Any woman who can string together a series of genteel, yet decimating put-downs with the grace of a swan deserves to win this competition. Any woman with the moxy to sass a prude like Mr. Darcy while dancing with him and still make us smile while doing it deserves to win this competition. And any woman with the ability to clarify and aptly distinguish the difference between Pride and Vanity definitely deserves to win this competition. Ms. Bennet, it is with honor that I present to you the title of... Literary Fiction Female Hottie of 2008. And with that honor, I'll now be commissioning a run of t-shirts that say "Where's my Lizzie Bennet?" Let me know if you'd like one.


Ho Ho Ho...!!!

It's been a bit of a tradition of mine to rip-off emulate the merriest of Christmas poems--'Twas the Night Before Christmas. (Thank heaven for public domain). I hope you enjoy it, and may it remind you of college and the days you sacrificed in the name of education. May you have the best Yule yet and enjoy the peace and joy of the Reason for this day. May He watch over you always. eric ‘Twas the night before finals, when all through the house No electronics were stirring, not even a mouse. The paper was stacked by the printer with care, In hopes that an outline soon would be there; My roommates were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of ski-slopes still danced in their heads; And I in my PJs, and Laptop in hand Had just settled down for some Judge Learned Hand When right on the screen there arose such a clatter, I leapt from the couch to see what was the matter. But back to the screen, my eyes dropped so fast, I clicked on the browser, and checked out the cache, When what to my baggy, blood shot eyes should pop-up But an ad “Straight from Bar-Bri™,” too good to pass up! With a little old graphic, so lively and quick, I knew from the Flash, it must be Spy-Nick. More mbps than a Pentium Eight He Google’d, and Yahoo’d, and linked parties by name: “Now Westlaw®, on Lexis™, now Goldsmith, and Wood! On, Journals! on Moot Court! on, Tax Law…it’s all good! To the top of the law school! To the top of the class! Now case-brief, and issue-spot, and get off your…computers!” So up to the desktop, the parties they flew, With links full of laws, and Spy-Nicholas, too. And then, in a tinkling, I heard in the drive A whizzing and whirring as if it were alive. I drew up the cursor, started clicking around, And down the main menu Spy Nicholas dropped with a bound. He was drawn all in pixels, every hair and each stitch, And his clothes were all customized by Abercrombie and Fitch. His viruses—how they twinkled! His spyware—how merry! With offers so sweet, I had to be wary. Quite tight in his fist he held on to a pen, And if clicked, it then promised “We’ll make you top TEN*!” He had a round face, and a big, law-school-belly That, with the “FREE Seminar,” would prove he was no dummy He was happy and plump, a right jolly old elf, So I cursed when I saw him, in spite of myself; For with a wink of his ads, and a twist of his links I knew right away this was going to stink! Not designed to spread joy, he went straight to his work, And corrupted my files; then blinked with a jerk, And laying his digit-hand on my start menu, With a horrible crash, my laptop began to reboot. I sprang to the wireless connection to see If a copy of my outline there would still be. But I heard Spy-Nick say, ‘ere the whole thing shut down “Merry Christmas to you! Go buy Legal Lines® now.”


As you wish.

Eric Tullis

The heart of the Law School passed away this week. Monday morning, Eric Tullis--the one of the big grin, the "hope you have a great day," one of the most dedicated, hardworking men I've ever met--returned to His Father in Heaven. Eric gave his all to whatever he did, and he did so with a smile. Of all the greatness that roams the halls of BYU's Law School, I think I will miss his most of all. He truly was the best of us.


How could I have forgotten?!

Honorable Mention: Pam Beasley Pam is low-key, funny, artsy, hip, and as Scoot noted "naturally easy on the eyes." Pam, for your dedication to the office, your crafts, and for finally making room for Jim in your life--plus you are just so stinking adorable it's hot--you get your own slot in the poll. Thanks, Scott. Also-rans: Princess Peach--Good enough for Mario, just not quite good enough for us. Elle Woods--lawyerly and pretty, ultimately Elle was just a touch too high-maintenance. Arwen--Elven Princess? Awesome. Elf ears? Fantastic. Total disappearance in the last two movies? Booooo. Ultimately, she was Rivendell's Queen of Cute, but just couldn't get past the fact that her Daddy is Steven Tyler.

Where's My [Fill in the Blank]?

