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

March 31, 2006

warning: lame April 1 humor coming to a weblog near you

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:34 pm

If you are like the editor of this weblog and find yourself

getting grumpy when overrun by lame attempts at

humor, we have some important advice for you:

tiny check Stay out of the blogisphere for the next few

days. April Fool’s “humor” will be everywhere,

and scarcely any of it is likely to be funny or



not! laughing man small


If you’re thinking of writing your own piece of fun April 1

humor or satire — please reconsider. If you must do so,

kindly avoid writing posts that are made to look and sound

authentic, and declare that well-known or beloved people

are dead. [you know who you are]


In a wonderful piece of April First honesty, Bert Foer, the

president of the American Antitrust Institute, revealed today

that There Is Nothing Funny About Antitrust (AAI, March 31,

2006). Discussing a confidential report by Attorney General

Gonzales, Foer quotes what he calls a “business blogsite”:

“Do you crack jokes about antitrust law? If you can,

you should give yourself a lot of credit, because The

Daily Show got all geared up to do a segment on the

Madison free-drinks antitrust problem and they gave up.

They didn’t know how to make it funny. That’s what I heard”.2

2 http://althouse.blogspot.com/2004/04/do-you-crack-jokes-about-antitrust-law.html.

[Did you see who AAI thinks is a “business blogger” — Law Professor

Ann Althouse. That is funny.] Having written speeches for antitrust

officials in Washington, back in my youth, I can confirm that coming

up with a good, ice-breaking, competition-policy joke is nearly impossible.


tiny check Also, not funny for the antitrusters at AAI: “IP Grab – The Struggle

Between Intellectual Property Rights & Antitrust,” which is the topic of

their Annual Conference, on June 21, 2006, in Washington, D.C.


  Our pledge to you: No lame attempts at humor at this website from today, March 31, 2006 through April. 2, 2006.




not funny update (11 PM): Go to our post on Nino Scalia’s crude gesture,

for discussion of the actual photo of the moment. It seems pathetic to Your

Editor that a purportedly courageous Jurist has to prevaricate like a ten-year-

old after making an obscene gesture — and even utilize a U.S. Supreme Court

spokeswoman to make his excuses. [By the way, if you are still wondering what

a gumbah is see our new “goomba goombah gumba gumbah.”]





April Fool’s Day —
a skylark’s song
way over my head

april snow
a pat of butter
melts in the pan


matt morden

“April Fool’s Day” – The Heron’s Nest (June 2001); “april snow” – Mayfly #27



growing old–
even the cherry blossoms
a bit annoying



watch step sign




into the snake’s hole

oh foolish




Kobayashi Issa

translated by David G. Lanoue

April 1

no one but me

to make a fool of me






on the old snow shovel cherry blossoms






during discussion
on the meaning of life the crunch
of a student’s apple


George Swede

from Almost Unseen (Brooks Books, 2000)

dead end sign n

March 30, 2006

metamania romance quiz

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:12 pm

Imagine you’re a geek-dude weblogger really into metadata,

and you want to impress a sweet young thing.


SlowpokeMetamaniaS    You say:

My site reviews the best

sites that filter sites that pick

up RSS feeds from sites about

Gourd Pottery.”

How does your heart’s desire respond? 


Jen Sorensen, of Slowpoke Comics fame, knows. 

Click to find out the answer.  You’ll have to decide

for yourself whether this is a match made in cyber-


“Tiny check” Then, click to see the all four

which include– in addition to Meta-

mania — Googlitis, Archivaholism,

and Compulsive News Binging.


   Slowpoke is one more reason I always

   pick up my weekly Metroland.


tiny check  Those who came here for socially-significant

and/or legal issues, should check out I/P lawyer

which applauds French efforts to force “every

maker and distributor of digital media to make

details of copy-protection schemes available to

competitors, and to force interoperability among

digital formats.” (Metroland, Volume 29 – Number

13 – March 30, 2006)




update (March 31, 2006): The thoughtful Editor of Blawg Review

sends along this cautionary tale: The Man She Forgot to Google..


blind date tomorrow —
will she
Yahoo! me tonight?


         dagosan at simply senryu


                                                                                       computer weary

d.c. dreams – cherry blossoms at their peak

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:28 pm

For most of my adult life (including college days and a dozen years

practicing law), Washington, D.C., was my home.   I often miss my

many good friends in the DC Area.   In Springtime, however, two

events — the blooming of the cherry blossoms and of the azaleas —

make me yearn to be physically back there, amidst priceless and

wordless beauty (update 9 PM: like Mira and Elana).



so far away –

cherry blossoms and the smile

that humbles them



Washingtonians are celebrating their National Cherry Blossom Fesitval 

from March 25 through April 9.  According to the National Park Service,

today (March 30th) is the expected Peak Bloom day — “the day in which

70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis)

trees are open.” You can read the history of Washington’s cherry trees,

originally a gift in 1912 from the people of Japan, here. 

tiny check The Washington Post has a video, “A Day

Among the Cherry Blossoms”, March 26, 2006, for

those who would like to dally.  Read about the

Festical here.


among cherry blossoms
a long stay
in this world



      translated by David G. Lanoue




   anne marie williams


The blooming period of cherry blossoms can last as long as

14 days.   The contrast of the beauty and the impermanence of

the blossoms have long made them the perfect subject for haiku

(and for zen philosophers).


