Friday 20 May 2011

Bring on the summer!

Almost completely forgot to post updating on life!

My last two exams seemed to be fine (Business Organisations and Property Law) with relatively generous papers. As long as I haven't failed either Commercial Law or Business Organisations this also means that I'll never have to do any private law subject again as part of the LLB programme (a moment to celebrate as much as any). I've already been turning my thoughts to next year and honours more generally, but I'm sure I'll properly switch off for summer within a week or so!

Handed in my Junior Honours entry form for the Politics side of my LLB today, having woken up an hour late and missed the actual meeting explaining the course structure. Got a reasonably good idea what I wanted to do anyway so it shouldn't matter too much. I'm looking to do a unit on "Citizenship and Democracy" in Semester 1 and "Egalitarianism and its Critics" in Semester 2. I'm especially looking forward to the Egalitarianism module as, unlike the vast majority of stuff on the Glasgow Politics Honours list, it seems to have a fair bit of stuff that isn't left-wing obsessive. I'm especially looking forward to doing some work on Hayek and Nozick.

Further down the line I need to choose Senior Honours components to go with the General Paper. It's just a case of choosing any 2 of "British Prime Ministers since WWII", "Human Rights in Global Perspective" and "American Politics". I've pretty much already made my mind up that I want to do the Human Rights and Scots Law course for my Law Junior Honours and then Constitutional Law for my senior honours component. Then it's just a dissertation topic and title to sort out!

Going to do a bit of reading over the summer. I've also got a job in June manning the telephones as part of my old school's annual campaign to raise funds from benefactors.

It's my birthday in under a week's time, and it's almost time to leave the Teenages. There have been plenty ups and ample downs (mostly involving walking face first straight into the same parked minibus twice in a week) but on the whole, I think a respectable B+ is in order. On my birthday I'm going to try to put a post up mentioning something of note that happened in each of the 20 completed years of my life. I reckon it could be a great deal harder than it sounds, but I'll give it a bash!

Just think, though. This Earth has tolerated me for one fifth of a century... and there's probably at least another two, possibly three or four more you'll all have to suffer! The one thing I've found about getting older is that you don't become more mature; you just keep looking for more inventive ways not to grow up.

The Silver Fob Watch

For the first time in ages I read a novel cover to cover. I feel slightly guilty about this one as I received it from my Uncle (the author) for Christmas about a year and a half ago and I only just got round to properly opening it up yesterday! It's called "The Silver Fob Watch" and brings to life one of the more eventful Christmas breaks for 15-year-old protagonist William Harper.

What starts as a brief encounter at a railway station develops into an intense and treacherous quest, which centres around the protection of a complex but superficially unspectacular artefact. With a coming together of science-fiction and urban legend; myth and historical truth, the life of a very ordinary boy is changed indefinitely. As the plot unfolds, the bond between our adventurer and the mysterious Reuten La Vey thrives on an inexplicable trust, as they attempt to evade capture from either the authorities or the wealth-obsessed megalomaniac Simeon Blood. This journey fuses the worlds of science and fantasy: where the predestination paradox and self-fulfilling prophecy become one.

About Andrew

Andrew Cowie was born in Glasgow and is currently a journalist and newspaper editor based in Dunfermline in Fife. He has written more than twelve novels in addition to two collections of short stories.

This book, and other works by Andrew Cowie, including a crime-fiction series, were released through Lulu Publishing in 2009. If you are interested in reading this or other titles, or wish to contact the author, please let me know by email.

Sunday 8 May 2011

Das Hund ist nicht bedrohlich!

Another bizarre case picked up on Lowering the Bar. A shopper tries to sue a supermarket for damages arising from their failure to alert her to the risk of another shopper's 4-month old Dachshund puppy, which was supposed somehow to have scared her into falling into a freezer. Incredulously the jury and original trial judge upheld the complaint. Mercifully the Mississippi Court of Appeal (Penny Pinchers v Lenetra Outlaw) overturned the first instance award, saying:
"We must also consider that Sophie was a four-pound puppy at the time of the incident. Outlaw admitted that, when she heard the bark, she never turned to look at the dog. Instead, she started running toward the back of the store. She further admitted that she began to laugh when she finally saw that such a small dog had caused her to run into the freezer. While we agree with Outlaw that it is possible that the presence of a dog inside a grocery store could create a dangerous condition, the facts that she presented at trial do not prove that a dangerous condition existed here."

The man who sued himself

There's a cracking website I stumbled across yesterday called "Lowering the Bar". It takes a lighter look at the goings on in the legal world.

