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Just got out of a faculty meeting, the last 30 or so minutes of which were essentially wasted time because of figuring out how to satisfy a well-intentioned but needlessly nitpicking ABA requirement.
It makes you wonder how much collective faculty time is lost each year because of the ABA. And yet the one thing that AALS decides to stand up to the ABA on is the self-serving issue of the ABA's proposed elimination of tenure as a requirement of accreditation.
Buffets and my pre-law training in economics have been a very bad combination, since I irrationally -- well, maybe it's not irrational in the economic sense -- think I should maximize the value I receive, which if you're not careful, involves eating way too much. I think I sort of avoided that yesterday because I didn't feel overstuffed, but I probably still ate more than I should have. However, I think I managed to do reasonably well on getting my value, since I concentrated on the pricey stuff that I get to eat very infrequently, like crab legs, raw oysters, and smoked salmon.
Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, I was perpetually underweight. I ate a lot, but between a fast metabolism, cross-country (one season), tennis (two seasons), and Ultimate (throughout journalism school and law school), I was never more than 150 pounds at 5'10", and frequently, I was more like 135 pounds, or even less.
Somehow -- and there's probably a direct causation here -- when I started working as a lawyer, however, I broke past 160 pounds, and at times hit as much as 170. I managed to get down to about 165, but when we moved to Oregon, my beloved treadmill did not make the trip with us. For the first year and a half or so of being in Oregon, I was without that treadmill and too lazy/unmotivated/busy to find a gym, so I hit 170 or so again.
Now, I don't need the body mass index calculator to tell me that 170 is too much for me to weigh. Per my height, that's a BMI of 24.4, which is still in the "normal range" for weight, but dangerously close to 24.9, which is the upper limit before you get classified as "overweight." (Basically, another 3.5 pounds. . . .) Some generous folks have told me that I didn't look nearly overweight last fall, so maybe I hid the extra pounds well.
Anyway, I found a nearby gym/club that I like and have been going there since the beginning of this year, and I've managed to drop about 8-10 pounds so far.
But wow, BMI is pretty harsh! At 160 pounds, my BMI is still 23.0. To put that in context, "normal weight" is a BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9. The middle point of that range (~21.75) would correspond to 152 pounds for me. It's not so much that 152 pounds is an unreasonable weight goal for me (I think at this point I'd be pleased with anything from 150-155 pounds), but that I could weigh as little as 128 pounds and still be considered normal weight per BMI.
128 pounds? Really? I mean, I know that we Americans are relatively overweight as a group, but is it really healthy for a 5'10" male to be below 135-140 pounds?
Okay, we have a small parking lot for faculty & staff here at the law school, so I understand why the parking enforcement people are constantly checking permits and giving tickets. Tickets deter unauthorized parking and generate revenue. But when you have someone who doesn't respond to the tickets, something else has to be done.
But really, the boot? That doesn't seem like the best idea in a small parking lot, since that's one fewer space available until the bootee shows up to pay accumulated tickets, etc. It seems to me that towing would be a better step of escalation.
A local steel company, Evraz Inc., is moving its headquarters from Portland to Chicago because of the lack of adequate air travel from here to Canadian cities where many of its mills are located.
Yes, Portland's air travel options are less than you would expect given the size of the metropolitan area, which also means that prices are higher than you might expect.
But moving to Chicago?!? That would mean using O'Hare International Airport all the time!
During my seven years in Iowa, I came to loathe O'Hare. I can understand that air travel gets totally messed up if there's a foot of snow on the ground. But I had problems with delayed or even cancelled flights even in reasonably good weather. It's ridiculous to sit on the tarmac for two hours when the sky is blue and the outside temperature mild, but that's happened to me. I've had flights from Chicago to Iowa City cancelled with the next available flight being so much later (like a day or even two) that it was much preferable to rent a car and drive the 220 miles.
I'm sure in the long run, the move makes sense for these steel execs. Still, I can't help but laugh at the idea of moving to Chicago because of air travel.
I went to my hospital today to have my eyes dilated as part of the vision checkup. After looking at my health insurance card and driver's license, the receptionist said, "As part of the health care reform, we have to ask you for your race."
"Why do you need to know that?" I asked in the most mild, polite tone that I could, since it was not the poor woman's fault.
"You're free to decline to answer," she said, and added that it used to be really hard for her to ask this question.
I said that I was, quite obviously Asian, but apparently that was not precise enough for the requirements of the new health reform act. It was necessary for some reason to classify me as not just "Asian" but "Chinese."
I have little reason to doubt the receptionist's statement that she had been instructed to collect this information. I am curious as to what reason the government would have to make health insurers ask such a question . . . .
The U.S. Marine Corp has a form questionnaire that it uses for gathering references on applicants. It asks for the evaluate to rate the applicant on a number of categories, using a scale ranging from "Superior" to "Inferior," with "Not Observed" as an option.
The first category is "Academic potential," followed by "Respect tendered by peers." All very reasonable. "Ability to accept criticism by seniors" is good as well.
However, the 14th category is "Personal appearance."
What exactly is that supposed to mean? Am I supposed to rate how good-looking the applicant is? How well-groomed? How well-dressed?
I have to admit that I would definitely vote for him over Sarah Palin if it comes to that. Well, first, I'd have to change my party registration from "independent" (not "Independent Party") to "Republican" to do so, since he says he'd run as a Republican. But hey, I am a free agent. Back in 2004, I registered as a Democrat so that I could attend the Iowa Caucuses. (I then changed back to "independent" the next day.)
I'm not saying that Trump would necessarily be good as President. But he'd be entertaining, and better than Palin.
I got this letter in the mail today from Caltech -- the palace of horrors where I suffered four years in exchange for a B.S. degree:
The bold-face text is in the original. And it's entirely true, the last donation that I made to Caltech was 21 years ago! And although the letter says $1, I actually sent only 1 cent -- in a postage pre-paid envelope, of course. The alumni office person who opened my envelope sent me back a letter saying that he spent months trying to figure out what to do with my "contribution" and finally decided to kick in 99 cents to bring it up to $1 in my name. He also said that he would take my name off future mailings.
And for a while, I did not get any solicitations from Caltech. Several address changes later, from Los Angeles to Berkeley back to Los Angeles to Oklahoma City to San Diego back to Los Angeles to Iowa City, the Caltech Alumni Association found me again. And then followed me here to Oregon.
But come on, it sounds a little absurd to send an alum a letter thanking him for a $1 contribution made 21 years ago. I realize this is probably the result of a mail merge, but it goes to show the limitations of such complete form generated letters. Some sort of filter would probably be a desirable addition to stop wasting the institution's money.
I didn't vote for President Bush in 2004, but he won the election and I thought he was entitled to nominate well-credentialed lawyers like Miguel Estrada and John Roberts to the federal courts, because elections matter.
Senator Obama won the White House in 2008, and the Democrats expanded their control of Congress that same year, so they should be entitled to enact health insurance/care reform, because elections matter.
But if elections matter, shouldn't the House, I don't know, actually have to vote on health insurance/care reform? I realize I'm not a politician, but I think I would have come up with a better explanation for the use of "deem and pass" than, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it, "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."