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

February 24, 2007

door-to-door: haiku (and regulation, too)

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 2:21 pm

doorFrontN   Late last night, I posted “protection for door-to-door purchasers” at shlep.  I was inspired by reading Prof. Jeff Sovern’s Consumer Law & Policy Blog posting on the continuing relevance of regulation protecting consumers who make purchasers from “field sales” marketers.  It seems that the success of Do Not Call lists has helped revive door-to-door selling (see CNN.com and NYT.)  If you’d like to know more about Do Not Knock ordinances and the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling Off Rule for home sales, head on over to shlep.   But, first, join me in appreciating some door-oriented haiku from f/k/a‘s Honored Guest Poets and its Editor.  


May morning
the door opens
before I knock


Mother’s Day   houseG  
that first breath of air
outside the door

goblins at the door
in the darkness behind them
a cigarette flares

the summer sun
under the exit door


. . . . by John Stevenson
“May morning” and “goblins” from Some of the Silence
“Mother’s Day” and “matinee” from Quiet Enough 


opening the sliding door
in her red pajamas


almost dusk
an open door
to the lighthouse

doorFrontF   . . . . by paul m.
“birdsong” – A New Resonance 2 & Frogpond XXII:1
“almost dusk” – The Heron’s Nest (Dec. 2003)

the dog out–
the stars in

. . . . by Gary Hotham – breathmarks (Canon Press, 1999)


mud-spattered pickup-
four dogs watch
the tavern door

. . . by Billie Wilson – The Heron’s Nest (February 2001)

through the open door . . .
her smile doesn’t forgive
all my sins

. . . . by Randy Brooks – School’s Out (1999)  doorFront 


opened door
the darkness lengthens
into a kitten


back door curve
    the batter


. . . . by Barry George 
”back door curve” –  Fan: “Haiku” Special Issue (1998)
“opened door” – The Heron’s Nest (Vol. 3, 2001)


screen door between angry words

 doorFrontN  . . . . by Tom Painting – A New Resonance 2 & Frogpond XXI:1

first night home from college
click of the latch
on her bedroom door

in the appliance store doorway
calling a Maytag box

. . . by Carolyn Hall  – “first night home” A New Resonance 2  houseG  
“appliance store” – from the haibun “Protective Coloration”
in The Loose Thread: RMA 2001; orig., stone frog.

“the rice cake man
is next door!”
the child announces



wiping their feet
on the baby grass…


the door latch
rusting scarlet…
winter rain


in dawn frost
at the bathhouse door


facing the river –
next door, it seems
is the deep north

pinching head lice     
in a doorway…
spring fields


back door–
three spears of pampas grass
and Mr. and Mrs. Goose

back door–     doorFrontF     
pissing scribbles
in the first ice


two doors down
from the moonflowers…
my house
. . . . by Kobayashi Issa,  translated by David G. Lanoue
– for 53 “door” haiku from Issa – click here


evening warmth —
latchkey kids play rummy
in the doorway


. . . by Rebecca Lilly – The Heron’s Nest (VIII:3)


first good
porch-settin’ day —
her outside voice at the door


the stale air
of an old man’s home —
opening my front door


at every door but mine —
bittersweet binge

. . . . by dagosan      NoSolicitationS  

February 19, 2007

sutton on lawyers and the “no asshole rule”

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 2:53 pm

DeleteButtonN Robert I Sutton‘s new book “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” will be released by (Warner Business Books on Feb. 22, 2007. An identically-titled article is in the latest edition of American Lawyer, and was posted this weekend at Law.com (Feb. 20, 2007). However, the article does not deal directly with lawyers, despite the fact that a) many people consider the words lawyer and asshole to be synonyms and b) Sutton has written about the connection at least twice at his Work Matters weblog.

