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

November 30, 2005

dr. spock we’re not

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:41 pm

We don’t claim to be practicing Eclectics around here (unlike some weblawgers). 

However, we cover a lot of territory and, this morning, Yahoo!’s Search engine made

one of our posts the #2 result for the query how to make a two year old behave>.

It celebrated the 2nd anniversary of Prof. Bainbridge’s weblog.   Of course, we always

love such unexpected referrals.  Nonetheless, this is a sad commentary on the state

of child care instruction on the internet, and/or on search engine accuracy.  



You see, although our post did indeed have information on how to make a two-year-old

behave, not one of the other 9 results in the top 10 was even vaguely about that issue. 

(I didn’t look any deeper on the list.)  For example, #1 concerned Year 2000 computer

problems; #3 was about selling burgers, and #4 about two-year colleges.

tiny check In case you have a two-year-old and are in need of a refresher course,

we noted last September that: “The experts advise an escalating response

when two-year-olds behave badly — Distraction, Separation, Explanation,

Compromise, and (only if he’s likely to hurt himself) Punishment.

Our Honored Guest Tom Clausen knows far more on this topic, so

let’s see what he can teach us with an extended lesson from Homework

(2000), his insightful look look at domesticity:



cleaning the poop out
    his little Superman


home from work …
the little one brings me
an empty wine bottle










playing a childs game
    I learn all
     his rules





losing control of my son
    – and myself





all through
his temper tantrum
her calm

our son spills his milk,
   not an iota
of reaction from him






telling her its time
for a diaper change:
   “I did not”



how could I have known
our children, precious
as they are,
would drive us
to such brinks?






in the next room
our children peacefully asleep
     – we do nothing







evening star…
she sleeps with the lion’s tail
in her little hand






I watch my children
joyfully little and innocent
of everything ahead –
       too much I know
       too much to tell


“spiltwine” Tom Clausen
           from Homework (2000)





when she’s restless —

the two-year old’s plastic sheets




p.s. Talk about variety: Yesterday, our post just ing-ing around was the

#2 result in a Google Search for distinguishing participle from gerund>.

We are not, however, ready for a snap quiz on that topic.




November 29, 2005

the Chamberlain Family: famous for not suing

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:34 pm

Just yesterday at Blawg Review #34, Phosita‘s Doug Sorocco revealed that
David Giacalone never ceases to amaze me with the stories he
finds, and this is a gem.”  In a Comment to Doug’s post, I confided that
most of my stories are just picked from the news here in New York’s
Capital Region.
Well, from that very source, comes a story that has gone national, balloonParade
because it seems too amazing to be true: Sarah and Mary Chamberlain were
injured (including a cut on Sarah’s head needing nine stitches
and a chipped tooth) by a giant M&M balloon during Macy’s Thanks-
giving Day Parade last week.  Nonetheless, despite the sympathetic
case, two deep-pockets defendants, and the Mayor Bloomberg’s
immediate appointment of a holiday balloon safety task force — her
dad, Stephen Chamberlain, has stated that he does not plan to sue
Macy’s or New York City.  According to the Albany[NY] Times Union,
Mr. Chamberlain (staff director for the New York State Public Employees
Federation) stated:
“It was an accident,” . . . The close-knit family feels extremely lucky, he said. “Looking to profit from something like this” borders on dishonesty, Chamberlain said.
Asked whether they should sue, Suzanne Chamberlain, mother of Sarah and
her bruised older sister Mary, added “What for? They’re OK. And that’s
the most important thing”Albany Times Union, “Sisters cope with their
accidental fame,” Nov. 26, 2005; NYNewsDay, “They still love a parade,” Nov. 25, 2005; via Overlawyered.com
balloonParadeN Their refreshing and surprising lack of litigiousness has garnered
the family more publicity and plaudits than they could have ever imagined.
Macy’s treated the family to a performance of the Rockettes and promised
reserved bleacher seats for next year’s parade.  Many tv shows and news-
papers have wanted interviews.  And, Sarah got her wish — to be on the
Ellen DeGeneres Show, which airs today, Nov. 29th, on CBS, at
4 PM EST.   WRGB.com, “More exposure of Chamberlain sisters,” Nov. 29,
2005)  Meanwhile Walter Olson’s weblog fans seem a bit incredulous, but
would like to nominate the Chamerlains for sainthood.
tiny check If the Chamberlains start a trend, there will be more p/i lawyers being laid off (see RiskProf, “Hey, Whaddaya Know?,” Nov. 29, 2005)  Of course, attitudes like this are even more likely to lead to associates losing their jobs.
instant update (Nov. 29, 4 PM):  A pointer at Overlawyered just led me to a very
good column by NY Daily News columnist Michael Daly: Greed Didn’t Suit Him
(Nov. 27, 2005).  Daly invites us to compare Stephen Daly’s attitude to an
“. . advertisement in the lead car of an uptown No. 2 train
that rumbled directly underfoot yesterday morning.
Accidents happen. And when they do … INJURYLAWYER.COM
1-800-LAW-KING … Recent settlements: $10 million, $6.25 million,
$2.5 million, $2million*
Daly advises: “The father’s words should be inscribed on a plaque and affixed to the base of the pole, memorializing a place in the city where a mishap occurred and nobody went to court.”
a   y
birthday balloons the one that doesn’t burst

