November 29, 2013
My Rum Diary: Growing up Hunter S. Thompson.
Kurtz. He got off the boat. He split from the whole goddamn program.
--Captain Willard, Apocalypse Now (1979)
Thompson had a way of keeping anyone unfriendly to the very idea of him beyond even mere curiosity. Just unaware. In that case, you were a nice person doing the best you could. You didn't "need it"--anymore than you needed to become good friends with Andy Warhol, Ralph Nader, Harry Dean Stanton, or Dr. John the Night Tripper, whoever they were.
Twenty years ago, when I was an associate in D.C. sweating everything, I worried a lot about something hanging in my office: a framed black, white and red "Hunter S. Thompson for Sheriff" election poster for a 1970 election in Aspen, Colorado.
The poster bore a Harvard Strike fist. Inside the fist there appeared to be what someone explained was a drawing of a plant which bad or crazy people chewed on to "get high". But I quickly realized that anyone who actually knew about Thompson and his books and articles on presidential politics, Las Vegas and the Kentucky Derby--the event in his hometown of Louisville was "decadent and depraved"--would likely like me for having it.
I was right. The poster meant nothing to most people who visited my office, and it even helped me make friends. In the 1970s and 1980s, people read and loved him or had never heard of him.
So you either "knew" HST--or you didn't.
He either delighted, or was too disturbing to explore. A talented and comical writer, he drank too much, really did like chemicals, hated Richard Nixon, upset people on the press entourage, freaked out editors, showed up drunk for "speeches", and arranged for Ed Muskie to be severely menaced on a train by one seriously funny outlaw rich kid named Peter Sheridan.
He liked weapons. He was once accused of firing a military rocket at a snowmobile. According to a friend of mine who worked for one of the TV news networks, Thompson once mysteriously and suddenly showed a handgun to Secret Service agents and reporters sitting in a booth in a famously silly Capitol Hill singles bar, mumbling "just in case there's a firefight..."
Even with that public life, Thompson had a way of keeping anyone unfriendly to the very idea of him beyond even mere curiosity. Just unaware. In that case, you were a nice person doing the best you could. You didn't "need it"--anymore than you needed to become good friends with Andy Warhol, Ralph Nader, Harry Dean Stanton, or Dr. John the Night Tripper, whoever they were.
Even after Thompson became a character in Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury, saw two movies based on his work, and died by his own hand in early 2005, most people didn't have a clue or want to. One exception in later years: "beer hippies" and GenX stoners finally discovered Thompson--"Gonzo, drugs, liberal stances, hey Hunter's my man"--and my guess is that he secretly looked down on them.
Well, anyone can be in his club at this point. But I needed it all along. He was an angry but fine writer, a humorist, an innovator--and a big hillbilly like me who grew up on the Mason-Dixon line and all along just wanted to fall in love. He still makes me laugh and cry.
Maybe there is no Heaven.
Or maybe this is all pure gibberish — a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow — to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested.
October 30, 2013
No candy in the house? No problem, Jack. Just turn off the lights, lie on the floor.
August 21, 2013
Inspiration: You have to go after it with a club.
She's got wonderful eyes. And a whiskey mouth.
August 25, 2012
One Possible Paradise: Baker, Bruce, Clapton.
August 18, 2012
Mo' music for my bubula Paul Ryan to kick out the JAMs with.
Know what I'm sayin', Paul?
Her heart was going like mad and yes she said yes I will Yes.
July 27, 2012
Just a Prisoner of Rock 'n' Roll: Eagle Scouts? Huxley? Hemingway? Let's hear from the Real Men.
July 22, 2012
More Reasons to Live.
July 03, 2012
July 1970. Part 2. Wayne Kramer, and Ramblin' Rose.
Skip Gail and go right to :53.
July 1970. Part 1. MC5, House Band for the Revolution.
June 04, 2012
Manchester, England: "Cottonmilled. Bomb-rocked. Unbroken."
--from Carole Houlston's "Manchester".
It's a mean old town to live in by yourself. Ah, Manchester. In America, imagine Pittsburgh with Passion. Cleveland with Glitz. Cincinnati with Biceps. Or, in Albion itself, London much rawer. Fabled, wonderfully gritty and real, this ancient second city once had an economic school of thought named after it, via England's Prime Minister Disraeli. It's got one of everything. No one here pines for London. Shameless, and smart, any waif here will kick your ass, Justin.