Bob Sutton is a professor of management science at Stanford University. He argues that “assholes” are bad for business, regardless of their individual effectiveness. In a favorable book review at Life at the Bar, Julie Fleming Brown explains:

NoAssholeRule “According to Bob, an asshole is one who oppresses, humiliates, de-energizes, or belittles his target (generally someone less powerful then himself), causing the target to feel worse about herself following an interaction with the asshole. (And, as his examples prove, this behavior is not by any means limited to male perpetrators or female victims.) These jerks use tactics such as personal insults, sarcasm and teasing as vehicles for insults, shaming, and treating people as if they’re invisible to demean others. Sutton distinguishes temporary assholes . . . from certified assholes, who routinely show themselves to be nasty people. The latter, he argues, must go [from the workplace].

In his weblog post “American Lawyer on THE NO A**HOLE RULE” (Feb. 11, 2007), Sutton says “I don’t think that there are more assholes in the law than in other occupations, despite the popular stereotype” and he notes that doctors appear to be more abusive in the workplace than lawyers. Nevertheless, Sutton explains that “there are some special challenges for law firms that want to enforce the rule.” He concludes, “Indeed, you might say that one key to law firm management is learning how to turn your assholes on and off!

donkeyS Sutton gives three reasons why application of his Rule is especially difficult at law firms:

First, there are big power differences in law firms among people at different levels, and as I’ve shown, there is a lot of evidence that power can turn people into selfish insensitive jerks, who act is if the norms of civility that the rest of us have to follow don’t apply to them!

DeleteButtonG Second, as I show in The No Asshole Rule, one of the primary causes of demeaning behavior, backstabbing, and an nastiness of all kinds is severe competition between individuals, when life is seen as an I win-you lose game.

DeleteButtonN Third, often “people hire lawyers to be tough and nasty –to do their dirty work. But people who are best suited for such work aren’t always capable of turning off their venom when they deal with staff members and fellow attorneys.”

Sutton is right that many people hire lawyers “to help intimidate rivals . . . through demeaning interpersonal moves meant to unnerve and intimidate opponents — dirty looks, put-downs, teasing, glaring, and intense eye contact.” He also suggests, there may even be times when those skills may help a lawyer “in the courtroom, a deposition, or a negotiation when used at just the right moment.” However, I’m pretty sure that such tactics are not as successful or as accepted as they once were, and I’d like to discourage their cultivation by newbie lawyers out there, who think they can turn it off and on at will.

stepping on
sidewalk ants the boy
everyone bullies

. . . . . . . . . . . . . by George SwedeAlmost Unseen (2000)

In another posting, “Lawyers and The No Asshole Rule (Feb. 15, 2007), Sutton says that lawyers are naturally interested in The No Asshole Rule. He quotes from a 2004 piece by Aric Press, editor of American Lawyer, suggesting that law firms do “jerk audits.” Among Press’ insights, this one may be most telling:

“At a minimum, what I’m suggesting is that you [law firm managers] ask yourselves this question: Why do we put up with this behavior? If the answer is 2,500 value-billed hours, at least you will have identified your priorities without incurring the cost of a consultant.”

A few more thoughts: DeleteButtonN

  1. As Sutton points out, the “nasty but neutral” defense is unlikely to assist you (or your client). “Equal opportunity assholes,” who demean people routinely regardless of race, gender, age — and regardless of pending litigation — shouldn’t count on throwing themselves upon the mercy of the court based on their inherent personality trait or genetic deficiencies. (see this Littler article, Nov. 2004)
  2. donkeyS The book offers a 24-question self-test to see if you are “a certifiable asshole.” You can take Sutton’s Asshole Rating Self-Exam (ARSE) at Guy Kawasaki’s ElectricPulp website. I expect webloggers will be tagging eachother to find out the results. Let me say in advance that I do not plan to take the test (much less reveal my results).
  3. Over at shlep, I’ve posted much of the information presented in this post, but also explained why the rule works pro se, too.
  4. Admittedly, it can at times be difficult not to respond in kind to the jerky behavior of your opponent. This President’s Week, you might try “learning from Abe Lincoln’s thick skin.”
  5. See the take of “third wave” Texas lawyer Chuck Newton on The Rule here.