autumn wind —
trying to keep myself
under my hat
leaves flying

fierce wind
street sweeper has
another coffee
statues in the square
the raised hand of the war hero
fills with snow
the anger from work
in my son’s birthday balloons
the gull with one leg       soaring

in the freezer,
three starter snowmen —
cloudless sky


November 28, 2005

that narrow place

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:18 pm

the narrow place

between my neck and my collar

November wind







prairie wind

snow fills the mouth

of the badger hole





homemade bread

a pound of butter

softens by the stove





egg shell haiku  DeVar Dahlfrom A Piece of Egg Shell

 an anthology  (Magpie Haiku Poets, Calgary, 2004)

“homemade bread” — WHC World Haiku Review  3-2;

“the narrow place” – Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar 2003




tiny check  Thanks to my StatCounter Keyword Activity page , I learned that

f/k/a posts were the #1 result today for search engine queries on man wink> ,

blind date boomers> and  democratic morality>.   That inspired us to update

our Inadvertent Searchee page, where you can find out the details about all

three searches, and many more. 


goose   Will Hornsby notes that the reaction to the Pape & Chandler

800-PIT BULL decision goes from “critical to scathing” — and he wonders

Are Cute Puppies Okay?  (Nov. 26, 2005)



blind date 

blossoms past their peak   



                                                                                                     breadwine neg


the so-called “war on christmas” — and chicken little, too

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:40 pm

There they go again: the most powerful religious group in America is feeling persecuted, exiled and offended, because some local governmental units are displaying “Holiday Trees” and some retail stores are wishing customers a “Happy Holiday Season.” See “Boston ‘holiday tree’ stirs controversy,” Reuters/USNews (Nov.25, 2005); The article “Is there a ‘war on Christmas?“, Austin American Journal, Nov. 27, 2005), begins:

Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly believes the greeting

“Happy Holidays” offends Christians celebrating the Christmas season.




“It absolutely does. And I know that for a fact,” he declared on his cable television program, “The O’Reilly Factor.”

This alleged secularist conspiracy has even left Prof. Bainbridge unable to exercise his customary analytical faculties, as he wonders why a city might have a “Holiday Tree” (some of his Commentors do a good job of helping Steve understand the issue). Prof. B. is even raising the issue three weeks earlier than last year (see good for Arnold, Dec. 20, 2004) At the time, f/k/a‘s Editor opined (Dec. 21, 2004):



I won’t let all those who are irked by Generic Holiday Greetings [e.g., Ken Lammers, Prof. B.] keep me from wanting all Americans to celebrate this Season without feeling religiously incorrect, compromised or left out. . . . .

