Glorious Sunset

2009_1009_pescadero_sunsetWho said the California Dream was over? Today my cell phone jumped out of my pocket and started issuing demands. The first was that I hold it up high and push the correct series of buttons in just the right way. The result was the image you see before you, which was the view tonight from the front door of my office.

It’s easy to be impressed with the quality of cell phone pictures. Not to be outdone, the phone insisted I capture the scene with video, too.


Southern (CA) Cooking

I’ve cooked a number of successful meals lately. Here are two recipes you might be interested in experimenting with.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

1 cauliflower  –  2.5 cups 2% organic milk  – 1 cup plain organic goat yogurt  – 3 tsp ‘better ‘n’ bouillon’ chicken  – 4 tbs butter  –  1 onion  –  3 tbs flour  –  parsley and Parmesan cheese for garnish (I left both of these out.)

Steam a head of cauliflower and set aside. Chop up the onion and fry it up with 3 tablespoons of butter. Take your time. When the onion is cooked, add a fourth tablespoon of butter and blend it in. Add the flour and blend it evenly with the buttery cooked onions, then cook it for a while (3-5 minutes). I did this slowly too. Then blend in all of the milk, cook for a minute or two, and then blend in all of the goat yogurt and the bouillon. Once again, I worked slowly. My tendency is to rush white sauce, with disappointing results. When I say ‘blend’, I used a small metal spoon with a long handle, and the cooking surface was a fancy stainless steel skillet. Once the white sauce is smooth and hot, chop up the cauliflower and throw it in. Cook until cauliflower is hot and fully saturated, then throw into blender and blend to taste. I made it as smooth as possible, which took some patience – but it was worth it! Return to skillet and heat very warm to serve. This was an enormously popular soup and other than steaming the cauliflower I don’t think it took me much more than half an hour. Most of the recipes I consulted used about half a cup more milk and a little less yogurt and/or butter. I imagine a lot of people would make this soup a bit more thin than I did, but I figure my recipe is healthy enough to justify making it a little more rich. Yum.

Roasted Kale (stick with me on this for a minute)

Get a stove and a bunch of kale. Heat the oven to 400. Wash the kale thoroughly. Spread each big leaf out on the cutting board and separate the fluffy leaves from the stems. Get rid of the stems, they’re disgusting. Spin dry the leaves or shake them around in the air for a minute to get rid of the excess water. Then put the leaves in a plastic bag with some olive oil and shake them around to distribute the olive oil. Dump the oil-tainted leaves onto a oil-sprayed roasting pan or cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Throw in the hot oven and roast about ten minutes. Take out the kale and flip the leaves. Add more salt. Throw them back into the hot oven for another eight or ten minutes. The goal is to get the leaves crisp but not burned. Elana, Alexis and I ate every bite of my first effort, even as we acknowledged I didn’t get all the leaves as crisp as would be ideal. Done properly, roasted kale leaves are like some kind of weird, demented ‘potato’ chip. Anyway, this was an idea Alexis found in the newspaper a while back and I decided to surprise her with it a couple of days ago, as a side dish for Pad Thai. (That was a nice success too, but it doesn’t count because I used jar sauce.)

Contracts Hypothetical

The bar examination is at the end of July. If you’re preparing for the exam, why are you fooling around on-line instead of doing something useful? Nevermind.

For those of you who aren’t veterans of what passes for a legal education today, here’s a bit of legal lingo for you. We study the law in part by looking at hypothetical stories, where the facts present legal issues. We call these stories “fact patterns” because it makes us feel better about spending a fortune to go over simple stories word-by-word, kind of like first graders.

Got it? “Fact pattern” = little story with legal issues. Cool.  Here’s today’s Contracts Fact Pattern!

Mama goes shopping and scrutinizes everything. Here is how her shopping went.

Mama: “I don’t like the looks of this whitefish.”

Merchant: “Lady, for looks you don’t buy whitefish, you buy goldfish.”

Mama: “Oy, and this chicken, it has a broken leg.”

Merchant: “Look lady, you gonna eat it or dance with it?”

Mama: “And before you weigh the meat, take out the bones.”

Merchant: “Lady, I buy with bones, you’ll buy with bones.”

Mama: “I don’t pay with bones.”

Merchant: “All right, no bones.”

Mama: “Thank you, you are a gentleman. Now put the bones in a separate bag for soup. And never mind the meat. I don’t like your meat anyhow.”

1.  Have the parties formed a binding contract? Discuss.

2.  Assume for the purposes of this question only that Mama is a “merchant” under the UCC. Would that make it more likely that Mama and Merchant entered into a binding contract? Discuss.

If elite law schools did more good than harm, John Yoo wouldn’t be a free man, much less a faculty member at a fancy law school…but don’t think about that. Instead, think about fact patterns.

Piano Wrestler

The United States Navy has got one of the best and most entertaining “safety first”websites. You can spend the better part of several working days going through these pictures, and their literate, charming captions. Below the image is the US Naval Safety Center’s caption. Great job, sailors!


Yes, we know it is so tempting. Pianos are heavy and so darn awkward, and given the looks of this semi-demolished house, the stairways may be questionable. But honestly, is this the best you can do—a half-Nelson and poor footing on a moving piece of machinery? Why not just tie the darn thing on and let it take its own chances?

On the plus side, nice hat.

Here’s another of their images, which they entitle:

Location, Location, Location


Pescadero Avenue, O.B.

Ocean Beach is one of the most fun parts of San Diego. Here we see the view west from a few blocks up Pescadero Avenue. I’m looking forward to winter. When this neighborhood gets a few inches of snow, people snowboard down the hill, off the ski jump and into the ocean, and then catch a wave back to shore. During the warmer months, wheelchair users and bike riders take advantage of the jump ramp.

Kay Ross 1978

Kay Ross 1978

Here’s a picture of Kay Ross that I took at the 1978 Hollywood High School graduation. Mrs. Ross was the debate coach for many years. She worked with me and with many of my friends. Kay Ross was continually frustrated with me for being too critical of America, but she generously gave her time and energy to help all of us sharpen our skills.

Even now, decades later, we recall Mrs. Ross’s basic teachings, such as “don’t begin a speech with an apology.” It’s interesting to note that she looks far younger in this picture than she does in my memories.

Bar Exam Season Begins

Scott Pearce on Cal Bar Exam.Com

The next administration of the bar examination is at the end of July. Here are links to a series of videos I have produced over the last few days. You are welcome to click on the image, above, but doing so will have the effect of merely opening a copy of the image in a new window. You have to click on the link, below, to watch video.

How to Pass the California Bar ExamCalifornia Attorney Exam

First-Time TakersRepeating the Bar Examination

Master Essay MethodBar Exam Conspiracy Theories

Here is a video series that reviews the February 2008 Cal Bar Exam Essays:

IntroductionQ1Q2Q3Q4Q5Q6PDF Document

It’s Less Dangerous at T.P. Beach

Torrey Pines Beach Sign

It turns out that the safest, freest beach in our survey of beaches is the one closest to home. At Torrey Pines Beach, the water goes bad near runoff locations, but that’s about it. Since there are no posted warnings about sharks, cold water and rip tides, we can trust that these dangers never occur here. It may in fact be illegal to smoke and drink at this beach, but the local authorities don’t seem to be making a big deal out of it. It’s a relief to know that dogs are not allowed to bring glass containers to the beach. I understand that can be a big problem.