the gossip
her yard fills
with leaves

. . . . by tom painting – from the chapbook piano practice

“Frost has formed!”
he yells
then pisses

from the face
of the man yelling for me…

don’t be mean
to that horsefly

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

February 16, 2007

UICL conference on lawyers and poetry

Filed under: Haiga or Haibun,Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 11:26 am

mouseLawyer If you hurry right now to Urbana, Illinois, you can still catch the last few sessions of the University of Illinois College of Law’s inaugural Law and Poetry Conference, “Opening Arguments: Poetry and the Law.” Billed as “the first conference in the United States to explore and celebrate the relationship of law and poetry,” the Feb. 15 – 16 confab is sponsored by UICL, the University of Illinois MFA Creative Writing Program, and Richard Powers, the author of “The Echo Maker,” a recent National Book Award winner. [And see, Urbana Gazette, “Urbana attorney loves poetry … and the law,” Feb. 11, 2007, featuring lawyer-poet Carl Reisman and discussing the conference.]

mouseArtisteF As Robert Ambrogi noted at Legal Blog Watch (Feb. 12, 2007): Among the topics on the agenda: “In Search of the Lawyer Poets,” “Does the Practice of Law Kill Passion?” and “Law and Poetry as Spiritual Paths.” A featured speaker will be West Virginia College of Law professor James R. Elkins, who collects information on lawyer/poets at his Web site, Strangers to Us All: Lawyers and Poetry.

Of course, f/k/a is built on the premise that lawyers and poetry (at least, the one-breath variety) are an excellent mix (see, Yes, Lawyers and Haiku, for example). We have frequently celebrated the efforts of Prof. Elkins at his Strangers website and his Legal Studies Forum, which has published perhaps a thousand pages of poetry by modern lawyers over the past couple of years. (see Every Law Library Needs this Volume)

quillPen In just the past two weeks, three major haiku journals — Bottle Rockets (Vol. 8:2, #16), Frogpond (XXX:1, Winter 2007) and Simply Haiku (Vol. 5:1, Spring 2007) — have included the work of lawyer poets:

in my soup
the dampness
of winter rain

last train
a can rolls the length
of the quiet car

. . . by Roberta Beary, Bottle Rockets #16 (Spring 2007)

a light in the boathouse
the long room
for the sculls

South Philly in spring —
the hoagie shop’s signed picture
of Stallone

. . . by Barry George, Frogpond (Winter 2007) quillPen

first date–
the little pile
of anchovies

. . . by Roberta Beary, Frogpond (Winter 2007), 1st Place,
Haiku Society of America’s 2006 Gerald Brady Senryu Contest

HaigaCurtainTimeS original (haiga)

curtain time:
the stage crew as silent
as the props

HaigaAprilStormS orig.

april storm —
borrowing the neighbor’s
rock salt

a foot of snow HaigaFootSnowGS orig.
a month too soon
candles for nightlights

. . . haiga by Arthur Giacalone (photos) & David Giacalone (poetry);
Simply Haiku Journal, Vol. 5 no. 1 (Spring 2007)
– click on the link next to each picture to see the full version,
and go here, for access to three more Giacalone haiga

MouseArtiste p.s. On a related topic, see “Cases to Canvas: ART CLASSES TURN A LAWYER INTO A PAINTER,” Washington Post, Feb. 15, 2007, featuring lawyer-painter Shahrzad Heyat Jalinous (via Elefant at LegalBlogWatch)

February 14, 2007

valentine matchmaking

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu — David Giacalone @ 3:31 pm

heartArrowR It’s February 14, when almost anyone can be a yenta, and instigate (or insinuate) love or romance virtually anywhere.  The New York Times even has a touching Valentine story about a dad’s search for the children he’s never met. ”Sperm donor father ends his anonymity” (NYT, Feb. 14, 2007; see shlep)