This weblog has never been reluctant to poke fun at extremes of politically correct language. But, attempts to make this Holiday Season — clearly the most important celebration for our nation — all-inclusive do not seem silly to me, regardless of the Constitutional dimensions of the debate. Indeed, shopping sprees and Santa suits have done far more to “take the Christ out of Christmas” than a slew of First Amendment law suits could ever do.

WarOnXmasN Instead of chilling out and wishing good will to all humans, evangelical and conservative “Christians” have mounted a war of their own. Besides Bill O’Reilly telling folks they should be offended, Fox News anchor John Gibson came out with the book The War on Christmas in October. And,

The Conservative Voice says you should “Read, consider and act upon it!” (Its columnist, Michael J. Gaynor, complains that the front windows at Sax 5th Avenue “focused on concepts like unity, harmony and beauty.

Nothing about Christmas.”)


Meanwhile, Rev. Jerry Falwell is threatening lawsuits over arboreal nomenclature, and The Liberty Counsel has mounted the rather non-inclusive “Friend or FoeChristmas Campaign. In his column “Friend or Foe of Christmas,” Rick Holmes says in reply (MetroWestDaily News, Nov. 27, 2005):

Pity the poor person at the cash register. A friendly greeting has become a step onto the thin ice of political correctness: What should she say at the end of every transaction: “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy Holidays”? . . . .

Falwell’s agenda isn’t about protecting the traditional place of religion in American culture, it’s about expanding it and claiming it for themselves.

They don’t want to educate people about the First Amendment, they want to intimidate people into acknowledging Christianity as America’s only legitimate religion.

They want that store cashier to say “Merry Christmas” or feel guilty about not saying it. What’s next, mandatory prayer at the checkout?

KCAg Naturally, in any American War, there are bumper stickers and magnets — such as the “Keep Christmas Alive” Campaign. Their proganda machine is busy with broadsides like Why all the Christophobia at Christmas? I have no illusions about changing anyone’s mind. Here are a few not-so-random


tiny check Despite the protestation of Phillip D. Powell, a member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship — who says, “This is the Christmas season, and Dec. 25 is Christmas, not some general feel-good day of celebration” — there actually is a very lengthy holiday season in the United States. It starts at least as early as Thanksgiving and continues at least through New Year’s Day, with related “shopping seasons” extended on either end of the period. (e.g., Dong Zhi, Kwanza, Hanukkah, and Diwali) Some of these feasts are clearly non-religious, many are surely non-Christian, and some of the Christian ones are not Christmas. Just why in the name of America and God should a municipality, much less a department store, have to lump them all together under the rubric of “Christmas”?


WarOnXmas nope


tiny check Although Mr. Gaynor at the Conservative Voice believes it’s relevant that “America’s greatest chief justice, John Marshall, proclaimed in 1833: ‘The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified,” I believe it is more relevant that there are now many non-Christians, ex-Christians and secularists in 2005 America. The government is not required to do everything it can, short of breaking the First Amendment, on behalf of Christianity.


tiny check Those who know the Bible better than I will have to tell me why the Jesus who “entered into the temple of God, and drove out all of those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the money changers’ tables and the seats of those who sold the doves,” and who protected the Gentile pilgrims (Matthew 21-12), would want “His” people wasting their time on the naming of decorations and the wording of good wishes, rather than working to reverse the universal connection in America of His birth with the most crass commercialism and greed. (see, e.g., CBS3 [Philadelphia.], Local Shoppers Back At It,” Nov. 26, 2005; Bloomberg, “Weekend Sales Jump 22% to $27.8 Billion,” Nov. 27, 2005)


JesusMoney orig.


tiny check Likewise, the Right and the self-proclaimed Saved correctly fault the Left (for example, feminists) for too-often looking for reasons to be offended. Why, then, do the same thing and turn the season of Good Will Toward All into a nasty part of the culture wars? If you want to pre-empt a clerk saying “Happy Holidays,” why not wear a “Merry Christmas” button on your lapel rather than a “you talkin’ to me?!” chip on your shoulder?


