Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't Go To Law School Unless You Want To Be A Lawyer

How many times should we go over this simple bit of advice? Oh, how about one more time since people continue to make the same, wrong-headed arguments in favor of law school. Note, in particular:

A surprising number of people answer "no." A really, really surprising number: probably at least 50%. And of the rest, at least another 50% say "well, I'm not sure...I don't think so...but maybe." And these people are not asking my advice idly: they have usually taken the LSATs, and sometimes have already applied to schools. When I ask them why they would got to law school if they certainly-or-probably do not want to practice law, they always give the same response: "Well, it's such a great, all-purpose professional degree."

Memo to all of the people out there who might be thinking the same thing: do not go to law school. Seriously. I know that you have heard that a J.D. is a "great all-purpose degree," but it isn't. That's a lie put about by parents who are trying to trick you into middle-class professionaldom and law schools who are trying to take your money. A J.D. is not an all-purpose degree, it is a law degree. It does not qualify you to become a diplomat, a "senior policy advisor" to anything, a politician, a banker, an aid worker, a political operative, or any of those other jobs that seem like they might be a fun way to satisfy your West Wing fantasies. It qualifies you to be a lawyer, and it doesn't really even do that -there's still the pesky matter of the bar exam. . . .

Imagined J.D.s come with their own proprietary magical thinking, in which dreams of a high salary appear whenever you are feeling broke, and images of skipping a few rungs on the career ladder hover tantalizingly above your mean boss's head. You delight in the potential "security" of having a highly-paid career as a "backup option," while imagining that you would never sell out and stay at a corporate firm; you revel in the prospect of an exciting career scripted by Aaron Sorkin, without wondering how all those legislative aides can live off of $40k a year while servicing their six-figure debts. Imagined J.D.s can be everything you want them to be.
That about covers it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why Does The American Work Ethic Lend Itself So Easily To This Solution For Job Stress Or Loss?

LA man upset over job kills wife, 5 kids, himself

And why aren't we doing anything to change the way we view our work ethic? The way we handle jobs? The way our culture views employment, lack thereof, and asking for help (for both job losses and mental distress)?

Is this a frequent result? No, not statistically. Is it still worth looking into?

Yeah, probs, right?

Friday, January 23, 2009

OMG: Go Cook This Now

A good friend has ruined my recreational blog-reading by linking to this cooking and baking blog that is simply sublime. I've cooked 3 things from the site so far this week. It usually takes me 6 to 18 months to cook whatever latest Cooking Light recipe looks interesting.

Rob was in charge of this particular recipe last night and he did very well for himself. You should like basic, Moroccan flavors before trying this - but then again, it's a good intro as well, without any scary or odd ingredients. In fact, with the exception of a few things, you might just have everything you need on hand. It's called Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew. The squash is butternut and the chickpeas are garbanzo beans (depending on where you live, you may not recognize one of those two names for the same food). This dish is VERY healthy and light, but it tastes like it has six cups of butter and heavy cream - it's so rich. We left out the green olives and the preserved lemon and didn't miss them. We also left out the yogurt or hot sauce garnish. I would, however, strongly suggest you don't leave out the fresh cilantro garnish. The crisp, open cilantro balances the richness of the rest of the dish.

Num num num. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Poetry, Emotion

Entertainment Weekly asks what you thought of Elizabeth Alexander's poem this morning. The first comment (at least the first one I read - EW has an annoying policy to run comments in reverse chron order, so the newest appears on top, thus clearly illustrating their comments are just there 'cause you're supposed to have comments, not to encourage discussion) was full of ignorance and stupidity, so maybe it's not the best forum for the question.

I liked her poem. A lot. I agree that the wander into gooey land with "What if the mightiest word is love," wasn't my favorite bit - but probably because I (along with too many today) embrace irony too willingly to appreciate sincerity - regardless of the sincerity of the day.

The steady beat of lines, however, worked for me. Maybe because the simple structure made me think of my own declarative-sentence heavy tribute to an inaugural event.

I can't imagine, however, the pressure one must feel when directed to compose a poem period, let alone this sort of poem, for this event, for this man, at this moment in time.

I loved, however, that poetry and classical music were part of the day's ceremony. I'd like our country to return to openly embracing the finer arts and higher pursuits of life, rather than mocking and eschewing in favor of "regular folk" semantics that present a particularly distasteful depiction of Potemkin village life for average, plain Americans. Which don't exist. We are all surely more interesting than we've been encouraged to be over the last eight years. I hope.


It's Over. It Begins.

He went to Occidental.

No one in his family was elected to anything before.

He only paid off his student loans a few years ago.

He has two little girls and a strong, smart wife.

And he's about to be the President.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - Great Movie, Bad, Bad Use Of Clips

I agree, mostly, with this EW review of Slumdog Millionaire. We saw the film yesterday and thought it was great. Captivating, dramatic, funny in parts: everything you want from a movie.

Watching the Golden Globes last night - and checking out the clip at the end of the review here - I just want to say: DON'T WATCH THE GLOBES OR CLICK ON THE CLIP AT THE END OF THE REVIEW. Honestly - both show the film's climactic scene. THE scene at the end of the film. Maybe it's one of those things where it looks worse once you know the movie. But no, no I think it's just a shitty reveal that kinda lessens the drama of an otherwise good semi-mystery. It's a credit to the film that, despite, as is pointed out in the review, the audience knowing at the beginning that the kid wins the game show to become a millionaire, I was still on the edge of my seat by the climactic scene. So why screw with that? Ugh. So, so, lame.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


So you're saying what about me, exactly?

"It's important to remember that no normal person could possibly care about the governor's race yet," said Dan Schnur, head of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California and former aide to GOP Gov. Pete Wilson.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Lessons Are For Losers

'Ex eBay CEO prepares run for Calif. governor' or such is the conclusion drawn by unnamed sources after Meg Whitman bails from three high-profile corporate board positions.

Quick question: what has Meg Whitman done that qualifies her to be the California State Governor? Answer: probably nothing.

As the piece points out, other, well-monied would-be governors's attempts tanked (who remembers Al Checchi? Bill Simon? Bueller? I thought as much).

Also of note: some other stuff - read the papers.

2010 is going to be super swell.

'So, Mr. Chiang, Any Stress At The Office Lately?'

Stay well, Mr. Controller! State Controller John Chiang - probably my favorite statewide elected, was diagnosed with having suffered a mild heart attack over the holidays. He's back in California now, doing well, and ready to get back to work. Too bad about his particular job right now. I hope this budget crap doesn't cause more unnecessary stress - though I don't know how he can avoid that at this point. At 46, Chiang already has an impressive resume of service in California and is one of our younger leaders. Stay healthy!