          Browsing the brand new editions of two fine haiku journals — Bottle Rockets #16 (Vol. 8, no. 2) and Frogpond XXX:1 (Feb. 2007) — I discovered today that many of the poems by f/k/a‘s Honored Guest Poets made me think of Valentines past, present and future.  Here are my gleanings:


leaves turned to gold —
he still know all the words
to that old love song

. . . by billie wilson – frogpond XXX:1


that apple?
  i’d of eaten it
all by myself

. . . . by Ed Markowski – Bottle Rockets #16


Easter morning   embraceGS
the lawn strewn
with pastel condoms


Day of Atonement
the pink morning glories
open wide

. . . . . . by pamela miller ness – Bottle Rockets #16  


strained tendon
the physician’s assistant
mentions my age


cheap motel the time of our lives


. . . . by tom painting “strained tendon” – Bottle Rockets #16 
“cheap motel” – frogpond XXX:1



cloudless horizon —
the dead end street
has a big turn around


Mom’s voice on the phone —
time of the year
for a surprise frost

. . . . by gary hotham  
“cloudless horizon — Bottle Rockets #16 
“Mom’s voice” – frogpond XXX:1

cloudy water
in the bud vase —
children grown and gone

. . . . by alice frampton   HSALogo
frogpond XXX:1


today too,
chestnut flowers litter the path —
my wasted words



summer sky
my sketch of a linden leaf
larger than it really is

. . . . by paul m. – Bottle Rockets #16 


the soft hum
of the dishwasher


some gold, some silver
summer breeze


white sun
the lifeless finch
fits my palm

BottleRockets16N . . . . by carolyn hall  – Bottle Rockets #16 


old friends talk
each holding
car keys

. . . . by tom clausenfrogpond XXX:1


Bonus BouquetHeartArrowG 


Valentine’s Day
a heart stuck back on
last year’s card


they say when gorse
is not in flower
kissing’s not in season
and here before the thaw
i find our winter love

. . . . by matt morden – “Valentine’s Day” – Morden Haiku (Feb. 14, 2007)  “they say when goose” – tanka from Morden Haiku (Feb 12, 2007)

valentine’s day
   the sensous curves
       of a snow drift

embraceGS. . . . . by ed markowski   


Valentine’s Day
she reminds me
to fasten my seatbelt  

. . . . by michael dylan welch   dylan welch
HSA Brady Contest; a glimpse of red: RMA 2000

he comes to bed
cleanshaven . . .
winter stars

good morning kiss   firecrackerSmN
wing beats
of the hummingbird

. . . . by peggy lyles – “good morning kiss” – to hear the rain
“he comes to bed” – Loose Change (HSA Mem Anthology 2005)

it’s sealed —
the Valentine card
she never sent

. . . . by dagosan

bingo boards empty–
    another widow intercepts
    the old man’s wink


Heimliched out of me
       pink candy heart
       wordless now

. . . . by Randy Brooks from School’s Out



from Mom’s to Dad’s
the clickity-clack
of suitcase wheels

. . . . by alice frampton – New Resonance 3: Emerging Voices (2003)


late night rain —
he reads to me from the book
I read to him

. . . . . . . . by billie wilson Mayfly #40 (2005)



letting her
walk all over me

. . . by Tom Clausen – being there (Swamp Press, 2005)


February 12, 2007

UK p/i lawyers oppose increase in small claims limits

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 6:35 pm

. . . . . . . published simultaneously here and at shlep . . . . . . .

UKg   The UK’s 5,000-member Association of Personal Injury Lawyers [“APIL“] has been waging a campaign to prevent an increase in the personal injury limits in the UK’s small claims courts (“small claims track”).  See, e.g., “Support Grows for Retention of Small Claims Limit for Injury Victims” (APIL Press Release, Dec. 11, 2006); and Response to the Better Regulation Task Force (APIL/DCA, May 2004; 18 pp. pdf.).  (via PIBLJ, Jan. 27, 2007)

The dollar limit for most small claims matters in UK courts is £5,000, up from £3,000 in 1999, and £1,000 in 1996.  However, the limit on personal injury and housing repair matters is still £1,000.  Because of that lower limit, almost all p/i matters are heard in the upper tracks of the judicial system.  In 2004, the Better Regulation Task Force produced a report titled “Better Routes to Redress” (48 pp. pdf.), which recommended (in Sec. 4.2, at p. 25), that:

[T]he Government carry out research into the potential impact of raising the limit under which personal injury can be taken through the small claims track. The research should establish a limit which best balances the benefits to the claimant and society against the costs.”