ChickenLittle2005 Finally, if the religious Right wants to aim its paranoia at a more appropriate target, I suggest Chicken Little. Just why is Hollywood trying to turn an obviously false prophet into a hero? And, why are they using such a stinky flick? As if we’re going to believe there are celestial beings with super-human powers that would come to earth and take dominion over mankind.



lips and tongues

traditional Christmas




tsunami on tv — ChickenLittleN

our children awash

in christmas gifts


from second thoughts (2005)

November 27, 2005

“simply senryu”

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:02 pm

Demonstrating his typical excess, dagosan decided

to start two daily weblogs today.  In addition to

describing it as:

david giacalone’s daily look at the foibles

and ironies of human nature, using poems

structured like haiku and called “senryu”

Click here for a brief discussion of the senryu genre.


fence painter


As we said earlier this evening, when announcing his

haiku diary, you’re encouraged to visit simply senryu for

a daily dollop of senryu.  Please do not expect dagosan

to punch a clock — he posts whenever the Muse has done

her work.  For your convience, there’s a link to simply senryu 

in our Sidebar.

tiny check Editors of haiku journals who do not wish to

see new dagosan (david giacalone) poems before they

are submitted for possible publication, should probably

Everybody else should stop by often.



waiting undressed

to meet the new doctor —

cold feet



            from second thoughts (2005)




checked box neg  Don’t forget there’s a Thanksgiving gift for all our
visitors — haiku brochures from dagosan.


“dagosan’s haiku diary” is launched

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:46 pm

Our post yesterday about the blossoming of daily haiku weblogs

inspired dagosan to start one of his own today.  


boy writing flip  If you have liked his work here, you’re encouraged to

visit dagosan’s haiku diary for a new haiku each day.  As at f/k/a,

do not expect dagosan to punch a clock — he posts when the Muse

has done her work.  For future use, you’ll find a link to dhd in our Sidebar.


tiny check From now on, the daily dagosan feature here

at f/k/a will showcase his vintage/select/classic

[older] works.


tiny check  Editors of haiku journals who do not wish to

see new dagosan (david giacalone) haiku before they

are submitted for possible publication, should probably

avoid dagosan’s haiku diary.  Everybody else should

come early and often.



teeth gritted


today’s haiku






gas pump g potluck

tiny check  Got holiday agita?   Somebody with post-Thanksgiving

indigestion had this query how to remove gas pain?> for

Yahoo! Search.   Of the 3 million results, the first two were

for the f/k/a post “gas pain?”   Sadly, they won’t get much

relief there, unless they’re worried about high gas prices or 

getting better mileage. 



Sunday morning

looking up the word

from my dream







     deadline approaches

  my nose drips










stifled laugh:

   a November wasp

      rousing itself





revising poems,

a third cup of tea

from the same bag




from “Some of the Silence  (Red Moon Press,1999) 


                                                                                                           boy writing neg


November 26, 2005

a little hotham on a cold night

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:42 pm

Nearly midnight: it’s too late to squeeze out any punditry,

but there’s no reason not to savor some of Gary Hotham’s



night snow–

the house



rook horiz


my move

their move

morning clouds





deserted tennis court

      wind through the net





loud wind

the bed unmade

all day





  • by dagosan                                               

snow falls

from a low gray sky –

she lifts the sauce pan lid


                           [Dec. 3, 2004] 



November 25, 2005

thankful for: new haiku weblogs

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:18 pm

When f/k/a pushed off from its wharf in May 2004, dagosan promised

himself he would write “one haiku a day that I wouldn’t be embarrassed

to share with the entire Internet.”  That seemed like folly for a neophyte

haiku poet, but his lawyer training had left dagosan unable to produce

without deadlines.  So far, he’s met his schedule and Your Editor hasn’t

died of embarrassment. 


