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

January 31, 2007

gray is okay

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 9:12 pm

 snowflake  It’s the season when we hear lots of complaints about excessive grayness here in Upstate New York — gray skies, snowbanks, slush, and moods.   At times, the cloud ceiling is so low, it feels like we’re stuck inside a shallow, covered saucepan.  I’ve always insisted that I don’t need blue skies to feel sunny (well, at my sunniest), and that gray clouds don’t make me blue.  I’m sticking to that story again this year.  Soon, I plan to write about another kind of graying (of the legal profession), but first, here are a few haiku to help prove that gray is okay:

WelchGreySky   orig. photo & poem, in Open Window 

grey sky —
the dog’s water dish
iced over


visiting mother—
again she finds
my first grey hair


. . . . by Michael Dylan Welch – “visiting mother” – TAO


shades of grey break
into birdsong

. . . . . by Pamela Miller Ness – The Heron’s Nest (Dec. 2000)   


A gray dawn —
last night’s poker cards
facedown on the table

. . . .  by Rebecca Lilly, from A New Resonance 2: Emerging Voices

low gray sky —
an afghan warming
on the radiator


three-quarter moon
black and gray shadows
cross the snow-covered lawn


picnickers fleeing
a slate-gray sky —
lilacs aglow


. . . . by dagosan – “low gray sky” – The Heron’s Nest (June 2006)


pink begonias
the grey fall

. . . . . by Barry George at simply haiku  FireworksWelch

february grey
i remember chillies
in a sieve


barber’s sweepings
a touch of grey splits
man and boy  

 . . . . by matt morden at Morden Haiku 


gray morning
the weight of mist
in Spanish moss


. . . . by peggy lyles 


storm warning
the watercolorist works
in shades of grey

. . . . by Tom Painting from The Heron’s Nest   rainbowG

January 18, 2007

thanks, art buchwald, you taught me a lot

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 6:29 pm

     Art Buchwald’s death today is a sad event. (Detroit Free Press/AP, “Pulitzer-winning political, social satirist Art Buchwald dies;” Washington Post, Newspaper Columnist Art Buchwald Dies at 81,” Jan. 18, 2007)  But the best way to honor him is surely to celebrate and emulate his life, and (when the time comes) his wise and witty way of dying (for example, his auto-obituary video on the New York Times website, “Hi, I’m Art Buchwald and I Just Died“; hat tip to Blawg Review‘s unnamed Editor) 

 Too Soon to Say Goodbye (Random House, Nov. 2006)  BuchwaldTooSoon

I’ve been an Art Buchwald fan for perhaps 45 years — as long as I’ve been observing the political life of our nation.   Indeed, Buchwald is probably more responsible than any pundit or newsman for my interest in the workings of our political system and the foibles of our leaders.  Few habits survived from my days as a newspaper carrier, through high school, college and law school, and into my working life.  But reading Art Buchwald’s columns was a steady ritual on those lucky two days a week when his newspaper pieces appeared.

ArtBuchwald As the Washington Post article today aptly put it, the “owlish, cigar-chomping extrovert zinged the high, mighty and humor-challenged.”   Edward Kennedy called him “the Mark Twain of our time.”  I’ve always appreciated Twain a lot, but Buchwald has always been more relevant for me, because he wrote about the issues of our time, as they happened.  Besides making me smile, Art Buchwald taught me many lessons, as I grew up in the 1960’s and ’70’s, and tried to keep growing/maturing into the ’80’s and ’90’s.  Here are a few of the most important:

that humor can contain much insight and wisdom, helping to clarify issues that might otherwise be avoided as too complicated, boring, or taboo — and making politics, political science, and citizen involvement enjoyable

that there is no person or institution in a democracy that should be spared a probing spotlight, as too sacrosanct or powerful 

that there is no shame, and much for others to gain, from talking publically about the travails of your own life (for Buchwald, a very sad childhood and adult battles with depression)

When I go, I hope it is with Buchwald’s grace and at least a bit of his humor.  He recently said, “I have no idea where I’m going but here’s the real question: What am I doing here in the first place?”  It would also be great to have a friend who feels like former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee does about Art Buchwald: “He was just a glorious friend to have.”  Bradlee said he had spoken to Buchwald every day for the past month, adding “He was comforting and funny and very thoughtful.”  