Finals have kind of taken me completely out of the real world lately, but I've also noticed that something else has taken around 50% of the general population out of the real world, too. With all the "Where's MY Edward?" hubbub going on lately, I've noticed a decided pining for fictional characters--to solve romantical problems, serve as glowing examples, etc. Guys, however, for the most part have been left out of the mix. Thus, I've decided to start my own campaign for the perfect fictional female--one who will provide an opportunity for guys nationwide to unabashadly go ga-ga for and compare women to forever more. I present to you--the TOP 5 Fictional Ladies. 1. Lizzie Bennet You girls get Mr. Darcy, we get the original Ms. Sassy-Pants from the 19th Century. Jane Austen was surely in her Victorian groove when she developed the effervescent second Bennet daughter. Possessed of "a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous," Lizzie has made countless...alright, maybe countable...men swoon for her "fine eyes" and rather tart interactions with Mr. Darcy for generations. Perfectly cast in marble and porcelain? No. Undead? Hardly. But what guy can resist a woman who can dish out as good as she gets? As readers and fans of Ms. Lizzie for centuries, we concur with Ms. Austen's assessment that "It is a truth well known to all the world that an unmarried man in possession of a large fortune must be in need of a wife..." so long as it's Lizzie. 2. Hermione Granger. Sure, she's 12-years-old when the series starts. Sure, she can be pompous, stuck-up, arrogant, emotional, and even silly. But couple her sheer intelligence, determination, work ethic, and fantastic humor with Emma Watson's turn as Harry Potter's veritable Aristotle (she knows EVERYTHING), and our collective interest shot up like the Golden Snitch at a Quidditch Tourney. If only WE could be Seekers. Lest you worry, our interest did not arise until some appropriate point in the series. We don't know when that appropriate time is or was, but it occurred at an appropriate time. We promise. Besides, if Edward's 17, why can't we have the greatest Muggle-born babe to ever grace the page? Poor Harry, though; Hermione puts Ginny Weasley to shame. 3. Xena Warrior Princess Looks great in leather? Check Soprano with a New Zealander accent? Check Throws a sharp boomerangy aerobie thingy to dispatch her mortal enemies? Check Sense of humor? Most definitely. We'd be the Rain Forest to her Amazon any day of the week (but generally Saturday afternoons in syndication). 4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Whoa. Stakes, gymnastic martial arts moves, killer fashion and anti-vampire instincts, a real issue with authority. That's hot. Sarah Michelle Gellar's TV version is definitely the one we thought was cute and eventually fell head over heels for. She grew up, hunted evil wherever it lurked, but never lost that sense of fun and adventure along the way. She was always our steady one... and we kinda dig the fact that Buffy could slay Edward if he ever messed. Just sayin... 5. Princess Leia She had us from the moment she grabbed the laser rifle and shouted "Into the garbage chute, flyboy." Forget the hair buns; forget the Wookie prejudice; forget the fact that she made out with her twin brother. Leia takes Lizzie Bennet's spunk and launches it into orbit around a galaxy far, far away. We'd jump at the chance to be a scruffy-looking nerf herder within parsecs of her, let alone be frozen in carbonite. Oh, that Han Solo, he didn't know how good he had it! Plus, the golden bikini was out of this world. Now it's Your Turn Thus shakes out the List. Now you get the opportunity to cast your vote for the one who will soon grace our "Where's My [Fill in the Blank]?" t-shirts and memorabilia. Thanks for the support, and if you have any write-ins or other suggestions, please let me know.


Watch the Moon Tonight

NASA reports the moon is going to be the largest seen since 1993. And they don't know why people perceive it as larger... Should be spectacular though, creeping over the mountains.