All the while, the rest of the f/k/a Gang has been wondering why other

haijin haven’t jumped on the weblog and poem-a-day bandwagon.  It’s

so darn easy to set up a weblog and they’re free.  All you need is a little

faith in yourself, your muse, and your webmaster.


boy writing flip


Well, at the end of November 2005, I’ve got something else to be

thankful about — I’ve found a half-dozen daily weblogs featuring

haiku and senryu (plus, photography and other paired images).  Let me

remind you of places you should bookmark for perusal (after finishing

your daily visit here):



haikupoet.com has the haiku of paul david mena and the photography

of mary melodee mena.  It’s first post was Oct. 14, 2004.  We featured

it last December.  Here’s Paul’s Thanksgiving offering (Nov. 24, 2005):


                                  bonita  Bonita

Thanksgiving night –   
everyone thanks me
for walking the dog


Morden Haiku was started on Oct. 5, 2005 by Matt Morden, one of our

our Honored Guests.  As we said back in October, Matt also presents

both haiku and photos. 

Here are a pair of haiku from this past week that

demonstrate Matt’s verbal skill and art; click the

link to see the paired images:


early frost
my daughter asks me to
turn the music down


          (Nov. 22, 2005)








tough enough to hold
the weight of this world
bramble leaves


         (Nov. 24, 2005)


eric houck jr‘s haiku & senryu was launched on Sept. 16, 2005, but came

to my attention this week thanks to my Referer Page. (thanks for the link,

Eric).  His poem for today should make you want to visit and his other

offerings will bring you back again:


first winter alone
hilltop cemetery


    [Nov. 25, 2005]


dustinNeal  dustin neal‘s daily haiku hasn’t had its first fortnight anniversary

yet, but it’s quite promising and I hope Dustin will keep it up.  His

Thanksgiving senryu rang a bell for me:


thanksgiving day  
without thanks


       [Nov. 24, 2005] 


Miso Soup has been served daily since Mid-October, 2005, by Alison Williams 

(also proprietor of the writing group weblog Cabbage Soup and her university

librarian weblog ML 107).  I hope she continues to offer her unique perspective. 



heroic statues bound
with strings
of Christmas lights


    [Nov. 24, 2005]  


 alisonWilliams Tangent: a brief stop at Alison’s ML107

site left me wanting to know more about the book

How to Be a Student, by Sarah Moore.  Check out

the chapter headings here.


everyday Issa is a delight, as we proclaimed on October 2nd.  It features the haiga

paintings and renku of Sakuo Nakamura, and the haiku of Kobayashi Issa.  Sakuo

has been doing a painting a day to go along with David Lanoue’s translations of

Master Issa’s haiku since February 2005, then he adds a linked verse of his own.   



tiny check  It’s not easy to keep a weblog going.  But, I’m hoping that the new

haijin webloggers will stick with their intentions to post a haiku or senryu every day.

(I also wish Bret Wooldridge would revive his Wanton Tree.)  If a worn out old guy

like dagosan can do it (while churning out breathless punditry), all you younguns

ought to be able to keep it up without breaking a sweat.  And, a few more should

join the weblog parade.


p.s. It’s not a daily and not a weblog, but I want to tip a hat to Jason  hat tip small flip

Sanford Brown for launching his Roadrunner Haiku Journal eleven

months ago.


update (Nov. 27, 2005):  T.A. Thompson wrote today, saying that this post

inspired him to start a daily haiku weblog of his own — coffee.tea.haiku — which

has now been serving “A little dose of haiku each day with your morning coffee

or evening tea” for two days.  TAT is founder of the Gin Bender Poetry Review.




tiny check  dagosan convinced himself to start a haiku diary 

and a daily senryu weblog.   yes, fools do rush in.


afterthought (Nov. 28, 2005): I want to specifically nag the prolific and ubiquitous

Ed Markowski about starting a weblog.  Hey, Eddie, you know how to use email,

so you already know how to operate a weblog.  Really.  Your public awaits.  I say

this, even though your efforts will surely make mine look meagre and sorry.  Also,

I want to encourage Webwiseguy H. Curtis “Curt” Dunlap to start updating his

existing-but-lapsed weblog.  Until then, click on his name to see a selection of

his published haiku. Finally (for now), it’s great to see Denis Garrison has been

busy this month at his Haiku Unchained weblog.


digital age

aging digits

at the keyboard


          dagosan   from second thoughts


November 24, 2005

thankful for each visitor – a haiku gift for you from f/k/a

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 10:21 am

 pilgrim hat Whether you come here for the poetry or the punditry, or (we hope) both, the f/k/a Gang is grateful each time a visitor stops by — especially our regulars. Even our inadvertent readers give us a warm glow and keep us entertained. (This feeling does not extend to comment and trackback spammers, but we’re only going to say nice things on Thanksgiving Day.)