One particular article that amused me was a case where a man attempted to sue himself in order to receive a judgment that would reflect favourably on his tax situation (Lodi v Lodi 173 Cal.App.3d 628). On rejecting the appeal of the first instance decision, Sims J (at 632) turned to the issue of legal costs:

"We have considered whether respondent/defendant/beneficiary should be awarded his costs of suit on appeal, which he could thereafter recover from himself. However, we believe the equities are better served by requiring each party to bear his own costs on appeal"


Ends and Beginnings

Another multi-subject update seems in order. News in various places since I last posted.

First up, I've got my first 2 of 4 exams in this diet out the way. International Politics at the end of April should have gone fine and Commercial Law just yesterday seemed not to be too bad a paper. Just Business Organisations next Saturday then Property Law on the Wednesday and I'm off for the summer! Not a moment too soon frankly!

Then there's the various elections from a few days ago. Sadly, as predicted, the Yes2AV campaign was comprehensively defeated. It's sad, really, because the No campaign's propaganda and lies (even David Blunkett admitted they just drew up the figures for the "extra cost" on the back of a fag packet) really seemed to penetrate to most of the electorate. It speaks volumes that some of the few areas to vote in favour of AV were areas you might regard as having a significant "intelligentsia" population. Glasgow Kelvin, if my memory serves, was the only area to vote for AV in Scotland.

As for the main event, the Scottish Parliamentary elections, I've got mixed feelings. As a relatively new member of the Lib Dem, I knew this was going to be a pretty tough campaign, but the scale of the decimation (sometimes literally) of the Lib Dem vote in some constituencies was pretty galling. 5 seats left, Tavish Scott's resigned and everyone's a bit scunnered. A small crumb of comfort, perhaps, but at least we held enough seats to stay clear of the Greens and although a lot of deposits have been lost, I can't see the vote falling much, if any further. Time to rebuild for the Council elections next May.

As for the SNP though, I've got to say they have had a staggeringly good campaign. They outflanked Labour wherever Labour didn't manage to outflank themselves and had an unremittingly positive campaign, really catching the mood of the electorate. To see seats in Glasgow and South Lanarkshire fall from Labour's grasp is a truly historic moment. Scottish voters are finally waking up to the idea that Labour aren't the be all and end all of politics. Once they can abandon them once, they can do it again. It will be very interesting to see the dynamics of an SNP majority administration. Uncharted waters for both the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people: we live in interesting times.

Anyway enough of politics. Back to what really matters: football!

Because of the University of Glasgow's propensity for organising idiotic exam timetables, I was unfortunate in that I missed the final game of the season at Firhill, with my big team and my wee team playing each other (Raith Rovers visiting). By the sounds of it I missed a cracker. Tommy Stewart, who looks like quite a good find now he's had a run of games, Doolan (joint top First Division scorer) and David Rowson all got on the scoresheet and by the sounds of it Rowson's goal was an absolute beezer. I really hope Rowson gets signed up for next season as he is just such a warrior in the red and yellow. He's been through a difficult few days with his father passing away and his goal must have been a very emotional moment for him.

A very upbeat result brings to an end a somewhat mixed season. It certainly started very badly, but things picked up late 2010 and I read somewhere that we have the best defensive record at home in Britain. Jackie McNamara's few games in charge have been on the whole pretty positive and should he get the manager's gig on a permanent basis I hope he can put some entertaining football on the park. It's particularly pleasing to see how keen he's been to bring the youngsters into the fold, albeit his hand has been forced by squad injuries.

We've done a fair bit of Jagscast recording over the last wee while, including our End of Season review, a few John Lambie Hall of Fame inductions and Manly J Panda even got an interview with Jaggie Mac. I wanted him to ask how he'd vote in the AV referendum but the Panda wanted to focus on dull stuff like football and whether he was more of a grey suit and brown brogues or trackies sort of gaffer. The cast is good fun and hopefully next season we'll be back on iTunes so more people can listen in routinely. Quick thanks to Vinny and Panda's parents for the excellent home made pizza when we did our end of season recording at their gaffe.

What's left... mum's in hospital again for a bit. She's been long overdue some time off work. When I was up over the holidays she was running on empty but, in her usual way, adamant that she'd get the Easter stuff done before resting for a while. Hopefully it won't be long before she's back to her good old moany self!

Dad's finally finished re-assembling an MGB of an MG Owners' Club acquaintance in his garage, so he's got room to put his MGB GT back in. I heard he took it out for a drive a few days ago, only for the fuel pump to pack in when he was in the middle of rush-hour traffic. This wouldn't have been a problem, but he had no phone, no tools, and no breakdown cover information. Kay had to call a friend to help tow dad clear. He's since bought a solid-state replacement fuel pump which should, he claims confidently, never need replacing! Where have I heard that one before...

I'm still on the look-out for an MG to call my own. It's slightly on the backburner for a bit while I look to see what work I can get over the summer. Just have to wait and see.

That's all for now. A couple of days of dossing about now before I have to crank things up again for the next exams!