Last month, we featured poems from the Vancouver Cherry Blossom

Festival’s Haiku Invitational Contest.    Here are a pair of Vancouver

winners from two of f/k/a‘s Honored Guests:





distant thunder
a few cherry blossoms
float to earth




just blossoming
we meet under
the cherry tree




     w.f. owen








cherry blossoms
the tug tug tug
of baby’s hand







morning mist
a bent back sweeps
yesterday’s blossoms



Cherry blossoms are so cherished in Japan, that any poem

mentioning “blossoms” with no further designation, is regarded

as being about cherry blossoms.  Our beloved kobayashi issa

wrote thousands of haiku about cherry blossoms.  Go here for

several dozen.




Cherry blossoms can evoke quite a few different emotions and

insights.  Issa, along with his translator David G. Lanoue, shares

a few of his with us:


mountain cherry blossoms–
the pine trees
stand guard






mountain cherry blossoms–
hair decoration
for a bald man






a ruckus in the cherry blossoms
a ruckus in the trout stream




pulling up
his fishhook he looks…
at cherry blossoms!





hey cherry blossoms–
why the rush
to scatter so soon?





evening cherry blossoms–
the devil is moved
to tears







growing old–
even the cherry blossoms
a bit annoying






even while walking
through cherry blossoms…



the roof sweeper
stands still…
evening cherry blossoms







the buck looks
at cherry blossoms…
shedding his horns








Edo’s cherry blossoms, too
shine only
for money









world of pain–
and the cherry blossoms
add to it!





the great lord
forced off his horse…
cherry blossoms



translated by David G. Lanoue



tiny check No matter what kind of blossoms you have where you live,

take a little time to experience them — or the Blossom Police

might be knocking at your door.




March 29, 2006

do lawyers choose to be unhappy?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:45 pm

Yesterday, Robert Ambrogi pointed to yet another study — this time,
The City & Guilds Happiness Index from UK — showing how unhappy
lawyers are with their jobs.  In general, vocational workers seem happier
than professionals.  The factors that seem to create satisfaction are being
able to meet lots of different people and “feeling appreciated.”  According
to the Study:
checkedBoxS “Top of the list of reasons for feeling unhappy in their jobs is
feeling stressed (55 per cent) and feeling underpaid (35 per cent).”
From f/k/a‘s perspective, lawyers in the USA and UK, seem to stress prestige
and income far too much — causing them to choose the most stressful jobs,
with the highest demands on their time — and far too often feel under-respected,
underappreciated and underpaid.
surprising the worker
in the field…
out-of-season blooms
growing old–
by the hearth’s light
Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue
As Evan Schaeffer suggests today, we do this to ourselves, by buying into
the Big Lie that Big Law is the only true source of success in our profession.
Partners make it worse by insisting on higher and higher PPP (profits per
partner) — see Adam Smith Esq for analysis, and MorePartnerIncome
for the pathology, in action.   However, as Prof. Patrick Schiltz, Steven Keeva,
and the f/k/a Gang (repeatedly) have pointed out, the greed of young lawyers
feeds into the process, making it virtually impossible to cure on a systemic
All is not lost. As we said in 2003:
checkedBoxSN In many ways, our profession is in such a sorry state because law
schools and firms have adopted and perpetuated [perpetrated?] lowest-
common-denominator values (mostly driven by greed and made worse
by pretension), and because individual attorneys have gladly or blindly
embraced those values.   Too many lawyers have then decided to live
with, and made excuses for, the intolerable consequences.   That’s the
bad news.  The good news is that individuals can choose better values
in order to give better career advice, change institutions, or make cor-
rections in their lives.
We each can, with courage and “sacrifice”, take charge of our own life and
happiness.  Wanting less money and needing less prestige will go a long way
toward nurturing healthy and happy attitudes.
p.s. The UK Happiness Index had a finding that might surprise a lot
of lawyers (and their significant others): They came in 6th, out of 28
careers for their Work/Life Balance rating.  Bankers came in last place.
That should remind us that finding a satisfactory balance is not a unique
curse for our profession. We made a related point last October, in con-
nection with Take Back Your Time Day:
Of course, lawyers love to see themselves as especially
overworked, over-stressed, and beset by life balance issues
and far too many are.  I just want to point out that a very large
percentage of adults (and children) in our nation feels the same
Not to (unduly) belabor the obvious, that balance could be shifted in the
right direction if our income goals (and quotas) were reduced.
visiting the dog’s grave
then away!

the baby mosquito

tries out

his nose

living dangerously

the kite skims

the river

dead by drowning

in the deep cup


“visiting” & “baby mosquito” – the novel Dewdrop World (free download)

“living” & “dead” – from his novel The Laughing Buddha


tiny check In another update to our wordless Italian post, we wonder why a conser-

vative “American jurist” is citing a foreign source in a Letter to the Editor.  On the

merits, we ask:

Did Nino move those fingers slowly, or with the rapid,

single motion that is far more insulting (and one might

deem obscene)?


March 28, 2006

a haiku kind of day

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:09 pm

Looking for punditry?  Keeping scrolling down the page (check

this update, if you’re wondering about goombahs and Scalias),

and come back later.  Right now, I need to enjoy a gorgeous

upstate New York spring day.


michael dylan welch shared his Thornewood hiking

experience with one-breath poetry:




a red berry on the trail

I look up

to the chickadee’s song  





first on the trail—

the pull of a spider’s strand

across my face







a switch-back

in the trail—

I glance at her face


a climbing pea

has lassoed a blade

of crab grass! 







trail dust settles—

a shooting star bobs

over a spider’s turret







a mushroom cap

tilting in the sun—

I feel for my bald spot 






new shoots

on the big-leaf maple—

how blue the sky, how blue



Michael Dylan Welch from Thornewood Poems




lit by the sunset

waves along the shore

rolling the seal’s body


    by Michael Dylan Welch


                                                                                                                             spider web small 


March 27, 2006

wordless italian with Nino Scalia (with uppa-dates)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:15 pm