1st2ndCovers As a very modest token of our appreciation, haikuEsq is posting some of the fruits of dagosan’s fledgling writing efforts in the form of two haiku & senryu brochures:

first impressions, which contains poems that have

been accepted for publication elsewhere this year,


second thoughts, a collection of senryu from 2004

and 2005

If you click on the links, you’ll be able to print out the two

sides of each tri-fold brochure (even Prof. Yabut was able,

eventually, to copy the two-sided pages rightside up and

get the folds in the right places).

If you like them enough to want an “official” copy of each

brochure directly from our Mail Room, just send the Editor

an email containing your name and address (see our About 

page, if you don’t already have his email address). We

promise not to use your information for any other purpose.

This offer is good until Dec. 31, 2005.

first date:

she groans with pleasure

. . . at my pun


turkeySilAs Elton and Bernie might say, my gifts are my words, 

and these are for you. Thanks for encouraging our haiku advocacy

and instigating much of our punditry. Happy Thanksgiving to

you and to all your loved ones from the f/k/a Gang.

tiny check A special Thanksgiving nod to each of our Honored

Guest Poets, who have made f/k/a a mecca for quality

haiku. Your editor is most grateful for their talent

and generosity.

laid off

she asks the mall santa to

bring dad a job

laid off

she tells the mall santa

dad can make toys

……………………………..   ed markowski from his Mall Santa sequence

Thanksgiving Day–

the whole family silent

watching a football game

…………………..  Lee Gurga from Fresh Scent (1998)


Thanksgiving sunrise . . .

cheesecloth over the rolls

in the back seat window


………………………    randy brooks from School’s Out (1999)


men washing dishes –

an early alarm

ends her Thanksgiving dream

………………….  dagoasn [Nov. 24, 2005]

family album–

the black and white

of my youth

passing the jug
the warmth
of many hands

…………………………………    Jim Kacian from pegging the wind & a second spring

November 23, 2005

thankful for cozy nights

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:40 pm

On a blustery night, with snow in the air, we’re thankful for 

central heating, storm windows, and Open Window — haiku

and photographs by Michael Dylan Welch. 





[click here for full-color





grey sky—

the dog’s water dish

iced over




[click here for full-sized





tarnished silver

the only guest

eats in silence







[click here for full-color





my hand curves

       to fit your breast …

the windowsill, snowladen





first snow . . .

the children’s hangers

clatter in the closet





[click here for full-sized photo-poem] 


from Open Window – haiku & photographs





from dagosan 


first snow —

an entire city

learning to drive






Thanksgiving snow storm –

a seatbelt protects each 

steaming pie



[Nov. 23, 2005]


                                                                                                                              pilgrim hat


self-pity: the opposite of thanksgiving

Filed under: pre-06-2006,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 4:59 pm

Last night, November 22, Ted Koppel did his last Nightline show. Thanks to an interview the night before with his time-slot rival Charlie Rose (who I usually watch), I knew to tune into Ted’s last Nightline, and I’m glad I did.

KoppelTed Ted decided to bow out by reprising highlights from his acclaimed interviews with Morrie Schwartz, the wise retired professor who wanted to talk about dying (he had ALS), and who became the subject of Mitch Albom‘s mega-hit book, Tuesdays with Morrie. Despite their popularity, the Albom book and the Nightline interviews contain much wisdom about dying and living with dignity, grace, humor and hope. In a nation where we find rampant discontent, among people enjoying a myriad of blessings, Morrie Schwartz’s refusal to wallow in self-pity as he lost control of his body and neared death, is not merely a good example — it is a recipe for much fuller and happier lives.

