February 13, 2016

Help One Cold Rough Sleeper in Yuppie Land: One Night, One Person.

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You say you would really like to help the urban homeless on both cold and super-cold Northeastern and Midwestern nights? Both plain cold and the bitterly cold, often unpredictable nights that many cities are prepared to accommodate more homeless residents at shelters but for a number of reasons (both good and bad) thousands of Americas's rough sleepers take their chances outside?

Good. So see our inaugural post about our One Night, Person (March 5, 2015) campaign and our follow-up March 7, 2015 post. No, we don't have time to go over all of this again; we're working stiffs like you. Just read the posts.

In short, here is the idea and rules:

You're a Yuppie, professional or other generic dweeb between the ages of 22 and 82.

You live in towns like New York City, Philly, Boston, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Wilmington, DC or Chicago.

You may live in the suburbs or in a downtown neighborhood of these cities. But if you work during the day in a downtown area of any of them, you and yours will go forth and do this:

1. Pick out and ask a homeless woman or man what articles of warm clothing she or he needs that you already have at home or in storage--thermal gloves, wool scarfs, warm hats and beanies, big sweaters, winter coats, thermal underwear, socks, etc.

2. Ask just one person at a time.

3. Agree on a time to meet (preferably at the same place) later that day or the next day.

4. Find the winter stuff you have at home or in storage.

5. Bring said stuff to the homeless woman or man as agreed.

6. Nine out of ten times, your new friend will be there when you show up.

7. Wait for forecasts of the next super-cold night--and repeat.

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February 11, 2016

JDH and WJC, New Year's Day, Charleston, South Carolina. 2

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JDH and WJC, New Year's Day, Charleston, South Carolina. 1

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1/1/09 Noon

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February 10, 2016

Mike Cernovich interview on Mirriam Seddiq's Not Guilty No Way podcast show.

Author, original thinker, lawyer and commentator Mike Cernovich, an American authentic who comes with brains and balls, was interviewed by Mirriam Seddiq last week on her Not Guilty No Way radio podcast show. The show with Cernovich is right here. If you want to meet a man whose three years at a fine California law school didn't rob him of his ability to think on his own, don't miss his segment in Episode 104. Much about the politics of men, women and real life gets covered in a compelling chat with a guy who does more to advance free speech/expression in one day than yours truly does in a year. Mike's a pioneer.

In Episode 104, host Seddiq is again assisted by Justin the Lawyer, Steven the Law Clerk and Katie the Hot Receptionist. However, she conducts Cernovich's interview alone. She does especially well in a necessarily more complex interview than, for example, when she interviewed me three weeks ago today. In addition to being a trial lawyer, Seddiq's a natural journalist, and getting better and better. The Cernovich interview was her third as a show host and interviewer. More importantly, she's good-looking and doesn't ditz out, get hysterical about issues or talk all the time. My kind of broad.


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Above: Mike Cernovich

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February 08, 2016

78 Things Long-Divorced American Male Lawyers Know

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Paris 1952: Willy Maywald, Mannequin en tailleur quai Saint-Michel.


1. Never swive anyone named Zoe, Brigit or Natasha.

2. Let no one leave anything at your house.

3. Don't buy cheap shoes.

4. Shoe trees. Cedar. The most expensive.

5. Sorry. The Havard Bluebook is always important.

6. British women don't really like British men.

7. Have a coworker in same room if you interview someone.

8. Completely legal interviews are not very informative.

9. Don't jump to hire law grads with blue collar backgrounds. Some think they've arrived and are done.

10. Women make better associate lawyers.

11. On documents Rules 34 and 45 do different things. Know what.

12. If you travel, cats not dogs.

13. Very attractive women think they're ugly.

14. Very attractive men are delusional.

15. Irish, Welsh, Finnish and Afro-American women are totally and forever in charge. They are heroes.

16. A disproportionate number of Irish people are drunks.

17. A disproportionate number of Irish people are verbally and lyrically gifted.

18. Jewish doctors do not get Irish, English or German drunks. Have a cookie instead?

19. Jews and Italians are the best drinkers. They have rules. They have the genes.

20. The Jews really are it. Consistently awesome and world-changing tribe for 2500 years.

21. Well-dressed Russian women are cheap, treacherous and insane.


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The Cardsharps, Caravaggio, c. 1594

Continue reading...