Mean Town Blues
Play loud. Non-Limp Music. Manchesterism.
June 01, 2012
Ex-National Anthems: Don't Sing this One at Home Alone.
May 19, 2012
Saturday Layover in Chicago: An honor. This is one mean, wonderful hardworking town.
The Newport Folk Festival July 26 1965
April 27, 2012
Mannish boys grow up to be Senators.
April 17, 2012
Greater China: More than a feeling. Try not to screw up, okay?,
Do see "The Legal Faults With Faulty China Translations" at China Law Blog.
April 16, 2012
Poetry Month, Millenium, Age, Whatever: Michael Drayton & Ray Davies Get Wild for Old Blighty.
O famous Kent
What country hath this isle
That can compare with thee?
--Michael Drayton (1563-1631)
Canada to India. Australia to Cornwall. Singapore to Hong Kong.
April 06, 2012
Statesboro: "Grandma and Grandpa had 'em too".
Woke up this morning,
We had them Statesboro blues.
I looked over in the corner,
Grandma and Grandpa had 'em too.
April 02, 2012
Morning, Campers: It's Monday. Need speed-freak jive?
March 02, 2012
Come back Monday. Come back Tuesday.
Billy? He got down on his hands & knees. He said, hey momma, let me check your oil alright? She said, no, no honey, not tonite. Come back Monday, come back Tuesday, then I might.
December 20, 2011
Merry Clayton To All.
Burns like a red coal carpet,
Mad bull lost its way.
November 06, 2011
Need Drive, Energy, Moxie, Gospel and Passion? Then Channel Baby Boomers.
October 22, 2011
Did you ever have Neil Young's passion? For even 5 minutes?
September 25, 2011
Reason To Live.
Go over there, turn on the light.
Hey, all the lights.
Come over here, stand on that chair.
Yeah, that's right.
Detroit's Wayne Kramer: He Always Means Business.
The MC5 truly believed in the power of rock & roll to change the world. --Rolling Stone
For all you Detroit-area boomers and ex-hippies now living in Grosse Pointe Shores, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham, below is the MC5's Wayne Kramer singing "Ramblin' Rose" and dancing around on stage in July 1970 at Tartar Field (since razed) at Wayne State University. This concert happened about two months after the shootings on May 4 at Kent State--just a few hours drive south and around Lake Erie to northeastern Ohio. Note that Patti Smith's husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith, now deceased, is the non-dancing guitarist in the dark cowboy shirt. If you were born after 1970, don't bother with any of this. Instead, spend the time complaining about how hard your life is and how no one at work appreciates you.
And the MC 5? Saw them 4 or 5 times. Even Cincinnati loved them. They brought out a King-Hell Wild Animal-Angel in every audience they assaulted. Wayne Kramer? He's still at it. Still kicking JAMS. Expect a couple more shellings from him.
September 16, 2011
"It's a shame the way she makes me sweep the floor..."
Still working on Maggie's farm, Bubba?
August 31, 2011
Renaissance Woman Sarah Silverman: "I love you more than Gary Busey."
August 26, 2011
It's Friday night again. You really believe Your Wife is out with The Girls?
There's a man down there. Might be your husband. I don't know.
"She took all my money. Wrecked my new car. Now she's with one of my good time buddies. Drinkin' in some cross town bar."
August 23, 2011
Skip Ad. Turn Up Volume. Get to the Hen House. Dance Hard.
August 10, 2011
Clapton: August Afternoon Boost. Music. Trumps Diet Dr. Pepper, Jack.
August 06, 2011
Mississippi Fred McDowell: John Henry.
May 20, 2011
"Hot Legs, bring your mother, too."
I love you honey.
May 17, 2011
Feat Tuesday: I hear you moan, I hear you moan, I hear you moan.
Billy he got so sad, dejected, put on his hat and start to run
Runnin' down the street yellin' at the top of his lungs.
March 25, 2011
Ancient Galleries. Ancient Faces. Part II: Is she cheating on you?
"The men don't know."
February 28, 2011
Sheen-1 or 2 Points. Media--Less Than Zero.
Query: Is there Anyone more Irresponsible & Whoring than Network News Talking-Head Shrinks? We'll take Charlie any day.