Here are a few of my favorite Art Buchwald quotes (which, with many more, can be found at ThinkExist.com):

“The best things in life aren’t things”   laughingManS 

“Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.”

“Tax reform is taking the taxes off things that have been taxed in the past and putting taxes on things that haven’t been taxed before.”

“People are broad-minded. They’ll accept the fact that a person can be an alcoholic, a dope fiend, a wife beater and even a newspaperman, but if a man doesn’t drive, there’s something wrong with him.”

“I always wanted to get into politics, but I was never light enough to make the team.”


NoYabutsSN  Among haiku/senryu writers, George Swede is well known for using humor in the service of insight into the human condition.  George is, thankfully, still robust and productive (although recently retired from his psychology professor duties, and despite his dispiriting battle with a plagiarist).  He is the featured poet in the senryu section of the current edition of Simply Haiku journal.  The introduction to George’s poems in Simply Haiku quotes Cor van den Heuvel saying “I’m sure his senryu would be the envy of great comedy writers like Woody Allen or Mel Brooks if they were aware of them.”  Well, I’m sure Art Buchwald would also have been in that group of admirers — and loved sharing a Mexican meal with George, too.  Here are a selection of George Swede’s senryu, from Simply Haiku Winter 2006 (vol 4 no 4):


Thick fog lifts —
unfortunately, I am where
I thought I was

At the edge of the precipice    I become logical  

peering into   devilF   
the deep well, two boys
talk about girls

A sigh from her
then one from me —
two pages turn


in her large blue eyes I make a small impression  laughingManS

airport lounge
a Muslim man prays toward
the emergency exit


. . . by george swede



“Thick fog lifts” and “A sigh from her” from Frogpond XX/2
“At the edge” from A Snowman, Headless, Fiddlehead
“peering into” from The Heron¹s Nest
“in her large blue eyes” from Uguisu
“airport lounge” from Modern Haiku

January 15, 2007

injustice anywhere

Filed under: viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 6:46 pm

      Over at shlep, (in “MLK and the pro se movement“) I just wrote that no message in Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail deserves repetition more than his powerful reminder that ”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  Across the blogiverse, today, Dr. King is being honored in writings about justice and equality in many aspects of our society: politics, education, economy, court system, etc. (see the compilation of postings from law-related weblogs at the foot of Blawg Review 91). 

MLKjr   As in other years, I’d like to state my admiration for Dr. King’s courage (especially as contrasted to today’s pampered protestors, who want no consequences for their so-called civil disobedience) and his commitment to the long struggle (as compared to slacktivists who engage in symbolic gestures that take little time or effort).  The Day of Service program in his honor — with its motto “A day ON, not a day OFF” — is a fitting tribute.  The f/k/a Gang is going to fulfill its promised Day of Service over the next week, and hope you’ll do the same.  Then, our task is to make the struggle against “injustice anywhere” a daily practice, and not merely a one day affair.



Martin Luther King Day…
    a watermain break shuts down
        His boulevard

Martin Luther King Day…
      the weight of ice
  on a magnolia branch


. . . by ed markowski


Martin Luther King Day  —  NoYabutsSN  
they say it’s too cold
to march



power lines down —
a sand truck follows
the MLK parade


. . . by dagosan


January 12, 2007

Baseball Haiku (the book): on deck

Filed under: Book Reviews,Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 1:49 pm

infielderG Much-honored poet and editor Cor van den Heuvel (see this profile) loves haiku and he loves baseball. He is perhaps best known by haiku enthusiasts for his milestone tome The Haiku Anthology, which is in its 3rd edition. Many others, however, cherish his 1999 compilation Play Ball: Baseball Haiku (Red Moon Press), and have been sitting on the edge of their stadium seats for years waiting for a new collection.