Where were the Dignity Police when we really needed them? Justice Antonin Scalia, who apparently couldn’t bother to act to protect purportedly undignified pitbull lawyer ads, is certainly willing to act like a tasteless goombah in public — and right outside of a church, “Minutes after receiving the Eucharist at a special Mass” for Catholic lawyers. See Boston Herald, “Judicial intemperance – Scalia flips message to doubting Thomases” (summarized here); Editor & Publisher,” ‘Herald’ Says Justice Scalia Gives the Press the Finger, He Denies It,” March 27, 2006; via Igor and Wonkette)

MeNeFrego Me Ne Frego

Italian Hand Gestures – about.com

“You know what I say to those people,” Scalia, 70, replied, making an obscene gesture under his chin when asked by a Herald reporter if he fends off a lot of flak for publicly celebrating his conservative Roman Catholic beliefs.”

ScaliaHandGesture See our update below: original Peter Smith/Boston Herald

Across the nation, news outlets have been publishing a silly Associated Press report tonight, asking “Scalia’s Gesture: Obscene or Sicilian?

— as if the two concepts are inconsistent. That’s based on a statement from Scalia’s spokeswoman, who said Nino used a “hand off the chin gesture,” which Italians commonly use to show displeasure.

ScaliaDissent Hmmm. She’s got a point: No one ever uses the middle finger to show displeasure.

Scalia might want you to believe that his little Sicilian chin action was harmless, but a lot depends on the attitude displayed along with the gesture. [Both of my sainted Southern Italian-born grandmothers could definitely make it look obscene.]

It’s too bad the Justice apparently bullied the photographer who captured the moment into keeping it unpublished. No, it wasn’t someone from the Herald — it was a photographer for the Archdiocese of Boston newspaper, The Pilot.

[update: March 28, 2006): As expected the Boston Archdiocese Newspaper, The Pilot, won’t print the Scalia “gesture-message” photo. Why not? “Because it won’t,” archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon responded. Boston Herald, via JudiPhilly at tj&p]

Italian without Words ItalianWWL

If you had taken our advice last October, when Sam Alito was nominated for the high court, you’d be fluent in Italian hand-gestures by now. We pointed you to Italian Without Words, by Don Cangelosi, from Meadowbrook Press (1989). There’s an entire section on Insults, with photographs that demonstrate the hand positions, facial expressions and body language. With Amazon.com‘s Search Inside feature, you can be ready for just about anything Nino throws at you. The next time he’s asked about conflicts of interest, I bet “mind your own business!” or the hell with you!” might be useful.

update (March 28, 2006): Evan Schaeffer wasn’t sure what a “gumbah” is, so I changed the spelling above to the more popular form of “goombah.” It is also spelled “goomba,” as in Steven R. Schirripa’s Soprano-related book, A Goomba’s Guide to Life. The American Heritage Dictionary says that goombah is slang for “A companion or associate, especially an older friend who acts as a patron, protector, or adviser.” The term is usually applied by Italian-Americans to other Italian-Americans. I’ve put more information about goombahs in this Comment and in “goomba goombah gumba gumbah“.

tiny check My paisano, Robert Ambrogi, collects some good quotes and links on Scalia’s GestureGate at Inside Opinions (Mar. 28). I like the observation of Workbench blogger Rogers Cadenhead, who notes that Scalia was on his way out of a special Mass for lawyers and politicians and states:

“I didn’t know the Catholic Church was singling out these groups for extra attention, but it makes a lot of sense.”

I wonder if the Confessional got a lot of traffic prior to Mass.

update (March 29, 2006): Justice Scalia writes to The Herald, defending himself and his heritage. Although Scalia disdains to cite to foreign legal sources, he quotes from Luigi Barzini’s The Italians (at 63), in his own defense. Barzini says:

“The extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means: ‘I couldn’t care less. It’s no business of mine. Count me out.”

That begs the question: Did Nino move those fingers slowly, or with the rapid, single motion that is far more insulting (and one might deem obscene)? Can any witnesses resolve this factual issue? There is one thing with which I agree: we are both American [or Italian-America] not Italian.

original Peter Smith/Boston Herald

update (March 31, 2006): With the printing of the Scalia Gesture photo in the Boston Herald, and the explanation of Peter Smith, the photographer, I’m more certain than ever that Nino was being vulgar and obscene. To be honest, that does not offend me half as much as his half-assed, dishonest defense of himself. (Boston Herald, “Photographer: Herald Got It Right,” March 30, 2006; “Church Fires Photog Over Scalia Picture,” March 31, 2006) Smith, noted: “The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, ‘To my critics, I say, “Vaffanculo,” punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin.” The Herald reporter added: The Italian phrase means “(expletive) you.”

While “Va fa’n culo” or “vaffanculo” can indeed be translated as “[expletive] you,” you should know that we are not talking the Missionary Position. [click for a variant on the gesture from Italian Without Words.] As we said here tonight, It seems pathetic to Your Editor that a purportedly courageous Jurist has to prevaricate like a ten-year-old after making an obscene gesture — and even utilize a U.S. Supreme Court spokeswoman to make his excuses.

update (April 13, 2006): See Scalia chin flicks the “appearance of impropriety” rule

backyard bocce –
tonight we’re
the noisy neighbors

…………………………… dagosan

me in one hand
a belt in the other
dads sings a lullaby

………………………. roberta beary from Taboo Haiku

after dark
the shape her hands make
of me

……………………… jim kacian from Taboo Haiku

lawyer ads: the tension between ethics and self-interest

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:57 pm

With the Nevada Bar recently condemning ads by “The Heavy Hitter,

the Supreme Court refusing today to hear a challenge to Florida’s ban

on Pape & Chandler’s mild pitbull logo, and the New York bar asking

for heavy-handed restrictions on “inappropriate — or even sleazy —

advertising” by lawyers, I wanted to share with you an article from 2000,

I discovered last weekend. It’s “Lawyer Advertising and Professional Ethics,

by Prof. Jonathan K. Van Patten, University of South Dakota School of

Law, in Perspectives on the Professions, Vol. 19, No. 2, Spring 2000,

sponsored by The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions

(CSEP) at the Illinois Institute of Technology. 