It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Finals

It's that time of the year! Yuletidings, carolings, chestnuttings, giftgivings, huggings, lovings, etc. Everywhere, that is, except for the hallowed halls of Law School Academia. This is the point in the year where the rubber meets the road and you try desperately to prove to your professor that you learned something in the intervening semester. It is, on the whole, a vain and lonely exercise. An exercise where I: want to scratch my eyeballs out to stop the pain; where I'd rather faint from exhaustion than sleep; where I feel pressed to do anything and everything in order to "be prepared" for a final exam and wonder if I should also "do a good turn daily" or if the Boy Scout motto alone is sufficient; where I rack my brain to figure out why I did all of this; where I look back on my life and wonder how I got here; where I look forward to my life and realize I don't know where I'm going; where it all seems like a Twilight Zone episode and I've been stuck in some timewarp where THIS is it and the rest of my life has only been a dream leading up to this horrible, horrible reality; where I morph into a curmudgeonly grinch of a man; where I don't necessarily start to grow a beard, but often forget to shave it; where I wonder if I really ever smiled; where I wonder what would have happened if.... Needless to say, this is not my favorite time of the year until after finals time. And that's too bad, because December was the BEST MONTH EVER when I was a kid. I got out of two weeks of school. It smelled like pine and candle wax in my house every day. Rosy cheeks and mistletoe dotted friendly hallways. And maybe most awesome of all, I got to celebrate two very important birthdays: mine (15th Baby!) and Jesus'. While mine is often overshadowed by His, I'm OK with it. I understand. December birthdays know what I'm talking about... Anyway, back to finals time... When people ask me if they should go to law school during this time, I tell them to ask me later. When people ask me how I'm doing, I tell them to ask me later. When people ask me anything, in fact, I usually just grunt, nod / shake my head, and hope they leave me alone. Well, most people anyway. There are one or two who inspire a smiling grunt. Anyway, before I launch into the anti-Spirit of Christmas that is Finals time, I wanted to wish you all a WONDERFUL Holiday season. May family, fun, love, and joy abound. Heart, Pre-Grinched (3x larger than one week from now) Eric


