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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

April 8, 2005

today, everyone’s a cafeteria catholic — a picky papist

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:32 pm

Whether or not you agree with his religious catechism or politics, no one can deny the “popevigil”

worldwide love and respect for John Paul II, his impact across the globe, and his

historic importance.


Of course, we all — from Cafeteria Catholics in American suburbs, to their conservative

brothers and sisters, to our cherry-picking-popist President — take what we want from

John Paul II’s message.  [“popist”? — a fan of the popstar pope]


JohnPaul2  It seems to me that John Paul is indeed like a beloved Father — much of what he

says rings true for all time; much seems hopelessly outdated and benighted; and much may

seem wiser as we grow older.  The disagreements don’t change the love and the loss

on his passing — nor the fact that those left behind must still find and forge their own path.




“Get ready, get ready
for death!”
cherry blossoms







timing his death
extremely well…
the Buddha


–  from Kobayashi Issa,

translated by David G. Lanoue


My Old Man

      (words and music by Rosanne Cash, c Atlantic Records)

The old man’s laughing tonight
He’s young beyond his fears
But then the smile drops from his eyes
And we all wind up in tears

The old man’s crying tonight
‘Cause it all happened so fast
He’s frightened by the future
Embarassed by the past

So let him be who he wants to be
‘Cause he ain’t ever gonna be young again
And let him see who he needs to see
‘Cause he never had too many friends
And ask him how he remembers me
‘Cause I want to know where I stand
How I love my old man

The old man’s lonesome tonight
Just trying to kill his pain
He believes what he says he believes
But that don’t make him a saint

The old man’s lonesome tonight
And he just wants to go home
All those fools who stand in his way
Why can’t they leave us alone

So let him be who he wants to be
‘Cause he ain’t ever gonna be young again
And let him see who he needs to see
‘Cause he never had too many friends
And ask him how he remembers me
‘Cause I want to know where I stand
How I love my old man 

life grows on

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:35 pm



home from the funeral

hands in the dishwater suds










black panites–

she lifts one leg,

then an eyebrow










estate auction–

can’t get my hand back out

of the cookie jar




         “schoolBrooks” Randy Brooks, from School’s Out

              (Press Here, 1999)  



home from the wake —

a robin perched

on the newly-toppled tree


                               [April 8, 2005]






handicapG  All Things Considered had an interesting piece yesterday on”What Defines Disabled?” 

It was spurred by news reports that Janeal Lee had her title as Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin

rescinded, because — although she has muscular dystrophy and primarily uses a scooter to

get around — she is able to stand.  Lennard Davis disagrees, saying that definitions of disability

need to become less stereotypical. and you can find an audio of his commentary here.

(also: Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Hey, sorry, you just weren’t crippled enough, April 7,


Davis has written numerous books, including Bending Over Backwards:

Essays on Disability and the Body (NYU Press 2002).  He is a pioneer

in disability studies and believes that it provides an entirely new way of thinking

about the body in its relation to politics, the environment, the legal system,

and global economies.


handicapF  Davis’ ATC commentary reminded me that persons like myself — with 

an “invisible disability” [a medical condition making significant, consistent 

employment impossible that is not apparent to by looking at me] —

are often not considered disabled enough by traditional “disability advocates,”

who seem to have a much narrower test.  When I was trying to see if I could

handle part-time employment a number of years ago, I applied for a

minimum-wage position at a disability housing advocacy group — they

wanted someone to accompany their clientele to hearings.  I figured that

two decades as a lawyer (one of them as a children’s advocate) might make

me suitable.  However, at my only interview for the position, it was quite

clear that I wasn’t disabled enough — or that they were not willing to take

a chance with someone whose disability needs special accomodations

other than the traditional physical ones.


tiny check Bob Ambrogi has responded to Norm and Carolyn‘s postings about the latest

ABA discipline survey.  Bob, like myself, disagrees with Norm’s notion of

sanctioning clients for “frivolous” complaints.  Bob also believes we should “throw

open” all client complaints “for all to see.”   As my Comments state at Bob’s

site and Carolyn’s I think we need to give the problem more thought before making

all complaints readily available to the public.



handicapB  Where was Eliot when I needed him?  (Oh yeah, in high school.)  The latest

Harvard Law Bulletin has an article on NYS AG Eliot Spitzer (“The Equalizer,” Spring 2005). 