The article begins with the text of a typical tv ad.  After noting that it doesn’t

in and of itself generate ethical concerns, Prof. Van Patten asks why it

nonetheless leaves many with “a sense of unease.”  He then continues:

“Much criticism of lawyer advertising is misplaced. While ostensibly

concerned with ethics, it may actually serve other agendas. Attacks

on a lawyer’s advertising for personal injury cases, for example, are

often attempts to create a predisposition against plaintiffs’ claims in

the minds of prospective jurors. There may also be an element of self-

righteousness involved. The attacks imply that lawyers who advertise

are not good enough to attract clients through the more traditional ways,

reputation and word-of-mouth. Criticism of lawyer advertising may also

reflect class or social differences (if that term can be used to describe

differences in attitude between members of the established bar and





“Perhaps the best way to express a principled reservation about lawyer

advertising is to say that commercialism might have a corrosive effect

on professionalism. This way of stating the problem, properly understood,

does not rest on the outdated image of a legal profession unsullied by the

forces of the market. . . .  Rather, this way of stating the problem grounds

it in the inherent tension between ethics and self-interest. The primary

ethical norm relating to clients is that the client’s interests are superior to

the lawyer’s. The lawyer’s interests are subordinated, but not lost. The

creative resolution of the tension honors the client’s interests without losing

the lawyer’s.”  [emphasis added]



Prof. Van Patten then discusses the problems inherent in advertising services —

in telling and asserting, rather than showing, your worthiness to be trusted.  He

stresses that self-restraint and internal values — rather than ethical rules — are what

will keep a lawyer focused on serving the client’s interests first.  He explains:

“Restrictions on advertising serve as one of the external restraints on a

lawyer’s self-interest. The restrictions are limited in scope, focusing mostly

on accuracy. The most important rules, those concerned with dignity, are

too hard to write. The restraints supporting dignity must be internal.”

More telling is his observation: “For some reason, bankers, doctors, and hospitals

find it easier to advertise professional services without loss of dignity. Why is loss

of dignity more of a problem for lawyers who advertise than for other professionals?

The lawyer’s ad cited earlier, with its emphasis on FREE this and FREE that, has

more in common with advertising for autos and carpets than with the advertising of

other professionals.”


tightrope flip


Prof. Van Patten then focuses on “the internal struggle” (emphasis added):

“The struggle for professionalism is not simply a matter of ethical lawyers

and unethical lawyers. It is a struggle between good and evil that is personal

to every lawyer. Some lawyers have clearly given in to the dark side; it will

take more than a little counseling to bring them back. For them, the bar needs

measures sterner than a sermon. For the rest who continue to struggle against

the dark side, there is no respite.” . . .




We come back to the tension curbing the pursuit of self-interest by placing

the clients’ interests ahead of the lawyer’s. It’s not your case, it’s their case.

Listen. Think. Meditate. How can I get to where they want to go without losing

them, or myself (or even the other side), in the process?


“In advertising, this would mean the “soft sell,” not the “hard sell.” Cut out the

“FREE” stuff and the other gimmicks. Tell prospective clients who you are,

what you do, how you practice, and what you believe in. Then, try living up to

those words.”

Although I strongly support the right of lawyers to advertise, so long as there is no

deception involved, I do have a “sense of unease” when viewing many of their ads. 

It is not a matter of the dignity of the profession.  It is more the feeling that most

(certainly not all) lawyers advertising on television have their personal financial inter-

ests in mind far more than service to their clients.  Their primary goal is to get very

rich (through sheer numbers of clients and through rolling the dice in the great law-

suit lottery game), rather than to use their professional expertise and their dedication

to help clients with legal problems.   




As soon as your primary motive is to make a killing with your legal license, rather

than making a good living serving your clients, it becomes far too easy to start

cutting ethical corners and ignoring ethical blindspots.  For those who are not

already lost to the darkside, it is indeed a constant struggle to stay vigilant and




tiny check Time out for a few haiku and senryu from former

lawyer, and chronic sports fan, Barry George:




my nephew’s fastball –

I hand back his glove

and keep the sting  







lost in thought — 
the track announcer’s voice
drifts over the river






passing the beggar —
my pockets start
to jingle





the kite’s pull —

in another life I wore

a braided pigtail 




passing the beggarSimply Haiku (Spring 2005)

the kite’s pullThe Heron’s Nest (July 2002)

“my nephew’s fastball” –  bottle rockets #11




Supreme Court rejects PIT-BULL appeal

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:36 pm

As we feared would happen, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari today ,

in the case of Pape, John R. et al v. Florida Bar, (#05-1046, 547 U.S. ___,

March 27, 2006), ending the fight of the St. Lauderdale law firm Pape & Chandler

to use the head of a Pit-Bull in its logo, along with the phone number 1-800-

PIT-BULL, in its marketing.  The firm specializes in motorcycle accident cases. 