Twilight Supreme

NEWS FLASH--TWILIGHT GOES DARK!!! (For now) In a landmark 3-2 decision, the Supreme Court today affirmed Vogeler v. Twilight and declared the beloved Twilight series "obscene material pursuant to the Court's prior decision in Miller v. California" upholding a Utah Federal District Court's injunction against the publication of the work. Little Brown, the publishers behind the beloved young adult vampire series by famed Mormon author Stephenie Meyer declined comment, but issued a press statement indicating that, while disappointed in the decision, it would follow the Court and "shut down production [of the novels] immediately." In what may be the smallest decision in the last 100 years of Supreme Court jurisprudence, four of the Court's Justices recused themselves from weighing in on the Twilight decision: Justice John Stevens (pictured above), because the overwhelming squealing at his Florida home from his wife and three daughters "nearly deafened [him] even more than usual when they heard about the case;" Justice Anthony Kennedy (above), who gave no official reason for his recusation (although rumor abounds that Kennedy balked at potentially being the swing vote in an "undead decision" that could "bury [his] reputation with the ladies"); Justice Stephen Breyer (above), apparently because he was sick of law students associating him solely with ice cream and couldn't bear the thought of being further associated with the "Vampyre" and the potential ramifications of being known simply as "The Honorable Count Chocula"; and Justice Clarence Thomas (above), because he was feeling grumpy the day of oral argument. Writing for what was left of the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts (above) opined that "Twilight, as a whole, appeals solely to the "prurient" interest, depicts and describes in a patently offensive way particular uncomfortable conduct prohibited by most states (necrophilia), and--when taken as a whole--lacks 'serious, literary, artistic, political [and] social value.'" After engaging in the Miller analysis, the Chief Justice crafted a surprising new rule that, in theory, will only apply to teenage vampire romance novels--the so-called "Cullen Rule." Citing the longstanding Supreme Court decision disallowing First Amendment protection of child pornography, the Chief Justice reasoned that, although 100 years old, Edward Cullen, the protagonist and lead romantic interest of the series, was trapped in the body of a 17-year-old minor. "Thus," wrote the Chief Justice, "Bella, the novel's heroine, upon reaching the age of majority systematically and obscenely engaged in vampiric, yet statutorily-prohibited acts with Edward, the eternally teen-aged, perfectly-figured lolito." Characterizing Bella Swan as both a "predator more vile than vampire" and a "dangerously ditzy criminal," the Chief Justice labeled her character "pristinely degrading to women, dependant, insipid, and, at the end, stupendously annoying." Justice Samuel Alito (above), joined by Justice David Souter (not pictured), concurred in the majority's result, but not in its reasoning. Basing his opinion not in the obscenity doctrine, but in the unprotected category of speech known simply as "incitement," Justice Alito decried the series' "clear and present danger." "The reaction this book has stirred amongst the populace of this nation has raised it to a level of danger beyond that posed by vampires and werewolves combined," Alito wrote. "I cannot presume to guess how many lives have been lost, how many families fractured, and how many young romances ruined by the publication of this monstrosity. The name 'Edward Cullen' may now be synonymous with imminent threat of unlawful activity. Sometimes, the clear and present danger presented by novels such as Twilight rise to the level of shouting 'FIRE!' in a crowded theater." After engaging in another 20 pages of empassioned analogy, Justice Alito ended his concurrence with this interesting, yet ultimately flawed speculation: "The imminent threat of yelling 'FIRE!' in a crowded theater, however, may be ignored by the reviewing court if in fact that theater is showing Twilight. In this instance, fire may indeed be combatted with 'FIRE!'" Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (above) penned the dissenting opinion. Perhaps hearkening back to her wild days at Harvard and Columbia (where she was known commonly as Ruth "Bomb Track" Bader), Justice Ginsburg summed up her reasoning succinctly: "Best. Books. Ever." In a somewhat surprising twist, joining Justice Ginsburg in her dissent was none other than Justice Antonin Scalia (above, staring intently into your soul...), who "focused on the facts and original intent" of Twilight and wound up writing a 30-page judicial review of the series, christening it at times as "a masterpiece of young adult fiction...eloquently written, superbly crafted" and "perfect for readers of all ages, creeds, sexes, and nationalities." Diving into his all-too-familiar dissenter's rhetoric, Justice Scalia made "a passionate plea to vindicate Edward, that un-vivacious, oft-vexing, vixen of a vampire." Citing his long-time fascination with the undead, Justice Scalia at one point in the opinion admitted to "maintaining a library dedicated to the greats--from Stoker, to Rice, to...you guessed it, Meyer." Justice Scalia, clinging to his quirky, yet endearing penchent for self-referral in the third person, then reasoned that "If Scalia, as conservative a fellow as exists, could love and appreciate Twilight, it obviously could not fail the first prong of the Miller test. While Scalia is many things, prurient he is not." Legal scholars are already debating the viability of such a "Scalia Prurience" test. With the future of Twilight hanging in legal limbo, critics of the five-justice decision have already voiced their despair. Some protesters (see above) have adopted rhetorical mottos such as the poignant "If Cinderella gets her Prince Charming, where is my Edward?" and the agressive "Bite Me," presumably aimed at the Roberts, Alito, Souter triad. This voice represents no small group, either. According to one protester, more than "800 billion" copies of Twilight have been sold worldwide. Countermajoritarians have teamed up with Twilight fans and reportedly called on President-elect Obama to look into new Justices that will reverse the decision... In the meantime, these self-proclaimed "Culleneers" have already adopted Justice Scalia (pictured above with protesters) as their own jurisprudential Edward, holding his opinion up as a "Standard of Truth, Justice, and Meyer." Perhaps sensing his own impending move from the Stuffy Bench to the Sexy Crypt, Scalia seemingly relished in the opportunity his dissent provided to whip out a jurisprudential stake and make a stab at what many view as the underpinnings of the majority's decision: male anxiety. "Roberts, Alito, and Souter are, in the layman's term," Scalia writes, "sissy pants. If they were more like Edward, as Scalia is and continues to become as his per se life winds down and his un-death begins, they would 'get more play.' This is a case not of obscenity, nor of incitement, nor of any danger; this is a case of the Honorable Twilight Player Hater." Justice Scalia closed his decision, and the opinion, with typical artistic flair. "Scalia, the Player, the Justice, the Jurisprudential Vampire, thus dissents...with a flourish of his cape and a flash of his mighty fangs. Mwa-ha-ha." Today, as twilight settles in over the Potomac, fans of Edward Cullen and Justice Scalia can be seen emerging from their shelters and roving the streets of DC clad in black robes, neatly coifed hair, and plastic teeth. While the gears of Justice may have ground its press to a halt, in the minds and hearts of these true believers, Twilight has not gone and will never go alone into the dark. --Bob Lawblah, Law Blog Senior Writer.


The Salt Lake Tribune reported this morning that Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles passed away last night in his sleep. Elder Wirthlin was not only a terrific individual and leader, he was grandfather to some of my closest friends growing up and a neighbor. His humor, hopeful perspective, and inspirational life will be missed, but the effect he has had on so many of us will reverberate for years to come. I love his last talk given at the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints last October. It's entitled "Come What May, and Love It." He was 91.