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February 07, 2016

Modern Men: Indoor Neutered Cats.

I see it on the streets, in stores, at sporting events, in airports and in both cities and town. The female demand for Indoor Cats--i.e., neutered, obedient heterosexual Western men who do as they are told--is apparently quite high these days in Europe and America. Ladies, how are these "men" in bed?

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February 06, 2016

Cincinnati's Big Joe Duskin

Went to a couple of his practices when I was in high school. Authentic bluesman in the staid Queen City.

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February 05, 2016

REDUX: Nice, smart kids make terrible lawyers.

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Image: Ragdoll Productions for BBC TV


What kind of human makes a great lawyer?

I don't mean a go-through-the-motions lawyer, a tell-you-what-the law-is lawyer (dipstick variety) or even a yeoman lawyer here. I mean a solid and effective advocate-adviser you can count on when money, reputation, freedom and sometimes life itself is at stake.

People who work every day for 40 years for each client as if it's their first day working on their first real client assignment. Sure, some of the details get to be tedious or old hat after a while--but those juices are always flowing. They are always tuned into their responsibilities to others. They take great pride in it. People, if you will, who were born to be lawyers.

"Nice, smart" kids, maybe?

No. In fact, "nice, smart" kids including scads of first-borns who were always great students, maybe elected Senior Class President in high school or on the debating team in college--they come in droves to the legal profession every year and have done that for generations--almost always make shitty lawyers.

"Smart" is a prerequisite. "Nice" is okay--"happy" is more important--but you meet few sane clients who insist on "nice".

To be an effective lawyer, you need a lot more going on, whether you are doing litigation, transactional work, regulatory matters and even legislative/lobbying kinds of projects. I'm not an expert on personality types. But in my view you probably ought to have all of the following: (1) more energy than most people have, (2) stamina (good physical health, perhaps better than average health), (3) persistence, (4) ambition, (5) resilience, (6) competitiveness and a (7) mean streak a mile wide you can turn off and on. And that's for starters. Here are two more: (8) a natural tendency to thrive on and even relish conflict (no, not "embrace", I said relish) and (9) a natural tendency to regard "stress as kind of fuel".

So with that in mind, we've renamed our blog, starting two days ago--until the day after Labor Day--What About Clients/Paris? will be known as "It's Not About the Lawyers, Teacups." As most of our seven or eight regular readers we've picked up since our launch 10 years ago already know, we think there is currently in the legal profession an alarmingly undue emphasis on concepts like:

(a) lawyer comfort and satisfaction generally,

(b) lawyer self-esteem,

(c) lawyer "resilience" (N.B. "lawyer resilience"; this is a subtopic if there ever was one that is certain to make a lot of sophisticated clients look suddenly like they've lost several pints of blood the first time they hear it),

(d) lawyer "mindfulness" and other pop-Zen faux-Eastern notions of well-being, calm, repose, serenity and right state of mind which are taught by people who have no idea what they're talking about to often youngish lawyers who don't know the difference and which would have Alan Watts, Eknath Easwaran or Gautama Himself rolling agonizingly in their graves;

(e) lawyer mental health, and

(f) the new "Lawyer Patienthood", especially underemployed or unemployed younger lawyers who are desperate to make the profession "fit them" even if in the best of economic times it would be painfully apparent to them and many others that they are wonderful, important and talented creatures who deserve to be happy but were simply not cut out to be lawyers in the first place. "Nice, smart kids" can certainly do many other things.