February 06, 2011
Boomers: Please Don't Retire. Ever.
(Detroit, July 1970.)
November 15, 2010
Weak Local Counsel--Another Lawyer-Centric Epidemic?
Weak local counsel (sometimes "terd") esp. Amer. n. 1. a wimpy law firm hired in an unknown or insular jurisdiction or locale for litigation (or other contentious matters) who, after the engagement has begun, instinctively and consistently puts local relationships ahead of the interests of your shared client. 2. Waste of time and money. 3. Encourage to apply for non-profit work.
They are legion, and some of your best friends. They are not bad people. They are often very smart and nice. Others may even call them good lawyers, and invite them to bar functions, family cookouts, church groups and wine-and-cheese parties. Or to more unruly places like Daytona, the Hamptons, or saloons with boozy names like Bullfeathers or the Tune Inn. They are Everywhere, and mostly men. They are in the wrong profession (or practice area). They don't know that yet, may never know, or want to know.
Do replace weak/wimpy local counsel quickly at the first sign of hesitancy to put your client first--even if it's supremely awkward, or involves "old ties". Clients do come first. In an ongoing contentious matter especially, you live and breathe it. Neither you--or your local attorneys--should even have to think very hard about that one.
You can serve a client without hurting relationships between lawyers in or out of their own provinces. One of the advantages of local counsel in litigation is a knowledge of, and rapport with, the locals, and their folkways. But those relationships come second to a mutual client. Anything less is at best "unprofessional" and, at worst, a conflict of interest. The following, from our "Sensitive Litigation Moment"/Federal Courts series, are among the most visited WAC? articles: Is "Professionalism" Just A Lawyer-Centric Ruse?, The Client's Professionalism Rules For Litigation, and "Professionalism Revisited: What About the Client?" (also in San Diego Daily Transcript, April 29, 2005).
Example: Last year our firm quickly engaged for litigation a local counsel in the small branch of a large Midwestern firm for an important out-of-state federal court discovery skirmish. They were two experienced lawyers with fine credentials who focused more on preserving personal relationships with local lawyers in their town than on going to bat for our mutual business client, a very good one at that. It was frustrating--and a bit pathetic--like having a courtly and polite but somewhat inebriated and prissy tennis doubles partner with weights strapped to each of leg, who was either unwilling or unable to go to the net. After informal discussions with adverse (plaintiff's) counsel failed three times, we and the client asked local counsel to file with us an aggressive but clearly needed motion in order to protect the record. Our co-counsel at first balked, and even defended themselves ("well, you know, we have to practice around here..."). It made us feel helpless and, well, angry.
But it was my firm's fault. We "let go" their well-known firm and them as soon as we caught on. We resolved next time to do better research on the ability of local counsel to be aggressive (if we needed it). Not only did our client and we waste time and money on that firm. The firm we canned lost out on the very real prospect of repeat work from that publicly-traded client. The client could have selected the larger firm for future work on its own, or our own boutique firm could have selected it for work with that client or other clients, as we often need strong help throughout the U.S. and in Europe. We love larger firms--when they deliver.
October 23, 2010
Saturday: Pre-Depression Era Moxie Music.
"Down on the heels, up on the toes, stay after school, learn how it goes." --Buddy De Sylva, Lew Brown, Ray Henderson
September 04, 2010
Were you born in 1941?
May 13, 2010
NYC: You still feel like a religion.
"What of the cripple who hates dancers?"
-- جبران خليل جبران بن ميکائيل بن سعد
For all the hassles, if you live in or around around Manhattan, be grateful. You are daily taxed, stretched and tested. It's grow or die. But most New Yorkers more than survive. Smaller U.S. towns--the majority that shed their old skins in pain and slow motion--secretly envy New York City every moment.
April 09, 2010
Keith Richards: It's only Yeats and Maugham but I like it.
We knew this all along, of course. Nonetheless, our thanks here in America to Ray Ward in New Orleans and five feral law librarians for letting the gas out of the whippet canister. Last Sunday, The Times (of London) noted that Keith Richards loves, voraciously reads, and collects books. Richards "has even considered 'professional training' to manage thousands of books" in his Sussex and Connecticut homes. At one point, he
started to arrange the volumes, including rare histories of early American rock music and the second world war, by the librarian’s standard Dewey Decimal classification system but gave up on that as “too much hassle.” He has opted instead for keeping favoured volumes close to hand and the rest languishing on dusty shelves.