With almost-springlike weather in much of the USA most of this winter, it’s not surprising that many people (e.g., webloggers here, here, and always there) have continued to talk about the baseball. The first spurt of “real” winter weather here in Schenectady the past few days certainly has me hankering for the scent of cherry blossoms and lilacs and the sounds of infield chatter from our neighborhood playground. It was, therefore, a very pleasant surprise yesterday to discover a page at Amazon.com for

BaseballHaikuCover Baseball Haiku (Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura, eds., W.W. Norton Press, April 2007)

That’s right, sportsfans, in April, a new volume with over 200 of “the best haiku ever written about the game” will arrive with the buds and birds of spring. Here’s how the publisher describes Baseball Haiku:

One of the most unusual baseball books of the 2007 season, this remarkable new collection, which includes poems from both America and Japan, captures perfectly the thrill of baseball—a double play, a game of catch, or the hushed pause as a pitcher looks in before hurling his pitch. Like haiku, the game is concerned with the nature of the seasons: joyous in the spring, thrilling in summer’s heat, ripening with the descent of fall, and remembered fondly in winter. . . . Baseball Haiku, a literary and baseball treasure, will make a marvelous gift for the baseball fan in your family.

W.W. Norton says the book features the work of Jack Kerouac, Alan Pizzarelli, and Masaoka Shiki (“one of the four great pillars of Japanese haiku”), but I am thrilled to say that it also includes a dugout-full of haiku from f/k/a‘s mascot Ed Markowski, along with selections from 8 other of our Honored Guest Poets: randy brooks, tom clausen, lee gurga, jim kacian, tom painting, john stevenson, george swede, michael dylan welch. Even dagosan (who, frankly, enjoys baseball haiku more than baseball these days) snuck two of his poems into Baseball Haiku — a special honor, given the other haijin on the roster.

baseballG I’m not sure why the publisher hasn’t included examples of poems from Baseball Haiku in its online description and publicity. The broader sports audience may need some reassurance before seeking out a poetry book, or might incorrectly identify the term haiku with the 17-syllable doggerel and pseudo-haiku that is all over the internet. I don’t know which poems have been selected from other poets, but here’s one from dagosan’s collection that is included:

squinting to see him —
another generation
sent to right field

Roadrunner Haiku Journal (V:4, Nov. 2005; tie Scorpion Prize)

I hope Baseball Haiku contains these classics by Cor van den Heuvel himself (which appear in The Haiku Anthology):

the batter checks
the placement of his feet
“Strike One!”

summer afternoon
the long fly ball to center field
takes its time

. . . by Cor van den Heuvel BaseballHaikuCoverN

If you can’t wait until April, or you’d like to see what our Honored Guests can do with the topic, head over to the f/k/a baseball haiku page, which has a few dozen poems. Here are a gloveful from that page:

update (May 28, 2008): See our posting “Baseball Haiku recap and update” which has links to f/k/a posts reporting on this book (including reviews). You can find poems by our Honored Guest poets that appear in Baseball Haiku throughout this website, including, e.g., here, there, and here. And see our post “npr spotlights Baseball Haiku” (March 31, 207)

April rain
my grandson practices
his infield chatter

late innings infielderG
the shortstop backpedals
into fireflies

. . . by Ed Markowski

the toddler
runs to third base

bases loaded
a full moon clears
the right field fence

. . . by Tom Painting from his chapbook Piano Practice

empty baseball field atBatN
a dandelion seed floats through
the strike zone

score tied
both team jerseys look the same
in the August twilight

. . .
. . . by George Swede from Almost Unseen (2000)

of the old man’s

my so-called friends
send in my sister
to pinch-hit for me

… by John Stevenson baseballDiamond
“sting” from Upstate Dim Sum (2005/II)

January 7, 2007

visiting Cornell’s Mann Library haiku page

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 1:51 pm

   alkasG   Eschewing futile and empty gestures, the f/k/a Gang is not big on New Year’s resolutions.  However, we are into improving, enjoying and appreciating life.  Therefore, each of your Editor’s alter egos has made a promise to visit Cornell University’s Mann Library’s Daily Haiku website frequently in 2007 — and you will surely benefit, too, from our cyber visits to Ithaca.    