I think that the wrong humans have been entering law school for some time now, from the oldest Baby Boomers to the youngest of Gen-Ys. Somehow we need to attract those who are born with the basic mental, emotional and physical makings of the kind of person clients and customers can rely on with confidence. There are lots of these folks--and we need to start attracting them to this profession. For the last three decades, at least, they have not appeared in great numbers. Let's develop more sophisticated ways of identifying them--and for the sake of clients everywhere somehow start getting them here.

[From a post on September 3, 2015]

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February 03, 2016

Against the Great Neutering: Mr. Cage, thank you for being a Man.

On Twitter this morning I found the below Tweet. I was moved. Via Mr. Cage @I_AmAmerica "I'm Young, Black, Married, Father, Christian Conservative with a Huge Attitude":

Dear Men of America

Our women and children need us to be leaders, not some emotional, docile, weak cry baby.

# FAMILYFIRST

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February 02, 2016

Heroes: My favorite tribe.

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Hey, you. Ever had an original thought in your entire life?

Don't mean to go all Sartre on you guys but I'm always amused at the concept of "making bad choices" in life. How many of us on this earth really make any important "choices" AT ALL? Don't most people just do (a) as their parents did, (b) as society does or (c) what someone else tells them to do? Aren't most of us really on our knees most of the time? Crawling around like curs for a cue or sign of what next step to take? How many of us lead authentic and original lives? How many of us have ever had a truly original thought in our entire lives? End of Sartre. Back to regular bourgeois blog programming.

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How many of us have ever made an important choice at all?

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Edward Gibbon: What ancient Germans got right.

The most civilized nations of modern Europe issued from the woods of Germany; in the rude institutions of those Barbarians we [received] the original principles of our present laws and manners.

--Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter IX (1782)

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February 01, 2016

The Annoying but Highly Correct and Soulful 12 Rules of Client Service.

...are right here. Revel in their Wisdom. Ignore them at your Peril. Teach them to The Help.

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January 31, 2016

Do Faith and Religion oversimplify Real Life? Prevent some of us from growing?

Good Sunday morning--and Query:

1. I believe in a God or gods or some "oversoul" and that there is something eternal and infinite about each human being. I always have.

2. But I don't believe in organized faith or religion. In the case of many--no, not all--people, I think faith keeps them from observing, thinking and learning, and often gets used to sidestep and avoid the marvelous/awful complexity of the Real World.

3. Do some--no, not all--followers of established religions (any religion) either consciously or unconsciously use their religion or faith and its teachings as a way to prevent real growing "first-hand" as a human being?

4. Does organized religion and faith--again, for some, not all--not only simplify things and bring order to life but also serve as a kind of default substitute for exploring, thinking and learning about the actual world around them so that they no longer need to explore, think and learn on their own? So that life is more "scripted" and easier for them?

Do religion and faith oversimplify Real Life and make us lazy and not curious?

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Saint Jerome translating Latin Bible, late 4th century. Leonello Spada, 1610. Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome. In memory of my late Aldeburgh friend poet, author, professor and translator Herbert "Bertie" Lomas (1924-2011).

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J. Dan Hull, II (March 11, 1900 - October 13, 1987)

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J. Dan Hull, II, 1933. Above is his Yale Ph.D picture. Class act. American dream overachiever and gentlemen's gentlemen. Authentic and honest--and never went out of his way to trumpet either trait. My Grandpop. First Hull in Virginia-Missouri line to even go to college. His dad self-educated John Hull (JDH I) made his first stake as a laborer building railroads out West and ended up owning a drug store in Mountain Grove, Missouri. Grandpop, who fought with his own dad a lot (as I did with mine), entered University of Missouri at 16 years old and and got his Masters degree from University of Chicago at age 20. Grandpop's family were relative newcomers to the colonies compared to my Mom's side of the family, who got to Massachusetts in 1634. Born in Mountain Grove, Missouri, he ended his career as a player in the Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, author (including co-authoring the standard text for many years on secondary American education), Renaissance man and member of the Cosmos Club, the merit-based club for D.C.'s intellectual elite.

