Category Archives: Hidden Treasures

“Dear Karma, I have a list of people you’ve missed” (and other Tee-Shirt Tweets)

teeshirtI’ll be honest.  I don’t Tweet.  This has less to do with my reluctance to use social networking technology (although that may be part of it) and more to do with the fact that the text messages are limited to 140 characters.  Seriously?    Give me Fitzgerald over Hemingway any day.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the witty, often snarky turn-of-the-phrase as much as the next person. I realize, however, being someone who is challenged by having to answer a yes/no question without the embellishment of explanations or context, I won’t be uttering them.

Recently, I found myself flipping the pages of a SkyMall magazine and ran across two full pages of tee-shirts, each with its respective catchphrase.  It occurred to me that Twitter might be the next iteration of tee-shirt messaging.  (“Everything old is new again.”)  How different, really, is a tweet from tee-shirt “speak” or, for that matter, from a bumper sticker, cocktail napkin or coaster?  All require a fairly succinct message.  A tee-shirt encourages a following by immediately alerting others to our sports team preferences, fraternal association memberships, political affiliations and philosophical leanings.  Tee-shirt slogans also provide instantaneous entry into a private club with its own insider language and traditions. Two illustrations spring to mind.

I am, for example, a “Big Ten” girl living in North Carolina and whenever I catch sight of the golden Tiger Hawk logo emblazoned on someone’s shirt, I feel as if I’ve been reunited with family, or at least, with a fellow Hawkeye.  Secondly, not long ago I saw someone wearing an “Opera Carolina” tee-shirt which bore the phrase, “Is She Dead, Yet?” and recognized the joke shared by many opera fans.  (By the way, in case you didn’t know, most operas do not end well for the hero and heroine.)

So with no apologies, I’ve returned to the SkyMall pages and have included some of the slogans, including the one referenced in the title, which resonated with me.

                “If only closed minds came with closed mouths.”

                “It’s my cat’s world.  I’m just here to open cans”

                “Those who can teach; those who can’t pass laws about teaching.”

                “Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.”

                “Contrary to popular belief, no one owes you anything.”

                And, last, but not least, “I’m not a pessimist; I’m an optimist with experience.”

~Susan Catterall~

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The Art of Downtown Charlotte – Part II: A Regular Commentary of Art and the Art Scene in Charlotte

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

The Firebird, or ’Oiseau de Feu Sur l’Arch  (literally, “Bird of Fire on an Arch”) by French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) is the center piece to the entrance of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, located on 420 South Tryon Street. The Firebird is perhaps the most photographed piece of art in Charlotte. At one time the Firebird had a Twitter account. The sculpture was created in 1991 and was purchased by Andres Bechtler specifically to be placed in front of the Bechtler Museaum of Modern Art. Bechtler wanted the sculpture to serve as a counter piece to the geometric lines of the museum that was designed by the noted Swiss architect Mario Botta.

The Firebird is over 17 feet tall and is covered in small bits of mirror and colored glass. It is dazzling when sunlight strikes the surface and glows at night reflecting the sculpture’s spot lights while also reflecting ambient light from the nearby shops, offices, and street lights. It is not uncommon at almost any time of day to see people gathered around the Firebird to have pictures taken or just to admire the artwork. Niki de Saint Phalle was a dynamic figure of the modern art world and her works challenged conventional ideals about the role of women in society. Many of her works were controversial while also being whimsical. Her sculptures are wild biomorphic shapes painted with bold primary and secondary colors or painted all white. She was friends with of many other luminaries of the Modern, Dada, and Pop Art moments such as Jean Tinguely. Tinguely and de Saint Phalle would later marry in 1971.

~Kim Allman~

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The Art of Downtown Charlotte: A Regular Commentary of Art and the Art Scene in Charlotte

II Grande Disco by sculptor Arnaldo Parmadoro.  Photo copyright Sarah Womack, all rights reserved.

II Grande Disco by sculptor Arnaldo Parmadoro. Photo copyright Sarah Womack, all rights reserved.

One of the benefits of the Charlotte School of Law relocating to downtown is the plethora of artistic and cultural objects one can encounter just walking about the city. In this new column, I will discuss an art piece or upcoming event/ show that relates to the downtown or near downtown area.

For this first installment, I present to you the II Grande Disco (Second Large Disk) by internationally renowned artist Arnaldo Parmadoro.

Parmadoro started his artistic career as a theater set designer and gold smith in post WW II Italy. His large, abstract geometrical sculptures are what he is best known for, and his works are on display in major cities and cultural centers throughout the world. As you can tell from the title of the work, the disk that is on display at the Bank of America Plaza is the second example of this particular piece. The first version is on display in Milan, Italy.