At pages 56 – 57 of Tuesdays, Albom explains: TuesdaysMorrieCover

I asked Morrie if he felt sorry for himself.

“Sometimes, in the mornings,” he said. “That’s when I mourn.I feel around my body, I move my fingers and my hands — whatever I can still move — and I mourn what I’ve lost. I mourn the slow, insidious way in which I’m dying. But then I stop mourning.”

Just like that?

“I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things still in my life. On the people who are coming to see me. On the stories I’m going to hear. On you — if it’s Tuesday. Because we’re Tuesday people”

I grinned. Tuesday people.

MorrieDVD the movie

“Mitch, I don’t allow myself any more self-pity than that. A little each morning, and few tears, and that’s all. “

I thought about all the people I knew who spent many of theirwaking hours feeling sorry for themselves. How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity. Just a few tearful minutes, then on with the day. And if Morrie could do it, with such a horrible disease . . .

“It’s only horrible if you see it that way,” Morrie said. “It’s horrible to watch my body slowly wilt away to nothing. But it is also wonderful because of all the time I get to say good-bye.”

He smiled. “Not everyone is so lucky.”

I studied him in his chair, unable to stand, to wash, to pull on his pants. Lucky? Did he really say lucky?

In most aspects of life, attitude is everything. You don’t see things as they are; you see them as you are — and, each of us can choose to be thankful. I hope we will all make that choice this Thanksgiving.

p.s. In case you want a little Koppel vinegar to go with Morrie’s sweetness, I would like to second Ted Koppel’s final words in his final Nightline broadcast: ”You’ve always been very nice to me,” he told viewers last night, ”so give this new anchor team at ‘Nightline’ a fair break. If you don’t, the network will just put another comedy in this time slot, and then you’ll be sorry.

it’s my life’s autumn MoonWaneCres
but the moon
looks perfect

this world
is a dewdrop world
yes… but…


quite remarkable
being born human…
autumn dusk

even to these old eyes–
cherry blossoms!
cherry blossoms!

Kobayashi Issa translated by David G. Lanoue MoonWaxCres

” pit bull ” as compliment

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:36 am

Reacting to a post at MyShingle on the “pit bull” case of Florida Bar v.

Pape & Chandler, Mary Whisner at Trial Ad Notes asks a very good

question: “Is it good to be considered a pit bull in the courtroom?”

(Nov. 21, 2005) .  Whisner points out that during the 2004 presidential

campaign Ed Gillespie was called “President Bush’s pit bull,” and notes:

“It doesn’t seem that he minds this — or that Republicans as

a whole feel demeaned because the chairman of the Republican

Party has that nickname. It’s ironic, because during the heat of

the presidential campaign, it seemed that “trial lawyer” was used

as an insult, but “pit bull” was a term of respect.

dog black Of course, there is an even more recent example of a lawyer called

a pit bull — Harriet Miers.  According to the Washington Post last June:  

“When he was governor of Texas, Bush offered a less formal

assessment at an awards ceremony, calling Miers ‘a pit bull

in size 6 shoes.’ The line stuck, in no small part because it

described her cool but dogged determination.”


You may recall that there were a lot of reasons given for Miers’   MiersBush

unsuitability to become an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme

Court, but her pit-bull-like qualities were not one of them. Indeed,

I seem to remember some who complained she was simply not

enough of a pit bull for their taste.


Do you have any examples of “pit bull” being used as a compliment?



OstrichSand  p.s. Don’t forget to help us choose a symbol for the Florida

Supreme Court.



November 22, 2005

back in yu’s neighborhood

Filed under: pre-06-2006,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 6:16 pm

Maybe I’m getting old and set in my ways — after any

traveling, I am always pleased to return home to Schenectady.

Today, I left Rochester quite early, in order to beat some

winter precipitation that was going to be coming at me from

both the west and the east.