Grandpop's great-great-great grandfather came to America as a teen with his own father from Germany and landed Middlebrook, Virginia in about 1750. Three generations later, just before the Civil War, another earlier Dan Hull, a miller and farmer, moved his large family from Virginia to Missouri in a what sounds like an ingenious "tricked-out" family carriage reputedly-handy old Dan had built especially for the trip. Old Dan drove the carriage. A wagon hitched to a four-horse team driven by a Bill Argenbright hauled the family goods. The journey to Missouri took 2 months, with then teenage Bill Hull--my great-great grandfather--serving on horseback as scout and advance man for supplies and campsites. Old Dan's other two sons, also on saddle horse, helped guide the trip. Just before making the trip, the family freed the slaves (at least 2) they had. They rested once a week to do washing, rest and attend church if possible. Old Dan's wife, who I'll write about some other time, was a devout Lutheran, as were all the 100 years of German-descended kin they were leaving back in Middlebrook, Virginia.

Two generations later, Grandpop was born in 1900, 50 years after that westward trip led by his grandfather Bill. Given his roots and his low-key, always-dignified personality, his career and unpretentious leap into elite American circles is amazing. Educator. Diplomat. World Traveler. Teacher. Manager. Executive. Musical. Great card player. Sportsman. Fisherman. He had taste, too. Aggressive and strong but often quiet--sometimes too quiet, with a tinge of melancholy that moved me. Like me, not completely knowable. Well-read and well-traveled. Effortlessly well-dressed at all times. (Slim but well-built, he looked more elegant in T-shirt than most men do in a tux.) Loved, admired and respected by the cream of Missourians and Washington, D.C. Member of DC's famous merit-based Cosmos Club. Hung out with John Kenneth Galbraith and Elliot Richardson. Not bad for an Ozarks mountain boy. And great, I'm told, with women folk. Raised 3 sisters after his young mother, Nancy Susan McQuitty--who he adored--died in 1917 on Christmas Eve, when he was always strangely quiet. He lived 87.5 years. (March 11, 1900 - October 13, 1987).

Both his Dad JDH I and his granddad Bill (a confederate soldier) lived even longer lives, dying in 1929 and 1953. His wife--and my pistol of a grandmother, Alene Oliver Hull--died in their house in Springfield, MO at 101. Grandpop taught me a lot. I miss him a lot. If it were not for 3 Missourians--Pat Bevier and Mary Helen Allen, my Dad's first cousins, and my marvelous new-found cousin, Super-Mom and Walmart exec Kristi Towe--I would have had a very hard time putting all this together accurately over the past few years. (Well, I may never have; it's time-consuming and I was always doing it half-assed and guessing based on things Grandpop told me, the Internet and 3 "mysterious" not-so-mysterious wills dating back to the 1700s my Dad John Hull gave me.) But 99.5% of the German Hulls is knowable--just not as well-kept as the history of my Mom's family (Holden) who've been keeping accurate records through the Colonial Dames organizations for several generations. Thanks for the work, you 3.

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January 29, 2016

Real-life Facebook Private Chat with Non-Feminist Girl/Woman "looking for a good man."

NOTE and WARNING: So a youngish attractive (not by mine but by normal people standards) person between 18 and 25 from her photo recently "friended" me on Facebook. I apparently accepted thinking she had some personal connection to me; she does not. Today she privately messaged me to chat via Facebook Messenger. We chatted while I was still at my office--I'm a youngish energetic Boomer lawyer; we're all like this, even on Friday nights--in my last half-hour at work. I unfriended her at 7:26 PM. Look, there is nothing more dangerous/unsexy than this kind of human you meet on the Net. Okay, a bit funny to me maybe. However, if you're a regular homely and/or sexually-frustrated married guy unskilled in philandering, or a part-time or novice cad, this is NOT fun, funny or safe. Do not try this at home; you'll just screw it up, end up on a Chris Hansen NBC show. I am correcting typos and punctuation of her English prose for clarity in this post. Otherwise verbatim:

(Chat Conversation Begin 6:56PM)

HER: Hi

ME: Hi, what's up? Can I help you?