The sculpture was commissioned in 1973 by North Carolina National Bank and Carter and Associates, who developed Independence Square plaza.  The sculpture was donated to the Charlotte Mint Museum of Art in 1978. In 1980, the sculpture had to be restored because it had been vandalized over the years with magic markers, paint, and had surface scarring.  The piece had to be sandblasted and a clear urethane coating applied to protect it. A new bearing was added to the base to allow the sculpture to turn again.

The Grande Disco is perhaps one of my favorite sculptural works that is on public display in Charlotte. Not only is it striking to look at, its position in the heart of the city provides a focal artistic experience. The way the sculpture is reflected in the more sterile glass and steel edifices around it transforms those structures into an extension of the artwork. I also find the contrast of the smooth, polished gold bronze against the geometric pewter color of block and rod-like shapes fascinating. In many ways, Parmadoro’s Grande Disco is a statement about the urban environment and how we interact with that environment. Of course,with art one can draw their own conclusions about its value and meaning.

The Grande Disco on display in Milan

The Grande Disco on display in Milan

~Kim Allman~

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Book Review — The Law and Harry Potter


2007 was an amazing year. The 110th United States Congress elected Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history. Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPhone. The tomb of Herod the Great was discovered. The Dali Lama received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. Both Argentina and India swore in their first female presidents. NASA launched its Phoenix spaceship. And the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released.

Yes, 2007 marked the end of an era. No longer would grown adults have to shove pre-teens out of the way to claim the last copy of Harry Potter books sold at midnight releases. Organized crime in Las Vegas would have to look elsewhere to bet on which favorite character died by the end of the volume (this actually happened. I hear that now bets are being taken on the Junie B. Jones series). Author J.K. Rowling created a sub-culture with her books about an outcast young boy who discovers he is a wizard. This sub-culture has spawned: hundreds of blogs, a blockbuster movie series, video games, action figures, an attraction at Universal Studios, National Quidditch teams, replica wands sales, replica Death Eater tattoos, several scholarly panels, and legal analysis of the storyline. Now that the frenzy has died down, we are in a good place to reflect upon the world of the Boy Who Lived.

In The Law & Harry Potter (2010) Jeffrey E. Thomas and Franklin G. Snyder bring together a collection of articles that discuss what role the law has within a magical community. In this world, the largest governmental agency is the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, which is under the control of the colossal Ministry of Magic. Within this Department one will find the illustrious Aurors. These individuals are highly trained in counter-Dark Arts measures to investigate and apprehend those who are suspected of using the Dark Arts. Users of the Dark Arts are almost synonymously supporters of the series’ antagonist Lord Voldemort, and are known as Death Eaters. The Aurors can be equated to counter-terrorist organizations in the non-magical world. However, an Auror is given full authority to kill, torture, and coerce suspected Death Eaters. And considering that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement answers to no other department within the Ministry of Magic, here lays the first problem with law and order in the Wizarding world.

In the article “The Persecution of Tom Riddle:  A Study in Human Rights Law,” Geoffrey R. Watson plays devil’s advocate for He Who Must Not Be Named. Watson paints the Ministry of Magic as a totalitarian entity that is made up of individuals who were not elected through popular vote. He claims that there is no separation of powers, and there exists no checks and balances. Watson further argues that the Ministry has violated the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. All this done through its proxy: Harry Potter. One could argue that Wizards are above the common law of Muggles. Yet if Wizards are to be held in a higher regard should not they follow the basic principles of civil rights as well? Watson makes the argument that it was the parental Potters’ involvement in the “state-sanctioned terrorist group known as the Order of Phoenix” that caused injury to Riddle first. I feel compelled to point out that the Order of Phoenix operated outside the scope of the law, such as it is, within the Wizarding world. The members of this organization acted without the consent of the Ministry of Magic, and could be labeled as domestic terrorists. Watson argues that Tom Riddle was simply an idealist who was trying to overcome the injustices of a totalitarian regime. And his actions were merely in self-defense. Riddle was unfairly marked as an enemy of the State, and persecuted without benefit of due process. Watson attacks the credibility of Harry Potter by citing the numerous violations of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights through use of the polyjuice potion. This potion gives the user the ability to assume the form of another. And this act violates Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On numerous occasions throughout the series, Harry Potter and his accomplices stole the identities of rivals and engaged in unlawful interrogation. The violation that Watson is specifically citing comes from book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Other articles within this book cover a variety of topics.  Family Law is discussed in “Hogwarts, the Family, and the State: Forging Identity and Virtue in Harry Potter,” by Danaya C. Wright. Evidence of contract law within Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is analyzed within the article “What Role Need Law Play in a Society with Magic?” by John Gava and Jeannie M. Paterson. Geoffrey C. Rapp introduces the issue of wrongful conviction in his article “Sirius Black: A Case Study in Actual Innocence.” And Heidi Schooner discusses the role of banking regulations upon Gringotts, the sole Wizarding bank, in her article “Gringrotts: The Role of Banks in Harry Potter’s Wizarding World.” This just names a few of the fascinating articles within this collection. The Law & Harry Potter is a captivating read that takes a harder look at the implications of a world where problems can disappear with the flick of a wand.