I had to smile when I read Spitzer defending himself against the charge that there are

too many agencies, state and federal, jumping in to stop corporate corruption.  Eliot

responds “Competition works — even in law enforcement and in government.”  My

smile was from remembering a Washington Post editorial from about 1979, which derided

a presentation by the then-Director of the FTC’s  Bureau of Competition to a Congressional

committee, giving the same rationale for having both the FTC and DOJ enforcing antitrust

laws.  The Post said that redundancy might be good for NASA, but surely wasn’t for

antitrusters.  The Post editorial was particularly interesting to me at the time, because I

had written the Director’s testimony.   Balkanization-Schmalkanization.



tiny check  George Wallace has been known to handicap wines and film, and today he

posts about the documentary, Mondovino. — “Most commonly described as “the Fahrenheit 9/11

of wine” — which may or may not be a compliment .”  Interesting.



“tinyredcheck”   Along with a nice pointer to our post on e-shaming, Don Hawbaker at The Construction Law Blog added some choice words on the topic today:

“I think it was Mark Twain who said something like, “a lie travels half-way around the world before truth gets its pants on.” In our technologically advanced world, the truth has closed the gap considerably. That’s the good news.

“The bad news is that if you create a public record that’s embarressing or unflattering, your name is likely to get mentioned on some site or another that feeds Google or some other monstrous search engine. And the entry of your name alone may for a long-time lead to a reliving of that event again and again. Someone’s 15 minutes of fame, whether for good or bad, may now last for years.

So, did Don’s Mom:  “And I definitely recall that it was my mother who told me ‘live your life like what you do may be a front-page article in the newspaper.’ That’s still good advice.”



“ethics aside”

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:59 pm

Just as Prof. Yabut decried the abuse of ellipses, f/k/a‘s editor emeritus ethicalEsq is getting a little annoyed by the “ethics aside” approach of the gurus and evangelists of law firm branding, marketing and alternative or value pricing. They offer the easily-tempted lawyer a paradise of premium clients and fees, with increased profits, while never probing the ethical and fiduciary duties of the lawyer to insure that the client is fully informed, treated fairly (and without manipulation) and, in the end, charged a fee that is reasonable for competent and diligent services. Yesterday, AdamSmith Esq‘s Bruce MacEwan reminded his readers, in a post about marketing (pointed to by Lisa Stone), that

“a core conviction of mine is that — cultural considerations aside, admittedly a large “aside” — the business of law firms is not fundamentally different from the business of corporations.” (emphasis added)

honest Yes, law firms do have a different “culture” than business corporations, and much of that difference has to do with professional ethics. But, there appears to be little chance that Bruce will ever get to this “aside”. Earlier this year, he made it clear: “this blog, I will remind you again, is not about ethics, it’s about economics.” [As Church Lady used to say, “Isn’t that special?” — and convenient.]

turning over in bed–
move aside!

…………….. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

Aside” means “Out of one’s thoughts or mind” and “Set out of the way; dispensed with.” (Am. Heritage Dictionary, 2000) I don’t think our ethical and fiduciary duties should be set aside when dealing with how we attract clients or set fees. See the Intro to the ABA Statement on Principles in Billing for Legal Services (1996) for some straight-talk and pointers on the issues. We covered some of the relevant issues earlier this week in LexThink about higher fees (er, value billing). Those who are advocates of “modern”
marketing and pricing methods for attorneys have a duty to put the ethical issues front and center. If they, and those who are so eager to follow them to higher profits, need a place to start, they might take a look at some of our prior posts — or read them again with our ethical duties in mind. For example:

brand Lex (branding to permit premium pricing and reduce price elasticity)

chronomentrophobia (hourly billing is not the problem)

value billing or venal bilking? (what is value billing? what should it be?)

fees and the lawyer-fiduciary

jackal sequel (image-making rather than quality as the basis for higher fees)

fee fie foe and fum (change values first)

It’s worth repeating what I said two days ago, after LexThink: “I am all for modernizing the law firm and the lawyer-client relationship — so long as it is a tool for better serving the client’s interests, rather than one that merely uses modern selling techniques and technology to artificially increase lawyer fees and profits and to stave off the democratizing effects in the legal services marketplace of the digital revolution.”

move aside
cloud and fog!
lotuses are blooming

baby sparrow
move aside!
Mr. Horse passe

honest – from The Haiku of Kobayashi ISSA, translated by David G. Lanoue

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