[longish pause]

HER: How are you doing?

ME: Fine. And you?

HER: I am doing well. I am looking for a good man.

ME: That would not be me. I have had 2 or maybe 3 wives and scores of girlfriends and cheated on every one of them. Besides you are way too young for me. Way.

[moderate pause]

HER: You mean you cheated on your wives and GFs?

ME: Yes. Every one of them. I think there's something wrong with me.

[No pause at all but this non-sequitur response...]

HER: But I believe with love 2 people can overcome age and distance.

ME: Well, I don't. I'm looking for (1) Smith College, (2) brilliance, (3) wit, (4) Anglo-Gaelic breeding, (5) athleticism, (6) world-class beauty, (7) a flat in London and (8) really big trust funds. And (9) right here in DC. Must have all 9.

[another longish pause]

HER: Really?

ME: Yes. Absolutely. How did we get to be FB friends? I may be the wrong Dan Hull. There are lots of Dan Hulls and most are lazy hillbillies like me. Half of us are in jail.

[short pause]

HER: Uhhh...ok.

[Chat Conversation End 7:25pm]

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1 out of 9 doesn't cut it.

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January 28, 2016

Full Dan Hull Interview by Mirriam Seddiq and Assorted Sidekicks at new NGNW Podcast Show.

Think Howard Stern for lawyers, politics junkies and free expression warriors. It's right here--or on the embedded graphic below. Last week I was honored to be the first guest of immigration and criminal defense lawyer Mirriam Seddiq on her Not Guilty, Now Way podcast show at its studios in Upper Marlboro, Alabama. We covered lots, including Donald Trump, free expression, immigration, 2nd amendment, Jewish doctors, Finnish women, neutered men, correct receptionists, Duke writers and Irish drunks. She was assisted by three smart people: Justin the Lawyer, Steven the Law Clerk and Katie the Hot Receptionist. Show founder and producer Seddiq does quite nicely--in addition to being a trial lawyer, she's a natural journalist, and will get even better; this was her first show--as an interviewer. More importantly, she's good-looking and doesn't talk all the time.

NOTE: Seriously, if you want to hear why I think all Americans owe Donald Trump a huge debt of gratitude for what he has done--purposely or inadvertently--for American elections, their media coverage, free expression and advancing our national dialogue on both 2nd Amendment and immigration policy, listen to this podcast. My interview starts at about 27:00 minutes.


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January 27, 2016

You a Man?

Nothing in the Universe is cooler than Muddy Waters live in 1971 singing Manish Boy. Nothing. This is music that GenY and the generations after can't neuter. "I'm a rollin' stone. I'm a man-child. I'm a hoochie coochie man....." Happy Birthday today to uber-lawyer Hans-Josef Vogel in Bonn, Germany. They broke the mold, Hanjo. Brilliant, incisive, fun, honest, authentic and the second most interesting lawyer on the planet.

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January 26, 2016

What About Clients/Paris? endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for Dem ticket.