At the Mann haiku page, you’ll find a daily poem written by the featured haijin of the month.  The project began over ten years ago, when library staffer Tom Clausen — now an f/k/a Honored Guest Poet — started posting a daily haiku in the elevator of the old Mann building.  As their About page notes:

[Tom] continues to post them near the New Book shelf of the Mann Library Addition. The poems are original works of an extended haiku community that includes many of his friends. This site is an effort to share these works with those of you visiting us on our Web site.

 ClausenTom   Yesterday, when we stopped at the Mann website for our first visit this year, we had a very pleasant surprise: Tom Clausen‘s own poetry is featured this month at the site.  Tom is one of the four members of the Route 9 Haiku Group, and many of the poems were originally seen in Upstate Dim Sum, the group’s journal.  Here’s a sampling of the poetry you would have found, had you visited Mann Library Haiku during the first week of 2007 (all the poems can be accessed through the site’s archives):


alone in the waiting room
  checking the plant
      for reality


 one tree
one bird, one song
    the dusk


from the bread truck’s roof
       frost swirls


at the empty crossroads
the signal blinks



power failure…
    moonlit clouds drift
          by the window


. . . by Tom Clausen. Visit his personal website here.


ExilePattersonNS p.s.  If you’re looking for a new novel this week, don’t forget that Richard North Patterson’s latest, Exile, is being released on Jan. 9, 2007.   The book got a very positive review here at f/k/a last month, as both a legal-politcal thriller and an introduction to the history and emotions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  See our posting Exile: facts & fiction, Israel & Palestine (Dec. 14, 2006).

January 6, 2007

New York lawyer ad rules — “retention” and more

Filed under: viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 3:28 am

Hanno Kaiser at Antitrust Review reported on Jan. 4th that the new advertising rules for New York lawyers have been finalized by the State’s judicial governing body, and will be effective on Feb. 1, 2007.  Hanno notes that the controversial definition of “advertising” has been narrowed greatly and that the “focus of the new rules is less on enforcing good manners and more on requiring non-deceptive communication, which is clearly a huge improvement over the draft rules.”  (Click for the New York State Bar Association’s Jan. 4, 2007 press release about the new rules, and for a redlined edition of the rules, showing changes from the earlier proposal; update: John Caher has an excellent review of the rules, the controversy, and the actors, in “N.Y. Courts Adopt Moderated Version of Lawyer Ad Rules,” New York Law Journal/Law.com, January 8, 2007)

ScaliaGesture A few months ago, when it appeared that the proposed NY rules would define all lawyer-operated weblogs as advertising and to threaten their existence, much of the blawgiverse rose up righteously to complain. E.g., Consumer Law & Policy Blog, Point of LawLegal Blog Watch, Volokh Conspiracy, Sui Generis, Trademark Blog. The f/k/a Gang has been warning about the desire of the New York Bar’s “Dignity Police” to over-regulate (and discourage) lawyer advertising for years. (see, e.g., here; the same tendency can be seen in many other states)   I’m sure there will be much more commentary and parsing of the final advertising regs. [update (Jan. 9, 2007): Nicole Black at Sui Generis has compiled links to “substantive commentary” about the new ad rules.] I wanted to make a few comments while the Rules are still hot off the pixel press.

Here’s the new definition of “advertisement” (22 NYCRR 1200.1):

(k) “Advertisement” means any public or private communication made by or on behalf of a lawyer or law firm about that lawyer or law firm’s services, the primary purpose of which is for the retention of the lawyer or law firm. It does not include communications to existing clients or other lawyers. (emphasis added)

NoloShark a) We usually hate to be snarky (or sharky), but who drafted that definition?  Lawyers are supposed to be wordsmiths.  Could the phrase “the primary purpose of which is for the retention of the lawyer or law firm” be any more awkward and obscure?