Check this book out from your Charlotte School of Law Library!

~Erica Tyler~

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50 Weird Laws

Did you know it’s illegal to play BINGO in North Carolina for longer than five hours?

Did you know that it’s illegal for dance halls to be within a quarter mile of a church or cemetery in South Carolina?

Check out this video from Mental Floss for more weird laws involving states.

Hungry for more?

We susbcribe to Mental Floss!

~Jamie Sunnycalb~

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More Unique Libraries: Strange Library Construction

We will all be moving to a new library soon, so I thought I would show you all some of the stranger libraries around the world.


Kansas City Public Library.



The Philological Library in Berlin.

If you haven’t guessed, the building is shaped like a human brain.  Check out our earlier posting on this building for more information!


Geisel Library.

Want a really tall building but don’t want to fool with all those lower floors?  Just put the building on stilts!  It’s supposed to look like lantern…


Peckham Library is a see-through colored glass exterior on a extreme “L” shaped building


Oh, and this wooden monstrosity that looks like it is about to crush 6 people?  That’s a meeting room.

I hope you enjoyed this tour through the strange.

~Aaron Greene~


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Unique Libraries

So, libraries are a central part of many schools.  It is a place for students to study, to meet with other classmates, and to find a wealth of resources. Along with the basic necessities, what makes a library unique?

Well, the Philological Library of the Free University in Berlin, Germany creates a unique environment for students with its creative and visionary architecture. This library is shaped like a human brain! Perfect for a library!

0980 RM 050819 t004 C.tif

This library is comprised of a five story tower enclosed by two layers termed the “skin”, with the first layer being a glass-fiber fabric and the outside layer comprising of steel and glass. These two layers create a geometric pattern which is seen from the outside of the building. 

Along with the aesthetically appealing exterior, the glass fibers of the “skin” are used to filter the daylight creating natural lighting throughout the library. With this natural lighting, the study areas are lively and welcoming, creating an atmosphere of concentration and an ideal space for reading.



The Philological library is also energy efficient! The exterior of the building is used to heat and cool the library with solar-driven currents. So, over half the year, the library is ventilated by merely opening the outside panels and filtering the fresh air.

The Philological library is unique and inspiring, from the outside to the inside! This library is the centerpiece of the Free University but is also an architectural landmark in Berlin.

 ~Brooke Rideout~

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Comical and Criminal

The Illustrated Guide...

You know that when the dedication in a book reads, “To Crime!” that it isn’t your ordinary law treatise. The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law gives you all the information you could hope to know about criminal law, but in a different way.  The author uses humor and an illustrative comic style to inform his readers about every aspect of criminal law.  Some of the chapters included in this book are entitled, “Rehabilitation: For the Love of God, Why?” and “Responsibility and Depravity: The Axes of Evil.”

The Illustrated Guide 2

The author, Nathaniel Burney, graduated from Georgetown University, where he was an editor of the American Criminal Law Review.  During his time in law school he also found the time to work at the Supreme Court as a personal assistant to retired Chief Justice Warren Burger, and additionally played music in a band called The Ambulance Chasers.  After law school Burney joined the Manhattan DA’s office as a prosecutor in NYC.  He also spent some time in Special Narcotics and the Rackets Bureau.  Burney eventually returned to the defense side of things, where he focused on cases involving wiretaps, securities fraud, antitrust, and loitering.  Mr. Burney also teaches the “Hope for Hopeless Cases” series for West LegalEdCenter.

If you are looking for a book that discusses the complex issues of criminal law in a slightly different format, why not give The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law a try?

~Brian Trippodo ~

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Weed ‘em and Reap


With the school’s impending move looming on the horizon, the library has undertaken some significant weeding projects, where old and non-updated versions of materials are being withdrawn from the collection and discarded.  Much as when you’re moving to a new house, it’s always best to clear your clutter before you start anew.