Love her or hate her, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most qualified U.S. presidential candidate in decades. And she clearly deserves the Democratic Party nomination. This country is fortunate to have quite a few people who can serve well as POTUS. Most (no, not all) of the GOP folks are presidential timber. But HRC, whose career I have followed for years, is the strongest of any candidate in 2016 hands-down. As much I admire Donald Trump recently--I think Trump has already greatly advanced and improved the election process, election media coverage, free expression generally and debates on issues like immigration and the 2nd Amendment, possibly on a long-term basis--HRC is not only the most qualified candidate but also the most accomplished public leader in my generation. A born manager, she's smart and tough. And she's a natural wartime president. (Yes, I believe we are at war here, now and on American soil.) Elitist? Sure. But she's an elitist who cares about the folks. Think FDR, but much, much meaner. And wonkier. Adlai Stevenson with balls, my friends. See Sunday's piece by the Boston Globe's Editorial Board, Hillary Clinton deserves Democratic nomination. Fair call, Boston Globe, which turns 144-years-old this year and is (we should mention) owned by The New York Times Company. The Globe's Sunday piece begins:

America looks different in 2016 than it did the last time Hillary Clinton ran for president: The economy has come out of free fall, the military has left the quagmire of the Iraq war, barriers to equality have toppled, and universal access to health care has become a reality. Tumultuous as they’ve been, the Barack Obama years have proved transformative — and the priority for Democratic voters should be to protect, consolidate, and extend those gains.

Today, the nation has new challenges, which require a different kind of leader — someone who can keep what Obama got right, while also fixing his failures, especially on gun control and immigration reform. That will require a focus and toughness that Obama sometimes lacked. This is Clinton’s time, and the Globe enthusiastically endorses her in the Feb. 9 Democratic primary in New Hampshire. She is more seasoned, more grounded, and more forward-looking than in 2008, and has added four years as secretary of state to her already formidable resume. Democrats in the Granite State should not hesitate to choose her.

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January 23, 2016

Snow Storm Jonas: Coping in D.C.

The Snowstorm has severely disrupted normal Washington, D.C. downtown street life. Can't even find a 280-pound senior hooker willing to call me Smokestack Lightning.

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Gen. Joe Hooker's statue, Boston, February 18, 1928 by Leslie Jones (1886-1967)

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Help Out Urban Snow Sleepers: One Night/One Person.

As an (a) Eagle Scout, (b) Lifelong Camper and (c) All-Weather Philanderer, I assure you that sleeping in the snow is not all that fun.

At times it's not even a choice. Jack London and Hans Christian Andersen wrote enduring stories about death from hypothermia. Happens above freezing temps, too. So consider more than ever (and right now) "One Night/One Person" in view of Big Ass northeastern snow storm. Details below in "There's Cold Rough Sleepers in Yuppie Land Again: Fly Your Real Colors for 'One Night, One Person'". Instructions below.

You're a Yuppie, professional or other generic dweeb between the ages of 22 and 82. You live in towns like New York City, Philly, Boston, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Wilmington, DC or Chicago. You may live in the suburbs or in a downtown neighborhood of these cities. But if you work during the day in a downtown area of any of them, you and yours will go forth and do this:

1. Pick out and ask a homeless woman or man what articles of warm clothing she or he needs that you already have at home or in storage--thermal gloves, wool scarfs, warm hats and beanies, big sweaters, winter coats, thermal underwear, socks, etc.

2. Ask just one person at a time.

3. Agree on a time to meet (preferably at the same place) later that day or the next day.

4. Find the winter stuff you have at home or in storage.

5. Bring said stuff to the homeless woman or man as agreed.

6. Nine out of ten times, your new friend will be there when you show up.

7. Wait for forecasts of the next super-cold night--and repeat.

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January 22, 2016

Dupont Circle

Maybe I should move from Dupont-Logan? Last night after it snowed I bought a diamond tiara, two Barbara Streisand albums and the soundtrack from RENT.

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January 21, 2016

Jerry Springer, what happened, Buddy?

I often think about Jerry Springer.

Yeah, that Jerry Springer. Pre-TV circus fame, Springer was a talented lawyer, gifted politician, civil rights activist, respected city councilman and Cincinnati mayor (i.e., weak-mayor system slot) three decades ago. Springer was the Jewish Bobby Kennedy--who he had worked for and even looked a lot like.

