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

May 21, 2008

wordless wiseguys

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 8:01 pm

less memory, more wisdom?

Some of my Baby Boomer friends are trying to convince themselves (and me) that yesterday’s New York Times article “Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain” (by Sara Reistad-Long, May 20, 2008) is really good news. It’s the most-emailed NYT article today. But, I’m not convinced that I can stop worrying (as I did here and here and there and there) about all those words that never get off — or anywhere near — the tip of my tongue these days. The article begins:

“When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong.

“Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit.”

It goes on to say that the increased distractibility older folks often experience “may increase the amount of information available to the conscious mind.” This “broader attention span” [nice euphemism]:

don't forget “may enable older adults to ultimately know more about a situation and the indirect message of what’s going on than their younger peers,” Dr. [Lynn] Hasher said. “We believe that this characteristic may play a significant role in why we think of older people as wiser.”

To all this optimism and reassurances for the Boomers and Seniors, I want to say:

  • When my mind can’t do things I need it to do, that it used to do very well, approximately when I need it, I believe it’s appropriate to say that my “brainpower is declining.”
  • There is very little that I need to do in my daily life, and very little that most people do in their work lives, that requires “wisdom.”
  • However, there are lots and lots of things that require a good working memory (especially of names and many other nouns), along with the ability to focus without undue distraction.
  • Wisdom — and about 4 bucks — will get you a nice cup of coffee at Starbucks; and
  • [oops, I forgot the really incisive and wise point I meant to make in this last blurb]

he’s utterly given up

your name escapes me
old friend…
blossoming mountain

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

. . . more q.s. quickies . . . qKeyNsKeyN

tip of my tongue?
forgetting the name
of the pretty one, too

………. dagosan

. . . Scott’s Right: Over at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield asks “Is Same-Sex the New Racism?” (May 18, 2008; via Ruthie in Blawg Review #160) and concludes that the California Supreme Court decided correctly — and with an apt analogy to the former ban on interracial marriages — when it threw out the State’s law prohibiting same-sex marriage. Like myself, Scott fails to see how gays marrying demeans heterosexual marriage. Neither are we persuaded by those who say marriage was meant as a way to protect procreation within families and so must be between a man and a woman. [I wonder: Then why do we let people too old to make babies get married, or those who do not want children?] Scott concludes:

“Opponents of same-sex marriage believe it is immoral. They don’t want their children seeing men kissing men because it offends their heterosexual and religious sensibilities. Frankly, it’s not my thing either. But there’s nothing more rational to it than that.

. . . “So bite the bullet and turn your head away if it bothers you. In time, it will be nothing. We’ve overcome prejudice before, and we will overcome this. It won’t happen quickly, but it will happen eventually. Yes, it is nothing like race, and it is exactly like race. We’re still working on overcoming racial prejudice. We have room to work on homosexual prejudice too.”

See also: The New York Times editorial, “A Victory for Equality and Justice” (May 17, 2008), which begins: “The California Supreme Court brought the United States a step closer to fulfilling its ideals of equality and justice with its momentous 4-to-3 ruling upholding the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

Save Lots of Money & Time: The folks at Mental Floss Magazine have the perfect solution of lost souls who think they want or need to go to law school. It’s Law School in a Box. (via Idealawg) For $12 you get:

  • Law School in 96 Pages: Your Comprehensive Textbook
  • 10 Heroes of the Courtroom Trading Cards
  • 10 “You Be the Judge” Cards
  • A devilishly complicated legal-trivia bar exam
  • A rolled diploma with real Latin words

I wish I had known about Law School in a Box yesterday morning, when I ran into a Probation Officer (no, not my P.O., but someone I often worked with on Family Court cases years ago) at the Schenectady County Office Building. She told me she wanted to retire, but her recent-graduate son says he wants to go to law school. My “tough love” let-him-do-it-himself speech didn’t seem to help much, and the poor woman told me she feared he’d go to law school, delete her retirement nest egg, and then decide law wasn’t for him.

Of course, her son, and you, could simply read Prof. Yabut’s posts “1L of a Decision,” “The Road to L is paved with inattention,” and “Homework for Law School Applicants,” and decide that going to law school is simply not a very good idea (for most sensate homo sapiens).