Even though discarding books sometimes feels a little like death to librarians, weeding is a vital part of library collection management.  Think about it – your library takes in new books almost every day.  Can you imagine how quickly a collection could get out of hand if there weren’t policies and procedures in place to cull irrelevant and older materials?  No library has unlimited space available for their resources, and sometimes hard decisions have to be made.


Luckily, we’re part of a law school where new and updated materials are part of every day life, making it easy to determine what should be weeded and what’s out of date.  When the not so easy decisions rear their ugly heads, it behooves libraries to take into account feedback from other librarians and staff, their patron base, their collection development policy and their circulation statistics.

You would be amazed at the things you can unearth in the library when undertaking a weeding project.  And sometimes, you run across things so entertaining, you just have to share. is a site run by Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner, public librarians in Michigan.  They state that their site is “a collection of library holdings that we find amusing and maybe questionable for libraries trying to maintain a current and relevant collection.”  And amusing they are.


For instance, Diet, Crime and Delinquency is a book that was published in 1981.  The back of the book states that this tome ““…demonstrates how ‘junk’ food diets, sugar starvation, vitamin deficiencies, lead pollution and food allergies can convert a normal brain into a criminal mind.”


But even books published recently can spark a need to weed.  Check out My Beautiful Mommy, published in 2007, in which Mommy picks her child up from school to take her along on a trip to the plastic surgeon.


The little girl asks Mommy about the trip and her Mommy tell her she is getting a tummy tuck and a nose job and why.


The girl worries that her Mommy will look different, but is corrected that Mommy will just be more beautiful. You have to see it to believe it, right?


One more, and then I’ll let you check the site out for yourself.  Macrame Accessories: Patterns and Ideas for Knotting was published in 1977, and features some of the grandest macrame phantasmagoria I’ve ever laid eyes on – with a little something for everyone.


Are you a shy hot pants wearer?


In need of a new vest for that moot court competition?


In the mood for a his and hers set?  This book has you covered.

The moral of the story is, weeding in libraries is a necessary survival skill.  Painful sometimes, as librarians, to physically let go of materials.  But gratifying both by making additional room in the collection for even better materials and by running across treasures like these.  I’m hoping we find something half as fun during our project…

~Ashley Moye~

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Book Review: Is Eating People Wrong?

Hello there diligent law student! Yes, you there with the stack of Federal Reporters straining your back and dropping that AmJur on your foot. The library loves you. And now that you are creeped out, I have your attention. Are you in the mood to read something out of the ordinary? If your textbook readings are leaving you in tears, why not peruse the unexplored sections in between the stacks? The library has a variety of fascinating books full of memorable anecdotes that enables the law to become more digestible.

Take for example the writings of author Allan C. Hutchinson. Hutchinson is a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto. He is a legal theorist whose research interests include: public law, legal theory, and the legal profession. Hutchinson is a prolific writer, having authored/or edited some 16 works. And February 20th of this year marks the release of his 17th work entitled “Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law.”

eating people

You can check out his 2011 release, Is Eating People Wrong?: Great Legal Cases and How They Shaped the World, from the library’s Treatise section. In an interview with Rorotoko (5/22/11) Hutchinson states that he chose eight cases he felt had the most impact in shaping common law. He proposed that the legal cases discussed in his book “breathe life” into the law for the reader. Hutchinson presents monumental legal cases such as Brown v Board of Education and Miranda v Arizona.

The book’s title refers to R v Dudley and Stephens. Hutchinson displays his flair for the narrative style as he recounts the details of the infamous events abroad the Mignonette. The Mignonette was purchased by John Henry Want, an English businessman. He and his crew of three had planned to sail from New South Wales to Australia. A storm destroyed the yacht, and the men barely escaped with their lives. After weeks of drifting and slowly starving to death, the decision was made to eat the already emaciated cabin boy. Upon their eventual rescue at sea, the surviving men were at first hailed as heroes. Hutchinson really draws the reader in with his detailed re-telling of the events that led up to the men’s reversal of fortune, and subsequent arrests. This 1884 case set a precedent within common law that necessity is not a defense to a charge of murder. Sadly, this is the only case in Is Eating People Wrong? that analyzes the legal repercussions of cannibalism.

Another highly entertaining chapter concerns Donoghue v Stevenson, a.k.a the “snail in the bottle” case. The chapter entitled “A Snail in a Bottle: Nature, Neighbors, and Negligence” recounts how Glasgow native May Donoghue became ill after finding the partial remains of a snail within her ginger beer bottle. Her decision to pursue legal recourse against the bottling company led to the concept of negligence.

Is Eating People Wrong is a thoroughly enjoyable read that takes a look at some of the notable cases that have come to shape common law. And proves once again that fact is indeed stranger than fiction.

~Erica Tyler~

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