Richards has also acted as a public library, lending out copies of the latest Bernard Cornwell or Len Deighton novels to friends without much hope of getting them back.
And, like the Queen at Balmoral, he leaves favoured books by the bedside for guests staying at Redlands, his moated Elizabethan farmhouse near West Wittering in West Sussex and in Weston, Connecticut.
Keith on a health day.
November 01, 2008
"...got got got to now now now got got got to try a little tenderness..."
Hey we be duck walkin' in Palo Alto. Watch the young woman, who'd be about 60 now, midway through the clip. When was the last time you were moved by anything, Jack?
"Got got got got got got got got got got got got got got got got..."
July 26, 2008
Happy 65th, Sir.
Thanks to Ed. and his tickler system. It's a boomer thing; if you're one of them, and you've been listening for the past 50 years, here's our choice for your entire life's soundtrack.
March 10, 2008
It's Monday, Still Winter.
Don't be hatin' life.
March 03, 2008
Must bust in early May, orders from the DA...
February 01, 2008
August 19, 2007
Business, Law, Clients and The Blues are now International.
Im gonna write a letter to china
See if my babys over there.
Im gonna write a letter to china
See if my babys over there.
If she aint up in the hawaiian islands,
Must be in ethiopia somewhere.
R. Johnson, "Dust My Broom", 1936
While I was in a part of the U.S. originally settled by Asians, and later conquered by Russians and Scandanavians, Ray Ward in the Big Easy reminded me by e-mail about Dust My Broom, this classic Robert Johnson song that every R&B musician, from dozens of countries, with or without its ever-changing lyrics, wants to cover and re-cast. It's about loss, choices, betrayal, hurt, the world, the stock market, mortgage-backed bonds, the Cosmos and Everything. And, of course, about Keith Richards and Rod Stewart. Well, use your imagination, ok?
December 07, 2006
$965 Million: Hard Rock Cafe To Be Sold to Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Here's something you don't read every day. From the Associated Press, Seminole Tribe Buying Hard Rock Cafe Business for $965 Million.
November 22, 2006
KR Watch: The Huckster Comes Through.
WAC? nearly missed that on November 10, and as he had promised last summer, hip and ambitious Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee pardoned Keith Richards over a 1975 reckless driving/concealed knife arrest and related guilty plea deal and fine. Good move--for Keith, anyway.
October 03, 2006
KR Watch: You think the Pope, Korea and Foley are news?
September 25, 2006
Keith Richards Watch: Breaking Shocking Pirate News...
September 13, 2006
Richards Watch: I Love The Pirate Life.
August 28, 2006
Keith Richards Watch - Scotland.
Free Keith, and Hampden Park. From today's New York Times:
An investigation has begun to determine if the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards violated Scotland’s strict new antismoking law by puffing away when the band performed before thousands at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Friday. If found by the Glasgow City Council to have violated the ban on smoking in all public places, which took effect on March 26, Mr. Richards could be fined $94; and, for failure to enforce the ban, Hampden Park could be fined $472.
September 1 UPDATE: Richards walks on a technicality.
July 25, 2006
Keith Richards Watch: Pardons, Coconut Trees.
He'll be pardoned by Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for a 1975 reckless driving offense. And Richards is "begging" a Pirates of the Caribbean III director to fall Fiji-like out of a coconut tree in the movie but director Gore Verbinski is worried. He thinks Richards should not even climb up pirate ship steps--which might be best accomplished with a stunt double. According to Virgin.net news, Verbinski said: "For a guy who falls out of coconut trees, those steps could be a problem."
July 11, 2006
Keith Richards Watch
MILAN, Italy - Along with age-old issues like how did the Universe begin, what is reality and is the refrigerator light always on, the question why Keith Richards is still alive is both a mystery and inspiration. This blog does not cover science or pharmacology. And Keith's not about Clients, Rule 37, the Clean Air Act or the global economy. But if you were born in the 1940s, 50s or 60s, he is somehow always important--baseline, yardstick, loudly ticking grandfather clock. If he's alive, then you must be, too. We find him okay after his April Fiji Tree Tumble and ready to play both music and Johnny Depp's dad in Pirates of the Caribbean III in "Richards Says He's Recovered From Fall" at MSNBC.