The Task Force noted that keeping the lower limit is supported by lawyers, who argue that p/i matters were too complex to be handled without a lawyer, and that the small claims track offered only limited recovery of costs, which was unfair to claimants in p/i cases, which can be very expensive.   The Task Force suggested that rules be changed to allowed recovery of reasonable medical expenses, and concludes that “allowing more personal injury claimants to go through the small claims track process will increase access to justice for many as it will be less expensive, less adversarial and less stressful.”  Its reasoning can be found in an excerpt provided below, under the fold.


percent2N You may recall from our posting last week on personal injury self-help, that both the legal reform group HALT (in its p/i Consumer Alert) and self-help pioneer Nolo.com have stated that small claims court here in the United States can be an excellent place to bring p/i claims for relatively small amounts of money.  In addition, HALT’s small claims reform project has been advocating long and hard for increases in the small claims jurisdictional limits (hoping to someday reach $20,000).

 It its campaign against raising the small claims limit, APIL makes the arguments noted by the Task Force (complexity, inability to recover costs), and stresses surveys showing that the public is reluctant to go to court in a p/i case without a lawyer.   In addition, it frets that “In the small claims court, a claimant either has to pay for legal representation out of his own pocket, which many people can ill-afford, or stand up in court against the defendant without the benefit of a lawyer’s representation.”  This suggests that p/i lawyers won’t use contingent fees (which APIL calls “CFAs” — Conditional Fee Agreements) in small claims court, but I do not understand that position (and would welcome an explanation).  APIL also asserts that the small claims court will not assist the claimant to effectively bring his or her own case.  They make the self-serving claim that the claimant without a lawyer will face a rich defendant with legal representation and not receive justice — or, simply not bother to bring the case.

percent2G  Moreover, APIL strongly cautions that

 “By raising the small claims limit firms will be deprived of a huge source of funds, which personal injury claims between £2,000 and £5,000 provide, so making it unlikely that larger risky cases could be pursued.  APIL members have estimated that between a third and a half of personal injury cases they deal with are for damages around £5,000. By removing the ability to regain costs firms will struggle to support personal injury practices, and in particular, will refrain from taking on cases which have any chance of being lost – i.e. only take on cases which have a 90 per cent plus chance of success. APIL believes this will further restrict injured claimants access to justice.”

This seems to be the discredited notion that p/i lawyers subsidize riskier cases with lower risk cases.  Not only is there no credible evidence that such cross-subsidization exists, but each client should have his or her own case treated on its merits by the lawyer — paying fees based on the risk presented by the particular case. 

— Because I am not familiar with the working of the UK legal system, I would very much like to hear from those who might be able to explain whether there are differences that would make low-dollar p/i claims inappropriate for small claims courts in England and Wales.  Does “loser-pay” change the dynamics and make the upper track courts fairer to the claimant?  Would allowing recovery of costs in p/i cases solve the problem of expensive medical reports?   Is self-help information available from the small claims courts for “in person” litigants, so that they will understand procedures, as well as issues such as fault and causation?

So, does APIL have a good case against the increase of small claims limits, or was ethicalEsq correct to suspect that the lawyer guild has been working to prevent reform and revitalization of small claims courts?

  1. EL Eversman, at AutoMuse, included last week’s shlep posting on personal injury self help law in Blawg Review #95, which was posted today.  As always, you will find listings to many fine, recent law-related postings in this week’s Blawg Review.  Each Monday, you can find another “best of the blogs” round-up at Tim Kevan’s The Barrister Blog. 