  1. face it: “primary purpose” will often be a bit hard to discern (but see, Prof B, who said in 2005 that “Figuring out what the lawyer’s intent is here strikes me as no more difficult than figuring out intent anywhere in the law.”).
  2. “for the retention of the lawyer” is a strange way to say that the lawyer is seeking new clients or attempting to increase sales of his or her services.  Does a campaign aimed at building a brand, so that you can charge higher fees (as opposed to attracting new clients), come within the purpose of “retention of the lawyer”?
  3. alkasG Do the drafters know what “retention” means to most of the English-speaking world?  We usually try to avoid rentention; when we’re seeking it, it’s usually in the context of lower digestive tract disturbances, or seasickness.  The Quick Definition at OneLook Dictionary says: “the act of keeping in your possession; the power of retaining and recalling past experience; the power of retaining liquid”.   The American Heritage Dictionary does say that “retention” is the “act of retaining” — but, their definition of retain gives three other meanings before it comes to “To hire (an attorney, for example) by the payment of a fee.”  Of course, the advertising lawyer doesn’t want to hire an attorney.
  4. Clients don’t give money to personal injury lawyers when they hire them.  Does that mean those noisy tv commercials aren’t seeking retention?
  5. There is a legal Doctrine of Retention, but . . . .
  6. Sure, some of the above points are silly.  But, so is the Immaculate Conception approach to defining advertising.  The relevant lawyer communications are seeking to attract or keep clients.  Are we (still) ashamed to admit it?


b)  Why exclude “communications to existing clients or other lawyers“?  Model Rule 7.1 doesn’t distinguish between prospective and existing clients.  Shouldn’t both groups be protected against deceptive, unfair, or misleading communications meant to sell a lawyer’s services?  In a marketplace where firms are fighting harder and harder to keep the clients they already have, don’t we care if a lawyer communicates to current clients in a way that might suggest a special ability to get results from a tribunal?  Or that fails to have a factual basis for a testimonial, or to state that a person was paid to provide an endorsement?

tiny check c) Since weblogs are explicitly included within the definition of “Computer-accessed communication” in Rule 2000.1(l), it appears that some weblog content will (and should) be deemed to be advertising, despite the narrower scope of the rule.  Many blawg gurus might rue the day they decided to promote weblogs as great client magnets.  Despite arguments like those originally presented by Prof. Bainbridge, every weblog is not an advertisement.  An f/k/a posting in June 2005 gives some suggestions for the kinds of weblog content that should or shouldn’t be considered advertising.  Good luck (to prosecutors and their targets) in arguing about the “primary purpose” of any part of a weblog or particular posting.

Here are a few other internet-related provisions: podiumF

tiny check Approval/Retention of Ads: Section 1200.6 [DR 2-101] (k) All advertisements shall be pre-approved by the lawyer or law firm and . . . Any advertisement contained in a computer-accessed communication shall be retained for a period of not less than one year. A copy of the contents of any web site covered by this section shall be preserved upon the initial publication of the web site, any major web site redesign, or a meaningful and extensive content change, but in no event less frequently than once every 90 days.

tiny check Pop-Up Ads/MetaTags: Section 1200.6 [DR 2-101] (g) A lawyer or law firm shall not utilize: (1) a pop-up or pop-under advertisement in connection with computer-accessed communications, other than on the lawyer or law firm’s own web site or other internet presence; or (2) meta tags or other hidden computer codes that, if displayed, would violate a disciplinary rule.

tiny check Domain Names: Section 1200.7 [DR 2-102] (e) A lawyer or law firm may utilize a domain name for an internet web site that does not include the name of the lawyer or law firm provided: (1) all pages of the web site clearly and conspicuously include the actual name of the lawyer or law firm; (2) the lawyer or law firm in no way attempts to engage in the practice of law using the domain name; (3) the domain name does not imply an ability to obtain results in a matter; and (4) the domain name does not otherwise violate a disciplinary rule.  (f) A lawyer or law firm may utilize a telephone number which contains a domain name, nickname, moniker or motto that does not otherwise violate a disciplinary rule.

d) It would be difficult to find a Rule quite as poorly drafted and conceived as Section 1200.6(c)(5):   “An advertisement shall not: . . . (5) rely on techniques to obtain attention that demonstrate a clear and intentional lack of relevance to the selection of counsel, including the portrayal of lawyers exhibiting characteristics clearly unrelated to legal competence. .”  I feel much more dignified and edified already; don’t you?  Of course, when I want to see “lawyers exhibiting characteristics clearly unrelated to legal competence,” I stop by Family Court.