She Don’t Need No Theme: My aversion to themed editions of Blawg Review is well-known. So, I was thrilled to see that this week’s edition — Blawg Review #160, hosted at Ruthie’s Law by UK Solicitor Mistress Ruthie — is presented without a tedious thematic framework. Instead, you “only” get her unique perspective on lots of the best law-related posts of the past week. (e.g., ) Thanks, Ruthie for proving that when you already have verve and style you don’t need heavy-handed artifices.

mosquitoes and young couples in love in another language

waking in a strange place to a voice not my own

after a night of drinking all the way home downhill

……..[one-liner haiku] by Jim Kacian – Shamrock Haiku Journal Issue # 1

Slate Special on Procrastination:

Okay, I haven’t read it yet, but I really do plan to read all of it really soon; and it certainly is not too late for you to take advantage of the multi-day, multi-article Slate Special Issue on Procrastination, called “Just Don’t Do It” (May 13 – 16, 2008). There must be something you can put off doing, in order to find out why solitaire is so addictive, what advice to give to a Young Procrastinator, whether it’s writer’s block, just where the word procrastination comes from, and lots more (a dozen articles in all).

talking in bed
I forget his name…
second husband

… by Roberta Beary – Shamrock Haiku Journal (Issue 5, 2008)

So, David, did you forget the haiku again? Almost. However, below (and, at the last minute, also sprinkled above) is my first focus on the Irish Haiku Society‘s Shamrock Haiku Journal — after weeks of it slipping my older-but-wiser mind.

From the tip of my tongue and fingers, to you, haiku by f/k/a‘s Honored Guests from Shamrock Haiku Journal:

shallow stream
I wade deeper
into starlight

abandoned mill
the dark water keeps
its secret

… by Roberta Beary – Shamrock Haiku Journal, Issue 5

autumn wind
the patch of blue
scoots southward

… by Laryalee Fraser- Shamrock Haiku Journal, Issue 5 (2008)

autumn illness the white noise of crickets


a wet-black boulder blue december sky

… by Jim Kacian – Shamrock Haiku Journal, Issue 1

pruning the roses –
a red ant attaches itself
to my arm

clear morning
the crack
of an eggshell

opening the door –
the curl of sunset
in a rose

… by Laryalee Fraser – Shamrock Haiku Journal (Issue 3, 2007)

more hammering –
one way and another
April wind

uncertain sky
the edge of a rose petal
curling back

noon sun
above the vineyard –
a cluster of friends

iced in –
the puppet show
slowed by a knot

“Rhapsody in Blue”
fogged windows holding
winter out

… by Peggy Willis Lyles – Shamrock Haiku Journal, Issue 2 (2007)

Say What? Who are you calling Aeolian?? This is a last-minute, but essential, addition to an already lengthy and meandering post. An hour ago, scrolling down the page at the court-o-rama weblog, I discovered, that the mischievously ingenius and generous Anne Skove had featured f/k/a as its Blog of the Week last week(end). You must check out her May 17 post for yourselves, since we’re far too humble to blow our own horn.

Lulled by our “dreamlike atmosphere,” and made dizzy by “a train of thought that would make e.e. proud,” Anne has somehow missed the occasional “screaming headline” that Prof. Yabut sneaks onto our Main Page. She’s also avoided (or is willing to cover up) Your Editor’s cranky side.

.. Frankly, I had no idea what Anne meant by calling us “an aeolian harp among blogs and blawgs.” Thanks to Wikipedia, I just learned that f/k/a has been compared to an ancient, random-sounding instrument left in open windows to catch passing breezes. That’s pretty cool (I think). Many thanks, Anne, for making an old curmudgeon smile.

p.s. The f/k/a Gang has already said (and even more often thought) nice things about court-o-rama, while also enjoying Anne’s recent habit of leaving insightful (inciteful?) comments at our weblog. Although it calls itself, “the least dangerous blog,” it is actually quite dangerous to those who hate learning new things while enjoying themselves. Heck, it’s “about courts,” but really interesting anyway.

the dying dog hears something
i can’t

home forclosure…
a jehova’s witness comes
peddling paradise

St. Patrick’s day…
in our pot
a watery broth

… by Ed Markowski – Shamrock Haiku Journal, Issue 2 (2007)


  1. I think your (ok, not “your”) probation officer’s son might do all right for himself in law school.

    It’s funny, that conversation reminds me of parents whose kids do crazy stuff like get English degrees from overpriced colleges. If only I had known then what I know now! I could have answered all those “what are you going to do with that?” questions with “go to law school, work on court stuff for a decade, and then start a blog, plus use the word ‘aeolian’ in a sentence!”

    Best of luck to him and all grads this time of year…and to the rest of us.

    Comment by Anne — May 21, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  2. Procrastination — Great topic. I think this is a major problem in America, like drinking or gambling. Think of the lost productivity, relationship issues, etc, that all come from not doing what you know you need to do…

    Comment by Alice — August 5, 2008 @ 8:20 am

  3. Thanks for commenting, Alice. Don’t forget, however, that procrastination is the greatest labor-saving device ever. Lawyers who do things right away, for example, later find out that something has made the task unnecessary (the case settles, the opponent stops the annoying behavior, the judge cancels a hearing).

    Comment by David Giacalone — August 5, 2008 @ 8:52 am

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