(see Reuters, “Court rejects lawyers’ appeal over pit bull ads,” Mar 27, 2006)




We‘ve been covering this case since May 2004. You can find our discussion

here of the opinion of the Florida Supreme Court.  The Court held:

“These devices, which invoke the breed of dog known as the pit bull,

demean all lawyers and thereby harm both the legal profession and

the public’s trust and confidence in our system of justice.”

On March 19, we posted the new pit-bull-less masthead of Pape & Chandler —

the drawing had served as P&C’s ampersand.  We asked whether lawyers now 

feel more dignified and the public has more respect for the profession and the

justice system.  


The highly persuasive legal, practical and policy arguments of John Pape and Marc

Chandler, which had been accepted by the Bar referee and presented to the High

Court by Rodney A. Smolla (Univ. Richmond Law Dean), will not be heard. That’s

despite our very modest efforts, along with Prof. McGowan at Legal Ethics Forum,

and postings by Salon‘s Robert Crook, Carolyn Elefant at MyShingle, Mary Whisner

at Trial Ad Notes asks, and many others — plus the recent advocacy of James J.

Kilpatrick, and numerous editorials (including the St. Petersburg Times). 



“P&C”  Click here to see one of P&C’s offending pit bull ads.


The question we asked when we reported that Dean Smolla would be seeking

certiorari will not be answered for the time being:

Would the Court conclude that pious notions of “dignity” only make

the legal profession look silly and are inadequate reasons for limiting

commercial speech and First Amendment rights of lawyers and


I’m afraid the professional Dignity Police have too many allies on the Supreme

Court bench — or maybe, consumers and the First Amendment have too few.  

Treating the public like fools and acting pompously self-important (and above

mere commerce) is not the way to win respect for the legal profession.


“tinyredcheck” As we have been reporting the past two years (see

here and here, for example), in the name of dignity and

consumer protection, the organized bar is trying to make

it harder and harder to advertise legal services.  Letting the

Pape & Chandler decision stand will surely encourage more

of this shameful activity.  Those of us who care about the 1st

Amendment and consumer choice need to speak up and act,

before it is too late.  (E.g., Central New York Business Journal,

“State Bar Association tackles attorney advertising practices,”

March 18, 2006; NYSBA Press Release, State Bar Association

Calls for Stricter Lawyer Advertising Rules in New York, Feb. 1,



was just posted, discussing a thoughtful article by South Dakota law professor Jonathan

Van Patten, “Lawyer Advertising and Professional Ethics, from Perspectives on the

Professions, Vol. 19, No. 2, Spring 2000.               


update (11 PM, March 27): On a related matter, see “dignity/schmignity: wordless

italian with Nino Scalia.”                                               


lightning flash–
only the dog’s face
is innocent


       translated by David G. Lanoue





country graveyard

a dog burying

a bone





nobody on the street

stray dog stops to bite

its wagging tail





At the edge of the precipice      I become logical




Spring morning    gravedigger whistling




                                                Georgetown U.’s mascot Jack  “GUJACKMUGG” 



March 26, 2006

momentary pauses

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:27 pm

It is always a pleasure to agree with a smart, good-looking woman. 

Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel is right: we all need

to “Update Our Insults,” and stop calling political opponents Hitlers,

Stalins, Nazis, etc.  (Washington Post, March 26, 2006)




“Present differences deserve to be described in contem-

porary terms. The purpose of public speech is not just

to restate anger but to clarify the principles and evidence

that fuel it — in ways that invite discussion, not inhibit it.

The demons are already among us — so let’s muster up

some new analogies and declare a ceasefire on such

[antiquated] demonizing rhetoric . . . “

Sadly, though, I must report that Katrina has raised my expectations,

only to dash them.  In the second half of its awkward title, her WaPo

op/ed column today seems to promise New Names to Call,in place

of the historically outdated epithets.    All we get from her are quotes

from politicians (and actors) calling their adversaries by the old slurs.  

There is not even one suggested, modern substitute.  As weblogger

Jacques Hawtrey points out, we don’t even get a reference to a re-

cent, infamous eponymous Hurricane from Katrina.

tiny check  Sorry, K, this workproduct doesn’t   “C-GradeG” 

merit so much as a C grade.  I’d be happy to

make a few suggestions, but that would be

condescending — especially to a woman who

has an entire magazine staff to help her research

and brainstorm.

Maybe a WaPo editor mistakenly cut out the bottom half

of the op/ed piece.  Maybe Katrina was too busy preparing  

for Sunday morning talk shows.  I’ve got a “soft-spot” for

ya, Young Lady.  So, you get another week to finish this project.

Please no Electra or Delilah tricks.  You might still get a

B+, if you live up to your potential.


on the face

that last night called me names

morning sunbeam



      from Almost Unseen



umbrella vert  Another admission:  Mother Nature has let me down, 

too, recently.   I’m among those described today the NYT op/ed

piece, A Momentary Pause, by Verlyn Klinkenborg (March 26, 


“I have to keep reminding myself that it is only late March.

I have been so eager for spring that it feels as though time

has almost stopped. One reason may be that it was warm

a few weeks ago and then the cold returned, putting the

season on ice. But there is something else going on as well.

Scientists say that spring comes earlier than it used to. The

snow cover dwindles sooner and bud break comes earlier.

And yet our awareness of that makes it feel as though spring

comes even earlier than it is already coming. Global warming

accelerates faster in our heads than it does in fact. March is

not quite the new April yet.”


You’ll find the same over-anticipation of “Spring-like weather” at

the joint haiku weblog UKKU Spring Haiku, and at my own

dagosan’s haiku diary

late March —
not a lamb
in sight




Of course, we all know that the spring equinox scarcely ever brings

consistently mild weather.  But, even those of us who really dislike

summer’s heat, seem to yearn for early Spring.  Although few of us

will be mending any fences, we might all try to follow Klinkenborg’s


“In the country it’s easy to find yourself leaning forward

all through the year, always waiting on the next season,

getting through your life as though you were walking into

a stiff wind. This is one of those days when I catch myself

in that posture — pitched forward into the gale of time. So

I’ll try to slow down and straighten up.”