Talk about Born to Run. A credible and polished liberal Democrat, for Pete's sake, in staid Republican stronghold Cincinnati, Ohio. Young London-born Jerry Springer in a place like Cincinnati was Unheard Of. He was first pol I ever volunteered to campaign for--and did that as a high school student. And I lived less than a mile from Senator Taft's family's house.

In fact, the Queen City and the very Eastern Hills neighborhood and school district I grew up in is home to President Taft, Taft's U.S. senator son ("Mr. Republican"), Taft's U.S. senator grandson and Taft's Ohio governor great-grandson. Respected GOP Senator Rob Portman went to private school down the street from me. Ex-Speaker John Boehner is from the eastern suburb next door. And Cincinnati generally is a hard-working and mainly white-collar GOP German-Catholic reactionary part of Ohio and America. Partly Midwestern, and a bit Southern, the city is nestled in green hills and greenbelt overlooking the Ohio River and the State of Kentucky.

Jerry Springer was the Anointed One: a pre-Rahm Rahm. Born to run for office, and active politically as a carpetbagger in Southwestern Ohio. Springer worked at BigLaw's now-Frost Brown, then Frost & Jacobs, conservative by even Cincinnati standards. Springer was the brave golden boy with almost shockingly progressive, liberal ideas for that region. A true Natural. Born to run.

In the summer of 1977, as part of a summer gig for the Cincinnati Legal Aid Society, I interviewed Councilman Springer for forty-five minutes with another law student--an also very young law student at HLS from Cincinnati named Keith Glaser--in connection with a Justice Department DOJ Voting Rights Act investigation of Cincinnati's city at-large councilmanic election schemata Keith and I were helping with. Springer was genuinely supportive of our effort to have more Cincinnati blacks--35% of the city proper--on city council, where they were under-represented.*

Anyway, Jerry Springer. I'm not easily charmed by politicians, men women, actors, actresses or other humans. I've met and spoken at length with only two other pols in my life that are in Jerry Springer's Charm League: GOP mainstay Richard Thornburg and one ex-POTUS named William Jefferson Clinton. All three are very close on the head-spinning meter.

It's a very long story--one I am sure will be a movie some day. But Jerry Springer liked publicity, money, being famous and getting laid more than The Cause itself. And who am I to blame him? Those are exactly the things I like, too. But as Springer approaches his 72nd birthday, I wonder if we'll ever get him back. I hope we do. This is a great and talented human and leader.

*See, if you are interested, something I wrote back then which unexpectedly (to me, anyway) won two awards, including a national one, which article I recall my own father thought was uninteresting and irrelevant. Hull, Challenges to At-Large Election Plans: Modern Local Government on Trial, 47 U.CIN.L. REV. 64 (1978)

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January 20, 2016

Second Amendments

Apparently I'm one of the least paranoid, least uptight people on the planet. E.g., I routinely imagine that people secretly assemble and conspire to do really nice things for me. When confronted with large bears in the Alaska wilds, I've walked toward them. (Seriously.) But as a few of you know, I'm thinking of buying a gun. At a minimum, I'm going to learn more about guns, about gun safety and how to grip and shoot a handgun, a rifle and a shotgun. And what do you think of this article? "Discoveries of an Anti-Gunner: My Conversion to the Other Side" by one Ms. Robyn Sandoval.

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January 19, 2016

American Pantheon: Alicia Vikander

Alicia Vikander is the 27-year-old Swedish actress who plays painter and historical figure Gerda Wegener in the new film The Danish Girl, with Eddie Redmayne. Wegener plays the wife of Einar Wegener (Redmayne's), also an artist, and one of the first known people to undergo a sex-change operation. As usual, Redmayne is first-rate, and nearly flawless in communicating what Wegener likely went through. Alica Vikander, however, is a revelation--at least to me. She shows each of the intertwining, never-ending, conflicting emotions she struggles with as she consistently supports her husband--turning from a man into a woman before her eyes--in a way that riveted me. This is a film about true romantic love. It may stretch you a bit.

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Original posting date: December 23, 2015

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January 18, 2016

Montgomery, Alabama, September 4, 1958.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). He is 29.

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Doing America: The Informality, the Openness, the Feigned Familiarity, the Gall.

People will not wait to be introduced and will even begin to speak with strangers as they stand in a line, sit next to each other at an event, or gather in a crowd.

--Kwintessential, a London-based consultancy on what to expect in America

One of my best Brit friends is a City (central London) lawyer who lives part of the time in Kent. He and his wife live in a very old village which is about the same population it was 1000 years ago: about 200. To a degree, and at only certain times, I like making him uncomfortable with my American colonial manners, and in some situations work at it pretty hard. In most respects, however, I do as my European hosts do wherever I am and wherever they take me. But there are exceptions. For one thing, I refuse to park my friendliness and open curiosity about people, places and things. I can't help it. Even when I am trying to tone things down.

Like the time I upset everyone by chatting up my Kent friend's butcher early one quiet Saturday morning while the butcher was cutting up something that we would prepare later for dinner. Just the three of us. No one else was in the store. It was quite tiny but had a prosperous look. The butcher was clearly proud of his shop. I started asking the butcher about the store, how business and even his hat, which I complimented him on. Which took me only about 30 seconds. The butcher looked a bit frantic, said nothing and turned to my friend for help or an explanation. The butcher got both. My friend quickly said something like "He's an American...very friendly you know...what are we to do?"

It's true. American manners drives Brits, Germans and most northern Europeans nuts: American informality, openness, curiosity non-stop cheerfulness and friendliness. Over on their side of the pond, even a very self-assured and accomplished southern England executive, consultant, lawyer or other professional, for example, would rather choke to death than talk to strangers in a subway or ask how to get to a bank or money exchange. But wide-open is what Americans are and have always been; if you want to do business in the U.S., you need to step up. Or at least tolerate us. When we Yanks are over there, you guys can complain and be mortified all you want. And you do.

There is no end to multi-cultural etiquette primers on "doing business internationally", and most of them are of course drivel. The best advice in a nutshell? Go where you need to go, and watch your American hosts carefully as you work--but do "go native". Be prepared to amp yourself up just a notch. The website of UK-based Kwintessential does a nice job of laying out the overall business atmosphere here in a few sentences:

American friendliness and informality is legendary. People will not wait to be introduced and will even begin to speak with strangers as they stand in a line, sit next to each other at an event, or gather in a crowd.

Americans are direct in the way they communicate. They value logic and linear thinking [note: not sure I agree with foregoing clause] and expect people to speak clearly and in a straightforward manner. Time is money in the U.S. so people tend to get to the point quickly and are annoyed by beating around the bush.

Communicating virtually (i.e. through email, SMS, Skype, etc) is very common with very little protocol or formality in the interaction. If you are from a culture that is more subtle in communication style, try not to be insulted by the directness.

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January 17, 2016

Keith Relf: Now I'm a Man.

Going back down
To Kansas, too.
Bring back a little girl,
Just like you.

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January 16, 2016

Professionals should not work for free. Ever.

I just finished a moderately difficult personal and sensitive legal project for an physician friend about my vintage (who does well for himself) that I could not comfortably delegate to anyone. I was assured (by a lawyer friend of his, no less) it would take roughy an hour of my time but no more.

I finished it last night. Better than expected outcome. It took over 5 hours and the work was of course done at a level I would have done for GE, Alcoa or Balfour Beatty. Just got a note from this gentlemen that said in part "If I can ever return the favor, let me know!"

Yes, you can, Skippy.

How about payment for just one billable hour at our rate for small business, non-profits and other street people? WTF.

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January 15, 2016

Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman (1946 – 2016)

British actor's actor Alan Rickman died yesterday at the age of 69.

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