To celebrate a safe return to rain-to-snow Schenectady,

I’m going to share a few poems from Schenectady’s most

celebrated haiku poet, Yu Chang.


vivid dreams

the din of a garbage truck

drives you away





back on shore

the river

pouring from his swamp boots


leaf gray


turning over

a dead leaf

an earthworm twitches







news of a missing dog

from pole to pole



Yu ChangUpstate Dim Sum (2004/II)





a wintry mix

at the bedroom window

big wet ones

[Nov. 22, 2005]



tiny check Even not-so-young whippersnappers like Evan Schaeffer

are apparently addicted to techno-speed, and need their

broadband to post to their weblogs. Your old f/k/a Editor

patiently accepts the delays of dial-up modems in

concocting this daily weblog buffet. RU Impressed?


tiny check You don’t have to be a federalist-fanatic or libertarian to

worry about the phenomenon of overcriminalization. Both

Mike Cernovich and Jeremy Richey have pointed to

Overcriminalization: The Politics of Crime, a symposium now

available in the American University Law Review (Vol. 54: 3,

2005). There are four articles, two essays and more, with

plenty of food for thought.


phone old



help choose a symbol for the Florida Supreme Court

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:16 pm

A Comment by Martin “RiskProf” Grace has convinced the

f/k/a Gang that we should get our readers involved in choosing

a logo for the Supreme Court of Florida, in the wake of its

decision last week banning the Pape & Chandler PIT BULL

logo and 800-number.  (see our prior post on the case)


         Last Sunday, we rashly suggested that this guy   bullG

would make a darn good symbol for the Dignity Police on

the Florida Supreme Court.  Prof. Grace has, however,

opined that the great bird preferred by Ben Franklin as our

national symbol would be appropriate — to wit, the turkey. 


Here are some examples of that fowl for your





     turkey cooked


This important task — assuring that the public is not misled

by the Court’s dowdy website, while keeping the image of the

Court sufficiently dignified — deserves a bit of brainstorming and

discussion, don’t you think? 


                                                                         eagleSoar too mean


Sadly, our national symbol is not fit for use as a judicial emblem —

the eagle is a vicious predator, preying on the small and weak.  

However, a number of other birds seem like potential candidates:


the dodo – dodoG


                                 the cuckoo – cuckoosG




the ostrich – ostrichG . . . . . .  “ostrichSand” orig.



                                                                  the parrot – parrotG



We can’t discriminate against our

four-footed friends.   Perphaps, one of

these species would fit the bill:


                                                    the donkey/ass – donkeyG



the squirrel – squirrelF


                     or,  maybe even the skunk – skunkG




parienteJ  As Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente has received an

award for judicial professionalism — and, majored in Communications

at Boston University, her thoughts on the subject would be most

welcomed.   More important, though, is getting your imput.  Please

let us know — using the Comment box or an email — your choice for

the Florida Supreme Court logo/mascot/symbol. 

tiny check Note: Because the Kentucky Attorney Advertising Commission

has already appropriated the horse’s behind theme, we’re afraid

that logo is no longer available.


tiny check  If you came here today looking for astute commentary,

you’re out of luck — a long drive back home from my parents’

place in Rochester has left my brain in Silly Mode.


p.s. Carla Pfeiffer at Genius or Raving Lunatic? is appropriately  owls small

put off by the Florida Court’s implication that pit bulls are too

demeaning for lawyers, but the symbol of the Florida-based Hooter’s

chain is just fine in its representation of women. (“Are lawyers

better than women?”, Nov. 21, 2005)


update (Nov. 28, 2005):  Will Hornsby notes that the reaction to the

Pape & Chandler decision goes from “critical to scathing” — and he

wonders Are Cute Puppies Okay?  Reading Will’s recap of this post,

your Editor realized we omitted a very viable contender to grace the

Florida Supreme Court Website:


                                                     goose goose f




what did you forget?

retracing steps




sing, cuckoo!
you’re just about curing
my headache

our ceremony
just a lot of noise
to the cuckoo


by Kobayashi Issa 
       translated by David G. Lanoue  





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