“THNLogoG” One woman who never disappoints the haijin in me is

our most Honored Guest Carolyn Hall:


thunderstorm —
in a blue vase  




Sunday morning
ants on the rim of my
coffee cup  



the stranger’s binoculars
                 from hand to hand
chicks in the heron’s nest 





wilderness trail
the manicured poodle
still on a leash


“thunderstorm–” – (I:4, Dec. 1999)

“Sunday morning” – (II:1, Jan. 2000)

“the stranger’s binoculars” – (II:4, April 2000)

“wilderness trail” – (II:11, Nov. 2000)


afterthought (11 PM, march 26):  I meant to mention the op/ed

piece today by Washington Post ombusman Deborah Howell,

perspective on how hard it is to please the military, civilians

or reporters, with press coverage of Iraq by the Post.  After

noting that many readers see coverage through their own

political filters, Howell states:

“After talking and corresponding with Post staffers and other

journalists with Iraq experience and experts in and outside

the military, I find no easy resolution to the complaints.


“Here’s why:


actin’ naturally: buck owens is still picking and smiling

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:42 pm

I was a Buck Owens fan long before I knew it.   In my sheltered, urban,

Northeast childhood, “Act Naturally” was a Beatles song, released in 

1965, when I was fifteen — the flip side to the most covered song in record

history, “Yesterday— and the anthem, sung along with Ringo Starr, for my

youthful (and not-so-youthful) romantic failures. 


                                                                        record cover ActNaturallyLabel

Act Naturally (J. Russell – V. Morrison)

They’re gonna put me in the movies
they’re gonna make a big star out of me
We’ll make a film about a man that’s sad and lonely
and all I gotta do is act naturally

The biggest star in country music in the 1960s made not the slightest

dent on my psyche.  Not when he achieved 15 #1 hits in a row, nor when

he adopted the red, white and blue guitar, that became his trademark at the

end of that decade, to show his patriotism, while I concentrated on Viet Nam

War protestation.




It took me a few decades to realize that Buck Owens had his first #1

country hit with “Act Naturally” in 1963 (click here to hear Buck and Ringo

sing the tune together).   My ignorance was due in part to city-folk bias

against country music, which also kept me from becoming a fan of the

Hee-Haw tv show, where Buck was a co-host from 1969 to 1986.  (see

Washington Post Buck Owens obituary, March 26, 2006)


                                                                                 BucLogoN crystal palace


I missed out on a lot of fun and good honky-tonk music — even after

I became a big country music fan in the late ’70s (thanks to a few friends

who played in country-rock bands).  Buck went into a voluntary retirement,

just when I would have most appreciated his brand of guitar-driven, pared-

down, strong beat, “American music”. 

Streets of Bakersfield Lyrics
(Homer Joy)

You don’t know me but you don’t like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

BucGlitter owens                                                             


It wasn’t until he recorded “Streets of Bakersfield,” in 1988, with country star

(and actor) Dwight Yokam (on the Buenas Noches ..” album), that I finally

focused on this remarkable man and musician, who seemed to enjoy himself

so much, even when singing about mean streets and broken hearts — and

even though he had to buck the sappy trend in Nashville country music, to create

his own “Bakersfield sound” in blue-collar California.


                                                                                                       DYoakam yoakam


In 2000, newer generations got to hear Buck Owens sing “Act Naturally” again,

on the soundtrack of Denzel Washington’s Remember the Titans (2000).  It

is sadly ironic that it took his death yesterday, to get millions of us to cue up

one of Buck’s albums and enjoy his music today.  Buck Owens deserves to

be remembered far beyond the Country Music community.  He is surely

still doing what comes most naturally to him — plucking that patriotic guitar,

tapping his foot, and smiling.  My foot is tapping, too.  Seventy-six years is

not enough for us, Buck, but thank you for taking us along your journey.


 BucOwensMug  You can find a 27-page, multimedia bio, at Buck’s official



p.s. This site with “Act Naturally” lyrics, has this sad link:   



March 25, 2006

“we have to talk”

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:37 pm

When she says “we have to talk“, most guys get worried.
Do you?
she’s waited up …
to have some last words
with me

my wife admits
she is not perfect,
but is glad I am

quite by surprise
my daughter asks me
if I’d like to be a woman
the gravity in the moment
I took to answer
after her letter
no heart to open
a bill

we bicker
all through the house
… cleaning
as I sit in thought
she moves briskly
about the room,
stirring the chill
in the air
Tom Clausen from Homework (2000)

“my wife admits” – Modern Haiku  Vol. XXVIII: 1 (Winter-Spring 1997)
microphoneG We still don’t have to talk:  one year ago today we
we have kept our promise: neither a listener nor a podcaster have
we been.
podcaste pariah –
can’t hear
the compliments
tiny check On that same day, George M. Wallace gave
his own definition of “podcast.”
tiny check Carolyn Elefant broached some important issues in a
this week (commenting on “Ethical but Unemployed” in the ABA
“So long as lawyers must risk their jobs to report ethics
violations, they won’t.  It’s unclear why  courts would rather
have lawyers make a choice between financial well being
and compliance with the Model Code (which requires lawyers
to report ethics violations) than to afford protection to lawyers
who do the right thing.   There’s something not entirely ethical
about that.”
I agree with her sentiment that the courts should be more open to
retaliatory firing cases based on ethical whistleblowing.  However,
similar to our thoughts in More on the Silent Associate, last April,
we can’t condone silence based on the fear of losing a job.  (and,
see, the ethics of the Whatever Generations)  Also, it’s hard to
imagine wanting to stay at a firm where you believe that raising
ethical issues might get you fired.