Here’s an f/k/a “small” “claims” bonus:  SeashellLaurieSmith

small talk
in the cellar
spring rain

their traveling hats
looking small…

yellow gang, white gang
the butterflies stake
their claims

the big sake cup…
a little butterfly

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

pennyS Below the fold is the reasoning of the Better Regulation Task Force: (more…)

February 7, 2007

surf over to The Barrister Blog

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 11:05 am

goneSurfing Artful juxtaposition — placing ideas, items or images together to create insight or incitement through comparison or contrast — is at the core of the best haiku and is what we hope brings our loyal readers to f/k/a. Last week, the f/k/a Gang discovered a kindred-spirit weblog that juxtaposes its treatment of legal news, analysis and politics with the lore and love of surfing [sea, not cyber]. It is The Barrister Blog by Tim Kevan and Aidan Ellis, who are members of chambers at 1 Temple Gardens in London. Their specialties include personal injury, health and safety, fraud, and related areas of the law, and they publish and edit numerous publications. Tim is the surfophile

Last month, the Daily Diary weblog at Legal Week praised The Barrister Blog, saying it has the “unlikely but extremely captivating blend of legal analysis and quasi-philosophical musings on his other passion — surfing.” (“Surfing DLA at the great barrister reef,” Jan. 8, 2007)

The Barrister Blog includes a Weekly Review of the Best of the Blogs and Legal News. On the current main page, topics covered include The Compensation Culture, The dangers of specialisation, and surfers and the environment.

Why Lawyers Should Surf by Tim Kevan and Dr. Michelle Tempest

Tim is the author of nearly a dozen books. His two latest — co-authored with psychiatrist Michelle Tempest (his fiancee) — Why Lawyers Should Surf and Why Doctors Should Surf will by published in June by xpl Publishing, and can be pre-ordered. The rationale for the books is explained in this post, and in “Why Lawyers specifically should surf”, and described by the publisher:

Lawyers and Doctors need motivating. As with all intelligent human beings, the best motivation is self-motivation. After many years without an original and empathetic book, we now have a strikingly original one written for practitioners. With the metaphor of surfing and the ocean flowing throughout, the authors have drawn on their collective experience and brought together not only some powerful psychological tools but a beautiful collection of ideas and images which will continue to inspire long after the first reading.

Excerpts from the book can be found in postings at the website, including:

Although my weblog plate has been overflowing for quite a while now, I plan to push aside some of the cyber veggies and potatoes and save room for both the entrees and the desserts offered by Tim and Aidan at The Barrister Blog.

after all these years
ankle deep
in the other ocean

Beach picnic
sharing our bread
with the one-eyed gull

midday sun
my shadow
to the ocean floor

. . . . . by Pamela Miller Ness


“midday sun” – The Heron’s Nest (Oct. 2001)

“summer breeeze” – The Heron’s Nest (Oct. 2000)

“after all these years” from A New Resonance 2; (2001) frogpond. XXI:2

surfeadorLoera surfeador, by Ladislao Loera

on the beach
the tracks of two
lounge chairs

. . . . . by John Stevenson from Quiet Enough


empty sandals
on the beach
pull of the moon


. . . . . by Carolyn Hall

The Heron’s Nest 3:5 (2001); A New Resonance 2

in what’s left SeashellLaurieSmith
of our footprints–
some of the wave

dry air—
the dog shaking off
the ocean

. . . . . by Gary Hotham from The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku series

“in what’s left” – snow on the water: RMA 1998; South by Southeast V:2


where the wave

. . . . . by jim kacian, from Chincoteague (Red Moon Press, 2000)

in the beach breeze
my travels forgotten…
evening cool

. . . by The Haiku of Kobayashi Issa, David G. Lanoue, translator.

nude beach
a man and a woman
collect shells

………….. . . . by ed markowski from The Heron’s Nest.






beach parking lot —
where the car door opened
a small pile of sand


. . . by Michael Dylan Welch from Open Window, haiku and photographs

in both hands–
the water she carries
from the ocean

. . . by Gary Hotham from breathmarks: haiku to read in the dark

empty cabin
the beached canoe
fills with leaves

. . . by DeVar Dahl from New Resonance 3: & Snapshots Calendar 2002

the view west –
a splash of red
on every wave

. .. by matt morden Morden Haiku surfeadorLoera









. . . . update: Feb. 12, 2007:

she scratches my back –
I reach around
to hers

. . . . . . . by dagosan
with many thanks to The Barrister Blog for its generous pointer to f/k/a

  update (April 21, 2008): See our posting “surf report: a river, a doctor and an ex-barrister“.










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