city lights —
the brightest are all
selling something

snowing hard
no road sign
to obey

. . by John Stevenson, Upstate Dim Sum

Call us Pollyannas, but we (see this and that prior post, plus Elephant and Cowgill) believe consumers can figure out for themselves whether the on-screen characteristics of “Heavy Hitters” (such as NY Capital Region’s Martin Harding & Mazzotti), or “Hammers“, or pit bulls, are relevant to their selection of a lawyer.

e) Similarly, the rules still contain the silly ban on utilizing “a nickname, moniker, motto or trade name that implies an ability to obtain results in a matter.” Sec. 2000.6(c)(7) It’s so good to know consumers will be protected from legal “Heavy Hitters”.  See f/k/a‘s posting from May 2006, in response to South Carolina’s SCotching Lawyer Nicknames.  You’ll find a few ideas for getting around the prohibition.  When are regulators going to treat consumers as if they have a bit more than half a brain?

honest! g) Finally, it seems to this observer that the New York State Bar Association is trying a bit too hard to take credit for the revisions to the proposed rules, which have led to a more balanced (less rabid) rule. (press release, Jan. 4, 2007) In 2005, NYSBA established “a task force to develop rules, standards and mechanisms aimed at limiting lawyer advertising to the fullest extent permitted, within the limitations of the First Amendment.” (press release, June 1, 2005) The Task Force then produced a 130-page Report that was submitted to the judiciary, requesting far stricter regulation of lawyer ads (press release, Feb. 1, 2006), and which included some elements more draconian than the resulting initial proposal by the courts.  Given that history, the current Bar Asociation president might want to downplay the boast that the final provisions “reflect extensive consultations that the Association had with the Presiding Justices after the initial proposals were issued last fall.”

tiny check NYSBA says the new rules will result in “more dignity for the profession.”  I continue to believe that better service to clients (who are our bosses and our buyers) and more price and quality competition is the best way to improve the image of the legal profession, and to give it genuine dignity.   Of course, we should police against true deception.  But the profession earns its reputation every day, one lawyer at a time, treating one client at a time.  No retentive obsession with a grandiose notion of dignity will produce a reputation for lawyers that is any better than our dedication to our clients and our honesty deserve.

her lawyer listed
under “Martial Law”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by dagosan

January 3, 2007

yes, her again

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 11:35 pm

 sunglassesG  It often seems that Your Editor spends much of his time congratulating Roberta Beary for receiving one haiku honor or another — or merely noting her pre-eminent stature among the tiny complement of lawyers who write haiku poetry.  Tonight, I am happy to report on one more, especially noteworthy, competition won by Roberta.  “The Unworn Necklace,” her first manuscript of collected haiku and senryu, has been awarded the grand prize winner in the Snapshot Press Haiku Collection Competition 2006.   As part of the prize, Snapshot will publish The Unworn Necklace in August 2007 (pre-order it here).

The following poems will be among those included in the upcoming volume:

third blizzard—
the untuned piano’s
middle C



from here
to there
mother’s silence




the sound of the name
i used to have
soft falling snow


first date—   necklaceG
the little pile
of anchovies



all day long
i feel its weight
the unworn necklace

. . . . by Roberta Beary   BearyRoberta 


 fishingPoleAs you may recall from our posting in October 2005, our Honored Guest Poet Carolyn Hall, shared the Snapshot Haiku Collection Award 2004.  Here are two recent poems by Carolyn and two from Water Lines, the winning volume of her work published in December 2006 by Snapshot (which you can order here):

New Year’s Day
the center of the chocolate
not what I expected


I don’t know
a soul at this picnic —




baiting one fish
with another
autumn dawn




the poultry truck returns
with empty cages


. . . . by Carolyn Hall   fishingPole

“New Year’s Day” – The Heron’s Nest (June 2006)
“I don’t know” – The Heron’s Nest (Dec. 2006)
“baiting one fish” – Water Lines (Snapshot Press 2006)
“twilight” – Water Lines (Snapshot Press 2006)


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