March 24, 2006

post-pourri . . .

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 5:39 pm

. in which we try to keep our punditry as pithy as our poetry.                                                                                          

tiny check So, what happened in Smith v. Peterson?  Was son Sheldon able

to save the elderly Marvin and Goldie Smith from the abusive early-

bather upstairs?  As we reported on Feb. 28, the initial hearing before

Denver District Court Judge Ronald Mullins was set for March 22nd. 

I’ve been checking Google News, the Denver Post, Suz at Large, 

and Overlawyered, but haven’t learned a thing.   Could sanity have

prevailed and the case settled?  Do you know? 



update (April 26, 2006) see our water-torture bathtub suit still afloat 



tiny check  He usually gives advice (whether asked or not), but this week

Prof. Steve Bainbridge has been seeking advice.  Steve , who has

been trying out new mastheads had a poll seeking input on two new

designs, plus his original classic version.   His favorite — a swatch

of a waving USA flag — was not well received, and the classic version

was edged out by a slightly by an image of stock certificates.(yawn) 

Steve is going to experiment.  I really like the color-scheme, tagline

[“Law, Business, Economics, and Culture” — what’s left?] and image

on his newest attempt — which looks like Bacchus, the god of wine. 

Of course, it could be Steve tending his vineyards.   Let Prof. B know

what you think?



tiny check You may recall that, two weeks ago, I was checking whether we

had AA or AAA lawyers trying to get to the top of the Yellow Pages

listings in my local phone books.  At the time, I noticed that one

attorney was near the front of the cue, because he listed himself

as Abogado Warren Redlich — to let consumers know, I presumed,

that he speaks Spanish.   Serendipitously, I discovered this week

that lawyer Redlich is in fact the weblogger behind Albany Lawyer Blog.

At his firm website, Warren uses the tagline “a lawyer who speaks your

language,” and reports that he speaks Spanish, Japanese and French,

along with his native English.  Yes, I’m envious.



tiny check Warren’s got an engaging style at his weblog, sharing

thoughts on criminal, personal injury, and traffic law, and

other legal topics, as well as life as an almost-solo practi-

tioner (see his the busy lawyer, where he’s doing an all-nighter

on a Saturday night — oh, to be young and healthy again.)

He has also started a Town Court Directory for counties in

our region (and hopes to go statewide and then spread to

NJ & MA).  Warren is finding many ways to differentiate

himself from the crowd, as he builds his law practice.


washerN  The Wall Street Journal editorialized in favor of the Maytag –

Whirlpool merger on March 13, stating that antitrust merger enforce-

ment was irrelevant (and harmful) given globalization and the new

technology.  My friends at the American Antitrust Institute offered

an op/ed piece in rebuttal, which was rejected by WSJ.  Having their

(March 23, 2006), even posting the WSJ’s “Antitrust Spin Cycle.”

Written by AAI Vice President, Diana Moss, the pro-antitrust piece

wins my vote. Among other insights, Moss points out two truths:


“One truth is that the consumer should matter. . ..  If busi-

nesses successfully serve consumers, stockholders will

have opportunities to profit. . . . And any merger that unduly

reduces competition is the enemy of the economy, even if

it benefits a limited number of shareholders. 


“Another truth is that not all mergers are good deals for the

shareholder. For the proof, we can look at Bruner’s Deals

from Hell or Scherer and Ravenscraft’s more academic–

but equally compelling–Life After Takeover. . . .




“If shareholder interests are paramount–as proponents of the

Whirlpool/Maytag dicta would attest—then the lessons of

history recommend caution in equal measure to the enthu-

siasm for eliminating antitrust oversight.


“. . . These truths also recognize the symbiotic relationship

between consumers and shareholders. Together, they drive

the need for antitrust policies that provide a flexible framework

for allowing pro-competitive deals to go through while stopping

the harmful ones. That is why one important component of

merger analysis is figuring out whether the cost savings a

merger’s proponents claim it will produce are genuine.”



Granted, this post got a little longer than I had hoped.  Let me make

it up to you with a handful of haiku from Lee Gurga, the midwest

dentist haijin:


fishermen’s cars

parked along the road . . .

cold rain









spring horse auction —

a cluster of Amishmen whispering

through their beards






fishing pole

sweat steaming

from a team of geldings;

endless stars






farm dog calling

calling to her echo

deep in the forest




lee gurga from Fresh Scent (Brooks Books,1998)   

except: “fishermen’s cars” – The Haiku Anthology (3rd Ed); 

  The Measure of Emptiness (1991)


                                                                                                          Abogado Redlich  WRedlichMug


inadvertent neglect

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:54 pm

Since 2006 began, I’ve been forgetting to update my favorite SideBar feature —

The Inadvertent Searchee.  In a week when your Editor has been accused of being

old and over the hill, intellectually lazy, and — gasp! — a writer of both gibberish and

poetry, I’m happy to make up for that neglect with a few new entries.  They suggest

that the major search engines like us a lot more than p/i lawyers do:


weblog culture>  #1 and #2 of 44,500,000 Google results went to our page




As for legal profession issues dear to our heart and important

to consumers:

lawyer client self fool> We had the #2 and #3 of 1.6 million results in this

Google query.  In one post, we spoke of George Fool in the Forest Wallace and

self-regulation on the same page.  In the other, we quoted a NYSBA brochure

that was discouraging self-help by consumers. Google should have featured

our quote from Edward Day Parsons:

“He who pleads his own case may have a fool for a client; but it’s

more probable that he who employs a lawyer will have a knave for

an attorney.”


lawyer value billing>  The first two results out of 17 million in this Google search.

came from f/k/a (the internet’s lone voice of caution on this issue). For example,

see Value Billing and Legal Ethics — honest, guys, clients want to pay less,

not more, in lawyer fees when they seek better value.


                                                                                               not  one third gray



What Is An Appropriate Contingency Fee> The first two of nearly 4 million results 

for this crucial Google query were here and here at f/k/a (despite the insults of a

certain dignified p/i lawyer).  Now, if only the good-guy tort lawyers would read

up and take it too heart.



lawyer telling clients when they are damned fools> The first two of almost half a

million Google results came from f/k/a, for this very important concept.  We

were quoting Sol Sol Linowitz‘s book Betrayed Profession:   

“Elihu Root . . . put the matter more simply: ‘About

half the practice of a decent lawyer,’ he once said,

‘consists in telling would-be clients that they are

damned fools and should stop.’


“Today there are too few lawyers who see it as

part of their function to tell clients (especially new

clients) that they are damned fools and should stop:

Any such statement would interfere with the marketing

program. The public pays, because the rule of law is




fiduciary obligations of attorneys> #1 of 2.5 million Google results, on

a topic that doesn’t get enough discussion in the legal profession, was

this post, which focused on the obligation to better inform clients when

setting fees. 


Of course, some of the search engine results seem to be a bit inadvertent

(or inauspicious):


haiku perspiration> #4 of 15,000 in the Google search,

which lets me repeat the poem in question from my alter 

ego dagosan:

perspiration rolls

across flat abs —

her innie



Stop buying expensive coffee and save>  #3 of 3.8 million Google results

 was our commentary about law students spending far too much on luxuries

and adding needlessly to their law school debt.  (Sometimes, we sound like

old fuddy-duddiesaround here.)





how big is a F cup> #1 of almost 9 million Yahoo! search results.

As usual, old Master Issa is the culprit (along with the “f” in our name):


in a big sake cup.

moon and a flea


We were only the 9th result for men with spiked hair>, but it’s a good

excuse to re-post two ed markowski follicle poems:


           late day showers…

                   my hair gel









                       winter pines…

                             the ski instructor’s

                                  spiked hair




          ed markowski 


owen wilson erection in speedo> –  Yesterday, we were #1 out of 309 in this

Yahoo query.    That’s what I get for featuring the book Taboo Haiku. Go here

to see the provoking poems.  [Oddly, the same Yahoo! search today doesn’t

even show f/k/a in the top 40.  Talk about inconsistent performance.]




update (5 PM, March 24):  I don’t know who’s looking up halloween sex> in

March, but our post on pols vs. sex offenders was the #2 result out of 5.3 million

in a Yahoo! Search today.  Meanwhile, our own attempts to find out more about

the Smith v. Peterson “early bather” case, revealed that the f/k/a post of the subject

is the #1 result when Googling “Sheldon Smith” lawyer>.


just one glass of wine

Google keeps asking

“Did you mean _____?”



blind date tomorrow —

will she

Yahoo! me tonight?





                                                                                                                                                  computer weary



sex offender Michael Boxley back at the Bar (already)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:00 am

The appellate court here in the NYS Capital Region reinstated Michael Boxley

to membership in the state bar yesterday. Matter of Boxley, App.Div. 3d Dept,

D-80-06, March 23, 2006.  Boxley had received a one-year suspension in June

2004.  The new Order does not mention any facts in the case, but merely recites


Jones & Boxley  Jones&Boxley

              S. Dickstein/Times Union

“We are … satisfied that respondent [Boxley] has complied with the

requirements of this court’s rules governing reinstatement and that he

possesses the character and general fitness to resume the practice of


The per curiam order also noted that the Committee on Professional Standards

was not opposed to his application to have the license reinstated.  So, is this

just a run-of-the-mill lawyer discipline story, of no interest to the public or the



scales rich poor neg


post from Feb. 26, 2004, for a detailed look at the story.  Here’s a summary:

Boxley was the chief legislative assistant to the most powerful Democrat

in the State, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. 


He was accused of raping a young legislative staffer (similar charges had

been made by another staffer in 2001). 


He was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor sexual assult.  His lawyer,

E Stewart Jones, said a black man could not get a fair trial in Albany, so he

took the plea, to save Boxley’s law license.  Jones then slurred the young



Boxley tried but failed to get the Assembly to pay his legal fees.  


The Assembly paid $500,000 to Boxley’s victim, when the legislative assistant 

sued for sexual harassment.  


                                                                                           complaint billF


Boxley has been doing “consulting work” for Powers & Co., the lobbying firm

headed by former state Republican Chairman William Powers. (Capital Connec

tion weblog, March 23, 2006; Democracy in Albany, March 24, 2006).

Newsday, March 23, 2006]


Sorry, Michael, we consider this disciplinary interruptus to be extremely premature.

While the leaders of the NYS Bar fret over assaults on their dignity and image from

lawyer advertising, we can’t help but wonder what the public thinks of sexual assaults

by, and slaps on the wrists for, politically-connected lawyers with high-profile counsel,

who assails the justice system and decries his client’s excessive punishment.




the first snowfall
doesn’t hide it…
dog poop







smelling like sake
smelling like piss


the defeated wrestler, too
joins the crowd…
bright moon





baby sparrow
move aside!
Mr. Horse passes




how annoying!
among chrysanthemums too
the nobles win


translated by David G. Lanoue

                                         scales over



Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress