January 03, 2015

Real heroes.

A dog, not a boy, is the hero of this story. Animals have as much heart and soul as some kid on a bike. I don't watch much television but I do have Facebook going on all day--often when I am work--even though I still distrust the often-shallow and culturally illiterate Wild West Show that is the Internet. I've never been an early adopter of anything digital except to get work done when co-workers are in different time zones. And I certainly haven't figured out why I'm on Facebook yet. Anyway, here's a Facebook post I did this morning about this article: He didn't die alone: Boy carries neglected dog for half mile, stays by his side which appeared in something called the Examiner based in Denver:

Animals have souls. The animals in my home. The one in this story. The many we see every day. I will quickly regret writing this--99% sure I'll delete it--but this story had tears streaming down my face before I was halfway though reading it. Me: Tough if erudite and well-traveled irreverent fearless aggressive formerly hard-drinking trial lawyer with enough sand, energy and moxie to alter the outcome of 6 Superbowls. Color me a fraud and a sap. The boy in the story? I'm not impressed or moved by him in the least. Any human being should and would do the same. No big deal, kid. So what? Congrats that you can take up space on my planet.


Posted by JD Hull at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2015

Janus, Roman god of Beginnings.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2014

The real St. Nick: 4th Century Trust Fund Kid. Secret Giver. Popular Bishop. Skilled Pol. Mensch.


Happy Holidays from What About Clients/Paris. Our best wishes for you and yours--and for whatever celebrations or rites you find time for this week. A word about the real Santa, however, is in order, and we are happy to report that the real Santa is not a misty pagan or Druid hangover, as is so often the case with Christmas lore. He is based on a real and really admirable guy. The Bishop of Myra--or Santa Claus to most of the world--lived around 270-345 AD in what is now the Lycian region of Turkey. Both of Nicholas's parents died during an outbreak of the plague, leaving him a great sum of money. This Byzantine trust-fund baby entered the clergy, and became popular for his kindness, generosity, willingness to take on Rome on behalf of Myra, the town he served, and many instances of anonymous and secret gift-giving that his fortune made possible. After he died, the area around Myra became a major pilgrimage center dotted with new churches, including a church named after Nicholas, which is still popular with visitors to this region of Turkey. Anonymous giving, by the way, is the best kind. I like to believe that the life of St. Nicholas was a major inspiration for Magnificent Obsession, the acclaimed 1929 novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, which twice was made into a movie. One theme of Douglas's book is the importance of giving, and other acts of kindness, without wanting or expecting any type of private or public recognition.

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Fresco of St. Nicholas in the Church of St. Nicholas in Demre, Turkey

Posted by JD Hull at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2014

Is Sen. Elizabeth Warren fun or what?

Not sure I would vote for her for anything. But I do like her in the conversation. She scares the smug and comfortable shitless. In fact, she reminds me of what H.L. Mencken once said about newspapers.


Posted by JD Hull at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2014

Pantheon: Happy Birthday, Ms. Remick.


Actress Lee Remick died of liver and kidney cancer in 1991 at the age of 55. If she were alive today, she would only be 79 and, I like to think, still working. Born this day in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1935, Remick was 5'8", with amber hair and stunning blue eyes. She studied acting and dance as a teenager and continued with drama at both Barnard College and at the Actor's Studio in New York City. Although she is best known for her roles in two iconic movies, Days of Wine and Roses and The Omen, she worked both stage and screen during her busy career, which started at the age of 18. She had grace and natural class. She lit up rooms without smiling, moving or gesturing. In 1988, near the end of her life and in her early fifties, Remick sat in the row behind me during hearings in the Rayburn Building. I was attending as an associate for a firm client. (Unannounced and not testifying, she was there as an observer.) I have no idea why I looked to the row behind me but, after I did, it was hard for me to keep my eyes off Remick, even in her obviously plain clothing, and with little makeup. I was staring. She was 25 years older. I still can't explain it.

Posted by JD Hull at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2014

Alice Roosevelt Longworth, American badass.

If you have nothing nice to say, come sit by me.

-- Alice Roosevelt Longworth (died 1980, age 96)

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Posted by JD Hull at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2014

Pat Moynihan on The Irish.

There's no point in being Irish if you don't know that the world is going to break your heart eventually.

I guess that we thought we had a little more time.

--Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then-Assistant Secretary for Labor, a few days after November 22, 1963

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January 26, 1976, Time Magazine. Moynihan was then the United States Ambassador to United Nations.

Posted by JD Hull at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2014

I hardly knew ye: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963)

Tomorrow, November 22, marks the 51st anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination in downtown Dallas, Texas. He was 46 years old. If Kennedy had lived, and were alive today, he would be 97--not a completely inconceivable age for him to have attained given the longevity of some on his mother Rose's side. Below is my favorite photograph of him, likely taken in his late 20s.


A stick in me hand and a tear in me eye
A doleful damsel I heard cry,
Johnny I hardly knew ye.

--from "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye", a popular Irish anti-war song written in early 1800s.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2014

The Book of Kells: Lots of gods are at play here.

The Book of Kells: Is there anything more beautiful? Below is Folio 292r (circa 800) of The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament. It's housed at Trinity College Library, in Dublin, Ireland. This page opens the Gospel of John. Illustrations in the Book of Kells are bursting with pre-Christian, pagan and Celtic symbols and motifs that had evolving, mixing and merging in Ireland for nearly 8000 years before Christianity. The effect is a religious document of mixed media that ranges from the playful, sexual and mystical to the deeply devout and mainstream Christian. 680 pages of the work survives.

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Posted by JD Hull at 04:25 AM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2014

John Michael Doar (1921-2014)

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In 1962, Doar and U.S. Marshals escort James Meredith to class at the then-segregated University of Mississippi. Meredith was its first black student. (Photo: AP)

A Midwesterner who wryly called himself a "Lincoln Republican", John Doar, who died at 92 yesterday, made American legal history more than once. Doar worked in the Justice Department's civil rights division between 1960 and 1967, initially as a high-ranking lawyer and soon as its hands-on chief. He was well-regarded nationally in the early 1960s not only for his creative legal mind but also for his moral and (yes) physical courage. A lawyer with sand. The tall, quiet, athletic and thoroughly unflashy John Doar risked injury and his life on several occasions in the early days of the civil rights movement as the federal government's main actor and front man. Alone, unapologetically, on behalf of the federal government in some of the most racially volatile parts of the American South, he confronted crowds on their way to becoming mobs, and talked the angriest ones out of violence. Doar even lived for two weeks with black University of Mississippi student James Meredith (see above), in effect becoming his body guard. Importantly, he had a major hand in drafting the 1964 civil rights legislation passed under the Johnson administration.

Doar also played a unique role in the Watergate scandal of 1972-1974. In the summer of 1974, I had a paid internship in Washington, D.C. (and my first "desk job") in the office of a Wisconsin senator, thanks to what is now the Sanford School of Public Policy. That summer, for Americans then in their twenties or older, John Doar became a household name. He was Special Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee on the question of President Richard Nixon's impeachment. In often televised proceedings, the Judiciary Committee worked and deliberated for three months and eventually voted to submit three articles of impeachment to the full House. On August 9, 1974, Nixon resigned before the House considered the articles. Republican Doar lead the drafting and convinced key Republicans on the committee to vote in favor of impeachment. Quite a career, and one which kept flourishing after Watergate. See yesterday's New York Times coverage.

Posted by JD Hull at 06:02 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2014

John Alexander McCrae, poppies and the blood-red beauties of Flanders fields.


America's Veterans Day honors all U.S. military veterans. However, it comes to us based on the experience of our Canadian and British cousins during World War I, or The Great War. On Remembrance Day, also still called Poppy Day, the Commonwealth nations honor military veterans who died in the line of duty. The name Poppy Day, and the holiday's moving symbolism you see all day today in British homes and streets, derive solely from a famous three-stanza poem by Lt. John Alexander McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician, believed to be written on May 3, 1915. Early in the war, and in his forties, McCrae served as a front-line surgeon, including in the Second Battle of Ypres (April 21-May 25, 1915).

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

--By John Alexander McCrae (1872–1918). Poet, physician, Lieutenant Colonel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The poem first appeared in Punch in December of 1915, while McCrae was still alive. In early 1918, he died of pneumonia while still commanding a Canadian military hospital in northern France.

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McCrae in 1912

Posted by JD Hull at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2014

2014 List: Wild Men. Wild Women.

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Wild Men. Wild Women. The Rankings 1 through 100 as this blog sees them in 2014. Wild Men and Wild Women are people who listen only to the little voice in their head. They get things done. They build things. They don't care what you think. Uncertainty and turbulence--in the economy, stock markets, governments, the weather, bad odds, you name it--only get their juices flowing. True, they often have dark and self-destructive sides, but we seem to like giving them a pass. A few lawyers on this list--but not enough. Lawyers. Are we just risk-averse uber-weenies? Sideline players? Bag carriers? Are we not Men, and Women?

1. Ben Franklin
2. Ted Turner
3. Dr. Johnson
4. Dr. Thompson
5. Theodore Roosevelt
6. Carl Bernstein
7. Michelangelo
8. Ayn Rand
9. Ana Marie Cox
10. Japan
11. Boudica
12. Winston Churchill
12. Benjamin Disraeli
14. Arianna Huffington
15. Bucky Fuller
16. Nino Scalia
17. Bill Buckley
18. Bill Clinton
19. Steve Jobs
20. Christopher Columbus
21. Nick Nolte
22. Jerry Lee Lewis

Plato (#27) was way Wild. Read the Timaeus.

23. The Welsh
24. Jann Wenner
25. Sean Penn
26. Ken Wilbur
27. Plato
28. Catherine the Great
29. Val Kilmer (way wilder than Jim Morrison)
30. Harry Dean Stanton
31. Scott Greenfield
32. Julius Caesar
33. Pete Seeger
34. John Lennon
35. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
36. Peter Sheridan
37. Christopher Hitchens
38. Jerry Brown
39. Warren Beatty
40. Jack Nicholson
41. John the Baptist
42. Rahm Emanuel
43. Robert Mitchum
44. Joan of Arc and Charles Barkley (tie)
45. Dylan Thomas
46. Quentin Crisp
46. "E"
47. Boswell (he was Wild, too)
48. Ben Jonson
49. Mae West
50. Daniel Pinchbeck

Zelda Fitzgerald (#90) was Wild. So was her childhood friend Tallulah Bankhead (#91).

51. Daniel O'Connell
53. David Boies
54. Elizabeth Wurtzel
55. St. John of Patmos
56. John Henry "Doc" Holliday
57. Genghis Khan
58. Alexander
59. Charles Bukowski
60. Gordon Liddy
61. Malcolm Lowry
63. Keith Moon
64. Charlie Munger
65. Babe Ruth
66. Chrissie Hynde
67. Colin Farell
68. Warren Zevon
69. Kim Jong-un (unknowable but one far-out little dude)
70. Billy Martin
71. Joe Namath
72. Guy de Maupassant
73. Grace Slick
74. Edna St. Vincent Millay
75. Mickey Mantle
76. François Villon
77. Friedrich Nietzsche
78. Rep. Bob Eckhardt (Texas-D) (gifted, eloquent, exotic)
79. Rachel Maddow
80. Ray Davies
81. Marc Randazza
82. Jennifer Randaza
83. Alec Baldwin
84. John Huston
85. Australia
86. Gertrude Stein
87. Oscar Levant
88. Ava Gardner
89. Frank Sinatra
90. Zelda Fitzgerald
91. Tallulah Bankhead
92. Ted Kennedy
93. Frances Farmer
94. Richard Burton
95. Elizabeth Taylor
96. Marion Barry
97. Racehorse Haynes
98. Ben Bradlee
99. Davey Crockett
100. William Randolph Hearst

Meet Ted (#2). He never cared what you thought.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:50 PM | Comments (2)

October 28, 2014

Daniel O'Connell: The Trial Lawyer as Polymath.

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), the "Liberator of Ireland", led a movement that forced the British to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, allowing Catholics to become members of the British House of Commons. History knows him as a witty, eloquent and formidable politician, and the Member of Parliament for Clare. The English found him infuriating. But O'Connell was first and foremost a consummate and thorough trial lawyer, called to the bar at age 23 in 1798. As a cross-examiner, one modern writer has said, "he had no equal at the Irish bar." And not surprisingly O'Connell was a bit of a showman. In lectures published in 1901, Prof. John L. Stoddard said of him:

He was a typical Irishman of the best stock--wily, witty, eloquent, emotional and magnetic. His arrival in town was often an occasion for public rejoicing. His clever repartees were passed from lip to lip, until the island shook with laughter.

In court, he sometimes kept the spectators, jury, judge and even the prisoner, alternating between tears and roars of merriment. Celtic to the core, his subtle mind knew every trick peculiar to the Irish character, and he divined instinctively the shrewdest subterfuges of a shifty witness.


Posted by JD Hull at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2014

Jack Symon Asher (Jack) Bruce (1943-2014)

Introductory note: What does a Superstar Scot musician's passing have to do with a legal weblog or "blawg" started in 2005 about quality lawyering, the magic of travel, who to fire, who to hire, Paris and making your life a work of art? Everything. If you don't get it, see me after the meeting.

Rock, blues and jazz superstar bassist Jack Bruce died Saturday at his home in Suffolk, England. Classically trained and famously versatile as a musician, Bruce was--among many, many other things in his life and career--co-founder of both Cream and (Leslie) West, Bruce and (Corky) Laing, an exceptional bassist, singer, composer, arranger and producer. He even played the blues harmonica spectacularly. Bruce played with nearly everyone significant in British music. In his first band, which he joined in 1962, his drummer was Charlie Watts. A Scot, musical polymath and quiet madman, Like many other musicians in history, Bruce had a self-destructive streak. He struggled with alcohol and drugs, losing nearly his entire fortune before he stopped using. Bruce was/is several times more interesting than fellow Cream band member and lead guitarist Eric Clapton--and musically just as talented.

Posted by JD Hull at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2014

Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee (1921-2014)

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Bradlee with Washington Post owner Katherine Graham in 1971.

Ben Bradlee's death saddens me and many, many other people. In the 1970s and 1980s, Washington Post managing editor Bradlee was an idol to me and most of my friends in college, in Washington, D.C. or in New York when we were writing or editing student dailies, selling our first freelance piece, doing our first jobs with a newspaper or wire service or writing a first book. Bradlee set the standard; he was the standard. He was brave, smart, patrician, demanding, salty, funny and fun.

No one was more dedicated to journalism done right, done under pressure and done both for its art and for the public good. No one was cooler. We felt like we knew him. We wanted to be him.

Last night around midnight, the Washington Post published this comprehensive biography and obituary, written by another Post former managing editor:

Ben Bradlee Dies at 93

By Robert G. Kaiser

Benjamin C. Bradlee, who presided over The Washington Post newsroom for 26 years and guided The Post’s transformation into one of the world’s leading newspapers, died Oct. 21 at his home in Washington of natural causes. He was 93.

From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily. He achieved that goal by combining compelling news stories based on aggressive reporting with engaging feature pieces of a kind previously associated with the best magazines. His charm and gift for leadership helped him hire and inspire a talented staff and eventually made him the most celebrated newspaper editor of his era.

The most compelling story of Mr. Bradlee’s tenure, almost certainly the one of greatest consequence, was Watergate, a political scandal touched off by The Post’s reporting that ended in the only resignation of a president in U.S. history.

But Mr. Bradlee’s most important decision, made with Katharine Graham, The Post’s publisher, may have been to print stories based on the Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon history of the Vietnam War. The Nixon administration went to court to try to quash those stories, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the New York Times and The Post to publish them.

President Obama recalled Mr. Bradlee’s legacy on Tuesday night in a statement that said: “For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession — it was a public good vital to our democracy. A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country’s finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told — stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better. The standard he set — a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting — encouraged so many others to enter the profession. And that standard is why, last year, I was proud to honor Ben with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Today, we offer our thoughts and prayers to Ben’s family, and all who were fortunate to share in what truly was a good life.”

The Post’s circulation nearly doubled while Mr. Bradlee was in charge of the newsroom — first as managing editor and then as executive editor — as did the size of its newsroom staff. And he gave the paper ambition.

Mr. Bradlee stationed correspondents around the globe, opened bureaus across the Washington region and from coast to coast in the United States, and he created features and sections — most notably Style, one of his proudest inventions — that were widely copied by others.

During his tenure, a paper that had previously won just four Pulitzer Prizes, only one of which was for reporting, won 17 more, including the Public Service award for the Watergate coverage.

“Ben Bradlee was the best American newspaper editor of his time and had the greatest impact on his newspaper of any modern editor,” said Donald E. Graham, who succeeded his mother as publisher of The Post and Mr. Brad­lee’s boss.

“So much of The Post is Ben,” Mrs. Graham said in 1994, three years after Mr. Bradlee retired as editor. “He created it as we know it today.”

Leonard Downie Jr., who succeeded Mr. Brad­lee as The Post’s executive editor in 1991, said, “Ben’s influence remained very much alive at The Washington Post long after he retired, distinguishing the newspaper and our newsroom as unique in journalism.” President Obama saluted Mr. Bradlee’s role at The Post when giving him the country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2013: “He transformed that newspaper into one of the finest in the world.”

Mr. Bradlee’s patrician good looks, gravelly voice, profane vocabulary and zest for journalism and for life all contributed to the charismatic personality that dominated and shaped The Post. Modern American newspaper editors rarely achieve much fame, but Mr. Bradlee became a celebrity and loved the status.

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Jason Robards played him in the movie “All the President’s Men,” based on Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s book about Watergate. Two books Mr. Bradlee wrote — “Conversations With Kennedy” and his memoir, “A Good Life” — were bestsellers. His craggy face became a familiar sight on television. In public and in private, he always played his part with theatrical enthusiasm.

“He was a presence, a force,” Woodward recalled of Mr. Bradlee’s role during the Watergate period, 1972 to 1974. “And he was a doubter, a skeptic — ‘Do we have it yet?’ ‘Have we proved it?’ ” Decades later, Woodward remembered the words that he most hated to hear from Mr. Bradlee then: “You don’t have it yet, kid.”

Mr. Bradlee loved the Watergate story, not least because it gave the newspaper “impact,” his favorite word in his first years as editor. He wanted the paper to be noticed. In his personal vernacular — a vivid, blasphemous argot that combined the swearwords he mastered in the Navy during World War II with the impeccable enunciation of a blue-blooded Bostonian — a great story was “a real tube-ripper.”

This meant a story was so hot that Post readers would rip the paper out of the tubes into which the paperboy delivered it. A bad story was “mego” — the acronym for “my eyes glaze over” — applied to anything that bored him. Maximizing the number of tube-rippers and minimizing mego was the Bradlee strategy.

Mr. Bradlee’s tactics were also simple: “Hire people smarter than you are” and encourage them to bloom. His energy and his mystique were infectious.

“It was hard to explain the full force of his personality to people who never met him,” said Ward Just, the reporter-turned-novelist whom Mr. Bradlee sent to cover the Vietnam War for The Post in 1966-1967. “He really was one of those guys you’d take a machine-gun bullet for. You only meet three or four of them in an entire lifetime.”

But his strengths sometimes became weaknesses. The editor who could inspire his troops to do some of the best journalism ever published in America also fell for an artful hoax by a young reporter, Janet Cooke. Cooke invented an 8-year-old heroin addict named Jimmy and wrote a moving story about him. After the story won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981, Cooke was exposed as an impostor who invented not only Jimmy but also her own life story.

When they realized that Cooke had concocted an imaginary résumé, Mr. Bradlee and his editors interrogated her and extracted a confession. Mr. Bradlee quickly returned the Pulitzer, then encouraged The Post’s ombudsman, Bill Green, to investigate and report how the incident could have happened. This was the biggest assignment ever given to the in-house reader’s representative. Mr. Bradlee had created the position in 1970, making The Post the first major paper to employ an independent, in-house critic.

Green produced a detailed, embarrassing report about a newsroom where the urge for journalistic impact overrode several experienced reporters’ doubts about Jimmy’s existence. “Bradlee was really hurt” by the Cooke affair, recalled Peter Silberman, who served under Mr. Bradlee as a senior editor.

Mr. Bradlee had a notoriously short attention span. He rarely dug into the details of an issue himself, leaving that to the people he had hired. He managed The Post newsroom with a combination of viscera and intellect, often judging people by his personal reaction to them. He or she “makes me laugh” was perhaps Mr. Bradlee’s greatest compliment. He never enjoyed the minutiae of management and spent as little time on administrative work as he could get away with.

But Mr. Bradlee coped successfully with many crises. “Ben’s famous drive for a good story makes it easy to overlook his good judgment on matters ranging from national security to personal privacy,” observed Boisfeuillet Jones Jr., who was The Post’s lawyer when Mr. Bradlee was editor and who later became publisher.

Although he graduated from St. Mark’s School and Harvard University, the Navy left as much of a mark on Mr. Bradlee as did his early life among Boston’s WASP aristocracy. The Navy taught him to swear, as well as to respect talent wherever it appeared.

He made friends easily with important people — his most famous friend was John F. Kennedy — but he also had pals among printers at The Post and farmers in Southern Maryland, where he spent weekends at his country estate for many years.

He and his third wife, the writer Sally Quinn, loved to give parties at their big Georgetown house. In his 80s, Mr. Bradlee still caroused energetically with people 30 and 40 years younger, amazing his old friends. “He gave a whole new meaning to ‘over 80,’ ” Don Graham said.

Mr. Bradlee’s wartime experience left him an unabashed patriot who bristled whenever critics of the newspaper accused it of helping America’s enemies. He sometimes agreed to keep stories out of the paper when government officials convinced him that they might cause serious harm. But he also reacted angrily to what he considered phony attempts to invoke “national security” by officials who were really just trying to avoid embarrassment.

Lying, especially lying by public officials, particularly offended Mr. Bradlee. He wrote and lectured on the subject for decades.

“The values that Ben instilled in our newsroom — independence and fairness, aggressive reporting, compelling writing and individual initiative — will long outlive him,” Downie said. “And it will always be a newsroom where everyone has fun, as Ben did.”

Mr. Bradlee’s relationship with Mrs. Graham was critical. She allowed him to spend money, ultimately many millions of dollars, to build a great newspaper. At key moments — particularly the 1971 decision to publish excerpts from the Pentagon Papers and later during Watergate — she stood squarely behind him, defying the advice of her attorneys and business advisers and her powerful Washington friends.

Mr. Bradlee “was just what Kay needed — somebody who built her confidence and worked hard at it,” said the late Philip L. Geyelin, who was editor of The Post’s editorial page from 1968 to 1979. “He made her comfortable. He called her up and told her dirty jokes and told her the latest skinny. It was a wonderful relationship. I can’t remember any time they had any quarrel. She was nuts about him.”

Mrs. Graham had said as much herself. In one of the end-of-year letters she and Mr. Bradlee came to exchange annually — warm, intimate notes of mutual appreciation — she wrote: “Over the years, I have been spoiled by you and I hope most of the time, it’s been reciprocated, in sharing the best, most productive, rewarding working combo that I’ve had or even know of. And best of all, it’s been fun.”

She also teased him sometimes and criticized his erratic management of the newsroom, including impetuous hiring decisions that sometimes turned out badly. One year, she sent him a list of 15 names, his hiring “mistakes,” as she called them, and asked how he could avoid such errors in the future. But mostly she sang his praises, as in her end-of-1974 letter to Mr. Brad­lee: “The things [about you] that people don’t know — that I know — are style, generosity, class and decency, as well as an understanding of other people’s weaknesses.”

When Mrs. Graham died in July 2001, Mr. Bradlee spoke at her funeral. “She was a spectacular dame, and I loved her very much,” he said, looking down on the vast crowd from the lectern at the east end of Washington National Cathedral. Walking back to his pew, Mr. Bradlee took a slight detour to pass her coffin and give it an affectionate pat.

Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee was born into the old aristocracy of white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant Boston on Aug. 26, 1921. His father, Frederick Josiah Bradlee Jr., known as “B,” could trace his American ancestry back through 10 generations of Bradlees. B was an all-American football star at Harvard who became an investment banker in the booming 1920s. He married Josephine deGersdorff, daughter of a prominent New York lawyer and a New England aristocrat named Helen Crowninshield.

Benjamin was the second of three children. At first, he was surrounded by domestic staff and other signs of wealth, but the stock market crash of 1929 ended all that. During the Great Depression, his father had to improvise a living for many years, keeping the books for various clubs and institutions and supervising the janitors at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (for $3,000 a year). The family had free use of a summer house in Beverly, Mass., whose owners couldn’t find a buyer for it. Rich relations paid the Bradlee children’s tuition to private schools.

“Benny,” as the family called him, was a 14-year-old ninth-grader at the venerable St. Mark’s School in Southboro, Mass., when polio broke out at the campus in the spring of 1936. He was stricken with the fearful disease on the same day as a close friend. An ambulance that carried both boys dropped Mr. Bradlee at his Beacon Street home, then took Fred Hubbell to Massachusetts General Hospital. Mr. Bradlee was paralyzed from the waist down; Hubbell died.

Even his polio proved to be an example of Mr. Bradlee’s lifelong good luck — bolstered, as usual, by his own determination. A young coach who had encouraged Mr. Bradlee’s athletic pursuits, a working-class Irishman from Boston named Leo Cronan, visited him in the Beverly house almost nightly during his summer with polio.

Cronan introduced the idea of walking again at a time when Mr. Bradlee’s legs lay helpless and numb in clunky metal braces. Cronan got him on his feet and then helped him learn how to stand without the braces. Within eight weeks, thanks to rigorous rehabilitation, Mr. Bradlee was playing a clumsy game of golf. Two years later, he was playing varsity baseball for St. Mark’s. The physical therapy he did to fight off the effects of polio left him with a barrel chest and powerful arms for the rest of his life.

Mr. Bradlee got his first whiff of the newspaper business at age 15, when his father arranged a job for him as a copy boy on the Beverly (Mass.) Evening Times. He could augment his $5-a-week salary by reporting events in the lives of local citizens, which he loved to do. “I learned a vital lesson: People will talk if they feel comfortable,” Mr. Bradlee wrote in “A Good Life.”

He was the 52nd male Bradlee to enter Harvard since 1795 — “no alternatives were suggested, or contemplated,” he wrote. He arrived at Harvard Yard just as war in Europe was beginning and decided to join the Naval ROTC to improve his initial posting in the war he and his contemporaries knew they would soon be fighting. With that threat hovering over him, Mr. Bradlee found it hard to be serious about college. Only in his third year, with the war ever more ominous, did he buckle down.

He took a double academic load, which, after summer school, allowed him to graduate in August 1942 with majors in Greek and English. On the same day he received his diploma and his naval commission, Mr. Bradlee married his college sweetheart, Jean Saltonstall, a member of one of Massachusetts’s best-known families. After a short honeymoon, just as he was turning 21, he was off to war.

Mr. Bradlee’s three years in the wartime Navy had a lasting influence on him. As a young officer, he learned empathy for the enlisted men and developed a style of leadership that he relied on throughout his professional life. As recounted in his memoirs, it combined an easy authority with tolerance for the irrepressible enthusiasm of those under his command. Even as a young officer, he never enjoyed a confrontation and preferred accommodation to the aggressive use of authority.

After the war, Mr. Bradlee got his first real job in journalism, working with a St. Mark’s friend, Blair Clark, to create the New Hampshire Sunday News. Mr. Bradlee was one of seven staff members who filled the 64-page paper every week. The editor, Ralph M. Blagden, “had an almost contagious sense of how to find a story and where it might go,” Mr. Bradlee wrote in his memoirs. “For every answer we gave him, he had 50 more questions, and I learned everything from him in two years.”

But the Sunday News couldn’t make money, and it failed. Family friends offered to help Mr. Bradlee find a new job. Edward A. Weeks, the editor of the Atlantic Monthly, wrote a friend at the Baltimore Sun about Mr. Bradlee; Christian A. Herter, the congressman and former governor of Massachusetts, wrote to The Post. In November 1948, Mr. Bradlee set out on a train trip, bound from Boston to Baltimore to Washington to Salt Lake City to Santa Barbara. When his overnight train reached Baltimore, a heavy rainstorm discouraged him from getting off, so he decided to go first to Washington. The day before he arrived for an interview, a Post reporter had quit unexpectedly, creating a vacancy. Mr. Bradlee charmed The Post’s editors, who offered him a job for $80 a week, starting on Christmas Eve.

In his first days at the paper, he impressed The Post’s managing editor, J. Russell Wiggins, by producing a list of the city’s 10 leading bookies. He didn’t tell Wiggins that he got the names from Morris Siegel, his new pal, who was a Post sportswriter. Mr. Bradlee covered the municipal court, the attempted assassination of President Harry S. Truman by Puerto Rican nationalists, the gambling industry in Washington and life in the city’s alleys, still home to tens of thousands of poor African Americans.

He liked The Post, but he wanted to cover big national stories, and it was clear to him that he wouldn’t get a chance to do that for years. The Post, which Mrs. Graham’s father, Eugene Meyer, had bought at a bankruptcy auction in 1933, was still losing money, $1 million a year in 1951. Mr. Bradlee concluded that the paper would not be growing anytime soon. So when an old friend said he could help him become the press attache at the American Embassy in Paris, he jumped.

Mr. Bradlee loved life in Paris, but he was not a natural diplomat or bureaucrat. After 21 / 2 years, he found a way to return to journalism. Newsweek, then a struggling imitation of Time and owned by Vincent Astor, needed a European correspondent. The magazine’s foreign editor was delighted to discover that Mr. Bradlee’s mother had been a friend of Brooke Astor, the boss’s wife. He got the job.

“The sheer joy and romance of being a foreign correspondent is hard to explain, even harder to exaggerate,” Mr. Bradlee wrote in his memoirs. In four years, he covered wars in Algeria and the Middle East, peace conferences in Geneva, the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier in Monte Carlo.

One summer, he and his wife, Jean, joined several couples in renting a huge, old French chateau, where they gave house parties every weekend. One of the guests was an old friend from Washington, Antoinette “Tony” Pinchot Pittman, wife of a Washington lawyer and mother of four young children. She and Mr. Bradlee fell in love on the spot, he recounted, an unexpected turn of events that led to their divorces and their eventual marriage.

Bradlee and his second wife, Tony, with President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy at the White House in 1963. The couples had become friends as Georgetown neighbors. (Cecil Stoughton)
In 1957, Mr. Bradlee and his new wife returned to Washington. As a 36-year-old junior reporter in the capital, Mr. Bradlee began conspiratorial conversations with Osborne Elliott, another well-born WASP, also in his 30s, who was Newsweek’s managing editor. They knew that the magazine was likely to be sold.

“One night, after a bad day of brooding and a few shooters, I called Elliott in New York and told him I was damn well going to pick up the phone — it was almost 11 p.m. — and call Phil Graham right then,” Mr. Bradlee wrote in his memoirs. And he did.

Philip L. Graham, publisher and owner of The Post and husband of Katharine Graham, invited Mr. Bradlee over to his home immediately. They stayed up until 5 a.m. talking about Newsweek. Within days, The Washington Post Co. had bought the magazine for $15 million.

This business transaction changed Mr. Brad­lee’s life. Ultimately, it made him wealthy: Phil Graham bestowed a considerable block of ­Washington Post stock on him as a “finder’s fee” for putting him onto the Newsweek deal. The shares Graham gave Mr. Bradlee were eventually worth millions.

Phil Graham decided that once he owned Newsweek, Mr. Bradlee should be its Washington bureau chief. This promotion brought him into the inner sanctum of The Post Co. Mr. Bradlee befriended the Grahams, as well as their attorney and key financial adviser, Frederick “Fritz” Beebe, who soon left his New York law firm to become chairman of The Post Co.

The Post Co. bought Newsweek in March 1961, barely six weeks after the inauguration of Mr. Bradlee’s friend, John F. Kennedy, as president. The two young men (Mr. Bradlee was 39 in early 1961; Kennedy, 43) had been neighbors in the 3300 block of N Street NW, where both bought houses in 1957. They met walking baby carriages through Georgetown with their wives. Soon the couples were having dinner together on a regular basis, and Mr. Bradlee was developing what turned out to be the best source of his career.

Mr. Bradlee’s friendship with Kennedy produced complex feelings that lasted for decades after the president’s 1963 assassination. Mr. Brad­lee knew reporters shouldn’t become close friends with politicians. At the same time, Mr. Bradlee loved bright, lively, charming people, and he had great confidence in his own ability to stay straight journalistically in all circumstances. “If I was had, so be it,” Mr. Bradlee wrote in his 1974 bestseller, “Conversations With Kennedy.”

Mr. Bradlee insisted that he never had an inkling that the president was carrying on with numerous other women, from Mafia molls to Mr. Bradlee’s sister-in-law, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Tony Bradlee’s sister. Mr. Bradlee acknowledged that this obliviousness seemed improbable, but no evidence ever emerged to challenge his protestations of ignorance.

This friendship was a journalistic boon to Mr. Bradlee, who received a stream of scoops from Kennedy and his entourage that made him a highly visible figure in the competitive world of Washington journalism. He became a certifiable member of the journalistic elite in a capital city where reporters were just starting to become more glamorous and prominent.

Two deaths in 1963 altered Mr. Bradlee’s life. The first was Philip Graham’s suicide that August, after a struggle with bipolar disorder. Then in November, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. A fortnight before his death, the Bradlees had spent a glamorous weekend with the Kennedys at their new retreat in Middleburg, Va.

On Nov. 22, 1963, “life changed, forever, in the middle of a nice day, at the end of a good week, in a wonderful year of what looked like an extraordinary decade of promise,” Mr. Bradlee wrote.

After her husband’s death, Mrs. Graham took responsibility for the family business. By her own account, she assumed that all was well with her newspaper. It was in its ninth straight year of profitability, circulation was growing steadily and its competitive position against the Evening Star improved every year. Alfred Friendly, The Post’s managing editor, who ran the news department, was a close friend whom Mrs. Graham relied on.

But soon she began to hear expert opinions — from James Reston of the New York Times and columnist Walter Lippmann, especially — that her paper was far from as good as it could or should be.

Nineteen months after her husband died, Mrs. Graham invited Mr. Bradlee to lunch. She wanted to find out what his ambitions were. She proposed the 1925 F Street Club, where a female member could pay for lunch by signing the bill without causing a stir. It was the first time she had taken a man to lunch for business purposes, and it began awkwardly.

“All of a sudden,” Mr. Bradlee later wrote, “I heard myself say: ‘If Al Friendly’s job ever opened up, I’d give my left one for it.’ ” In her memoirs, Mrs. Graham recalled the same “picturesque” language. She was noncommittal. But she did tell Mr. Bradlee that she had talked to Lippmann about the idea that The Post might benefit from “an infusion of some sort from outside.” That was enough to give Mr. Bradlee “a tingle of excitement in my arms and legs. Lippmann was my pal.”

Why? “Because my mom and his second wife were in Miss Chapin’s School together in New York. They were joint holders of the high-jump record,” Mr. Bradlee replied in an interview for this article in 2000. Lippmann had watched Mr. Bradlee grow up and had taken a shine to him.

Several months after that lunch, Mrs. Graham told her editor, J. Russell Wiggins, and Friendly of her interest in Mr. Bradlee. They reacted negatively. Nevertheless, she proposed that Mr. Bradlee join The Post as a deputy managing editor responsible for national and foreign news with the understanding that he would succeed Friendly “sometime.” She told Mr. Bradlee that it would be in a year; Friendly proposed three years. Mr. Bradlee’s appointment was announced July 7, 1965.

That fall, Lippmann and Friendly had lunch together, a meeting Mrs. Graham had suggested so Friendly could hear Lippmann’s criticisms of The Post. But Lippmann used the occasion to tell Friendly that administrative jobs in newsrooms burned people out and that he should consider returning to reporting.

Friendly, shaken, went right from the lunch to Mrs. Graham’s office, asking whether she wanted him to step down. She was stunned by the speed of events but said yes. On Nov. 15, The Post announced that Mr. Bradlee would be the paper’s new managing editor, a title he would hold until 1968, when he was named to the newly created position of executive editor.

In 1965, The Post had a relatively small staff that included no more than a dozen distinguished reporters. Its most famous writer was Shirley Povich, a sports columnist. Its Pentagon correspondent was on the Navy payroll as a reserve captain. The newspaper had a half-dozen foreign correspondents and no reporter based outside the Washington area in the United States. The paper had no real feature section and provided little serious cultural coverage, but it did carry a daily page called “For and About Women.”

Apart from its famous editorial page (including the renowned cartoonist, Herblock), which had challenged Sen. Joseph McCarthy and vigorously promoted civil rights for African Americans, and which remained Wiggins’s domain after Mr. Bradlee’s arrival, the paper generally had modest expectations for itself, and it calmly fulfilled them.

At the outset, Mr. Bradlee decided “to concentrate on the one thing I did know about: good reporters.” He relied heavily on one good reporter at The Post: Laurence Stern, who proved to be his most important sidekick in the early years. Stern was a wry, irreverent intellectual with ambitious ideas for journalism. Mr. Bradlee named him The Post’s national editor.

Mr. Bradlee brought Ward Just to The Post from Newsweek and soon sent him to Vietnam, where he wrote eloquent, gritty dispatches that undermined the Johnson administration’s public optimism about the course of the war in 1966 and ’67. He hired Richard Harwood from the Louisville Courier-Journal, a brilliant and dogged reporter who became one of the most important editors of the Bradlee era. He found George Wilson, a writer for Aviation Week, who became a distinguished Pentagon correspondent. He hired an old friend from Paris, Stanley Karnow, a Time magazine correspondent in Asia, to be The Post’s China watcher, based in Hong Kong.

Mr. Bradlee’s biggest coup, in his estimation, was hiring David S. Broder from the New York Times. He had to get the approval of Beebe, Mrs. Graham’s most influential colleague, to offer Broder $19,000 a year to leave the Times for The Post. Hiring Broder in September 1966, Mr. Bradlee recalled in 2000, “was of course frightfully important, because then outsiders began to say, ‘Oh my God, did they get Broder? Why did they get Broder? What did Broder see there that we don’t know anything about?’”

Soon after he joined The Post, Broder said, “I knew it was heaven for me.” Mr. Bradlee’s Post was fast, loose and fun, and it gave Broder and other self-starting reporters plenty of room to flourish. Laughter and irreverence were crucial ingredients. Mr. Bradlee played favorites, so the people who made him laugh, or who wrote those tube-rippers, agreed that working for him at The Post was a heavenly experience. Those left out of Mr. Bradlee’s magic circle could feel their exclusion with some pain.

Confronted with a staff that included reporters he considered mediocre but who all enjoyed job security, Mr. Bradlee felt he had to encourage some people to leave — by “abusing people,” as he put it in 2000. “That’s what it was — mistreating people, not treating them the way you treated the people you really cared about.” He did it with no pleasure, his words and his body language made clear, but “I did it, to try to get rid of people, to try to persuade people to leave.”

Mr. Bradlee had the reputation of a tough guy. But after that initial period, he avoided confrontations and almost never fired an employee.

The changes he made were not guided by any grand design or elaborate philosophy of journalism. “I was simplistic,” he said in 1991, discussing those early days. “If you made the paper better every day, and you got better people working for you, and you reached higher, the paper would get better.” It was a lesson he said he learned from Miss Fisk at the Dexter School, his private grade school in Boston: “Our best today, our better tomorrow.”

When he came to The Post, Mr. Bradlee did have in mind one departure from the traditional view of daily journalism: “There [was] no reason why you couldn’t do daily what the news magazines were doing weekly,” he said. “On main news events, tell [readers] what it meant as well as what happened, and put it in some kind of historical and social perspective. And as far as the back of the book was concerned [the phrase used at Time and Newsweek to describe the magazines’ feature sections] to tell [readers] what was going on in the cultural divisions of society. And to entertain them. Those magazines were more entertaining than newspapers.”

Post reporters such as Just, Harwood and Nicholas von Hoffman, a daring writer who learned his craft at the old Chicago Daily News, began to write with a confidence and an edge that was seen in the “new journalism” being published in Esquire magazine but was rarely on display in daily newspapers. Broder, Harwood, Haynes Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winner from the Evening Star, and their colleagues made The Post the country’s leading chronicler of national politics, Mr. Bradlee’s favorite subject.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Bradlee began work on a new section for The Post that would give the paper a “back of the book” like Time’s or Newsweek’s — a place for cultural news, entertaining stories and journalism about the way people conducted their lives. Mr. Bradlee wanted a section devoted to “how men and women lived — together and apart — what they liked and what they were like, what they did when they were not at the office. We wanted profiles . . . that went way beyond the bare bones of biography. We wanted to look at the culture of America as it was changing in front of our eyes. The sexual revolution, the drug culture, the women’s movement. And we wanted it to be interesting, exciting, different.”

The Style section first appeared Jan. 6, 1969. It was not an immediate hit with everyone. Some female readers missed “For and About Women,” which Style replaced. One of them, at least briefly, was Mrs. Graham, who provoked Mr. Bradlee’s ire with questions and complaints about Style.

“Damn it, Katharine,” he finally blurted out, “get your finger out of my eye. Give us six weeks to get it right, and then if you don’t like it, we’ll talk.” Both said later that this spat improved their relations.

Local news was never a favorite Bradlee topic, but he understood its importance and encouraged the editors and reporters who cared about aggressive coverage of the Washington region. The Post expanded into the suburbs just as they were becoming the dominant force in the regional economy, a critical element in the paper’s successful competition with the Evening Star.

Mr. Bradlee was especially proud of one of the changes he made during his first years at The Post that wasn’t as tangible as a new section of the paper but ultimately might have been more significant. The Post he inherited was intertwined with power in a way that made him uncomfortable. As publisher, Philip Graham had often used his stature and personal charm to meddle in politics and influence events behind the scenes. For example, he encouraged Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to agree to be running mates in 1960. Post editors also sometimes used their power to achieve objectives that were not entirely journalistic.

Mr. Bradlee wanted none of this. He announced a new approach through a series of confrontations with Ben Gilbert, the longtime city editor, who cultivated friendships with city officials. One was Walter E. Washington, a former local and federal housing official who was married in Gilbert’s living room.

President Johnson had decided to name Washington the first black “mayor” of the District of Columbia. Mr. Bradlee first heard about this when he was invited to The Post’s executive dining room to have lunch with two of Johnson’s aides.

“I asked around about what the purpose of the lunch was,” Mr. Bradlee recalled in 1991. “Believe it or not, the purpose was to clear the appointment of Walter Washington with The Post’s hierarchy. And I refused to go to the lunch. . . . And not a goddam word of it has been in The Washington Post!’ . . . I was just determined to get it into the paper.”

Before long, the city staff had prepared a thorough story about Washington’s appointment. Mr. Bradlee ran it on the front page in August 1967. By 1969, Gilbert had left the newspaper.

Watergate made Mr. Bradlee’s Post famous, but the story that probably made the Watergate coverage possible was the Pentagon Papers, initially a New York Times scoop. Daniel Ellsberg, a disaffected former government official, gave the Times a set of the papers, a compilation of historical documents about U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Times journalists worked for months on stories about them, which began to appear June 13, 1971. The stories created a sensation, even though they contained very little dramatic revelation. After three days of stories, the Nixon administration successfully sought a federal court injunction blocking further publication, the first such “prior restraint” in the nation’s history.

Ellsberg then offered the documents to The Post. Two days after the court order, Post editors and reporters were plowing through the Pentagon Papers and planning to write about them.

The Post’s attorneys were extremely nervous that the paper might publish stories based on material already deemed sensitive national security information by a federal judge in New York. The Post was about to sell shares to the public for the first time, hoping to raise $35 million. And the government licenses of The Post’s television stations would be vulnerable if the paper was convicted of a crime.

The reporters and editors all believed that The Post had to report on the papers. Mr. Bradlee called one of the two friends he kept throughout his adult life, Edward Bennett Williams, the famous lawyer. (The other long-term pal was Art Buchwald, the humorist. The three regularly ate lunch together, boisterously. Williams died in 1988; Buchwald in 2007.)

After hearing Mr. Bradlee’s description of the situation, Williams thought for a moment and said: “Well, Benjy, you got to go with it. You got no choice. That’s your business.”

Armed with Williams’s judgment, Mr. Brad­lee called Mrs. Graham, who was hosting a retirement party for a Post business manager. Beebe was on an extension phone. When Mrs. Graham asked his advice, he tepidly said he didn’t think he would publish. She disagreed. “I say let’s go,” she told Mr. Bradlee. “Let’s publish.”

That moment, Mr. Bradlee wrote in his memoir, “crystallized for editors and reporters everywhere how independent and determined and confident of its purpose the new Washington Post had become.” Defying the government in printing those stories proved that The Post was “a paper that holds its head high, committed unshakably to principle.”

The Post did publish, and did end up in court, with the Times. The Nixon administration argued that publication of stories based on the Pentagon Papers could undermine national security, an argument that infuriated Mr. Bradlee. But the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that the government could not restrain the newspapers.

Eighteen years later, the man who had argued the government’s case before the Supreme Court, former solicitor general Erwin Griswold, admitted in a Washington Post op-ed essay that the national security argument was phony.

“I have never seen any trace of a threat to the national security from the publication” of the Pentagon Papers, Griswold wrote in 1989. Mr. Bradlee loved that article, and he carried a copy in his jacket pocket for weeks afterward.

The sense of independence earned in 1971 was critical to The Post’s pursuit of Watergate, which began the next June. At every stage, it was a compelling yarn, from the days when Woodward and Bernstein established connections between the burglars and President Richard M. Nixon’s reelection campaign to the amazing weeks, more than two years later, when it became clear that the president would not survive in office.

“Newspapering deals with small daily bites from a fruit of indeterminate size,” Mr. Bradlee wrote later. “It may take dozens of bites before you are sure it’s an apple. Dozens and dozens more bites before you have any real idea how big the apple might be. It was that way with Watergate.”

Mr. Bradlee called it “the story that put us all on the map.” Neither he nor The Post was ever the same again. The recognition grew after the movie made from “All the President’s Men” appeared. Mr. Bradlee was relieved that director Alan J. Pakula made a good and essentially accurate movie that seemed to capture the real spirit of The Post and the story.

Mr. Bradlee enjoyed “life on the ladder of fame,” as he described it in his memoirs. Characteristically, he made a pal of Robards as a result of the movie. He had no complaints when glamorous people in Hollywood and New York sought him out.

Mr. Bradlee’s life changed in another important way in the early 1970s. He fell in love with Sally Quinn, a vivacious, high-energy soul mate, 20 years his junior, whom he had hired as a party reporter for the Style section. With no journalistic training or background, Quinn wrote her way into a prominent role at The Post, profiling the mighty and hoping-to-be-mighty of Washington with a sharp eye and sharper pen.

“People were going to be sad again,” Mr. Brad­lee wrote in his memoir, a reference to the second family he would break up in two decades, this time to be with Quinn. They moved in together in October 1973, at the height of the Watergate excitement, and were married five years later.

Mr. Bradlee had edited The Post for nearly nine years when Nixon resigned in August 1974. In those years, he had created a great newspaper and made it famous. Nothing that happened in the newsroom in the 17 years he remained as executive editor was as dramatic as the events of those first nine, with one unhappy exception: the Janet Cooke affair in 1981.

Cooke’s deception was a jolt for Mr. Bradlee and his colleagues. Personnel management was not one of his strong suits. Female and black reporters had brought formal complaints of discrimination against Mr. Bradlee’s Post, to his great frustration. He thought he was open and fair but didn’t realize that the lack of any reliable system for evaluating journalists and developing their careers made some people feel they weren’t appreciated.

In 1984, at Don Graham’s urging, Mr. Bradlee named Downie managing editor. Downie, 21 years younger than Mr. Bradlee, had won his stripes as an investigative reporter and as an editor on the Watergate story. He was not one of Mr. Bradlee’s favorites and wasn’t his first choice to be managing editor. But he won Mr. Bradlee’s respect, and they were soon working easily together. In 1991, on the eve of his 70th birthday, Mr. Bradlee retired. He still looked and acted like a man much younger.

The staff drenched him in an outpouring of emotion on his last day in the newsroom, July 31, 1991. Most of the men and women on the staff had bought, borrowed or faked a striped shirt with a white collar and cuffs, mimicking those made by Turnbull & Asser in London that Mr. Bradlee had been wearing for years. For tribute after tribute, Mr. Bradlee kept his eyes dry. But then he heard the telegram from Nora Boustany, who had covered the war in Lebanon for The Post and was back in Beirut for a visit at the time of the retirement party. Her comments were read aloud:

“Whenever I found myself alone on the streets of Beirut, I would just shrug off the shelling, the gunmen, and the dark corners, telling myself there is this distinguished eminence up there who really appreciates and understands the true meaning of courage in journalism. . . . For me you will always be the grand, brave man of the news who watched over me and made me want to give just a little bit more. Thank you for giving us all something so special to believe in.”

Don Graham made Mr. Bradlee a director of The Washington Post Co. and a vice president of the newspaper. Graham spent some time coming up with an appropriate title. He chose “vice president at large,” a generous signal that Mr. Bradlee remained a big figure but had no particular responsibilities.

In retirement, Mr. Bradlee wrote his highly successful memoir. He and Quinn raised millions of dollars for Children’s National Medical Center, which had done so much for their son, Quinn, who was born with serious disabilities in 1982. He also gave money away, endowing the Bradlee Professorship of Government and the Press at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

He joined the International Advisory Board of Independent News & Media, a global media company that owns newspapers and other properties in Ireland, England and South Africa. Into his 80s, he enjoyed traveling to board meetings in those countries. Mr. Bradlee also served as chairman of the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission, the nonprofit organization that maintains the historical relics of St. Mary’s, the oldest European settlement in Maryland. In 2007, the French government awarded him its Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration.

Mr. Bradlee and Quinn maintained residences in St. Mary’s County, Md., in East Hampton, N.Y., and in Georgetown. Besides his wife, survivors include a son from his first marriage, Benjamin C. Bradlee Jr. of Boston; two children from his second marriage, Dominic Bradlee of Hydra, Greece, and Marina Murdock of Purcellville, Va.; a son from his third marriage, Quinn Bradlee of Washington; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

The late David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the New York Times and devoted much of his book “The Powers That Be” to Mr. Bradlee’s Washington Post, offered this valedictory in an interview:

“He took The Post, then affluent and filled with underutilized potential, and made it a formidable national newspaper worthy of a head-to-head competition with the [New York] Times. He did it in a way that made the paper itself a joyous place to work. The paper reflected his personality. He was exuberant, competitive and combative if challenged. He made The Post a magnet for young reporters looking for a chance to play in a very high-stakes game.”

Robert G. Kaiser is a former managing editor of The Washington Post.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2014

"It's nice to be Dr. Ruth..."

Long story, but yesterday morning I had breakfast here in New York with Ruth Westheimer (Dr. Ruth) who at 86 is just one month older than my own Mom and just as sharp and vibrant. I met her about 10 years ago and see her every 2 years or so--but I never really talked her longer than a couple of minutes before yesterday. She is funny and classy and bawdy all at once.

And, as I told her in the middle of breakfast, she's got big ones.

Google Dr. Ruth some time.

She was born in Bavaria in 1929. Just a few months older than Anne Frank, she lost both parents in the Holocaust after they were taken from her in 1941, but did not really learn of their deaths until 1945. She escaped the Nazis and spent her early teen years in a Swiss orphanage. She was trained and served as a scout and sniper in the late 1940s after moving to Palestine. That career was cut short when she was seriously injured by a shell in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. She spent months in the hospital. She speaks four languages (including Hebrew) but spoke no English when she arrived in NYC in the mid-1950s. She has lived in the same Washington Heights apartment for 50 years. She has been married 2 times and has been widowed since 1997. She has kids and grandkids. She is a single mother, survivor, winner, dreamer and doer. A problem solver.

And a joy to be around. I gather that she is totally incapable of feeling sorry for herself, even for a minute.

She is 4' 7" in height. That's right. 4 feet 7 inches.

An off-Broadway play about her is still running.

And she is precocious and funny. Yesterday a waiter recognized her and eagerly offered to go to the buffet for her almost as soon as we entered the dining room and before we even sat down. She quickly but graciously allowed him to do so--and then gave the star-struck waiter and fan her food preferences. Off to the buffet he went. She smiled mischievously and said: "It's nice to be Dr. Ruth."


Posted by JD Hull at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2014

A Nod to Old Blighty

Ray Davies cries "Victoria", Glastonbury 2010

Posted by JD Hull at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2014

Ben Bradlee Story #2: "What did you do in WWII, Ben?"

In our series, and also from the June 6, 2012 edition of Vanity Fair:

in 1984, the Washington Post published data it had obtained about a satellite payload, and some officials in the Reagan administration were not pleased. Managing editor Bradlee's patriotism was publicly questioned. There were even suggestions that at one time he had worked for the Kremlin. Bradlee, like his friend John Kennedy, was a World War II veteran who had served in the Navy. One right wing writer made the mistake of asking Bradlee "What did you do during WWII?". Bradlee's response began:

Dear Asshole:

I suspect I did more for my country in the war than you did. I spent four years in destroyers in the Pacific Ocean. My theatre ribbon has 10 battle stars on it.

That's just for starters.

Bradlee receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 20, 2013.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2014

American Authentic: Ben Bradlee is 93, ailing and irreplaceable.

You had a lot of Cuban or Spanish-speaking guys in masks and rubber gloves, with walkie-talkies, arrested in the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at 2:00 in the morning. What the hell were they in there for? What were they doing?

--Ben Bradlee

If you read this blog and don't know who Ben Bradlee is, you should, and so we are going pretend that you know anyway. Tons has been written about Bradlee (and will continue to be written about him) due to his colorful management style, years as a reporter, close friendship with President Kennedy and celebrated mentor-editor role in the two years of coverage of the Watergate break-in of June 1972. Patrician yet famously profane and often hilariously bawdy in his language around the newsroom, Bradlee as Managing Editor of the Washington Post (1968-1991) supported reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in their reporting on Watergate which, with Bradlee playing stage manager at the Post, prematurely ended Richard Nixon's presidency. Nixon resigned in August of 1974. There are lots of interesting stories down through the years about Bradlee himself--but lately the news is sad. Based on a recent C-Span interview with Bradlee's wife, soulmate and fellow Post star Sally Quinn, Politico notes that Bradlee, now 93, is suffering from dementia, sleeping most days away in a hospice, and apparently steadily declining. When Bradlee does leave us, there will be no one left in American journalism or letters who is even remotely like him. We will start today rounding up a few of the better stories. Bradlee was a storyteller with a powerful intellect, and he was funny as hell.

benbradlee (1).jpeg
Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee, circa 1971

Posted by JD Hull at 05:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2014

An Equinox on Stormy Monday: A German author checks in.

It is hard to find this track of the divine in the midst of this life we lead.

Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf (1927)


Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2014

Checking in with Maraym Montague: Marrakech, Morocco, Peacock Pavilions Design Hotel.

Over the past 8 years we've marveled at and fallen hopelessly in love with the peripatetic Ms. Montague, an American expat of French-Persian extraction, Smith grad (we're unashamedly elitist about education, and celebrate the few great women's colleges still on the planet), writer, photographer, award-winning blogger, new author, economic development government contractor and proprietor of the Peacock Pavilions Design Hotel which she runs with her husband Chris in Marrakech, Morocco. How did we find her? In the spring of 2006, one of our older, hopelessly romantic and famously exclusive (i.e., picky about people, especially women) editors discovered Maryam by accident in a photo of her inside a Parisian bistro he'd been in only a few weeks before. It took our normally workaholic nose-to-the-grindstone comrade an afternoon of scouring the Net to find out who she was, what she did and where she was living. Anyway, here's a post heralding the beginning of the 2014 fall season at the elegant Peacock Pavilions which European and American magazines discovered about the same time we discovered Maryam, her hotel and her world. See her post yesterday, Marrakech, Morocco: and a tale of Peacock Pavilions design hotel - Part 1.

Owners Maryam and Chris at Peacock Pavilions. Photo: Elle Magazine.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2014

New Clippers owner Steve Ballmer kicks out the jams.

Last night at the Staples Center.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2014

Sterling Hayden: Our Purest Lover of Being Alive.

Although Hayden (1916-1986) was not in love with Hollywood or acting, he was a highly regarded actor who was cast in westerns, action films and film noir for over forty years, usually as a leading man. He was also a spy, war hero, seeker, sailor, adventurer, rebel, gifted writer and eccentric's eccentric, all six foot five of him. He was authentic. Never contrived, posed, phony or obliged to be different. Never sucking up. A pure lover of being alive. Read his biography, artful screed and best work, in "Wanderer" (1977).

Posted by JD Hull at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2014

Robin McLaurin Williams (1951-2014)

Rest in Peace, Sir Robin. Man-Child. Preacher. Madman. Rogue. You were truly touched by fire. See NBC coverage.


Posted by JD Hull at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2014

(And since Thursday is the new Friday.)

"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

--Samuel Johnson

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Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2014

On the good foot.

An American story. While my fellow James Brown fan Holden Oliver (see post below) has not yet had the opportunity to see the movie because he lives in a Stepford-like rural part of northern Austria which may not have the market to support showing it at local theaters, last night I did see Get On Up, the new movie on the life of James Brown produced by Mick Jagger. I will give it an A-/B+. Cast and music outstanding. Some of the story, even if you know lots about James Brown, is unfortunately a bit confusing and hard to follow. Our suggestion: re-edit that bad boy. Or it could just be me and/or the Ibogaine my doctor made me take before the movie. N.B. Seriously, two things. First, do re-edit this movie so that people can get it. Second, don't underestimate its appeal. I saw Get On Up in whitest part of seriously white and tacky Orange County--and was surprised that most of the audience liked it. I have been wrong about many things...Anyway, good god. On the good foot. Maceo! Maceo! Tim! Tim! Walk for me, Tim.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2014

Germany 1 Argentina 0

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Well-played, both clubs.

Posted by JD Hull at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2014

Recession Story: This is what humility, courage and resilience look like.

This op-ed/story has made the rounds since we discovered it last night. Originally, it may have appeared in Newsday on July 8--but it's getting hard to tell as it's been popping up everywhere, albeit with different titles. Anyway, we don't want you to miss it. Darlena Cunha, writer, former television producer and stay-at-home young mother of twins, tells her story in the Washington Post: "This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to to pick up food stamps".

Darlena Cunha and Family

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July 04, 2014

Americans: Born Outlaws.


Posted by JD Hull at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2014

July 2, 1928

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Happy Birthday, and much love, to Penny Hull.

Chicago Girl. Uber-Mom. Last of the Grande Dames.

Tolerator of Difficult Men.

Source of my Hollywood good looks, charm and annoying patrician manner.

Healthy, energetic, blessed with longevity, you will likely supervise at my funeral.

Call me so I can give you my notes on that.

I love you, Mom. Have the best day today.


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July 01, 2014

July 1, 1950


John D. Hull III and Arlene ("Penny") Reemer Hull
Rivo Alto Island, Miami, Florida July 1, 1950

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June 27, 2014

U.S. Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr. (1925-2014)


Class Act: Sen. Baker (R-TN) at Watergate Hearings, 1973. See Chicago Tribune

Posted by JD Hull at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2014

Did Ralph Waldo Emerson and Hunter Thompson both view modern humans as uber-Weenies?

Writing in 1841, Emerson, essayist, poet and deeply spiritual Transcendentalist, is almost derisive about our progress. Hamstrung by tradition, routine and yearnings for safety, we (non-Emersonian mere mortals) cannot or will not grow:

To us, in our lapsed estate, resting, not advancing, resisting, not cooperating with the divine expansion, this growth comes by shocks. We cannot part with our friends. We cannot let our angels go. We do not see that they only go out that archangels may come in.

We are idolaters of the Old. We do not believe in the riches of the soul, in its proper eternity and omnipresence. We do not believe there is any force in to-day to rival or recreate that beautiful yesterday. We linger in the ruins of the old tent

--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882): Essays, First Series, "Compensation" (1841)

Emerson in 1857

Thompson, writing about 130 years later, while covering the turbulent, exhausting contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, including George McGovern's star-crossed campaign against Richard Nixon for the White House, is far more charitable, struggling to be emphatic with 20th century Everyman, and funny, as always--but he seems to reach the same conclusion:

Once they let you get away with running around for ten years like a king hoodlum, you tend to forget now and then that about half the people you meet live from one day to the next in a state of such fear and uncertainty that about half the time they honestly doubt their own sanity. These are not the kind of people who really need to get hung up in depressing political trips. They are not ready for it. Their boats are rocking so badly that all they want to do is get level long enough to think straight and avoid the next nightmare.

--Thompson in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

Thompson circa 2003. He died in 2005.

And what would each of them, Yankee mystic Emerson and unruly, feral Thompson, stepping into 2014, think about our progress now? Have we learned to "let our angels go"?

Posted by JD Hull at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2014

Happy 799th, Magna Carta.

The Magna Carta (Great Charter) celebrated its 799th birthday yesterday. The Charter was of course imposed by feudal barons on King John at the banks of the Thames near Windsor, England, on June 15, 1215. By limiting the king's absolute power, and protecting the rights of at least some of his subjects, the document wisely signed that day by King John became a critical building block in both English and American constitutional law.

The Magna Carta did mainly two groundbreaking things. It acknowledged that punishment of citizens must be under the law of the land. More generally, it also gave rise to a settled notion, and expectation, that a monarch should not and cannot act on a completely arbitrary basis.

What spurred the barons to confront King John? Answer: Taxes, mainly, without notice, over and over again, to pay for John's lackluster military campaigns on the continent.

What? You know all about the Great Charter. Okay, then by all means take this test one of our Brit cousins over at The Telegraph devised over the weekend for countrymen and colonials alike. At our shop, only the patrician Holden Oliver, with his first rate 17th century mind, got all the answers right.

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A reprinting in London in 1600s.

Posted by JD Hull at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2014

For the Love of Cuba: Rick Garcia, an artist's artist.


Above: "Love and Hate", by Rick Garcia. Born to Cuban parents, Miami native Rick Garcia was raised in a household where Cuba and the Cuban people was a daily subject of discussion. As an artist, Garcia in recent years began to mix images of "old" Cuba with a more contemporary pop treatment to capture Cuba's sounds, colors, textures, energies and spirit. Rick Garcia's websites are here and here.

Posted by JD Hull at 04:38 AM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2014

Normandy, 6:30 a.m., June 6, 1944: Our fathers and grandfathers. My heroes. The last American class.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Allied forces' invasion of Normandy. Although June 6, 1944 would be celebrated as the eventual end of the war in Europe, much (if not most) of the execution of the plan for the invasion's earliest hours was botched. Improvisation by the first American, British and Canadian soldiers to reach French soil won the day.

But before any of that success could be achieved, the men who were the first to arrive would experience, and eventually overcome, unexpected hell, horror and carnage that no training could have prepared them for.

This was especially true of the landing at Omaha beach. For too many--military historians think this was deliberate if strategic--Omaha was their first time in combat. At Omaha alone, there were nearly 2500 casualties, mostly in the first 2 hours, so that 34,000 could be landed on the beach by the end of the day.

It was our fathers and grandfathers, for the most part frightened but dutiful young men, who struggled onto Omaha and those five other Normandy beaches that day. These are the guys I think about more and more as I get older. We will never equal them in character, grit or resilience. That day and what they did? This is our real American class.

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16th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Easy Red Sector, Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944. © Robert Capa.

Posted by JD Hull at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2014

'Oh New York City you talk a lot...'

You look like a city. You feel like a religion.

--L. Nyro, 1969

Paramount newsreel cameraman works the Easter Parade, 1948. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2014

Sharp Dressed Men.

Cuff links, stick pin. When I step out I'm gonna do you in.

--Gibbons, Hill and Beard

Raoul Duke (1937-2005)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2014


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In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

--John Alexander McCrae (1872–1918)

Poet and physician, McCrae was a Lieutenant Colonel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and served as a field surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium (April 21–May 25 1915). He wrote this famous and much beloved poem on May 3, 1915. It first appeared in Punch in December of 1915. McCrae preferred the front lines. On June 1, 1915, despite his protests, McCrae was asked to set up a hospital away from the front and near Boulogne, France. In January 1918, he died of pneumonia and meningitis while still commanding that hospital.

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Posted by JD Hull at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2014

Churchill in Paris

A photo from Paris-based A Clear Blue Sky.


Winston Churchill in front of the Petit Palais, Av. Winston-Churchill, 8th Arrondissement.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2014

Bohemian Paris 1840s: The Downwardly Mobile Arts.

At once playful and dead-serious, Paris is "the city where artists love and starve together, shock the bourgeoisie, then die tragically young." Visit Girls' Guide to Paris and read Cynthia Rose's "Arthur Rimbaud: The Poet as Pop Star."


Posted by JD Hull at 01:58 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2014

Mexico as Hero: Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862.

Today, other nations in the Americas honor Mexico. In the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated a much better-equipped invading French army of 8,000. Since the Battle of Puebla, no nation in the Americas has been invaded by any other European military force.


Posted by JD Hull at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2014

Guy de Maupassant: The Natural.


Bel-Ami: Guy de Maupassant, 1850-1893

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April 23, 2014

Happy 450th, Mr. Shakespeare.

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Posted by JD Hull at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2014

Easter, 1916: A terrible beauty is born.


On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, Irish republican leaders staged an Easter Rising against British rule in Ireland. The uprising, the most significant Irish revolt since 1798, took place mainly in Dublin. It was unsuccessful. The British eventually executed 16 people, including most of the uprising's leaders, for treason. In the five months that followed, William Butler Yeats, poet, pol, patriot and mystic, wrote and completed "Easter, 1916":

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2014

Work-Life Pulitzer.

The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week.

Robert Frost (1874-1963) spent his life as a poet, student, teacher, newspaper reporter, farmer, factory worker, father, husband and accomplished Yankee. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize four times.

(New York World-Telegram & Sun)

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2014

Statesboro, Bulloch County, Georgia.

Mother died and left me reckless,
Daddy died and left me wild.
No, I'm not good lookin',
I'm some sweet woman's angel child.

--William Samuel McTier (1898–1959)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2014

Legal London in the Spring: Love, Labor and Literature

Each Spring, we send you the complete text of a circa-1595 comedy by Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost. You can read it aloud--or, even better, act it out. First performed before Queen Elizabeth at her Court in 1597 (as "Loues Labors Loſt"), it was likely written for performance before culturally-literate law students and barristers-in-training. The notion was that such well-rounded humans would appreciate its sophistication and wit at the Inns of Court in still over-percolating Legal London. And, most certainly, it was performed at Gray's Inn, where Elizabeth was the "patron". Interestingly, the play begins with a vow by several men to forswear pleasures of the flesh and the company of fast women during a three-year period of study and reflection. And to "train our intellects to vain delight".


Posted by JD Hull at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2014

Mr. Chavez

Today, the American states of California, Colorado and Texas observe an official state holiday to honor the late Cesar Chavez. Chavez was a Mexican-American civil rights and labor leader who, beginning in the late 1950s and early 1960s, brought worldwide attention to the low pay, poor living conditions and poor working conditions of American farm workers, including the health threat posed by pesticides to workers' health. A tireless organizer of non-violent strikes and boycotts, Chavez was instrumental in the formation of the United Farm Workers, and guided the UFW until his death in 1993. For his work, he earned the respect and admiration of countless contemporary American leaders and politicians.

César Estrada Chávez (March 31, 1927 - April 23, 1993)

Posted by JD Hull at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2014

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

"Portrait of Chess Player"

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2014

St. Genevieve: I know it, I see it.

Get down on your knees and pray! I know it, I see it. The Huns will not come.

Sainte Genevieve (422-512) saved Parisians from the Huns, the legend goes, in 451. People had started to flee Paris in anticipation of the invasion led by Attila--but stopped when she told them she had a vision that the Huns would not enter Paris. She became the city's patron saint. In 1928, a grateful Paris erected a statue to her on the Pont de la Tournelle (now about 400 years old). Genevieve is facing east, the direction from which the Huns approached. She is also said to have converted Clovis, king of the pagan Franks, to Christianity. If you walk from the Right Bank to the Left Bank near the Ile Saint Louis, you walk right under her, with Notre Dame on your right.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2014

Peter Paul Rubens: The painter loved a great feast.

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The Feast of Venus, circa 1630-1640. By Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Flemish Baroque Painter, Diplomat, Charmer, Father, Husband, Savvy Businessman, Fluent in Six Languages, Workaholic, Renaissance Man. Raised in Cologne and Antwerp.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2014

The Role of Irish Guys on the World Stage.

The purpose of the Irish guy is to drink and wear trousers.

--Anonymous Irish Woman

There are of course exceptions to the above view. This day--St. Patrick's Day--is in honor of a Brit captured and sold into slavery by "Irish marauders" to the chieftain Mil uh in the year 403 to work in what is now the County of Antrim. Patrick died on March 17--in either 493 or 460. In the intervening years, Patrick changed Ireland forever. Never underestimate Irish guys.

Seamus Oliver, Dublin, Week Days.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2014

Euripides: The bondage of chilled speech.

This is slavery: not to speak one's thought.

Euripides, stand-up Greek (480-406 B.C.)


Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2014

UPDATED: A Better Class of Libidinous at Duke. Meet Lauren.

Unexpectedly, and going on a decade*, Duke University has been building a somewhat unruly, vaguely feral and decidedly Epicurean--let's just call it "libidinous"--reputation in the popular media.

First, it was Tom Wolfe's 2004 novel 'I Am Charlotte Simmons', exploring the hookup culture at fictional "Dupont University." Next, a national spotlight was trained on Duke's 2006 lacrosse team, and in particular an off-campus party setting off rape allegations; although the charges there were false, and eventually dropped, the scandal and its residual civil litigation painted a wild, testosterone-drenched portrait of the Duke lacrosse program and several of it players. Finally, the 2010 publication of The Duke F*ck List, a Duke woman's explicit and often hilarious review of bedroom performances by several identified Duke men, took hookup culture at Duke to painful new depths.

And now this, stuff even Tom Wolfe can't make up:

During the 2013-14 school year, a determined and apparently open and engaging Duke freshman is moonlighting in adult films to help pay tuition. She gets outed by a male student. But, to her credit, she doesn't hide. She steps up to talk about it, defending herself and humanizing herself and the porn industry. And this has made most of her critics and others involved in her story to appear small, prissy, hypocritical, bad.

There have been scads of articles on this unusual story in last two weeks.

So in case you missed it on February 14, in one of the best early stories on this, Katie Fernelius, a reporter on The Chronicle, Duke's highly-regarded 110-year-old student daily, interviewed the co-ed in "Portrait of a porn star: Duke freshman stands behind her alter-ego". Her name is "Lauren". Lauren has this more recent interview in xojane.com on February 21. And we, like many others, are beginning to admire her. Lauren has grit and soul. Hat tip to Chicago's Andrew Johnston for the idea and the xojane.com interview.

*If you go back more than 20 years, you encounter a West campus out-of-doors institution for only the most sporting student couples known as "The Order of the Chair", spoken about in hushed tones by those who participated. Those rituals merit a separate post.

Photo: Elysia Su/Duke Chronicle

Posted by JD Hull at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2014

Blind Willie McTell on Them Statesboro Blues.

Woke up this morning,
We had them Statesboro blues.
I looked over in the corner,
Grandma and Grandpa had 'em too.

--Blind Willie McTell

Posted by JD Hull at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2014

Happy Birthday, EJB.

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Image: Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2014

Sharp Dressed Man

Cuff links, stick pin.
When I step out
I'm gonna do you in.

--Gibbons, Hill and Beard (ZZ Top)


Posted by JD Hull at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2014

Aristide Maillol: Dina in 1939.


"The Sky", 1939, Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2014


Like many of my peers, I've been interested in politics--the "art of controlling your environment", as one Hunter Stockton Thompson used to define politics broadly--since I was 15. I lived on Capitol Hill for years, and worked there twice. At this point, I think can tell sincere versus feigned shows of partisanship or bipartisanship in politicians posturing/reacting to a question, to a speech or to an event. Even when "on duty", pols actually are human beings with their guards down from time to time. They are not all bluster, speciousness and lies 24/7. I keep watching for those rare moments of real. I think that anyone last night who watched the State of the Union address witnessed one of those moments in the prolonged applause and show of appreciation for wounded Sgt. First Class Cory Remburg. I expect more than a few members of Congress, journalists and watchers of the event around the world both cheered and teared up. See, e.g., NBC news: "Army Ranger Cory Remsburg honored as hero during State of the Union address."

Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Posted by JD Hull at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2014

Hermann Hesse: Deliverance.

It was at a concert of lovely old music. After two or three notes of the piano the door was opened...to the other world. I sped through heaven and saw God at work. I suffered holy pains. I dropped all my defences and was afraid of nothing in the world. I accepted all things and to all things gave up my heart.

Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2014

Los Angeles and the Music Business: "A cruel and shallow money trench."

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.

There's also a negative side.



Posted by JD Hull at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2014

Janus: God of Beginnings.

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Posted by JD Hull at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2013

Beyond King and Country.

A wise man's country is the world.

--Aristippus (435-360 BC), as quoted by Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosphers


"There is hope. I see traces of men." Aristippus was shipwrecked on the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea. He and his fellow survivors did not know where they were or if the island was inhabited. But he sees geometric figures drawn on the sand.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2013

Doc Holliday: "Where you goin' with that shotgun, Virgil Earp?"

John Henry Holliday in 1872.

He despised and, whenever he could, preferred to engage bullies. He had a knee-jerk resistance to following the crowd in anything. He thought for himself. He argued with everyone (including the Earp family) about everything. He liked underdogs.

The Gift of Loyalty, Being There, Standing Up. Nine-tenths of what has been said or written about him, including Hollywood's versions, is hype. Doc Holliday wasn't a great shot, or anything like an artist with that big knife he carried around with him. He didn't kill scores of people. He wasn't drunk 24/7. Not everyone hated or feared him. Yes, he could be as mean as a snake.

But when you clear away the Old West myth, he's still a tragic but compelling and often admirable loner. Biographers do agree that John Henry Holliday (1851-1887) was fiercely loyal and could be counted on to stand up for friends--not just the Earp family--and a few others who might need a bold if flamboyant assist.

To be honest, I wish more lawyers--too many of us are cowards and wimps--had Doc's pluck, his ever-readiness to "be there" for you and his fine madness. Most of us? We don't come by strong character, action or decisiveness naturally. Face it: as a group, we are barely above-average Dorks. We've raised holding back, and even common cowardice, to an acceptable art.

Like many lawyers-to-be, Doc grew up comfortably and was well-educated. He was raised in Georgia as a popular and bright youngster in a close, supportive and fairly well-to-do family in which, among other things, he learned about card games. His clan's fortunes were badly set back, but not destroyed, by the Civil War and the subsequent occupation by Union soldiers.

He started out adulthood in 1872 as a 20-year-old graduate of a fine dental surgery school in Philadelphia. But Holliday caught Tuberculosis from either his stepmother or a patient in his first year of practice. At 22, still the beginning of his dental practice, he was diagnosed as "consumptive"--and told that he had but a few months to live.

This shock, coupled with what some researchers believe was a star-crossed love affair with a first cousin, made Holliday move West for his health. Dentistry quickly took a back seat to gambling. He became a binge-drinking rogue with only a few friends, professional gambler, resident wit, expert womanizer and prankster who was somehow menacing to most of the people he met, even at a weight of around 140 pounds. Although he was clearly an emotional and in some respects volatile man, most reports have him clear-headed, quick-witted and even strangely calm in violent situations the moment they erupted.

This was a bit of Social Critic and Philosopher in Holliday, too. I've read three bios now on Doc. (The best, to me, is Doc Holliday by Gary L. Roberts, John Wiley & Sons (2006)). Even when drunk, or when he had lost his temper (both happened a lot), Holliday was clear-eyed in a number of respects.

He wouldn't beat up on weaklings. He despised--and, whenever he could, preferred to engage--straight-up bullies and self-hating creeps. He had a knee-jerk resistance to following the crowd in anything. He thought for himself; he argued with everyone (including the Earp family) about everything. He liked underdogs. And even when cornered--or was about to be hauled off to jail (also happened a lot)--he had something caustic and often incredibly funny to say.

Tuberculosis did finally claim him in Colorado at age 37. There is no end to the lore about what he did and said, or to the speculation about what made him tick in those last 15 years. But even the most sober historical sources on Holliday do agree on one thing. Over and over again, if a friend--in a few cases a total stranger--needed him, he was there immediately.

Instinctive. No hesitation. An angry yet adept explosion. None of the pathetic step-by-step "analysis" of modern white collars that should shame us deeply every time and never does. You didn't need to ask Doc to help. Doc didn't need to think about it. He just did it.

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November 27, 2013

Gratitude: A Superior State of Mind.

For what else can I do, a lame old man, but sing hymns to the gods?*

--Epictetus (55-135 AD), The Discourses, Book I, 101 AD

*Epictetus used gods, Zeus and God interchangeably.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2013

Builders. Innovators. Drivers. Creators.

There is no joy except in creation. There are no living beings but those who create. All the rest are shadows, hovering over the earth, strangers to life. All the joys of life are the joys of creation: love, genius, action...

--Romain Rolland (1866-1944), Nobel Prize winner, in "Lightning Strikes Christophe".


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2013

Karl Llewellyn, Old Siwash and New Eyes.

Karl Nickerson Llewellyn

You expect me to tell you that you should be earnest about your work, and get your back into it for dear old Siwash, and that he who lets work slide will stumble by the way.

The above of course is from the opening chapter of the The Bramble Bush: On Our Law and Its Study (1931), which sprung from a series of introductory lectures Karl Llewellyn (1893–1962) gave to first-year law students during the 1929-30 academic year, when he was appointed the first Betts Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia. The book's title is from a poem "The Bramble Bush" by Robert Penn Warren, excerpted here:

There was a man in our town
and he was wondrous wise:
he jumped into a bramble bush
and scratched out both his eyes--

and when he found that he was blind,
with all his might and maine,
He jumped into another one,
and scratched them in again.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2013

November 11: "Though Poppies Grow In Flanders Fields."

Observed today as a day off work for many in the United States, Veterans Day is always on November 11, and comes to us from World War I, or the Great War. The first and most horrific of modern wars was officially over with the Treaty of Versailles in June of 1919. But November 11 is observed in about 60 (mostly Commonwealth nations) as Remembrance Day, Poppy Day or Armistice Day to mark the end of major fighting in World War I in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when Germany had signed the Armistice. As "Poppy Day", it derives its name from John McCrae's short but famous poem.

In Flanders Field

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

--John Alexander McCrae (1872–1918). Poet, physician, Lieutenant Colonel of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The poem first appeared in Punch in December of 1915.

McCrae in 1912

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November 02, 2013

Storytelling: Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.

Great characters never go out of date.

When the lights go down and the curtain rises on the magic square of life, Ibsen's men and women will always hold the audience in their spell.

--S. L. Flaxman, January 1959, on dramatist Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)


Making Blind Men See: Rosamund Pike, now 34 and still 5'9", in 2010 as Hedda Gabler at London's Richmond Theatre. Photo: John Swannell.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2013

Goodbye, Old Friend.


"Ed. Post" (? - 2013), the anonymous editor of Blawg Review. Thank you. Rest in peace. And make it count, sir. I am sorry we quarreled so much.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2013

Gaius Julius Caesar: General, Statesman, Conqueror, Writer.


D. March 15, 44 BC. Above: Vincenzo Camuccini, Mort de Caesar, 1798.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2013

Samuel Johnson: Dry Drunks, Wet Drunks, Bullies and Boors.

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.

--Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784


North of Fleet Street: 17 Gough Square. Built 1700.

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October 08, 2013


Que beaultè ot trop plus qu'humaine.
Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan?

--François Villon (1431-1463)

Villon_Francois.jpg Poet, Drifter, Dreamer, Thief.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2013

Heroes: Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr.

When I step out I'm gonna do you in.

--Gibbons, Hill and Beard


Man in Full: Tom Wolfe. Prince of journalism, risk-taker, Virginian, original. "Every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man."

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2013

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Get to know his City of Man.

To us, in our lapsed estate, resting, not advancing, resisting, not cooperating with the divine expansion, this growth comes by shocks. We cannot part with our friends. We cannot let our angels go. We do not see that they only go out that archangels may come in.

We are idolaters of the Old. We do not believe in the riches of the soul, in its proper eternity and omnipresence.

We do not believe there is any force in today to rival or recreate that beautiful yesterday.

We linger in the ruins of the old tent.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882): Essays, First Series, "Compensation" (1841)


Emerson, 1857. Pain? It's optional, Justin.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2013

One Stand-up Guy: Daniel O'Connell, Trial Lawyer.

Daniel O'Connell.gif

An Irishman of the best stock--wily, witty, eloquent, emotional and magnetic.

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), "Liberator of Ireland", led a movement that forced the British to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, allowing Catholics to become members of the British House of Commons. As a leader, O'Connell had moxie, brains, drive, patience, organizational skills, and big personality. More about him here and here.

O'Connell was also a consummate and legendary trial lawyer, a bit of an actor, and way-fun just to be around. In a set of lectures published in 1901, John L. Stoddard said of him:

He was a typical Irishman of the best stock--wily, witty, eloquent, emotional and magnetic. His arrival in town was often an occasion for public rejoicing. His clever repartees were passed from lip to lip, until the island shook with laughter.

In court, he sometimes kept the spectators, jury, judge and even the prisoner, alternating between tears and roars of merriment. Celtic to the core, his subtle mind knew every trick peculiar to the Irish character, and he divined instinctively the shrewdest subterfuges of a shifty witness.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2013

Reason to Live.

They don't know what love is.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2013

Heroes: Benjamin Disraeli.

I cannot be silent. I have had to struggle against a storm of political hate and malice which few men ever experienced.

--Young MP Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), asking Robert Peel for a post in the Peel Ministry in an 1841 letter. Peel refused him.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

Guernica. The German Officer to Picasso: "Did you paint this?"


Here's a WWII story I first heard in 1992 in Paris from a struggling young Irish painter named Richard hustling his drinks and living by his wit, humor, charm and talent on a few choice blocks of the Right Bank. I never found out what happened to Richard. But ever since I've thought about this simple and apparently fairly well-known Picasso story, and more and more since 2005.

In the Fall of that year, Julie McGuire and I were together in Madrid. We made time to see Guernica, very likely Pablo Picasso's most famous painting, and some other great modern Spanish works, at the Museo Reina Sofia in central Madrid. Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 after both German and Italian bombers shelled Guernica, in Spain's Basque Country, on April 26 of that year, during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing by Germany and Italy happened at the request of Spanish Nationalist forces. The painting is an outcry, protest and lament of the self-assured, polite, smooth and famously composed Picasso.

The smallest details of the story seem to change. But historians and journalists seem to agree on the following:

In 1942, during the 1940-1944 German occupation of Paris, German officers often visited Picasso's Paris studio at a time when some of his paintings were being burned as decadent. On one visit, an aggressive Gestapo officer found a simple postcard with an image of Guernica in the studio. The officer confronted the painter, and held before Picasso's face the postcard with its breathtaking indictments of war, national pride, meaningless death, pointless suffering, waste, government hypocrisy, inflamed leadership and self-destruction.

"Did you do this?", the officer asked.

“No, sir. You did."

Posted by JD Hull at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2013

Wild Men: Jonathan Swift.

Swift was a Titan in rebellion against Heaven.

-- John L. Stoddard, 1901

J. Swift portrait.jpg

Anglo-Irish, Angry and Brave: See one of our past tributes to Dean Swift (1667–1745) in "Heroes and Leaders: Anyone out there with soul and sand?"

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2013

Living in America: On the Good Foot.

James Brown, Godfather of Soul, was the hardest-working poor kid ever.

Posted by JD Hull at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2013

You work like Pete Townshend plays? Well, do you?

Got Fire? "I want it. I want it. I want it. I want it."

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2013

Heroes: E.D. Hirsch, Jr. and Core Knowledge Foundation.


Eric Hirsch founded the Charlottesville-based Core Knowledge Foundation in 1986.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2013

Llewellyn: "You expect me to tell you that you should be earnest about your work."

Karl Nickerson Llewellyn

You expect me to tell you that you should be earnest about your work, and get your back into it for dear old Siwash, and that he who lets work slide will stumble by the way.

The above of course is from the opening chapter of the The Bramble Bush: On Our Law and Its Study (1931), which sprung from a series of introductory lectures Karl Llewellyn (1893–1962) gave to first-year law students during the 1929-30 academic year, when he was appointed the first Betts Professor of Jurisprudence at Columbia. The book's title is from a poem "The Bramble Bush" by Robert Penn Warren, excerpted here:

There was a man in our town
and he was wondrous wise:
he jumped into a bramble bush
and scratched out both his eyes--

and when he found that he was blind,
with all his might and maine,
He jumped into another one,
and scratched them in again.


Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2013

Heroes: Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963).

You think you're scrappy, resourceful, resilient and tough? Robert Frost spent his life as a poet, student, teacher, newspaper reporter, farmer, factory worker, father, husband, plugger and accomplished Yankee. Personally, he lived through a never-ending series of tragic and painful episodes. Both his parents died young. When his father died, leaving the family $7, Frost was 11 years old. Fifteen years later, his mother died of cancer. Four of Frost's own six children died prematurely. Only two survived him.

He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize four times: 1924, 1931, 1937 and 1943. The first, in 1924, came at age 50.

Robert Frost - The Poetry of Robert Frost.jpg

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2012

Rozann Stayden.

My friend Rozann Stayden died on February 24 this year. We met in Cincinnati as students in 1977 and, a few years later, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she eventually attended law school.

In both of these very different cities, Rozann Stayden knew everyone. And she seemed to meet anyone interesting, compelling or promising before anyone else did: the rich, poor, powerful, famous, struggling, bohemian, academic, literary, political, young, old, displaced, exotic. She was attracted to the genuinely interesting.

That Rozann was a lawyer does not begin to describe her, or help in the least to explain her influence on every man or woman who ever met her. That fact just gets in the way of the portrait. At best, that was a small, possibly important and probably amusing detail. Lawyer-ness wasn't finishing or defining for her. In others, without a lot more to show for themselves, it simply did not impress her. It was like a high school degree.

She demanded much, sometimes too much, from herself and others. She had way too much energy, moxie and wants for one human. Passionate, smart, funny, driven, opinionated, difficult, organized, fearless, hopelessly irreverent, inpatient, kind and warlike. She was never politically correct, thought of it as a comical but unfortunate character defect, and tended to dislike people who were.

Rozann intrigued and startled you. She came on strong, was opinionated and often frightened, especially at first, all but the strongest men and the most curious, discerning women. She had hundreds of longtime friends from all walks of life in the United States, Europe and Asia. She laughed a lot, and uproariously.

Rozann, words like authentic or original to describe you fail in understatement. You were Self-Made in every respect. You were "highly-correct" even when we fought, disagreed or misunderstood each other. Happy Birthday, Girlfriend.

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Posted by JD Hull at 03:21 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2012

Don't miss GWENorg's powerful, uplifting video about child sexual abuse starring ABC's Chelsea Tavares.

Los Angeles-based Global Women's Empowerment Network (GWEN or GWENorg at http://www.GWENNetwork.org) has produced this public service announcement based on a poem of Chelsea Tavares, the actress, singer and dancer who is also a celebrity spokesperson for GWEN. Released yesterday, "Still Music Box" echoes the pain of a child's sexual abuse happening behind closed doors on a daily basis.

The poem is personal to Tavares, an established 21 year old actress who has also starred in the ABC Family series "Make it or Break It". In that show, Taveres played the character of Jordan Randall, who confronted the abuser who had sexually molested her at an early age. GWEN co-founder Tess Cacciatore heard this poem and was moved to produce, shoot and edit the piece, so that the story could live on to inspire others.

Posted by JD Hull at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2012

Gibbon: On Germany's legacy.

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)


Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2012

“My dear young lady, I’m a lawyer, and I’m used to lying on both sides.”

See Charon QC's Report No. 4: Lawyers: What They Are and What They Do at his Van Rouge UK Law Tour.


Posted by JD Hull at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2012

Day of the Innocents: Henri 2, Paw de Deux.

Existential cat hero Henri is the creation of Seattle's Will Braden.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 03:50 AM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2012

All Hail The Charon QC Van Rouge Tour: A Modern Legal Domesday Census, Sort Of, Starting With Kent.

It will be a real pleasure to get out and talk to lawyers and non-lawyers all over the country to see what they think about our legal system. A mix of podcasts, blog posts, tweets, photos, and even the odd video--with me behind the camera.

--Charon QC, London and Kent

In October, the popular and highly-regarded British law prof, writer, podcaster and pundit Charon QC will start from Kent his Van Rouge Tour of England. A kind of modern Legal Domesday adventure, Charon (pronounced "Karen") will indulge us with a fine Celtic romp throughout most of Britain for several months "doing podcasts with lawyers and non-lawyers [plus posts and tweets about them] as I go with a detailed commentary on law, life and other matters as I find them." Sponsorships are still available; given Charon's wide following and readership, that's an opportunity for both Brit and non-Brit law firms to share in the magic of our hero's velvet-voiced reporting and always-compelling interviews (incidently, he has interviewed me either in or from London four times, to much fanfare and heightened interest in our firm). More details on Charon's trip are here and coming up shortly on Charon's blog.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2012

Congratulations, Geeklawyer and Jess.

The House of Geeklawyer announces the arrival of a new 8.5 pound male litigator.

20th Century Fox

Posted by JD Hull at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2012

Bill Clinton's Only Tragedy.

It's that he has never made a closing argument to a jury. I watched his speech last night at the Democratic convention. Even though I have raised money for Dem pols, I don't think, act or vote along party lines and hopefully never will. I voted "R" in the last presidential election. But I am also--no matter what I do or think--a lawyer who has made pitches before federal and state courts for nearly 25 years. There is no one living better at making ideas come alive, putting arcane ideas in people-speak and summing up than one William Jefferson Clinton. No one. Amazing. He's always prepared, too. The boy comes to play, doesn't he?

Photo: NY Daily News.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2012

Burning Man: Day 8.



Back off, man. We know a great alternate reality when we see one.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2012

Burning Man Festival 2012: Day 4.

The festival began in earnest in 1986 with about ten people on San Francisco's Baker Beach. The idea was, in part, to observe and celebrate the summer solstice with an evening bonfire. The event grew quickly and moved to the desert in 1990. Burning Man Festival is now an eagerly-awaited 8-day gathering, romp, art show, living experiment of "radical inclusion" and alternate reality held and experienced each year in Back Rock Desert, Nevada. Interestingly, and to the festival's great credit, each of the 50,000 gushing aficionados and devoted tribesman who do regularly attend describe it a bit differently. This year (August 27 through September 3) our firm is honored, amused and a tad horrified that the entire board of directors of one of our few start-up clients--they are grads of fancy B-schools back East but dress year-round like extras from "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome"--are shilling a few ideas of their own at 2012 Burning Man. Good luck, guys.

BurningMan-picture (1).jpg

Posted by JD Hull at 02:49 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2012

Caravaggio's madrigal on lost love.

The Lute Player.jpg
Caravaggio, "The Lute Player", c. 1596, Wildenstein Collection

Posted by JD Hull at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2012

Obey-DC-Henry Rollins.

To celebrate D.C. native Henry Rollins and his 50th birthday last year, Obey--Shepard Fairey's empire--created and released two Obey-esque limited edition renderings of Rollins for sale. Here's one of them.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2012

You gotta love the British press at the Olympics: "A raucous pageant of popular culture".

When did America's Fourth Estate last use "raucous" in a headline? Ah, but Britain, she really did deliver, didn't she? See The Guardian's artful swan song for London's two week-long moment: "London 2012: This closing ceremony was a raucous pageant of popular culture." Excerpt from the piece by Richard Williams:

Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz performed from moving Rolls-Royce convertibles, like an extended advert for the best of British bling, while Russell Brand sang I Am the Walrus from a psychedelic bus that metamorphosed into a giant transparent octopus from which Fatboy Slim delivered a short DJ set. When the Spice Girls sang from the top of black cabs, the Olympics seemed to have turned into the Motor Show.

Last of all, after the speeches, Rio de Janeiro's preview of 2016 and the extinguishing of Thomas Heatherwick's cauldron, came the surviving members of the Who, closing the Games with the adrenaline shot of My Generation, although the real anthem of London 2012 had undoubtedly been David Bowie's Heroes.

There was no message, and nor did there need to be, except "Wasn't it fun?" and "Aren't we great?" But Damien Hirst's tie-dyed rendering of the union flag, filling the ground on which the world's finest athletes had run and jumped and thrown their way into history, reminded those suspicious of raucous patriotism of how great the union flag suddenly looked when it was ripped out of the hands of the extreme right and wrapped around the shoulders of Jessica Ennis or Mo Farah.

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The Pet Shop Boys get down, as it were. (Photo: Julien Behal/PA)

Posted by JD Hull at 05:12 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2012

The Oversoul on Crack: Burning Man is August 27 to September 3. Peace, Love, Absurdity, Art.

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Burning Man Festival, September 2, 2011: Black Rock Desert, Nevada (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2012

East London Janus.


Samantha Janus, "Guys and Dolls", 2006, London

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2012

My Life Online.

I don't have one.

A "life online". A Life on the Internet, I mean.

I don't want one, either.

For me, the Net is one rung on the ladder to meeting people, learning, growing and testing your own mettle. A tool for my flesh-and-blood journey--and not ever a destination. If it makes money, all the better. But please don't blog, tweet, Facebook, e-mail, Skype, Four Square or do LinkedIn for the money--because you'll be hatin' life. That's the 2% by-product, if even that.

To do well on the Net, when you need to be in that 'hood, you DO need to like/love other humans, meeting them, learning from them and be curious about them and the worlds they occupy. And, of course, you need to have a serious drive to absorb all those Ideas--both new ones and old verities--that inevitably accompany any new person, place or thing.

You need to be driven, first, about who and what is out there. If at first you can't meet people in person, in the interim, please call or Skype. You need live voices and moving images. And, ultimately, live bodies and all that goes with them. They are the best. This week I had the honor--and fun--of finally meeting Portland's David Sugerman, even it was only over the phone on a Thursday morning when neither of us really had the time.

He is quite a guy, lawyer, native Texan, Warrior, father, husband and Human's Human. Trust me. I know these things. And I will give him a mob name: The SweetMan. If I still did insurance defense work, however, he would scare me incontinent--and I would love fighting him off. Dave Sugerman's a guy who gets his clients in his DNA; his clients, I suspect, hold him in their hearts the same way.

SweetMan, we may not be worthy.


Portland's David F. Sugerman

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2012

On The Great Eagle Scout Backlash: Two Great Posts.


I am an Eagle Scout. Generally, and consistently, I have been enormously proud of that. For examples, I "rank" it above my Law Review editor position in law school, seeing my writing published in major newspapers at a young age, making partner in my previous firm or founding Hull McGuire. The more I think about it, being an Eagle Scout is second only to one thing: giving up booze 26 years ago.

So these two pieces written this week interested me greatly. Each post takes a very similar view of the BSA's recent if repackaged stand against openly homosexual scouts within its ranks. Each, however, suggests a different remedy. Me? I am not sure yet about the remedy. Thinking. I can only tell you that I deplore the policy, even while I find it legally unassailable. The two posts:

More Men Join the Ranks of Former Eagle Scout by Maggie Koerth-Baker, the wife of Eagle Scout Chris Baker, at BoingBoing. This is powerful and persuasive--and moving. Let her introduce you to some interesting, and inspiring, Eagle Scouts.

A Word About Awards by defense trial lawyer Eric Mayer, also an Eagle Scout, at his always-sane and thoughtful Unwashed Advocate. It's also powerful and persuasive--and smart. Two excerpts from Mayer, but do read the entire post:

From 2004 to 2010, the published policy of the BSA was as follows:

Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scouting’s values and beliefs. Most boys join Scouting when they are 10 or 11 years old. As they continue in the program, all Scouts are expected to take leadership positions. In the unlikely event that an older boy were to hold himself out as homosexual, he would not be able to continue in a youth leadership position.

In 2010, this statement disappeared from official publication. In June 2012, they published a much colder explanation:

The BSA policy is: “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”

Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics.

The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.


Juxtaposing this policy upon the Boy Scout Law, I find, independently, that it is not Friendly, nor Courteous, nor Kind, nor Brave, nor Clean. And, as for Reverent. Anyone who finds themselves moved to tears by the Sermon on the Mount (regardless of religious affiliation or subscriptions) should taste the bile welling in their throats at such blatant and disgusting discrimination by an organization claiming to uphold the highest of moral values.

Next, let me be clear about something else. Do not confuse the organization with the program.

The program is a warm and inviting place where caring and conscientious volunteers facilitate the emotional and physical growth of young men by using a structured learning and leadership environment in order to teach them valuable life skills and lessons. The vast majority of volunteers are dedicated to assisting these kids in becoming good men, regardless of sexuality, religion, or background. One does not need to earn the Eagle Scout award to gain benefit from the program, but the award does recognize significant dedication and work in the program.

The organization is cold. Detached “professionals” operate a not-for-profit organization consisting of nearly 3 million members, paying their higher leadership handsome salaries for sustaining growth and organizational integrity. They receive significant support from christian denominations throughout the US, and the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) make participation largely mandatory for its male youth.

Posted by JD Hull at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2012

Oak Park Boy Still Making Good: A Belated Happy 113th, Mr. Hemingway.

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899–July 2, 1961) at the stone mansion on Whitehead Street in Key West with one of the many famous, if often deranged or six-toed, Hemingway cats.

Posted by JD Hull at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2012

It's Thursday. Play Loud, Campers.

Morris, Jay and Silent Bob check back in.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2012

Congrats, Rep. Barney Frank. And thanks for showing us in all walks of life the 24/7 importance being who you are.

We do not share the same politics. But Barney's unusually smart, tough, authentic. He gets lots done. And he's got big ones. We will all miss him when he leaves Congress. NBC: Barney Frank weds longtime partner; first congressman in same-sex marriage.


Posted by JD Hull at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2012

These brutal Thursday summer nights are ruining my health.

The best thing about summer nights in the authentic American cities? All the girls walk by dressed up for each other, and the boys do the boogie-woogie on the corner of the street.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2012

Herbert Lomas (1924-2011)

Recently, I learned that Herbert "Bertie" Lomas, a Suffolk-based poet, editor and translator, died on September 9, 2011 at the age of 87. I met Bertie in England in 2003. We became pen pals. Sometimes we'd exchange books. He was highly respected, followed, read and affectionately regarded as a writer and human being by a variety of European communities throughout his life. This piece in The Independent that appeared on September 15 comes as close as any of the many obits or tributes I've read about his passing of capturing the kind of person he was--and his unusual life and role as poet, writer and participant in the events that forged Europe in the last century.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2012

Lawyers with Fight.


Posted by JD Hull at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2012

A Few Words About Nora Ephron (1941-2012).

We should have put her in our Pantheon long ago. In 1972, in her essay "A Few Words About Breasts", she changed things for me and others who aspired to be writers and journalists. Why? It was the fun and moxie of her. And of course that killer last sentence of the now-famous Esquire piece no one will ever forget. Essayist. Funny Girl. Author. Screenwriter. Director. Mother. Role model for women and writers. She was, everyone learned in a flash, and then over and over again, much more than talented Carl Bernstein's talented writer ex-wife. Too young, at 71, but what a life. LA Times obit here but none of the hundreds of pieces in last 24 hours really do it for me. Ephron was, in a sense, the classic comic. She was at heart a soldier, a survivor and brilliant essayist who could take her own pain, face it, learn from it, use it--and make us all feel more alive. And make both herself and us laugh about it a bit.

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Nora/Meryl and Carl/Jack


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2012

Dee Briggs Studio: This Summer in Pittsburgh and New York.

Dee Briggs Studio

Dee Briggs

Intimate Friction
The Mattress Factory
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Curated by Mary-Lou Arscott
Now through September 1

Group exhibition: Dee Briggs, Nina Barbuto, Nick Durrant, Jeremy Ficca, Pablo Garcia, Jenn Gooch, Claire He, Matt Huber, Nick Liadis, Transformazium, Gill Wildman, and

Factory Direct
The Warhol Museum
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Curated by Eric Shiner
Now through September 9

Group exhibition including: Chakaia Booker, Dee Briggs, Thorsten Brinkmann, Todd Eberle, Jeanette Doyle, Fabrizio Gerbino, Ann Hamilton, William Earl Kofmehl III, Ryan McGinness, Mark Neville, Sarah Oppenheimer, Edgar Orlaineta, Orlan, and Tomoko Sawada.

55th Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art
Chautauqua Institution
Chautauqua, New York
Curated by Judy Barie
Now through August 25

Posted by JD Hull at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2012

Pantheon: Chrissie Hynde, Pluperfect Anti-Peasant.

They say that Midwest-bred rocker Chrissie Hynde--and it started way before before the acclaim, fame and money--has no fear of Anything or Anyone. Can you say that? Ms. Hynde resides in our Roman Pantheon.

Way to go Ohio.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2012

Silverman, Allen & Bruce

Posted by JD Hull at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2012

June 6, 1944: Normandy.

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68 Years Ago: 16th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Easy Red Sector, Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944. © Robert Capa.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2012

60th Jubilee: In our book, Brits are tougher & stronger than Americans--and certainly more respectful of their history.

Been seeing it my whole life. Below in NBC photo: Yesterday Londoners wait for the second launch of 1,000 ships in 350 years on the River Thames. This time it is to celebrate Elizabeth II's 60th year as Queen. In America, this would be The Lost Barbecue Weekend, Price-Cut Madness or Tailgating Without A Point.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2012

Charles Thomas Munger: Tycoon, Sage, Piece of Work.

Acquire worldly wisdom and adjust your behavior accordingly. If your new behavior gives you a little temporary unpopularity with your peer group, then to hell with them.

--Charlie Munger, 88, ex-lawyer, investor. Net worth: $1.5 billion.


Posted by JD Hull at 03:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2012

Marrakesh by Design.

Buy this book, okay?

marrakesh (1).jpg


Posted by JD Hull at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2012

Today is Not About Barbecue.

It's about resolute terrified brave men and women, innocents all, who died in American wars.


Above, Heroes: June 6, 1944. D-Day. American army officer watching Norman coast as his landing craft approaches Omaha Beach.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2012

What do GCs, CEOs and savvy clients want from a law firm?

1. Quarterbacks. Not mechanics and generic dweebs.

2. Value. Not reduced rates.

3. Verve. Not risk aversion.

4. Straight Talk. Not lawyer-accountant wank-speak.

5. Sane Writing. No typing with a lisp, either.


Lord Chief Justice John ("Pompous") Popham, 1603.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2012

No Sleep till Brooklyn: Adam Yauch (1964-2012)

Real music for real kids in NYC. Non-wimpy with satiric flair. RIP, sir.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2012

May Day.

O, look! the sun begins to rise, the heavens are in a glow;
He shines upon a hundred fields, and all of them I know.
And there I move no longer now, and there his light may shine–
Wild flowers in the valley for other hands than mine.

--from The May Queen, Alfred Tennyson, 1842


Posted by JD Hull at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2012

Myron Leon Wallace (1918-2012). Journalism as a warrior-thinker-hustler's art form.

Mike Wallace. Whether you liked him or not, you had to admit this: no one worked harder at fact-gathering and journalism than this guy. He was always prepared. CBS's Wallace was perhaps the biggest, and certainly the most aggressive, major chord in the media soundtrack for us American Boomers growing up. He made journalism a warrior-thinker-hustler's art form. After he and others at 60 Minutes were on for a year or two, beat reporters at AnyPaper, AnyWhere, were are a lot less likely to be looked own on as losers and screw-ups. Like Mencken and Murrow before him, he gave the whole neighborhood more class and gravitas. RIP, sir. Thank you. See CBS reporting.


Posted by JD Hull at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2012

G.M. Wallace in my kind of writer, polymath, lawyer and faux fool.


In case you missed it, as we did, Blawg Review 315 this first week in April was hosted by one erudite mother, writer and Pasadena-based commercial trial lawyer named G.M. Wallace. A seer, polymath and a river to his people, George, simply put, is the kind of guy who beats crested newts to death with his bare hands. You can visit him right here.

Posted by JD Hull at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2012

Still Smokin' in North Braddock, PA: Edgar Thomson Works.



The Edgar Thomson Works, just a few miles from downtown Pittsburgh, has produced steel since 1872.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2012

100 years. 3000 trees. The only important thing about D.C. this morning.

Real Heroes: The People of Japan.

Posted by JD Hull at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2012

Catholic, Anglican or Belfast Protestant, it will still break your heart.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2012

Think I'm turning Ayn Rand again. I really think so.

Only Twitter Wisdom so far in 2012:

@robdelaney Hey Ayn Rand's ghost, what if Atlas *HUGGED* instead? Think about it, get back to me.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2012

So is it okay to admire Ernest Hemingway again?

Hemingway was proud that his books were so close to the earth and yet so high in the heaven of art.

--Milan Kundera, in Immortality


The author in 1918. Is the Weenie Era over yet?

Posted by JD Hull at 02:51 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2012

NH 1st Congressional District in 2014: Sarah Kate Silverman.

We need leaders who will lead. Originally from Bedford, New Hampshire, Sarah Silverman is Smart, Young, Brave and Magic. Seriously, folks.

Posted by JD Hull at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2012

Happy 200th, Boz.


Charles J. H. Dickens (February 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870)

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2012

That's what I'm talking about.

How often have you felt like this? We hope it's a lot.


Injured 2 weeks ago, Rafael Nadal celebrates beating Roger Federer yesterday in the Australian Open semifinal in Melbourne. (Photo: Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

Posted by JD Hull at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2011

World-Class Talent in the Queen City: Megan Heekin Triantafillou.

Get to know the artist Megan Triantafillou now. Revel in her work. Tell people you discovered her. I am doing all three.

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Posted by JD Hull at 02:08 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2011

Queen of the Pantheon: Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor (1932-2011).

Seventy years as a stand-out in the toughest profession there is. Mean, beautiful, elegant, driven, funny-catty, suffering, sensitive, compassionate and enormously and mystifyingly gifted, both Dame and Gorgeous Auntie Mame, she was the Goddess of the Greatest Generation. Forget about husbands and tabloids and gossip and Burton-era schmaltz. Remember her for talent, hard work, spirit and endurance--all in proportions we may never see again. Elizabeth Taylor is the violet-eyed Queen of the only Pantheon that matters at WAP.

download (1)

February 27, 1932 - March 23, 2011.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2011

"Nihil est incertius volgo." In 2012, may bloggers everywhere Think On Their Own again. Too much "me, too" Lemming-Think in 2011.

Nothing is more unpredictable [or wimpier] than the mob.

--Cicero, Pro Murena 36

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Franciabigio, "The Triumph of Cicero" (c. 1520), fresco at Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano, Florence.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2011

An Irish Guy Delivers the 2011 Dartmouth College Commencement Address.

Conan O'Brien delivered this address on June 12 at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire--where I would have attended college if it had only been fully co-ed when I was accepted there long ago. But is Hanover a great place to play in the snow and drink or what?

Posted by JD Hull at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2011

Eric O'Neill on CNN's The Situation Room: Rep. King's call to expel Iranian 'spies' from U.S.

Our friend, client and "Breach" hero Eric O'Neill is now a familiar voice and face on CNN's The Situation Room. See him in last week's segment with CNN's Brian Todd. Are Iranian spooks using D.C.'s diplomatic community to spy on the U.S.?

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

November 01, 2011

Lawyers & Law Firms: We Still Need That "New Mind", My Friends.

Our thinking tends to circle around established conventions whose basis is forgotten or obscure. --Daniel Pinchbeck in The Return of Quetzalcoatl (2006)

Unless there is a new mind, there cannot be a new line; the old will go on repeating itself with recurring deadliness. --William Carlos Williams in Paterson (1948), Book 2, Sunday in the Park

Lawyers are world-class followers. We are members of just another insular dopey club.--WAC?

Okay, you get the idea. For all of this blog's well-known tangents, flaws, pet issues, quirks and prejudices, since 2005 we have been as constant, serious and relentless about one thing: ideas to change law practice and to put clients and lawyers on common ground. Available right here, right now, and free of charge, are different ways to deliver legal services to higher-end clients who, we are quite sure, have been getting shortchanged on value for decades--if not for centuries. See, from the categories set out on your right, these three topics: Clients: Getting Them, Clients: Keeping Them and Running Firms.

They are ideas any of you could have had--but we put them together, for whatever reasons, for you. For our part, we regret that we never had them and/or reported them until many years into practice. We delayed. We could have instituted and enforced at our own shop the techniques, rules and "habits" set out here in 20 years ago.

But we did not.

Reason: the vast majority of us lawyers have our heads way, way, way up our Wazoos. We think we're special--whether we do billion dollar deals or car accidents. And we are notoriously undisciplined and half-assed about the ways we do everything. We are so special. We still think that even at a time in American history when it is relatively easy for an average college student to become a lawyer.

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E and Elsa, circa 1915

Clients as the Main Event fell out of the equation eons ago. It is no longer the touchstone, a value, or an organizing principle. We've become members of just another goofy insular Western club, and we are for good reason laughed at behind our backs.

Add to this the problem that many of us (I think most) secretly dislike being lawyers. But it's not about us--it's "about clients"--and the happiest of us are hard-working and passionate about the Law and Service in one short happy synapse.

For those lucky lawyers, high quality but client-centric legal products have gone from good habits to instinct.

However, these days, especially, precisely many, many of the wrong people keep coming into the profession at all levels. And they stay in when they would be happier doing something else. We've written a lot about that, too. Paying clients--and in droves--are hurt by an "accepted mediocrity" every day.

More importantly, the current Recession--which at this point is about a click away from a Depression--really has made it clear to me, and others, that general counsel and lawyers inside the companies many of us covet are not going let any of us "return to the good old days".

Inside counsel. They are a smarter, bolder and better paid lot than they were when I started practicing in the 1980s. They see more big-picture things in the delivery of services by outside firms--and very few of them at the better client shops are checking with officers and directors about the right time to take lunch. They are stronger and more autonomous. And they include some very fine thinkers.

Lawyers, bless us, are valuable for the same instincts that hold us back. We like slow, and deliberate, change. We are cautious. In our own business models, perhaps we have been too risk-averse. But there has never been a better time in the history of markets, nations, the West, and the American free enterprise experiment for us to change.

Time to step up. Get in the game. One notion here: it's okay to be cautious with work for clients--but not okay anymore to be such staid robots and frightened myopic weenies about the running of our own businesses so that we can truly serve clients, be excellent, and make money.

The now-sputtering economy will drive some of this. Outside lawyers are about to become the servants we were always supposed to be. Still, truly dedicated and skillful lawyers (charitably, about 15 to 20% of us) will be in demand. But we can assume that new role and still make great money--and have lots of fun. Excuse me if that sounds anti-intellectual or pedestrian--but at my firm we are trying to have fun and make money doing what we love.

Anyway, we can fix all this. This blog has six years worth of ideas and techniques on advising and guiding clients without "feeding the monster". Feel free to browse through it critically--and tell us what you think. No "hiding" though--if you have something to say, tell us who you are.

E and friends, New York City, 1921

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2011

Phillips Collection in D.C. Right Now: Edgar Degas.


This month through January 8 the Phillips Collection at Dupont Circle features Degas’s Dancers at the Barre which Lily and I had the pleasure of seeing on this cold rainy afternoon in the eclectic and never-disappointing zoo and celebration of life that is Washington, D.C. Degas was student of movement, dance and dancers. He painted over 1,500 works on that theme alone. "Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint" is the first exhibition of Degas’s dancers in D.C. in 25 years.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2011

London, 1835: Young Disraeli Disses Daniel O'Connell.

Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.

--Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), Parliament, 1835.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2011

Kabul: The Innocent's Shining Eye.

Give us that old-time ambition. In case you never worked it out, What About Clients?/What About Paris? is merely about Quality. Values. Old Verities. It's the Enduring Stuff no one nation, religion, community, family, school, employer or profession can pretend to give you.

Maryam, a heroine in our story, is a photojournalist who lives with her family in Marrakech, Morocco. She traveled to Kabul and Herat in January of last year. She has an innocent's shining eye for everyday beauty and courage.

All photos below, and behind the links, are by Maryam and My Marrakesh.





Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2011

The Great Shark Hunt: "When the going gets weird."

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

--"Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl", Rolling Stone #155, February 28, 1974) republished in Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979) at 49.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2011


Cream: Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:57 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2011

Marrakesh in Egypt: Did You Ever Love a Gifted Woman?

He told me that the secret to marrying a successful woman was to realize that you had married not just the woman but the talent, too.

My Marrakesh, an elegant mix of photography, writing and charm by an American girl living in Morocco, deserves several of your real-world minutes every day. See this December 2010 post: "Cairo, Egypt: A Tale of Love and Egyptian Journalist Louis Greiss". Learn, too, something about the regal actress Sanaa Gamil, who died in 2002.

Photo by M. Montague

Posted by JD Hull at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2011

Well, here's our 9-11 Ten Years After Post: American Life, Fear and Squeak-Squeak.

Once they let you get away with running around for ten years like a king hoodlum, you tend to forget now and then that about half the people you meet live from one day to the next in a state of such fear and uncertainty that about half the time they doubt their own sanity. Their boats are rocking so badly that all they want to do is get level long enough to think straight and avoid the next nightmare.

--HST, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail (1972)


Americans learned nothing--i.e., zilch--from the Tragedy of 9-11-01. We still prefer to live in our own remote, insulated caves. Hey, we like it in here.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2011

Man, Reach and Wonder. "...him we can save."

Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, den können wir erlösen.

Wonders are many, and none is more wonderful than Man.
--Sophocles in Antigone

"Whosoever increasingly strives upward...him we can save."

Goethe in the Compagna, 1787, JHW Tischbein (1751-1829), Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2011

My Marrakesh: Mirleft, Morocco--and Life's Big Waters. The Strength and Passion of a Mother's Love.

Do see at My Marrakesh my stalwart friend Maryam's Mirleft, Morocco: and a Tale of Watery Treachery.


Posted by JD Hull at 12:25 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2011

Jorge Luis Borges: Happy Birthday, Old Man.

And sorry we are one day late. No one in the history of letters has ever had your courage or imagination. I read you in Spanish growing up in Ohio--and am still in awe of the ease with which you applied the Mysterious and the Metaphysical to the Mundane World. Drop back in to this plane some time. Tell us How We Humans are Doing. Tell us again Who We Really Are. Spin those Universes once again and all at once.

(August 24, 1899 - June 14, 1986)

Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2011

Dance, robots, dance.

Ancient Galleries, Ancient Faces. New Haven, 1968.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2011

Storytelling--and Anton Chekov.

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

--Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2011

Professionalism, Actually.

Let’s say you’re a blues guitarist with a broken ring finger on your fretboard hand. What do you do? If you’re Albert King, you put a splint on it, and you get out there and play.

--The RainMan

Clients. Consumers. Buyers. It's about "the customers"--and not just about being polite and courtly to other attorneys. It's not a club. Lawyers are a dime a dozen. Not that big a deal anymore. No one cares. For example, every single person waiting tables in Washington D.C. last week was a graduate of Georgetown, Hastings or Yale Law. (Eventually they will eat your lunch.) It's true. We checked. So get over yourself. Think about the Main Event. Remove your head from your Wazoo. Work harder to distinguish yourself. Join a better club. For starters, visit Ray Ward's Minor Wisdom or his the (new) legal writer.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2011

Some, Too, Are Talented.

"All heiresses are beautiful." --John Dryden


Dylan Lauren (1974- )


Dryden (1631-1700)

Photo: Rabbani & Solimene

Posted by JD Hull at 11:47 PM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2011

Speaking of Lafayette Park: Rep. Daniel Sickles was a Far-Out Mother.


In 1859, in Lafayette Park, U.S. Representative Daniel Sickles shot and killed fellow lawyer Philip Barton Key II, son of Francis Scott Key. Sickles was a talented, ambitious, somewhat shady and philandering Manhattan politician who counted President Lincoln among his many friends. He discovered that Key was having an affair with Sickles's young yet long-neglected wife, Teresa. During his life, Sickles made American foreign policy, helped create New York's Central Park, had a hand in the development of the modern insanity defense, and was a celebrated if controversial Union Army field general. The best book on Sickle's amazing, checkered and long public life is Thomas Keneally's American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles.

Posted by JD Hull at 07:15 PM | Comments (1)

July 18, 2011

Picasso, Guernica and the German Officer: "Did you paint this?"


Here's a WWII story I first heard in 1992 in Paris from a struggling young Irish painter named Richard hustling his drinks and a living by his wit, humor, charm and talent on a few choice blocks of the Right Bank. I never found out what happened to Richard. But ever since I've thought about this simple and apparently fairly well-known Picasso story at least once a week, and especially lately.

Thinking about the story accelerated in 2005.

In the Fall of that year, Julie McGuire and I were together in Madrid. We made time to see Guernica, very likely Pablo Picasso's most famous painting, and some other great modern Spanish works, at the Museo Reina Sofia in central Madrid. Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 after both German and Italian bombers shelled Guernica, in Spain's Basque Country, on April 26 of that year, during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing by Germany and Italy happened at the request of Spanish Nationalist forces. The painting is an outcry, protest and lament of the self-assured, polite, smooth and famously composed Picasso.

The smallest details of the story seem to change. But historians and journalists seem to agree on the following:

In 1942, during the 1940-1944 German occupation of Paris, German officers often visited Picasso's Paris studio at a time when some of his paintings were being burned as decadent. On one visit, an aggressive Gestapo officer found a simple postcard with an image of Guernica in the studio. The officer confronted the painter, and held before Picasso's face the postcard with its breathtaking indictments of war, national pride, meaningless death, pointless suffering, waste, government hypocrisy, inflamed leadership and self-destruction.

"Did you do this?", the officer asked.

“No, sir. You did."

(from a 6/1/11 JDH post)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 03:31 AM | Comments (0)

John Herschel Glenn, Jr: Happy Birthday to a Crowdpleaser's Crowdpleaser.

This, Willy Loman, is what well-liked looks like. Twelve years after his 1962 earth orbits, John Glenn began to represent Ohio in the Senate. No one I know can remember anything he did in those 4 terms. But he didn't need to do anything. My fellow Buckeye was hands down the the most popular American from 1962 until 1999, his last year in Congress. He out-Iked Ike, and even seized upon the power of television before JFK. Ballsy. Unflappable. Our only Superstar Astronaut.


Born July 18, 1921, Cambridge, Ohio.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2011

Elizabeth Bloomer Ford (1918-2011)


Posted by JD Hull at 04:07 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2011

Hull McGuire's Bennet Kelley: He's First in the 'Hood.

Bennet Kelley's Cyber Report on internet law just won First Place at the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards for Best In-House or Corporate Publication. Judges Comments: "Lots of news and info on an emerging field of law (and business), presented simply with lots of links for even more information." We take back some of our comments in previous posts about Bennet. So Internet Law has a future, eh?


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2011

Pantheon: Natalie Portman.


You don't need the money with a face like that. Born in Israel, she's only 30. Veteran film and stage actress. Harvard grad with blue Ashkenazi blood. Easy One. Enter our Cosmos and Pantheon.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2011

Well done, New York. GOP-dominant NY state senate votes to legalize gay marriage.

Fresh pepper? Fresh pepper? Last night New York became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. Governor Andrew Cuomo finally lead on a tough issue in a state that always mattters. New York Daily News: "Passage of gay marriage bill tops amazing year for Gov. Andrew Cuomo".

So what are you guys doing later on?

Posted by JD Hull at 07:48 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2011

You thinkin' Evil?

Posted by JD Hull at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2011

Real Fathers Day: Nature, Unreconstructed Men and The Wolf's Mannish Boys.

Steve Winwood in 1967: "Well my pad is very messy and there’s whiskers on my chin."

Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2011

Be bad like Jesse James. Do something. Anything.

Get off your knees. Stop hiding. Life's short.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2011

Doing Duke: John Chambers does Commencement.

Sunday, May 15, 2011. An "R" who admires Bill Clinton. The light bathroom humor worked. Reputed to be a fine fly fisherman, too.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Oliver. D-d-d-d-Dartmouth, Dude.

Holden H. Oliver (1968- ).



Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2011

June 16, 1904.

June 16th will mark the 107th Bloomsday, honoring James Joyce and recreating the events of his novel Ulysses, all of which take place on June 16, 1904 in Dublin. It's celebrated dutifully in Dublin, New York City, Paris and every city, village and hamlet on the planet with pluck, verve, and a spring in its stagger or step.


Joyce and Sylvia Beach at her Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2011

50 Years of Spaced Out.


Alan Shepard went up on May 5, 1961.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Henry Miller's Heir.

Half the people you meet live from one day to the next in a state of such fear and uncertainty that about half the time they doubt their own sanity. Their boats are rocking so badly that all they want to do is get level long enough to think straight and avoid the next nightmare.

--HST, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Pantheon: Chrissie Hynde.

Midwest-bred rocker Hynde is said to have no fear of anything or anyone. One of the earliest inductees into our Pantheon.


Way to go Ohio: Firestone High School, Akron, Ohio, 1969.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2011

Redux - Scott Greenfield: Real Rebel. Real Lawyer. Rare Straight-Up Sane.

(From a May 23, 2009 post, "Slackoisie-Fest: Fighting Loserism")

Ben Franklin, Tom Edison and Clarence Darrow root for Greenfield in Doers' Heaven.

--Holden Oliver (2009)

Listen, you creeps, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the filth and the crap. Here is a man who stood up.

--Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver (1976)

Fighting Wankers at Work. Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice rails, too often alone, against The Slackoisie: our Cliff Notes kids, workplace weenies, and new Maynard G. Krebses with a straight-faced argument on the right to be barely adequate at work. This is Gen-Y. You were born after 1978. You demand--with no real bargaining power--that employers buy into "work-life balance". You want a family-life "lifestyle". You call yourself Super-Daddy. Or Concerned Humanist. Or Non-Selfish Sensitive New Age Person. You want The Life--but without The Responsibility.

Some trendy if wimpy U.S. employers are increasingly buying into this. But sometimes "different" is plain bad. Different-ness need not always be accommodated, coddled or worshiped.


Enemy of Looters: Scott Greenfield (photo taken pre-industrial accident)

The truth: you're lazier and more incompetent than WAC?'s old Southern Ohio whiskey-swilling doped-up hound dog "Craps".

Since 1997 at Hull McGuire--the firm for which I co-write this blog, and clerked for last summer--such workers have been referred to openly as the Slackoisie, the 'Slack and (on bad days) "Looters". The firm was alone in its dismay for many years. Then other firms in the U.S. experienced the same problem. No one, it seemed, wanted to talk about it--even as higher-end clients worried increasingly about getting real value from their planners and problem solvers.

But, in Scott Greenfield, last year we finally found a talented and spirited ally. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. He is hero to the quiet legions of builders, planners, inventors and yeoman lawyers who know what problem-solving takes, and what sacrifices are demanded to get things done for clients and customers.

Ben Franklin, Tom Edison and Clarence Darrow root for Greenfield in Doers' Heaven. The Immortals do watch us. They hope that America's shameful, and ill-timed, work-life balance charade will soon die the vampire's death it deserves. Enough is enough, they think; this is not what we Yanks are all about. Get "balance" on your own time, in your own way, or through a less demanding career.

Young lawyers need to learn the tough and hard-learned art of practicing law. Older lawyers need to work hard at teaching them, and serving valued clients.

We serve. Clients and customers are "always"--and they come first. See Scott's "First, You Have To Get The Job". About 30 comments so far.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (4)

April 03, 2011

Confucius Said: Un-Friend Lames. Un-Follow Beavis/Butthead. Surround Yourself with Equals or Betters.

Have no friends not equal to yourself.

-- Confucius (551 BC–479 BC)

The unproductive Age of PC Nice of the last several decades is Over. Get a better standard. True, the virtues of Warmth, Charity and Civility are always important--and always will be. But Growth tops all three. And to grow, you'll need new skin. Hang with equals--and if at all possible with your "betters".

Learn more. Challenge yourself. Stop surrounding yourself and your employees with people who merely make you and yours feel "comfortable". And maybe even feel superior.

Un-friend and un-follow the "not growing" on your Social Media accounts: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Dump bad clients. Phase out bad GCs.

Give marginal employees the old Heave-Ho. Fire bad employees. Do it now. Stretch yourself. Save your firm.

Play tennis with people who rarely double fault--but the ones with first serves which (at first) you can barely even see.

Grow. Advance. Get further down the road. It's either you or them, Jack. Sure, be "Nice". But do save yourself. Don't let people lacking your energy and drive hold you or yours back.

Confucius, by Wu Daozi (680–740)

Posted by JD Hull at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2011

Looking Back at Women's History Month: Interview with Jack Nicholson.

The third and final installment--Hour Three--of Dan Hull's recent 3-hour podcast with Jack Nicholson airs on Wednesday, April 6 at 12:00 noon EST on this blog. In Hour Three, hear Jack and Dan discuss "Problems Women Will Always Have".


"Jesus Christ, Holden, we could have done this whole thing over at Sheen's place, if you know what I mean."

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Recession-Ready Hull McGuire Land New Digs at Pennsylvania & Fourth, SE.

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The Tune Inn, 331 1/2 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC

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Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2011

Our Tribute to Women's Month, Teletubbies & Neutered U.S. Males.

Greaseman: Power Boaters v. Sail Boaters.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2011

Heroes and Leaders: Anyone out there with Soul and Sand?


Pro bono work for the poor and disenfranchised? Bar association causes and events? The Rotary?

Insular church groups? Work soup kitchens on Thanksgiving? An occasional letter to the editor? Chamber of Commerce membership for people who look and talk just like you?

Give us a break. Why don't you just put on a little hat, play the banjo and do a self-congratulatory dance for co-workers, friends and neighbors? You're barely living. You reside in a Deluxe Cave for Dorks.

Reach higher.

Anglo-Irish, Angry and Brave. So now add this Clergyman and Satirist to our Cosmos of Heroes. He was a unique and rare gent. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), the author of Gulliver's Travels, was truly authentic, and maybe not quite as sick and strange as his contemporary critics thought; they saw him through the lens of the many illnesses that plagued his last decade and put him in a permanently bad mood. Certainly, he had no fair shake from any of us in the last century, when we all went nuts on Freud.

Sure, Swift could be abrasive. And hyper-aggressive. He made enemies, both literary and political. But he was influential. We still talk about and, when at our best, emulate the purity underneath his anger and sarcasm. He is of course the man who, in his pursuit of Irish causes, and fighting the alternating apathy and arrogance of the English, suggested that Ireland's poorest address their poverty by selling their children as food to the rich.

Those who knew Dean Swift were impressed that he put his ideas and notions of wrongs to be righted ahead of all of his many simultaneous careers. He put ideas and the plights of others ahead of his own comfort and popularity.

Big Moxie--it fueled Swift's desire for justice and his need to end the suffering of others--had a life-long hold on Swift.

Yet he was very much part of The Establishment of the England and Ireland of his time. In fact, a mainstay.

So who's brave these days?

Are Americans "stand up" people anymore? We live in a consensus society and, if you are a lawyer, or some other kind of Western "professional", it's perhaps even worse.

You get patted on the head for making your thoughts and actions risk-averse and business as usual. It's safe that way. You never need to lead. And you are actually rewarded for "it"--i.e., Flying the Colors of Sameness--in the short term.

Who apart from clever publicity hounds thinks on their own, acts, embraces unpopular but sound ideas about new practice models, and are not afraid of the consequences in our conservative, conformist and essentially tradition-for-tradition's sake calling?

Just pro bono work for the poor and disenfranchised? Bar association causes and events? The Rotary? Insular church groups? Work soup kitchens on Thanksgiving? An occasional letter to the editor? Chamber of Commerce membership for people who look and talk just like you?

Give us a break. Why don't you just put on a little hat, play the banjo and do a self-congratulatory dance for co-workers, friends and neighbors?

Reach higher. For starters, what about the 24/7 primacy of the main event: everyday buyers, customers and clients as a focus which never changes? Doing your jobs with skill and pride. Never taking them for granted. Inspiring others with your passion.

What about real innovation? What about thinking and acting on your own--and away from the Change-Hating Mediocre Herd? Never Reading Self-Improvement or "Business Leadership" books? Why not use your "educations" and too-often stagnant minds to think, create, act and lead?

And be like Dean Swift? Substance. Soul. Style. Sand.

Who leads? Which execs? Which lawyers? Which doctors? Which humans who have been given things many others don't have?

(from past posts)


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2011

The Ides: Death of an Alpha Male.

First, when the pirates demanded a ransom of twenty talents, Caesar burst out laughing. They did not know, he said, who it was that they had captured, and he volunteered to pay fifty...

--Plutarch, on young Caesar

Today is the Ides of March, death date of Gaius Julius Caesar (July 13, 100 BC-March 15, 44 BC), general, politician, schemer, explorer, writer, alpha male, womanizer, patrician and, as we begin to observe St. Patrick's day, no friend of Gaelic peoples. Grandiose, flawed, and truly great, he made Rome an empire. Caesar conquered what is now France and Belgium--and got Rome more interested in taking on an assortment of Celtic tribes in Britain after his death.

An egomaniac, he was both charming vain dandy, and a skilled military leader, with a surprising compassionate streak. A century after his death, the Greek historian Plutarch wrote an enduring bio. Plutarch even mixed it up with armchair psychoanalysis, treating Caesar's life in "parallel" with that of Alexander the Great, another wildly self-assured fellow. The term Ides of March ("March 15") has nothing to do with our hero; "ides" means middle in the earliest Roman calendar, which some say was devised by Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome.

Nicolas Coustou, 1713, Louvre: You talking to me?

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday: Sarah Silverman Repents.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Wakened.

Stand Up Loud: Dance. Off Your Limp & Faggy White-Collar Knees.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2011


The first day I heard him play?
I thought he was the best.
I still think he's the best.

--Felix Pappalardi on Leslie West, December 30, 1974, Passaic, New Jersey

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Leslie Weinstein, aka Leslie West, 65

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2011

Wake Up, Campers.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (1)

January 29, 2011

Samuel Hazo: Poet, Novelist, Man in Full.

Poet-dramatist-novelist, gift of America's Industrial Heartland, always a man in full. Pittsburgh's Sam Hazo writes simple, thoughtful and pregnant prose.


This Part of the World, by Pittsburgh's Samuel Hazo.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2011

Wake up loud, Teacups.

Spread out the oil, the gasoline.
My hands are greasy.
She's a mean, mean machine.

Start it up. We're waiting.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

We Lawyers: The Undisciplined. The Disorganized. The Miserable.

"What ever is he talking about?"

Western business schools, and especially the training programs of large global and publicly-traded companies, do a much, much better job than do law schools or law firms of training people (1) to plan work and (2) to get it done. Or even to value that.

Do we lawyers know how to get things done, done right and done on time? Do we even value that? I wonder.

I am not talking here about the simple "keeping face" and survival requirements of meeting client deal or court deadlines, or even about the cliches of working hard, creative thinking, "out of the box", working smart or being persistent. I mean structure, a real standard, and "practicing structure" every day--the discipline of (1) having a plan or strategy for any one project, client or non-client, (2) meeting internal project deadlines no matter what, and (3) applying the will to work that plan and timetable.

And making it a habit until it's natural--and (gulp) fun.

"Structure" is not just the hard process of getting things done. It's a frame of mind and a value which must be sold to others in your shop--like the importance of making that 5 minute call to a client about a loose end at the end of the worst day you can remember, even while you could do it the next morning at 8:00. It's realizing that letting anything but emergency tasks "slide" makes you inefficient, unlikely to meet your real goals, and tired.

Do you get up early every day with a idea of what needs to be done on each project, and knowing the difference between "important" and "urgent"? Example: Monday is your deadline to have the final changes and notes to your web designer on your new firm website, an important but not urgent project you've talked about at internal meetings for months. So far, for once, you have been on track.

But on Monday a longstanding client calls with two new projects; the new projects are exciting but not THAT urgent in the sense they need to cut into internal deadlines and other goals for Monday. You need to take some first steps, though, to get on top of the new matters for your client. After all, these folks are the main event.

Key ongoing internal project v. new client project. Which gets the most attention that day? Which slides? Answer: they both get attention, and neither slides. The website (long-term important) and the new client project (short-term important) are both critical projects. Years ago the Stephen Coveys and Edwards Demings out there pointed out that business people burn themselves out by waiting around only for "the urgent" in a kind of manic crisis management that keeps other important things from ever getting done or ONLY getting them done when they morph into a crisis. For lawyers, other examples would be only respecting deadlines like transaction closing dates and court-filing deadlines--to hell with everything else.

For a long time I've thought that American business schools and the training programs of global and often publicly-traded companies do a much, much better job than do law firms of training recruits to value and adhere to the structure of a plan on an item for action. It's almost as if law school and firms deem us all such "professionals" and "artists" that we are beyond learning skills of project planning and execution. What a crock. Not learning the value of pushing non-urgent but important things along at a steady pace has cost us dearly. As motivated as lawyers often are, our discipline for sticking to anything and seeing it through is often poor; again, unless it's urgent, we just don't see its value. Do our best clients run their businesses that way?

This attitude is the norm, and we lawyers--who rarely innovate or take a leadership position on anything in commerce--are just fine, thank you, with it. After all, "all the other law firms" are mediocre on the discipline of getting things done, and have "crisis-only" mentalities--why shouldn't we be that way? So we waste time blowing off important but longer term projects. Worst of all, we send to others in our firms, and especially to younger lawyers, the message: "No worries--just work on a barely adequate level; don't do things until you have to; and if it's not urgent, let it slide." As with client care and service, our standard is not only embarrassingly low, we are exporting that low standard internally whenever and wherever we can.

(from past posts)

Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2011

Saturday's Charon QC: A Whole Man Endures.

The man's an artist. For a few days in March 2007, short fleshy German women in bad moods were attractive.

Now in his 24/7 twittering days (he's good at it, too)--which we hope soon morph into an even better chapter--there is no better writer or broadcaster on Law in the West, global commerce, politics, European culture (they have quite a bit there), England's course, America in perspective, art, Beauty and Truth. He writes, and lives, from that wellspring of joy most of us can't ever locate on the cosmic map. Be envious.

He's charming in person, too. He's got this patrician but velvet voice that could make any demented ex-wife totally heel, zip it and think straight and clearly for, say, 5 or 6 minutes. And while we'd like him to blow the tobacco smoke and Rioja out of his tubes a bit more with a few more trips each week to the gym, there is no better showcaser of the qualities that make the Whole Man.

Very whole. As in well-rounded. Remember that?

We know, too, that Mike is a straight-up Lower England Stud with Taste. He once showed up to do a live interview of me at a Mayfair hotel room with a very bright, tall and ravishing chestnut haired 27-year-old girl, uh, technical assistant. So our meeting that March in 2007 started us off well--and hey got me jazzed enough to swive a snake in a sandstorm for four or five days, or at least until I reached Mainz. German women in bad moods were attractive.

See Charon's recent Law Review on "Coulson resignation, Regulatory Ambush, Client Care (but not how we know it), Have lawyers escaped culpability for credit-crunch?"

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

January 20, 2011

Chris Abraham: Seer, Force, Renaissance Man, Your Future.

He's a Force of Nature and there's nothing anyone can do about it so just follow his career and eventually join him. Berlin and DC-based, on fire, a Renaissance Man and a mainstay Hull McGuire mentor and friend, he's the human reason--together with Washington, D.C.'s Mark Del Bianco and Chicago's Patrick Lamb--What About Clients/Paris? even exists. So we are in his debt.

He moves (i.e., vibrates), he talks, he laughs, he persuades--and he brims with ideas and joy. And, like the undersigned, he is infuriatingly right about too many things. Chris Abraham over at The Marketing Conversation is someone you should get to know. Chris is probably going to find you anyway. I see him in D.C., California, Charleston and--well, I could not avoid him anywhere I go.

Chris found me seven years ago--and explained what a "blog" is. He was just warming up. Since then, he and Abraham Harrison probably have been doing more to change the way people think, live, gesture, market, connect and otherwise collaborate together globally--and, yes, the ways we view ourselves, view each other and talk to one another in the Cosmos--than Buckminster Fuller, Edwards Deming and Marshall McLuhan combined.

You might as well give in to the guy. We did.

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Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2011

Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. (1915-2011)

The Natural: He liked people.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (6)

January 18, 2011

Duke: Cisco Systems' John Chambers to give 2011 graduation main address.

See The Chronicle, Duke's daily.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2011

My Marrakesh: No "Ordinary Life".

...don’t live an ordinary life--anyone can do that. Be brave. Live a life filled with adventure.

It's short. Don't divert its natural exciting course with cookie-cutter moves--followed by years of regretful reveries and those awful "what ifs". In a popular movie of the 1970s, Ruth Gordon, a wonderful writer and actress, quipped in character to a young man named Harold 60 years her junior: "If you don't go out there and try, young man, you won't have much to talk about in the locker room".

Gordon, in that movie, and in real life, played a dame, advisor, teacher, elder seer. Grande Dame. Great Lady.

Ah, Great Ladies. I had two very strong, vibrant grandmothers. Each urged authenticity and drive in all things. Each had very strong children: my parents. My grandmothers even greatly liked each other. Both were well-traveled, well-educated and well-read. Both had long lives. One died very recently, and the other when I was a senior in high school. The two are always in my head; I still seek them out.

Great Ladies are still around if you look hard enough. But we know that a certain breed of them--the ones with lives that straddle the mind-numbing changes of the last 80 to 100 years--are vanishing every day. Our peripatetic friend Maryam had at least one of her grandmothers taken from the same inspired and celestial fabric as mine. Do visit today's My Marrakesh and "Essaouira: And a Tale of Jean and a Life Filled with Adventure". Don't be envious what you read there. But do change your life, if you need to.


Photo by Maryam

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Martin Luther King Day: BR #294 by A Public Defender, "Gideon".

The bright and way feisty if thin-skinned anonymous young guy "Gideon", who writes the fine A Public Defender, has a very first-rate BR #294 you can see right here. Class Factor: High. Lots. Humor: Much. Forced PC Compliance: None. Gooey Hallmark MLK Stuff for People Not Alive in 1968: Mercifully Virtually None. Blawg Review is now in its 6th year. Well done. And well done.

If King has not been killed, he would have turned 82, two days ago, on the 15th.

Eighty-two is the same age as my own father, who told me about it at the time, and who is still very much alive and thriving. My Dad was then 39. I remember exactly where I was when I was told, and what time of the day it was. Although my father was and is no liberal, he--like everyone sane and decent--grieved over what had happened.

For months and months, even in most southern Ohio, the balcony stills of that Memphis hotel were etched in the minds of anyone old enough to read and watch television. We had all been through this kind of thing before, in 1963, in Dallas. And later in 1968, and just 8 weeks later, it would happen again, at a Los Angeles hotel.

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Montgomery, Alabama, September 4, 1958. King was 28.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:58 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2011

Life is Short. Opera is Long. Wagner Longer.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Some Good Tucson News: Representative Giffords is Alive.

Not much good news. And at one point Saturday afternoon Fox News was the first media source to report that Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona's 8th Congressional District had died in Saturday's shootings. Other outlets followed. Many of us--who had turned off the news eventually---went through Saturday (and possibly Sunday) thinking that Giffords, 40, had not survived. She's alive. E.g., BBC and LA Times. There are optimistic reports on her recovery. Tough girl. We already knew you were talented, interesting and brave. Hang in there, Gabby (and husband Mark Kelly). Fight.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2011

Romain Rolland: On Builders.

There is no joy except in creation. There are no living beings but those who create. All the rest are shadows, hovering over the earth, strangers to life. All the joys of life are the joys of creation: love, genius, action...

--Romain Rolland (1866-1944), Nobel Prize winner, in "Lightning Strikes Christophe".


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2011

Ed Rendell: A Democrat with Sand.

Last week's National Journal showed the outgoing Pennsylvania Governor riled: "The Wussification of America". Keep doing that, sir. New male interviewees are whistling "The Sound of Music" score in our anterooms.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2010

Vote for The Legal Satyricon in the ABA Blawg 100--or we'll pull the trigger.

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Rags the Dog this morning in Salzburg, Austria.

You've only a few hours left. Same for Rags. So Vote Here Now.

Yeah, you know us--and we'll do it. In previous posts, we've written about Marc Randazza and his The Legal Satyricon because we admire his Brains, Moxie, Lawyerness and his flat-out king-hell expert's-refined respect for the First Amendment. We are also a little afraid of Marc--for reasons we can't go into right now, and are only marginally related to the fact that we've met with him in San Diego several times, know him personally pretty well and suspect he's at least part Italian--and do not wish to incur his ire. We strive, always, to please him. We do hedge our bets.

But Rags the Dog is way more afraid; he knows he'll go down and decorate a nice Austrian hotel room if there's not a big win today for LS in the ABA Blawg 100 category for IMHO. Voting ends close-of-business today (for us Dorks that's 6:00 ET). Holden Oliver, who cares little for canine life, has Rags right now in an undisclosed Salzburg inn in the old part of the city up against that big-ass cliff near St. Peter's cemetery. Once given an order, Holden cannot be expected to alter his course. For Rags, please vote now.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2010

Has Everyone Except Scott Greenfield Died and Gone to Hallmark?

Many law firms are now like a small town homeowners' association whose key members just learned that the monthly meeting was changed to their bowling night. They are pissed off, torn, confused. The screams out there for quality and value have not been convenient.

"America Lawyers in 2010: "A Passion for Excellence". No one, I'm afraid, is writing a book right now with that title and subtitle. Or books with the same subtitle about Client Service, Retail-level Customer Service, American Education, U.S. Cultural and Geographic Literacy, "Bar Leadership" (let's tell the truth: Western lawyers don't lead anyone or anything anymore) or, say, consistently providing value for to-die-for clients, customers and buyers in the American workplace. Even a world-wide Recession has not made many of us re-think Value--in the marketplace and in our lives--and demand anything new, different and harder of ourselves and others. See our posts over the past two years.

During the Holiday Season, however, we give humans a pass. We accommodate shortcomings, even cookie-cutter living and barely working. But should we tolerate imperfection as much in those who should know better? Those of us with fine educations that others paid for? Those of us in the law firms and other institutions that represent large and publicly-traded clients in corporate America and Western Europe? The firms I see in my work every day? My take: we are all over the board--but very dumb-downed and diluted from 20 years ago. The Recession has not improved quality here either. We are really not leading and "up to it" yet--we still hire and keep mediocre people.

And we are in turmoil. Many law firms are now like a small town homeowners' association whose key members just learned that the monthly meeting was changed to their bowling night. They are pissed off, torn and confused. They know there is work to do--and it must be done more efficiently, more inexpensively and with a valuable return to the real boss: the Client and Customer. The Recession was the biggest wake-up call of all. But most of us have not seized the day. We continue to want to make money doing what they have always have done, working and thinking in a prison of old patterns, and surrounding ourselves with the same goofy people. The screams for quality and value out there in the legal marketplace have not been all that convenient.

Can we just start with the worthless words and phrases we use? Would that help to take quality to "the next level". Scott Greenfield, a noted Manhattan corporate trial lawyer, my friend and a man who beats fish to death with bare hands, has been an ally generally and on specific issues. Do read Simple Justice every day. Like Scott, it defies political labeling, and seems to be read by as many corporate apologists like me as it is read by the criminal defense bar. See also last week's post "What's The Buzz? Scott knows that no one listens anyway--so when you are persuading try not to sound like Mr. Rogers with a Tuck M.B.A. and a lifelong fondness for ether and nitrous oxide. There are others like Scott, who fight WeenieSpeak, Bad Working, Bad Lawyering and Bad Internet. There's this feisty fellow Tannebaum in Miami, D.C.'s Ernie from Glen Burnie, Walter Olson and...well, I'm sure there are others, too. They would all agree with Holden Oliver's remark that "a man who embraces mediocrity and schmaltz says no to life".

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

December 10, 2010

Stickin': To the few you meet who always join your fight.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2010

Got Rage? It's that time of year, too.

What can a poor boy do?

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2010

Generation Weenie: America's still offended by Everything and Everyone.

They've stopped growing--and they are very happy with that, thank you very much. These people have children. It's worrisome.

What if being "just a copy" were outlawed? For the second time this week, I just left Los Angeles, where it's tough to offend anyone about anything. Like NYC, LA is not for everyone. Generally, no one cares what you think in either city. It's wonderful. You can diss, deride and belittle Los Angeles itself in downtown LA, or the middle of Santa Monica or Brentwood; people just laugh. In Manhattan, it's required.

Folks in those two American cities know who they are. My take: both LA and NYC these days make even Chicago seem like an effeminate Alan Alda-land. PC and unoriginal thought are frowned upon in America's two most important cities. In New York, they "manned up"--and started thinking their own thoughts--nearly four centuries ago. In LA, it's been about 120 years. LA and NYC tend to look down on Weenies.

If you live somewhere else--as I must for now when not traveling--you can still try not to be a Weenie. It's good for you. Give it a shot, Justin.

Frankly, I've been running into a lot of Weenies these days--from cultural limousine liberals who keep surrounding themselves with no one but like-minded people, to "Christian" and "educated" white collars too afraid or too lazy to think anymore on their own, to "professionals" who always reserve the right to do third-rate work. They have this in common: they are highly emotional about, and protective of, their low aspirations and narrow views of the world.

If you are not sure if you are a Weenie, do see Generation Weenie, for humans who tend to be insulted, outraged, offended, or traumatized. According to the definition section, you may be one if you: (1) utilize the words offended, outraged, insulted, or traumatized whenever possible, (2) believe nothing is your fault, and you are a victim of circumstance, (3) wear a dorky little ribbon in a half figure eight pattern to signify your solidarity, and (4) sue everybody because you have been wronged.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2010

Heroes: The Real Paris.


In this illustration (here's one from the 1400s) of an important Greek myth, Paris, the Trojan prince, judges a beauty contest. The goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite compete for a golden apple.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2010

Heroes: Jill Clayburgh (1944-2010)


New Yorker. Artist. Warrior. Survivor.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2010

Bill Gates and his IBM moment.

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.

--Wild Bill Gates


Posted by JD Hull at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2010

Ted Sorenson (1928-2010)


Lawyer's lawyer, Kennedy's wordsmith, pluperfect international advisor.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2010

Dante's Charon: Crossings.


The Ferryman Charon. Gustave Doré's illustration to Dante's Inferno. Plate IX: Canto III:

And lo! towards us coming in a boat
An old man, hoary with the hair of eld,
Crying: 'Woe unto you, ye souls depraved!'

In Greek mythology, non-lawyer Charon took souls to Hades--the entrance to the underworld. He did, however, have a standard fee agreement. Supernatural Charon ferried the newly dead across the river Acheron other if they had an obolus (a silver coin worth a sixth of a drachma) to pay for the ride. If you couldn't pay him, you had to wander the shores for a period of one hundred years.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2010

Men in Full: Duncan Campbell King


No, no, he's not from the chubby U.S. Midwest--too erudite, measured, svelte, and well-read--but good guess. We admire Albion's new star Duncan Campbell King at Wrath of a Sumo King. He has given up all hope of ever behaving normally--and raised that to an art form. "I am Duncan Phebus Sumo Mercutius Steerpike Campbell King, Litigator Extraordinaire, and I do not want you to like me." Venting, feral women, Silicon Valley, and the First Amendment are some of recurring events here. He just says it. Like in olden days before we liberals ruined our speech and children with PC agendas--so your boys could grow up to sound like Mr. Rogers, or maybe your great-grandmother in St. Cloud. Duncan is hereby given a Club Ned pass for life: authentic, experimental, un-PC, way-feral.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2010

"We like Rahm."

Chicago can wait. And we always have liked former Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois) but wish he'd put being the Mayor of Chicago on the shelf for a while. See at Politico yesterday's "Hizzoner? Emanuel Must Decide Fast". Our mild-mannered president Obama needs him to remain as Chief of Staff. From a party standpoint, this man is the "Anti-Democrat": Competent and Non-Wimpy. Dems are lucky to have him. He is not afraid to make enemies--most pols are--and he generally upsets/destroys only the "right" people. Bonus: he curses properly and wonderfully--and is in fact ranked in the Western world. (Top six, English/Street Swearing Division, according to Holden Oliver's research.)

Anyway, please talk him out of it, someone--or I'll be turning "R" again. Rahm's just 50. He'll keep. So will the City of Chicago.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2010

Proust: To those that make us grow.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

-- Marcel Proust, 1871–1922, French novelist and critic.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Living in America: Grit and Guts.

"Everyone's working overtime," James Brown sang proudly. Still true? Are each of us Yank working stiffs stepping up to the Recession and looking it in the eye? Working and thinking better and harder? Seeing cutbacks, problems and heartache as opportunities when we can? Well, WAC/P is not so sure these days. It's good that by mid-2009 work-life balance and most other looter regimes finally died quick deaths. But surely the Children of the Greatest Generation--we Boomers--can do even better. Let's get off our own smug post-WWII prosperity asses shall we? Let's stop complaining for one hour about our beloved if completely useless and "wimpified" kids, Gen-Y and the Slackiosie. We Boomers. "Tough and passionate", still? Are we? Or are we becoming tired old lightweights, pansies and Canadians?

Godfather of Soul: The hardest-working poor kid ever.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2010

Mali Laughter

Here's the Net at an infrequent good moment. And perhaps at its best. About people--and not about "alternate realities", SEO, insular robot students, delusional young office workers, pretend lawyers, faux wisdom, and other human and digital garbage bringing the West down.

Here's quality and courage. See Maryam's My Marrakesh.


All photos at link by Maryam.

Posted by JD Hull at 05:05 PM | Comments (1)

July 24, 2010

Daniel Louis Schorr (1916-2010)

Liberal" versus "conservative" are not labels that can be used or should be used to define anyone of quality. An original, an original Murrow boy, and a class human. See yesterday's NYT piece. He was so good and often terrifying that a U.S. president sicked the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover on him.

By the way, Schorr used his real name when he worked. If you comment here, and especially if you are a hater, please use your real name. Have some respect for Schorr, and for yourself.

Our rules here: Happy but "angry" folks may comment. No spineless wonders. No whack jobs. No bitter and lazy males who hate their careers and won't do anything about it. Or the usual blogger or frequent commenter who is too socially-inept, ugly or fat to get laid.

So no losers and looters. Just seekers and builders. Like Schorr.

Daniel Schorrx-wide-community.jpg

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hemingway (1899–1961)


The Anti-Teacup. Papa wrote the book on cool quality-of-life ideas for Tubbies who just can't take it anymore. Try them at home today.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2010

Leave Indianapolis or Albany for a few minutes. Visit this guy.

Blue Lupines, wild roses, Moxie, fireweed. See A Public Defender's Life in Alaska.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2010

Lawyer, Journalist, and Magic Show: London's Charon QC

You just haven't been to London this week unless you've checked in with our friend Charon QC. Below Professor Charon wonders about delivery of services to elite clients trading in global markets.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2010

Saturday's Ruthie: The Get-Real New Age.

From a friend of ours in Cambridgeshire. "Introspection will be the watchword of the next decade...people have no money to go out and there is a dawning realisation that our current western lifestyle is unsustainable in the long term. Greed and instant gratification is finally out of fashion. Put your money into new spirituality."

Posted by JD Hull at 11:27 PM | Comments (2)

June 25, 2010

Get off your knees. Lead.

Stop whimpering, groveling, and apologetically asking employees to do their jobs.

Make yours moxie. It's your business, and your rules. Get off your knees. Demand things first of yourself--and then of others. (1) What are you doing this week at your firm? (2) What are your employees doing for you and your partners this week? (3) What did you all do together for customers, buyers and clients?

It's time for lawyers and other service providers to lead. At your shop, refuse to be a slave to lawyer-centric and employees-first popular cultures. Stop whimpering, groveling, and apologetically asking employees to do their jobs. Don't bargain with them. Show them. Lead.

Put customers, buyers and clients first. Let go of the notion that you and other lawyers--your partners, your adversaries, and your competitors--are special and in a special club. You are not special. Clients are special. Make customers, buyers and clients your club. Clients still wait for us to evolve into their trusted partners and advisors. And to lead.

Follow me, stereo jungle child
Love is the kill...your heart's still wild
. --P. Smyth

Posted by JD Hull at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2010

Holden Oliver: Turning Dem we really think so.

Buy Killdozer. Dump BP stock. Lose the Law Thing. Fight the Power.
Above all: be a man/woman (you cannot be both), think your own thoughts, stand up for something or somebody, ya' big wimps.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2010

Change, and its basics: Nova ex veteris

W.C. Williams (1883-1963)

But the trick in mid-2010 is to think new but fast. Change in human thinking likely occurs in the extraordinary moments of the most ordinary, the most "dumbed down", and the least enlightened times--but only if you add some painful "stressors". We've got all those.

And regarding ordinary and dumbed down. My travels have convinced me of this: despite the love and light that struggle to shine through in every human being I meet, we a truly "devo". Five hundred years from now, we will be referred to as living in the Age of Human Spam. We hide, rationalize and cower. We are desperate to conform the lowest and most common form of activity. We have not learned anything from our old men or from history. We have no genuine class--we don't even want it. Very few of our children are "special"; most of them are educational failures, sloths and cultural retards. The self-esteem thing backfired. The best these kids will contribute is a masterful command of Cliff Notes.

If T.S. Eliot were alive today, chances are good that a misanthropic stroke, heart attack or other breakdown would have prevented his completion of "The Hollow Men". We not only love mediocrity, we compete on it, and for it. On standards alone, Eliot would have flipped out on this planet right now.

So much for sweetness, light and puppies from me today. But June 5, 2010 certainly qualifies as our extraordinary moment in this the most dumbed down of all human times. That's wonderful. An opportunity. This Saturday morning, three problems with "no end in sight"--nearly everyone (including elites) with less money, global political tensions, and the Gulf oil spill (day 47) with no end in sight and too close for anyone's comfort--might amount to the right formula.

This is the way the world begins. My fellow suits call it a new paradigm. Poets have called it lots of mysterious--if less goofy and annoying--things. William Carlos Williams called it a New Mind, and Dr. Williams thought of it as "the cure". He wrote that

unless there is
a new mind there cannot be a new
line, the old will go on
repeating itself with recurring

without invention
nothing lies under the witch-hazel

(By the word "invention" Williams did not mean a better mouse trap or a new widget.)

So what do you do? You pick the New Mind you want everyone else to have--and get to work. Chances are your peers are thinking the same thing.

We say whip it.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2010

Akron: We Are Devo.

Editor's note: This week Holden does time in northern Ohio. Dude, it's not so bad. Ever been to Ada? A corn-fed girl works hard, tells the truth. She can hurl an over-sized fridge 50 feet.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:17 AM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2010

Dennis Lee Hopper (1936-2010)

"Zap 'em with your sirens! Zap 'em with your sirens!"


Posted by JD Hull at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2010

American Religion.

Ellen Bry: Stamford girl makes good in "Lost and Found Family"

Finally, an American movie: one for people who go to church, sing, watch lots of TV, eat a lot, have never had an original thought, and are afraid of virtually Everyone and Everything All The Time.

Sony film released in September picks up speed in Bible Belt. Ellen Bry, a nighttime drama television mainstay (St. Elsewhere, Dexter, Boston Legal, Monk, The Closer) for decades--and known in the LA-NYC underground as WAC?'s in-house photographer--has the lead role as Ester Hobbes, a Chicago socialite who suddenly loses everything, in The Lost & Found Family, a new Sony Pictures release.

In the film, we meet a determined and spiritual woman who is surprised to learn that she has inherited just one thing from her dead businessman husband: a run-down old house in Georgia, and the turbulent foster family living in it.

Taken from the story Mrs. Hobbes' House, The Lost & Found Family is a poignant, uplifting, instructive and remarkably powerful family film set in the American South. It was filmed in Jackson, Georgia, a town between Atlanta and Macon, with a population of about 4000, in Butts County.

It is a movie for rural people who go to church, sing, watch lots of TV, listen to Bocephus, have at least two cousins in the Meth trade, eat a lot, and are afraid of virtually everyone, and of everything, all of the time. It is bound for fame as a cult classic: a comfort to millions of rustics stuck in the vast grayness and troubled reverie that is American Fly-Over Country.

Hey, just joshing you. Early in 2008, I saw a rough cut of The Lost and Found Family--then still entitled Mrs. Hobbes' House--before Sony Pictures acquired it. Do see the new Sony clip below, which includes what I saw. Like me, you may recognize the people portrayed.

An American story. Many Americans, including my own family, have roots that reach deeply into, say, southwestern Virginia, east Tennessee, and southern Missouri (where I've visited family my entire life), going back well over two centuries. These tribes often haven German (Palatine) and northern English or Scottish roots.

They do endure. Later generations are still there: always hard-working and proud, sometimes devout, seldom well-to-do, and worlds away from the country club life Ester Hobbes led when her husband was alive. They often struggle to make the best life they can.

So you need not be Southern, rural or devoted to any form of organized religion to be moved by Ester Hobbes' story. This film will touch every viewer with simple but forgotten verities that bind us to one another.

There are artful, and moving, performances by Ellen and her younger cast members, who include teen heartthrob Lucas Till (Walk The Line, Hannah Montana: The Movie), and Jessica Luza, a film and television actress (The Sullivan Sisters, Boston Legal) and MTV fashion host.

Stamford girl makes good. Ellen Bry's movie credits include Mission Impossible 3, Deep Impact, and Bye, Bye Love. Stage work has included The Sixties, The Cafe Plays, Tribute and Seduced. A graduate of Tufts and Columbia universities, she is a former stunt woman, a Mom, and a well-known national advocate for autism issues. She makes a mean Peppered Shrimp Alfredo.


Posted by JD Hull at 12:12 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2010

P&G's Alan Lafley: Examine the "meaningful outside".

The Consumer as Boss and Laboratory. For nine years, from 2000 to mid-2009, A.G. Lafley served as chairman of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. Lafley got the CEO job when he got it--in June 2000--in large part because the company was experiencing downturns, and stock price fluctuations, seldom seen in its 163-year history.

During his watch, however, P&G doubled it sales, and grew its line of billion-dollar brands from 10 to 23. Some say the even-keeled and reflective Lafley elevated P&G's "art of the customer" to new levels.

What is brand loyalty? What "moments of truth" lead a housewife, grocery chain, or government buyer to prefer Tide, Pampers, Crest or Pringles over competing brands? Who, exactly, are our customers? Why do they buy from us? When is price not so important?

In May of 2009, and just before he stepped down as CEO, Lafley wrote "What Only the CEO Can Do" in the Harvard Business Review. Here's an excerpt, in which Lafley quotes the consultant-writer Peter Drucker (1909-2005) in comments Drucker made in 2004:

"Inside there are only costs. Results are only on the outside."

The CEO alone experiences the meaningful outside at an enterprise level and is responsible for understanding it, interpreting it, advocating for it, and presenting it so that the company can respond in a way that enables sustainable sales, profit, and total shareholder return growth.


Alan George Lafley

Posted by JD Hull at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2010

Penny from Evanston 1928

Posted by JD Hull at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2010

A Man in Full: Duncan Campbell King


It is only through work and strife that either nation or individual moves on to greatness. The great man is always the man of mighty effort, and usually the man whom grinding need has trained to mighty effort.

--D.C. King, quoting Teddy Roosevelt, in a speech about U.S. Grant, Galena, Illinois, April 27, 1900*

No, no, he's not from Pittsburgh--too small, frail and well-read--but damn good guess. We admire Albion's new star Duncan Campbell King at Wrath of a Sumo King. Not just because he has given up all hope of ever behaving normally--and raised that to an art form. "I am Duncan Phebus Sumo Mercutius Steerpike Campbell King, Litigator Extraordinaire, and I do not want you to like me." But there's more, and a method here.

Yes, venting, sporting women and an American style "First Amendment" focus--but an un-conflicted, non-double standard one--are the main events. Like in olden days before we liberals ruined our speech and children with PC agendas--so your boys could grow up to sound like Mr. Rogers, Liberace, or maybe your great-grandmother in St. Cloud.

But through all his Triple-X venting on these subjects we also detect a great caring about quality, hard work, truth, beauty. Duncan is hereby given a Club Ned anonymity pass/exemption for life. Grounds: authentic, experimental, un-PC and feral.

Rise, Sir Duncan. Try not to maim anyone on the way out.

*Nota bene King's dictum to TeleTubbies, Teacups, Slackoisie, other New Age Looters: "Contrary to the horrific woolly bullshit you are fed it is a tough, competitive world."

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 09:35 PM | Comments (2)

March 18, 2010

Real Heroes: Parker Posey

They're picking up prisoners and putting 'em in a pen. And all she wants to do is dance.

--Danny Kortchmar/WB Music Corp. ASCAP (1984)

parker_posey (1).jpg

Rent "Party Girl" (1995) and watch her dance in the last scene. Parker Posey is her own World: picaresque, funny and eccentric, all without being contrived. This is the intensely pretty Bohemian girl next door. Playing the floundering Manhattan girl-turned-librarian, Posey has you convinced by the end of the movie that, when she's nervous or uncomfortable in her real non-actress life, she automatically just starts to dance. It's like having Katharine Hepburn, Neal Cassady and François Villon in one person.

In 2006, I met Posey in the Newark Airport when I was on the way to Manchester, and would have been happy to miss my plane. She was headed to New Mexico to work. When she speaks, she has the slightest trace of an American southern accent, having grown up in both Maryland and Mississippi. She is unassuming and subtle, only fleetingly hip and ironic, and looks you in the eye. What surprised me about her in person the most was this: her authenticity and smarts cannot hide how gorgeous she is.

So there's lots going on here. It's easier to understand why for years Posey has turned down money and type-casting (urban bimbette was always a risk) in favor of brave, odd and "forward" roles. She's an actress first, and a celebrity somewhat reluctantly. And only then if it doesn't get in the way.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2010

Big Moxie in Greensboro: Kyle Singler.

Want a job, Kyle? Call us. Let's talk. From The Chronicle, Duke's daily: "Singler’s dive into stands, solid shooting lead Duke to title".

Ian Soileau, Duke Chronicle

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2010

The Dude finally abides.

Bravo, Mr. Bridges. A win for the real-life opposite of The Slackoisie--or The Anti-Slackoisie. See The Los Angeles Times. We are not always right at this blog--it's strikes and gutters, man. But here's a strike for huntin' dogs at the Oscars. "His Jeffness". That does sound good.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2010

Rue du Vaux

Are you positive Mademoiselle Clotilde du Vaux sparked a religion? Ever wonder about place names in Paris? There are about 6200 of them. Read about Clotilde-Marie de Ficquelmont in Invisible Paris.


Auguste Comte's "muse"

Posted by JD Hull at 05:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2010

Make Yours Moxie.


Your business, your rules. Get off your knees. Demand things of yourself--and of others. (1) What did you do this past week? (2) What did your employees do for you this week? (3) What did you all do for customers and clients?

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2010

Jerome David Salinger (1919-2010)

Salinger changed writing. He died Wednesday. There are hundreds of articles out today but see The Boston Globe.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2010

Greenfield: When is anonymity "all talk, no responsibility"?

"Okay, kids, get your learn on. Today we will learn about the right of all Americans to throw stones at your house and run away like thieves into the night." Do see "All Talk, No Responsibility" at Scott Greenfield's Simple Justice. It's a piece we wish we had written about a new U.S. Supreme Court case (cert. just granted) that we will follow. Doe v. Reed, No. 09-559, concerns the "right" of Washington state petitioners to be anonymous after successfully bringing a referendum to the ballot for the November 2010 general election. The referendum seeks repeal of a controversial law on domestic partnership rights. Frankly, we could care less about the law at stake here. (We haven't read it.) The item on the ballot is not the issue. Anonymity in "getting it there" is. The Supreme Court's decision is expected early this summer.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2009

Men of Letters

Never write a letter, never throw one away.

--Attributed to the late private investigator and consultant Thomas Corbally, two medieval priests, and three U.S. mayors.

For reasons which go back to 1974, WAC? misses Hunter Thompson. This son of Louisville put some of his best and funniest stuff in personal letters--and he wrote volumes and volumes of them. See the Charlie Rose interview, undated, but likely about 1997.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2009


No computer will ever win a case. No gadget will replace the mind that drives the fingers that push the buttons.

SHG, Simple Justice, November 24, 2009


NYC's Scott Greenfield in November 2004, days before alleged hunting accident in Hamptons.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:00 PM | Comments (2)

September 10, 2009

Disraeli on books.

Books are fatal: they are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense.

--Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)


Posted by Rob Bodine at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2009

These Days Drink Moxie--And Lots of It.

Sometimes you have to look reality in the eye and deny it.

--Garrison Keillor


Posted by JD Hull at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009)


I grew up in a family of Depression Era-WWII Parents and Boomer Kids. For us, the U.S. economy overall was very good in the 1950s-1970s as we moved around in corporate America from D.C. to Chicago, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Chicago again, and finally southern Ohio. We were not poor. My brother, sister and I attended some of the finest secondary schools in the U.S. My parents--especially my mother, a 1960s prototype of the Strong Suburban Super-Mommy, and one with a caregiver's heart--stressed not only achievement in school and sports, and having constant paid part-time jobs, but also on working with the physically or mentally handicapped, or the otherwise unlucky.

And we were to do that without telling the world about what completely lucky and swell people we were. It meant spending your time, and part of your soul. Bonus: You need not be paid money in those part-time jobs. Secret: You got more than you ever gave. We volunteered--Stepping Stones Center in Cincinnati was just one venue--and my mother and sister each entered careers to work with special adults or special children. Eunice Kennedy died yesterday. No matter what your age, your politics, or your tolerance for social welfare programs, the middle child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy was a very big deal in making lucky people realize how much unlucky people had to give to them. See in the Washington Post this editorial.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2009

Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. (1916-2009)

Yesterday's NYT: "Walter Cronkite, Voice of TV News, Dies". Cronkite was part-Midwesterner, part-Southerner, and started out in print journalism. He earned his reputation as a war correspondent in Europe, covering some of WWII's major campaigns. Recruited to CBS in 1950 by Ed Murrow, he was America's first "celebrity" anchor, and we saw him nightly from 1962 to 1981. He took what he did very seriously: broadcast journalism as religion, the fourth branch, and something to be done the right way.

A studious-looking Lefty, Cronkite likely thought of JFK as "his" president. The two men were born eight months apart. We and our parents saw him choke up on the air--even if barely--just that one time: November 22, 1963, reporting JFK's death in Dallas. Cronkite had just turned 47. But he always seemed older somehow. He had this reassuring voice: authoritative but never affected or self-important. You never got the impression when he reported one crisis after another--there was a new one every month from 1963 until 1975--that he was telling you that things would be "okay". Rather, he was telling you the truth--and that it was his mission to get it right.

He served you. He was the soundtrack of every American Boomer's youth: from Kennedy's somehow promising but wistful and aborted New Frontier, Viet Nam, more assassinations, GOP and Dem party conventions that were serious brawls or riots, the Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Jimmy Carter administrations, and up to the start of the overly-serious, and some think seriously-demented, Reagan Revolution that gave us the Newt Brigades. Nearly 20 years.

(Photo: Washington Post)

Posted by JD Hull at 02:14 AM | Comments (0)


There is no joy except in creation. There are no living beings but those who create. All the rest are shadows, hovering over the earth, strangers to life. All the joys of life are the joys of creation: love, genius, action...

--Romain Rolland (1866-1944), Nobel Prize winner, in "Lightning Strikes Christophe".


Posted by Rob Bodine at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2009

More Crossroads: Boomers ask "Who is John Mayer?"

Would prefer a good video/audio of 1968 live version but this--with lame but short introduction--will have to do for this former U.S. national anthem:

Posted by JD Hull at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

The late-2008 Recession: A Crossroads for Corporate Law?

I'm staying at the crossroads, believe I'm sinking down.

If you can navigate through all the painstaking diplomacy without pulling a hamstring, do visit ALM's Legal Blog Watch and read "Are the BigLaw Layoffs a Good Thing?", and the related links. It was inspired by a provocative and courageous Dan Slater column July 1 at NYT's Deal Book. Note: In writing the op-ed piece, Slater, of course, used his real name. Most of the twenty-five commenters--presumably Cuban dissidents, battered housewives and former Tony Soprano crew in the Witness Protection Program--did not.

"I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees. Asked the Lord above, have mercy now, save poor Bob if you please." Robert Leroy Johnson (1911-1938) used his real name when writing and performing.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:58 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2009

Breaking: Local Boy Makes Good

Scott Greenfield of Simple Justice. NY Law Journal: "Free: Court Finds Attorney's Unsolicited Faxes Did Not Violate Communications Act".


Greenfield (client cropped from picture) celebrating.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:37 PM | Comments (1)

June 14, 2009

John Hope Franklin

And Bill Clinton does Duke--but let's not miss the point. On Friday Bill Clinton gave a eulogy in the Duke Chapel for John Hope Franklin, the historian and civil rights figure who died in late March at 94. See The Miami Herald. Franklin wrote From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, a classic first published in 1947. As is often the case with Clinton, his arrival on campus eclipsed his reason for being there. Nathan Freeman, a columnist at The Chronicle, the school's enduring student daily, certainly liked the idea of having the ex-president in the Gothic wonderland that is Duke University. Even before Clinton spoke, Freeman wrote: "Bring Bubba Back Again".


The real deal at Duke last week: John Hope Franklin

Posted by JD Hull at 02:17 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2009

John Arthur Carradine (1936-2009)

One of us, if you grew up in the 1960s-1970s. Forget about Shane and Kung Fu, which likely embarrassed him. A brilliant guy from a celebrated acting family of three generations: the New Age Barrymores. Way meaner, edgier, smarter and tougher than Cole Younger, who he played in the James-Younger Northfield raid saga. Eldest son, Alpha male, part-Beat, part-Hip. Seeker. He didn't care what you thought.

David Carradine was on a short list of people who got right to the point--and told you the brutal truth. Authentic. A non-wimp's evil answer to Phil Donahue. Could not be bothered with trendy people, weenies, hedgers or metro-sexuals--or anyone else who forgot who they really are. AP: "Actor David Carradine found dead in Bangkok."


Posted by JD Hull at 04:32 PM | Comments (4)

May 29, 2009

Breaking news: GeekLawyer sued, finally.

The Romans at Teutoburg Forest, the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Oscar Wilde trial, the death of Bambi's mother. And now this. We bump our in-progress pieces on SCOTUS nominee Sotomayor, "the end of the recession", the GM bankruptcy, and a tip we got about the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa to note that GeekLawyer--soft-spoken and mild Brit barrister, writer and IP specialist WAC? befriended in 2005, and recently drank Diet Cokes with in Mayfair--has been finally sued. See Geeklawyer sued--finally!

Details are sketchy at this point.

But who would want to sue this guy? No matter what he's done (within reason), he is "one of us". Let's circle the wagons for our cousin in Albion. He's done scads to help us get over our fears of really having a First Amendment culture here in the States. At a minimum, he's unwittingly lowered--and quite drastically--FCC standards.

Here are excerpts from the milder parts of yesterday's GL post, edited by WAC? for Yanks of PC-persuasion and/or moral majority sensibilities:

GeekLawyer has taunted many a [phallic, arguably anti-gay and un-PC imagery expletive deleted] who has huffed and puffed but climbed down: billionaire [F-word imagery implying cretin-esque qualities deleted] Stelios for example.

Mercifully this litigation, for a piffling £300,000, was unrelated to GeekLawyer's profession and his capacity to entertain the judiciary while [violent and horribly un-PC client service imagery deleted] punters and opponents alike remains unimpeded.

keith moon.jpg

Outrage in London--how will it end?

Above: Well-loved Brit pundit GeekLawyer at Epsom Downs racetrack just days before vicious and groundless lawsuit for doing something.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:35 PM | Comments (3)

May 26, 2009

Holden Oliver (2007-2009): Done, out, onward.

As planned, and dreaded, "old" law student Holden Oliver, a WAC? co-blogger, is leaving us. He graduates, takes a bar exam, and takes his "outfit" (his term) to Europe for a year. And then? Well, he's not sure. But the guy sure has options: journalism, law, maybe both. Some of us see him in politics. (He doesn't.) In addition to being a fine (and fast) writer, Holden's unusually well-read, and leading a down-East life that's "on purpose and examined".

The only serious Libertarian I've ever liked, he's taught me, and Tom Welshonce, the real brains behind What About Clients?, much. We're sorry, sir, that we killed you off the last couple of years on April 1. But we were insanely jealous of your easy charm with everyone, and every thing. You could be arrogant and droll and funny all at once; yet you still enriched our lives beyond our capacity to ever repay you.

Posted by JD Hull at 02:43 AM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2009

Holden H. Oliver (1968-2009)

WAC? co-writer, former reporter and third-year law student Holden Oliver died Tuesday in Palo Alto at Stanford University Medical Center. A Boston native, and from a family that has lived in eastern Massachusetts for nearly 380 years, Holden graduated with a degree in English (highest honors) from Williams College in 1990. A former reporter for the Kansas City Star in its Washington, D.C. office, he also worked for ten years in the London and Frankfurt bureaus of the New York Times. Holden entered Stanford Law School in 2006, and joined WAC? "out of boredom" while still a student in early 2007. Last year, he was elected to the Managing Board of the Stanford Law Review, and worked in July in Hull McGuire's Pittsburgh office. His death was the result of a kiln explosion in which his ex-girlfriend, a Stanford undergraduate co-ed half his age, was apparently not injured in any respect. If you wish to help us honor Holden's life, his sarcastic uber-WASP prose style, his support of the profession's growing value movement, and his energetic if, frankly, amoral lifestyle, donations can be made in his name to the Nantucket Preservation Trust, the Cosmos Club or Kelly's Irish Times in Washington, D.C.

Posted by JD Hull at 06:49 AM | Comments (3)

March 28, 2009

Saturday's Charon QC: Meet the Prime Minister

Charon After Dark: An interview with Gordon Brown? "Few people get a chance to interview an unelected serving Prime Minister and I am no different." And why not, sir? The real one we urge you to do may even be as good as this.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:56 PM | Comments (1)

March 16, 2009

A moving tribute to the Human Spirit.

And to drunkenness, madness, small animals, the secret Ree-Lax Parlor in DC's West End, "dooce"-bags, Kelly's Irish Times Saloon, Ruthie, and far more deplorable pleasures of the flesh. Enough to curl Freud's hair. To make a blind man see. To send a Good Man straight to Hell laughing about it. Some really sick stuff--especially if you're from Elkhart, Indiana. Slick, too. It's rendered under a cheap, transparent pretext and gloss of Art, Literature and The Classics. Long. Larry Flynt and Madonna were each too freaked out and flustered to get through the whole thing.

Well-written, though. Very.

In short, Blawg Review this week does not disappoint. It is the real Barrister-Prince of Darkness in rare form--even for him. But there are far more unsettling things in this world than a London Lawyer messing with you: reading the books of Mormon or Revelation for the first or twentieth time, an hour in any Target store, or watching American lawyers employed by insurance companies (their real clients, as they see it) argue discovery motions on Fridays in courts all over and knowing they will get paid for it.

So in perspective, but still out of its head, GeekLawyer's Blawg Review #203 is wonderfully eccentric, even revolting, but it hits home, and (gulp) it's dang funny, if you have any sense of the English: XXX-rated, in campy vile taste, and arguably pregnant with a new industry of actions for defamation, slander per se and false light privacy that will pump new life into any lulls currently experienced by First Amendment lawyers in New York, DC and LA.

Just kidding. In your button-down lawyer world today, you may behold offensive movies, "bad" pictures, "bad" language, the F-word all over the place, by golly. If you are appalled, don't read it all, dog. Bonus Badness: it will set back trans-Atlantic relationships about 50 years.


Southern Brits: a quirky but sick race. We've tried to tell you.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 10:14 PM | Comments (2)

LexThink March 29-30: Head Heartland, Young Man.

The next LexThink is Sunday and Monday, March 29-30, 2009 at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Even the payment terms are innovative. If we can, we will send someone from Hull McGuire PC. Will all depend of course on actual length of this year's St. Patrick's Day recovery period--generally a fortnight (about 13.5 days average) so we'll be cutting it close.

Do visit LexThink: Innovate for details. Designed by Matt Homann, our friend, adviser and entrepreneur-lawyer-international consultant--his recent travel schedule makes WAC?'s seem provincial, pedestrian, pint-sized, paltry--who was looking freshly at things before that was cool. Go see Matt in Missouri this month. Catch him in the Heartland before he heads back to Europe.


Matthew Homann in repose.

(photo by E.T.Attorney)

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2009

U.S. Const. Amend. I: GeekLawyer Test on 3.16.09


Heads up for Yanks of the Weenie persuasion. See Blawg Review #666.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:54 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2009

The Return of Legal Sanity

We are not worthy. Not an overstatement. New York's wise and inspirational Arnie Herz at Legal Sanity is back--and we noticed this happily. I admire him--despite the fact that reading him for me is always daunting, even threatening. Arnie Herz is a lawyer who makes way too much sense; he knows and acts on things we all know and should act on but work too hard to avoid even admitting. When tradition-and-Western-logic-bound lawyers grow up, or become sane, which ever happens first, I hope we become like Arnie. See "Life and Business Lessons on Resilience from a Young Point Guard".


Posted by JD Hull at 11:46 PM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2009

Save the country. Save yourself.

Save the country. Save the children. Up in heaven, Laura Nyro is watching. I saw Nyro on my 18th birthday. She thought you could be angry and happy at the same time; I feel that every day. Laura got really angry at you if you had "no gospel, no guts, no brain". Because you are missing life, work, relationships, ideas, growth,the separate magics of the West and the East, old verities--and joy.

Be inspired--or hang it up. If you're "blocked", head to your Lake District. Wait for a sign. Get your sign. Say thanks to Whoever.

Then come out of your woods swinging and angry: like a bad-ass preacher of the Church of the Final Thunder.

Like Laura Nyro.

Laura Nyro (1947-1997) wanted you to have fury in your soul.

Posted by JD Hull at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2009

Notes From the Breadline (continued)

Among the things that I do care about is insurance, or, specifically, making sure that I have some.

--RST, March 4, 2009

Re: Keep on Keepin' On. The Notes. "Roxanna St. Thomas" keeps writing them and Above The Law is savvy enough to never miss printing them. See "I Have My Freedom, but I Don't Have Much Time". Past Roxanna Notes are collected here.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2009

GeekLawyer is coming to America. Again. (Update)

Weekends are the only times I can write on this thing about important national and world events. We then communicate with our sixteen loyal but isolated non-American readers who want all the skinny on the States in towns like Aldeburgh, England, Mainz, Germany and Tooele, Utah.

During the week, I help my firm make money defending people who are accused for no reason at all of: spilling, copying, making too much money, and suddenly breaking promises with people who suddenly have no money. Many of these business disputes, ironically, have their roots in a law firm making world-class transactional and "just-wrong" advice mistakes which could have been avoided by a smart third year associate on Methaqualones who shows up at work most days; it would be funny except for the expense to their clients.

Best of all, and the most fun, I also make sure that former employees, often highly-paid ones, of some companies wish they had thought twice about getting mad about something my client did. I talk with them for a few hours--well, sometimes two or three days--with a court reporter, people they don't like anymore, and people who work for me, in the room. You can see the lights go on. They learn with me. I feel I am of service. We have windowless rooms for those talks.

Lots of free coffee, though. If Elizabeth or Lauren is at lunch, or gone for the day, or sleeping, or it's the weekend, or Christmas Day, I often serve the coffee myself--always slowly, deliberately and with a head waiter's flourish, and from the left--hopefully while they are reading something they signed back in 1999. I get to sport bow ties for these little talks, but my office said the black cape, hat and eye-patch were a bit much, so I stopped all that. I still wear the spats, though.

All wonderful work, if you can get it--I still can't believe you can get paid for it. So I am reconsidering my lapsed relationship with the Episcopal Church. It reminds me of a couplet in the Celtic prayer-poem "Purple Haze", in which a picaresque left-handed genius named Jimi gets a little grateful himself. Visit Tower Records for a copy.

Seriously, though, here's a major happening, and an extremely controversial one. Apart from monetary strategy to jump-start the economy, President Obama's current foreign policy plans, and the advent of useful new Covey-esque seminars you pay for on "How To Accommodate Young People Born After 1974 At Your Failing Business", the big news in America is that GeekLawyer--who I was unfortunate enough to meet and have 13 Diet Cokes with in Mayfair last September--will again (see Edition #666 of July 1, 2008) host Blawg Review* on March 16.

A friend of mine, an inspired and quite sober Charon QC in London, even crafted a short film about the nervously-anticipated return of a man whom Elkhart, Indiana and many other U.S. venues can do just fine without thank you very much. It's the guy's language. He likes words (all of them), he's British (they are all quirky creatures, but GL has raised High Brit Quirk to a "potty-mouth" if intelligent art form) and so you get the idea (but maybe not; this is off-the-charts stuff, Jack). Charon's sensitive film, a labor of Lud, is below.

*Now edited by a dead guy, apparently, but a minor detail for Americans, like Ed., with moxie and grit.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

January 29, 2009

Hesse's main point.

Ah, but it is hard to find this track of the divine in the midst of this life we lead...

Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf (1927)


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2009

John Hoyer Updike (1932-2009)

That something-is-missing in the suburbs was one of his great themes, and no one did that better. Although I liked his Bech character (and alter-ego) the best, the Rabbit books made him famous. None of us growing up in the 1960s and 1970s wanted to end up like Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, the reluctant small town family man who made choices in life that hardened around him quickly. Updike won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction twice, both for "Rabbit" books. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, who for decades has done great work covering other writers, has this article in the New York Times, via the International Herald Tribune.

Posted by JD Hull at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2009

American Signage: Bed-Stuy, Seattle and Johnstown PA

New York Times: "‘Not Much of a Block,’ but It’s Named for a King". The Seattle Times: "Dream Remains Alive on Seattle's Street Named for King". The Tribune-Democrat: "Johnstown Bridge Renamed in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.".


NYT: Martin Luther King Jr. Place, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Posted by JD Hull at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2009

Andrew Newell Wyeth (1917–2009)


"Weatherside", 1965

Posted by JD Hull at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2008

The Judgment of Paris

Paris was a bold man who presum’d
To judge the beauty of a Goddess.

-John Dryden


The Judgment of Paris, Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2008

Nicholas, again.


"Be excellent to one another."

--From fragment written circa 340 A.D., recently discovered in Demre, formerly Myra, in Antalya Province of Turkey.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2008

Saturday's Charon QC

London's Charon QC is doing wonderful things these days. He's versatile, in a Renaissance Man way, and with the promise of fine quirk: a lawyer-pundit-radio host who can think, opine, write and talk, deftly moving in and out of all manner of issues with considerable elan, even when half in the bag. If he were a Yank, he's be a university president, the Congressman from Nantucket, or the host of a Brit version of "The Dick Cavett Show". Read his meanderings through the streets of 2000-year-old London. Listen to his many well-done podcasts, in which WAC? has twice been a guest, once in London, and once by phone in America.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2008

Yours in the struggle, dudes.

Usually, and as important as they are, observances like Human Rights Day, Bill of Rights Day, and Human Rights Week, 2008 make me feel like: (a) I died and went to Hallmark, (b) I should give up everything and join Che and his guys in the hills, waiting for the right time to eradicate bourgeois fascist death forms (at least Indianapolis), or (c) I should at least learn to play the lute. But Blawg Review's hosts this week, The Legal Satyricon, did it all such justice at Blawg Review 190: Bill of Rights Day that I am feeling guilty about voting for John McCain last month. I am also thinking about giving up acting for corporate Europe and America, and representing the oppressed, and real street crime defendants under the CJA program, and helping poor people, maybe. This is a very fine Blawg Review performance, and WAC? will check in with this blog a lot in the future. Moxie everywhere, humor, and these folks can write. They get the Constitution and its first ten amendments--the most important Thing Western In Ink. And, like me, they think it's important. Bravo.


Read revolutionary Blawg Review 190.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2008

London's GeekLawyer seeks U.S. lawyer to craft "Limeyism" suit against ABA Journal.

He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.

--General Corman to Willard, briefing him about Colonel Walt Kurtz, Apocalypse Now (1979)

Over in the UK, GeekLawyer, the normally reserved and self-effacing product of Eton and Oxford, and rightful heir to some strange ancient crown in Ceylon who hosted Blawg Review earlier this year, is angry.

He is more disturbed than usual that he was not included in the ABA Journal's "Blawg 100". We received the below message very early Friday morning, when most Americans were still asleep. He apparently read our post of Thursday night. In response he was very matter of fact. He wants a pro-bono lawyer for his crusade.

Any takers? We know him as a persistent if frugal human who will press this until he gets want he wants. He would be a cooperative client, and he understands the trial process in the U.S. and the UK. He is, after all, under his real name, a key player in Legal London. He has contacts, influence, Inn membership and a motorcycle called "The Terrible and Inexorable Wrath of God". If you are a man, he can introduce you to lots of professional women. Anyway, his request:

Can you recommend a good lawyer who'll act for me against the ABA? This is clear Limeyism - it cannot stand. They'll need to work pro-bono because although I have plenty of money I need to keep it for mead and hookers.


Lincoln's Inn, Holborn, London

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:00 PM | Comments (2)

November 28, 2008

Formerly Known As a privilege, an honor, a trust: Lawyering.

The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die. With apologies to Uncle Ted's writer of the 1980 speech, we refer here to the search for Value to Clients. We do revel in a fleeting glimpse of it now and then. More on clients, hard work, marginal work, associate bonuses, real life and common sense at David Giacalone's always superb and thoughtful f/k/a... See "Smart Clients Care About Bonuses and Marketplace 'Value'". He gives you all the parts, and then puts it all together himself.

"I showed. I suffered. Pay me."

Alternate universe: no one loses, everyone gets a trophy.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 09:51 PM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2008

"I'm good enough, smart enough, close enough."

Forget your politics. Norm Coleman isn't fun. And Franken's (gulp) just smarter than Norm, when Al is calm. Finally, this Minnesota U.S. Senate race annoys the right people. Think of it as a cattle prod. The Hill: "Franken narrows Coleman lead in Recount".

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2008

Voting, stepping up and America.

No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

--Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

For most of us, given the apparent complexity of the world, universe and whatever else is out there, there aren't many absolute principles in play these days. But here's one: All Americans who can vote should vote, even if--as I am doing tomorrow--you are holding your nose and voting for the "least objectionable alternative." The American vote is a special and very hard won thing.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2008

Studs Terkel (1912-2008)

He was a writer, journalist, interviewer, broadcaster, oral history pioneer, Pulitzer Prize winner, UC-educated lawyer who never practiced, part-time actor (query: what famous movie about baseball did he have a big role in?) and Chicago's main Renaissance man. He died Friday home in Chicago at age 96. If you are an American under 60 and don't know who he is, or have never heard of him, feel free to sue the secondary schools and colleges you attended.


Posted by JD Hull at 06:37 PM | Comments (1)

September 23, 2008

Bubba, and once again, you busy?


WANTED STILL: Of counsel for growing, innovative Pennsylvania-based boutique business law firm with branches in California and DC. You must have at least 8 years of highest level federal Exec. Branch experience, world-wide connections, Yale Law degree, one year at Oxford, own money and people skills. Crowd-pleaser. Must be able to sell anything to anyone. And be originally from Hope, Arkansas.

State government experience in American South preferred but not required. Also preferred: participation in Renaissance weekends (writer is member). We also look for some fund-raising, and United Nations experience. Plus: past participation in Boys Nation or Boys State; writer is also alumni, and knows there's nothing flitty about them.

Sir, you don’t need to re-locate. We are desperate for can-do uber-Boomer who "comes to play". Happy to set up the office for you. Wherever you want. NYC, Harlem, Chappaqua all okay. Or DC. You decide. You can work out of your house. Or limo. Whatever.

NOTE: No previous private law practice experience necessary. Not a problem–-no problem at all. Excellent benefits package, if you need it, sir. Call collect.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2008

Business and Net Royalty Hosts Blawg Review

Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends

We're not easily star-struck.

Cruel, ruthless and demanding--eccentrics who think that employees are paid to work and add value, rather than to just talk, be wankers, leave work at 5:45 PM and feel good about themselves--WAC? writers are different. Hardened. Tough. And not easily impressed. And we don't even like small businesses (except ours), small minds, small towns (under 5 million SMSA) or small parking places. We've grown up around, worked with, drank with and/or even "dated"--if you call trophy sport-swiving "dating" (and we do)--a few public figures, politicians, artists and celebrities. We are not usually fazed.

But like Parker Posey, who WAC? met last year in the Newark airport and still has a huge thing for, Anita Campbell, of the widely-read and respected Small Business Trends, is also different, and authentic. Even glamorous. Somehow we feel like the flustered men or women who met Sharon Stone or George Clooney in the early days, before anyone knew Stone and Clooney were just more fun bozos on a boomer bus.

Seriously, folks (and just kidding, Sharon, George), Anita's site does have five (5) qualities you almost never see in Anything: Popular, Interesting, Well-Written, To-the-Point, Useful.

See Blawg Review this week and Anita's Back to Business Blawg Review #177. WAC? is not worthy. We be flustered.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

August 24, 2008

Greenfield's Children: "Hi, I'm Justin, and..."


[H]umiliation is one of the core ingredients of a good law school education....Hopefully, your professors won't be touchy-feely wimps and will use the Socratic method in order to embarrass as many students as possible...

Listen, you creeps, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore... Here is a man who stood up. Scott Greenfield: lawyer's lawyer, a seer, artist. We hear he's even got a great-looking, brilliant wife. Ancient law student, fringe boomer and ladies' man Holden Oliver just called from Palo Alto to say that he'll name his next legitimate son after Scott: "Greenfield" Oliver, Cornell '31. See at Scott's Simple Justice his post "The Slackoiesie Goes to Law School."

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

August 04, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

Reuters, the Russian news agency Interfax and other sources are reporting that the novelist died of a stroke. The writer, historian, ex-Red Army soldier and dissident won the Nobel Prize in 1970.

Posted by JD Hull at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2008

Spence: Law education is a fraud.

We were both intrigued and happy to see this Legal Blog Watch piece by Robert Ambrogi and links to Gerry Spence's blog. My take (with a nod to to Laura Nyro): law schools all over the globe have always attracted or produced their share of semi-literate robots with no guts, no gospel and no soul. They always will. But it's gotten worse. And the best part of many law students' undergraduate education--being steeped in old verities and enduring ideas--is ripped from him or her during the law school process. By age 35, most lawyers I know of any generation are disappointed, burned-out or bored. Reason: their work lives are not enriched by ideals or principles beyond the workaday nuts

and bolts of their job. It is the entire profession's fault (mine included) and problem. From Spence's post:

One need not write poetry or paint pictures to be a successful human being. But some intimacy with the arts and the language and its use and with right brain functions of feeling and creativity are essential to the development of the whole person. Little wonder that lawyers, disabled by all of the stifling, mostly useless mental exercises they have suffered, have trouble relating to jurors much less to the rest of mankind.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:52 PM | Comments (6)

July 26, 2008


Following Dan Hull's post below on the upcoming host of Blawg Review, Scott Greenfield's wife immediately submitted this alternative photograph of Scott which she prefers to the one we used. Your wife have a single sister, Scott? Because we won't be dating her.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

Simply Excellent.


Listen, you creeps, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the dogs, the filth and the crap. Here is a man who stood up.

~ Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver (1976)

It's not that often that a high-powered, talented and well-known practicing trial lawyer has a wildly popular blog he operates on the side. The odds, folks, are against it. Well, here's a man who gets more clicks than any working attorney we know. A hero to many, and a thorn to some, lawyer-writer-New Yorker Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice is my comrade in various global struggles and movements. And together we seek to become the Travis Bickle of law and policy. Just saner, mainly. Scott is not just passionate, analytical, admirably credentialed, and way bad-ass. He's a bit mysterious, even ominous: the kind of man who beats fish to death with his bare hands. In two days, he hosts Blawg Review, #170. We'll stay up late to say we read it first. You talking to me?

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

July 23, 2008

David Giacalone: Debt Reduction in America.

Over at the consistently elegant f/k/a, lawyer-writer and former U.S. Federal Trade Commission lawyer David Giacalone gives us "Doubts Over Debt Negotiation Fees". This is one of the best supported and comprehensive pieces of writing you will read about lawyers on a blog--or not-on-a-blog. We stopped billing hours, serving subpoenas and gutting pension plans just to read it. Thank you, sir.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2008


Quatorze Juillet

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2008

How the Marquis de Sade was finally forced into politics.


And the moral of the story is never lean on the weird. Or they will chop your head off. Take my word for it, Bubba. I am an expert on these things. I have been there. --HST, 1994

Bastille Day is tomorrow, July 14, the French day of independence. According to Hunter Thompson in "Better Than Sex" (a 1994 book about U.S. politics), and some other sources, the Marquis de Sade, Parisian artist and French nobleman, played a role in this opening drama of the French Revolution. As Doctor Thompson notes, the Marquis, a serious artist, was out-front different, wild and independent; he didn't care what people thought or said about him. On occasion The Marquis would run amok on booze and laudanum to blow off steam. The mainstream French aristocracy and clergy were never happy with him. They "not only hated his art, they hated him".

By 1788, the Paris police routinely harassed him, and jailed him a few times. The Bastille itself and then an insane asylum were his homes in the days leading up to July 14. In turn, he began to hate cops--and the government. Well, by the summer of 1789, Paris, in its oppressive July heat, was about to explode anyway and, acccording to Thompson:

The mood of the city was so ugly that even the Marquis de Sade became a hero of the people. On July 14, 1789, he led a mob of crazed rabble in overrunning a battalion of doomed military police defending the infamous Bastille Prison, and they swarmed in to "free all political prisoners"....

It was the beginning of the French Revolution, and de Sade himself was said to have stabbed five or six soldiers to death as his mob stormed the prison and seized the keys to the Arsenal. The mob found only eight "political prisoners" to free, and four of those were killed by nightfall in the savage melee over looting rights for the guns and ammunition.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (3)

July 02, 2008

Learning well.

Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.

--Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2008

Writing well, and living large.

Commenting on the body of work left by John Dryden (1631-1700), the English poet, critic and playwright, Samuel Johnson (who was born a few years after Dryden's death) called Dryden's compositions "the effects of a vigorous genius working upon large materials".


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008

George Denis Patrick Carlin (1937-2008)

One seriously funny, angry American-Irish guy from the City who always made us think. An original. See Washington Post obit.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2008

Bad King John, good King Edward.

London-based Charon QC notes that today, June 15, is an important day for Brits and Yanks alike: the date of Magna Carta Libertatum. King John's negotiation with his rebellious Norman barons occurred in 1215; the Magna Carta established that the king may not levy or collect any taxes, without the consent of his council, a kind of rough first English parliament. It also bolstered the previously-existing idea of the writ of habeas corpus--the "let-me-out" claim against unlawful imprisonment--and afforded rights and procedures to both free and unfree men. An elected parliament replacing the king's council was first instituted in 1265, and it was "upgraded" by Edward I in 1295. This text of the 1297 statute, as amended, is official UK law. Edward I (for us Yanks, that's the same guy who had Mel Gibson killed) made sure that the 1215 agreement stuck with us.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2008

Ted Kennedy

To be Irish is to know that in the end, the world will break your heart. --Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Call me a cultural stereotype. A boomer. A limousine liberal. I don't care. Ted Kennedy being diagnosed with malignant cancer of the brain floored me. I don't even know why.

Long ago, Duke University, which changed my life in a number of ways, awarded me my first paid desk job to work for Wisconsin's Senator Gaylord Nelson. With some help from my father, I rented an overpriced and horrible little apartment across the street from the hospital on Washington Circle where I had been born 21 years earlier, and excitedly entered the world I'd been seeing on television since I was in my early teens growing up in the Midwest. That first sunny Monday morning in May, I walked all the way to work, zig-zagging down Pennsylvania Avenue, and then up Constitution Avenue, well over two miles total, just to take it all in. But I walked in a hurry.

The Hill job was in health policy, and I was asked to follow and report on the work of the busy U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Health, chaired by then 42-year-old Ted Kennedy. I saw Kennedy up close a lot during committee sessions and mark-ups during the next 3 months. (A few years later, I worked again on Capitol Hill, and lived there for many

years. I'd see him around. Today, if I were lucky, he might recognize my persistent face if he saw me--but I certainly wasn't important those first 3 months.) But way before that, as the "last Kennedy", he was always part of the soundtrack of my life and my friends' lives since we were in our early teens. But he was more than a name, mystique and the booming populist oratory and Gaelic cadences of speech which come naturally to him.

For me, Ted Kennedy has never been about ideas, legislative agendas or even the Kennedy schmaltz: the hope, the dream that never dies, the struggle, all that. He left that music to others, like to his uber-aggressive brother-in-law, Steven Smith, and to his staff. I just never saw Kennedy as an ideologue, even when he ran for the American presidency--which I bet he never really wanted. A character out of a novel, he's simply as Irish as they come: brooding, playful and contradictory. Quietly but definitely war-like. He's smarter than people think, and remarkably adept at sifting through and making sense of too much information thrown at him. In the main, though, he's passionate, human, even poetic--and vulnerable in all the best ways.

Like lots of senators, he's also distracted as hell, even endearingly spacey--but warm and charming, a natural politician, easily the best in his family. He can turn that on and off. Like Bill Clinton, and for whatever the reason, Kennedy genuinely likes people; it's not for show. Watch the guy in a crowd. He's at ease once he's there. He physically resembles most, and is most like, his mother Rose, the family saint and caregiver. And that soulfulness, I think, helped him to be very good at his job. Family friend and economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said that Ted Kennedy was the best U.S. senator he'd seen in his lifetime.

Finally, the last Kennedy is as wounded as they come, too. Try, if you can, not to cry when you watch a clip of his eulogy of his brother Robert in 1968, when he was 36. Kennedy's voice cracked badly, and I can't forget the sound of him as he struggled to finish the speech for his older brother. It wasn't about politics, ideas, or even about anyone's family. The sound was pure grief and loss, unashamed.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

HRC: Until the last dog dies.

That's a Bill Clinton Ozark mountains expression. We have always liked it even though WAC? writers (and Hull McGuire lawyers) are very split among the three candidates still punching, and we have some stalwart if calm Clinton dislikers. But wondrous, irrational keep-your-options-open optimism is very American. Sometimes it works. From today's daily Hillary Clinton campaign e-mail update: "On May 31, we'll hear the decision from the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee on whether they'll seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida". But, she continues, "Puerto Rico votes in 10 days, and the last primaries in Montana and South Dakota are just two days later, and...." See Salon's "She's in it to spin it".

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Learning well

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.

--William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), poet and statesman.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2008

Not just an Irish thing: "Let no man write my epitaph".

It was a 1960 movie with Shelley Winters, Ricardo Montalban, Jean Seberg and Burl Ives (playing a nice boozy Irish Chicago judge) I first saw as a re-run on TV growing up in Cincinnati. It was based on a 1958 novel by Willard Motley. But the words came from a real guy, Irish nationalist Robert Emmet, during the "speech from the dock" before he was hanged by the British in 1803 for leading a march on Dublin Castle. History doesn't think Emmet was the most effective Irish rebel who ever lived--but his final words endured:

I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world – it is the charity of its silence. Let no man write my epitaph. No man can write my epitaph, for as no man who knows my motives and character dares now to vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them rest in obscurity and peace until other times and other men can do justice to them. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then shall my character be vindicated, then may my epitaph be written.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2008

BBC News: French industrial output way down.

You are holy conservators of the best things Western: ideas, art and living. But you must get back to work. Sixty-three years is too long a holiday.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2008

Wanted: "A fool in the forest".

Which is the name of a site of a talented California lawyer named George Wallace who has been working too hard, even by WAC?'s brutal standards. We miss his playful yet erudite Renaissance man's perspective. We need more lawyers writing about Salvador Dali.


Posted by JD Hull at 11:45 PM | Comments (2)

May 08, 2008

Who said this? "We have no great illusions, my brethren and I, ..."

about how much good it will do you to be told these things in advance. We have learned by bitter experience that you will not take the things we tell you very seriously. You conceive this, I take it, to be somewhat in the nature of the pep meeting to which you were first exposed when you entered college. You expect me to tell you that you should be earnest about your work, and get your back into it for dear old Siwash, and that he who lets work slide will stumble by the way.

And to whom was this said? Think carefully. The first person with the

right answer to both parts of the question will receive a free WAC? gift.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:56 PM | Comments (1)

May 03, 2008

Ten years of Swerdloff Dot Com

A NYC-residing lawyer and Renaissance man with smarts and wisdom beyond his years reaches a milestone, celebrates.


Posted by JD Hull at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2008

Ken Wilber, this century's philosopher.

In Salon, see You are the river: An interview with Ken Wilber by Steve Paulson. Ken Wilber is no fad. He thinks and writes about the "ultimate reality that science can't touch", who's evolved and who's not, and what's in store for us. He really did amaze us in his 2000 book A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science, and Spirituality. What's weird today is truth tomorrow.

Posted by JD Hull at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2008

Name's Holden...buy you a Heineken? Just got back from Île Saint-Louis, and...


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2008

"Have you ever been punched by a client?"

We mean literally. See this one by David Giacalone, both lyrical and spiritual leader of the entire blogosphere, at f/k/a....

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

April 20, 2008

Real Yank lawyers read Charon QC's Weekend Review.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 01:39 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2008

The enduring Duke lacrosse experience

"Write something on the Duke Experience, that's all I ask," my editor was always telling me.

--W. Morris in "Making the Nut at Duke", Duke Chanticleer, Vol. II, 1975

The lacrosse case never really ended. See at The Chronicle, Duke's student daily, "City attorneys argue for ethics rule in lax suit" re: the 38 unindicted members of the 2005-2006 men's lacrosse team who have brought a civil suit. And see KC Johnson's stalwart Durham-in-Wonderland.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

Life after--or instead of--law.

At the ABA Journal's Law News Now, see "Lawyer Hated Securities Practice, But Loves Fox News", about new Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

Posted by JD Hull at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2008

Jennifer TV

Former news anchor Jennifer Antkowiak's show "Jennifer" is on Sundays at 11 AM EST. See www.jennifertvshow.com

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2008

Flaubert's last letters

In yesterday's London Times, the popular British Flaubert scholar Julian Barnes reads between the lines of "Flaubert's letters on sex, art, bankruptcy and cliffs."

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2008

Charon QC 24/7?

Charon After Dark. "A new idea…not, perhaps, a good one…", Rioja and music lover Charon thinks. While he plots, read our London hero's Weekend Review, on Brits, Brit law and old Albion herself.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2008

Is Holden Oliver a radical Muslim?

Like George Will, he's one of our best 17th century minds. His middle initial is H--but the literal meaning of Muslim is a person who "submits" to the Will of God. Holden is a lapsed Episcopal--it's a little late for him in any organized religion. He went to the "right schools" (but wished he'd attended Summerhill as a child), made law review, and he likes difficult women and scotch. He's in good shape--but he won't let on

that he ever works out. Last summer he took the Hull McGuire DSM-IV-driven narcissist test for litigators and got a perfect score--but he wants to do corporate tax law. Anyway, ancient law student and recovering journalist Holden H. Oliver gets a little weird as exam time in the Bay Area approaches. But he's a quick study. An expert on the development of the DaneLaw (Danelagh) in the 9th century (long story but that's the reason WAC? met him in the first place), he would have been very happy as the village magistrate in a past age in rural East Anglia. His religion: "making my life art". Grandiose but admirable. Good luck on those outlines, Holden. Godspeed. But we expect a post on Ordeal By Water by the middle of next week.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:12 PM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2008

Today, 24th and M, NW.

Q Going home already?

A Would have left earlier--fell asleep at my desk.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2008

The UK's Justin Patten: British Reserve, Human Law and Intelligent Mediation.

A year ago this week I spent an hour or so near my hotel in Mayfair (close to the Marble Arch on the northeastern corner of Hyde Park) with my friend Justin Patten of Human Law Mediation, a firm for higher-end clients he founded six years ago. If you're an American or

European business lawyer, and you don't know this English gentleman, solicitor, mediator, and thought leader, you should get to know him. Justin himself specializes in HR and employment disputes mediation--but offers a wide variety of mediation training programs to businesses and law firms. He's an original--and loves what he does. See his website or ground-breaking blog. He didn't ask for this post; Justin is a creature of Brit reserve, and never asks us to do anything for him. WAC? just admires him. We think of him as a sane version of our London barrister friend GeekLawyer: another mega-talented southern Englishman "in trade", yet less likely to upset your mother, your wife, your girlfriend, or all three.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2008

London: Saturday's Charon QC

Charon QC, London's well-regarded lawyer-pundit, has a fine review of last week's news and Brit blogs. "Blogging" may not be ground central for All Things Legal or Otherwise on the Planet. Time is precious to busy people; as a friend recently asked, "should humans blog, ski, watch birds or philander in their spare time?" But you are missing the big picture--and some fun--if you do not check in with Brit blogs. These phlegmy men, like Reactionary Snob, and exotic birds, like Ruthie, do own our language. It shows in their skill, play and heart with words. Never prissy. See, respectively, "Assorted idiocy" (Snob, the libertarian) and "Fair Trial My Arse" (Ruthie, the demure).

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Duke in Wonderland; Cornell in Heaven.

Mike Krzyzewski wins 800th. NBC: 87-86 against NC State at Raleigh. Coach K thanks evil twin-mentor Bobby Knight. And Cornell defeats Harvard to win Ivy league, finally slipping past Penn and Princeton and making the NCAA tournament.

UPDATE: The normally staid and ancient Duke daily, The Chronicle, gets excited about Coach K's win, too.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

February 29, 2008

Duke: Coach K looks for 800th win.

DURHAM, NC (Duke Chronicle)--Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is already recognized as one of the premier coaches in college basketball. After tomorrow, his status among the all-time elite could be cemented. [more]

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008)

No matter where you sit on the political spectrum, only the small-minded and single issue freaks would fail to acknowledge that Bill Buckley was a powerful intellect, one of the most influential writer-thinkers of the last century, and a true Renaissance Man. A class act on a level with Voltaire and Disraeli. Everyone has lost a mega-smart if patrician friend--and one who respected language and loved ideas.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2008

The Praise

Samuel Johnson had quite a compliment for John Dryden (1631-1700), the English poet, critic and dramatist known for his energy, range, heart and nearly musical style. Dryden's compositions, Johnson said, "are the effects of a vigorous genius operating upon large materials". From a book my grandfather, Dr. J. Dan Hull, gave me after retiring from Washington, D.C. life and moving back to Springfield, Missouri. The Best of Dryden, L. Bredvold, editor, xiii (Ronald Press 1933).

Posted by JD Hull at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2008

Ca' Paxatagore


Posted by JD Hull at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2008

"Good call, Garth."

Restaurateur Armed with 200 Rounds Planned Super Bowl Gunfire--but Changed his Mind in Parking Lot.

PHOENIX (AP)--A would-be bar owner angry at being denied a liquor license threatened to shoot people at the Super Bowl and drove to within sight of the stadium with a rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition before changing his mind, federal authorities said. [more]

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2008

Can you identify this Frenchman?


Alexis de Tocqueville

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (3)

February 05, 2008

WAC? loves Simple Justice.

No, it's not a horse at Del Mar, or a stock. This is one of our "real lawyer" alerts.

See Scott Greenfield's highly-respected site, Simple Justice--A New York Criminal Defense Blog. Lawyers with criminal defense practices. Hull McGuire stands in awe before them; we've "been there" a few times. Armed with fancy outside white collar crime help, we defended (and did well) in a few criminal matters, including three seemingly endless jury trials. All were in federal court, with classy clients, before sane judges in DC or Pennsylvania. Then we got this new white collar defense guy in California. Still, we stick to corporate defense and the occasional criminal investigation with Sarbanes-Oxley issues. Why? Day-to-day criminal defense work, especially in NYC, is a Wild West Show--one for studs and studess-es only. It's a marathon, and for the toughest lawyers on earth. We are ultra-corporate smart--but we are not worthy of these guys. See Scott's blog. "Yeah, Simple Justice--they be bad...."

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:22 PM | Comments (2)

January 28, 2008

Good morning, American worker.

Happy Monday. It's still Winter. Today, you're just a shade of a tad Hungover. You hate your Job. Your entire Life. Your Dog. And your eldest son's resume is beginning to read like a Police Blotter. Re: suffering, maybe you can just use It, because it teaches.

Suffering overcomes the mind's inertia, develops the thinking powers, opens up a new world, and drives the soul to action.--Anthony H. Evans

Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.--Washington Irving

Posted by JD Hull at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2008

Real Blogs are Rare: Ray Ward's Minor Wisdom.

And he'd just say shucks. It's Sunday: the only day I spend any time alone, am quiet for long stretches, and won't yell at any one. In my head and heart, where things can grow, I've bumped Ray Ward's Minor Wisdom from the #11 spot to #1 on my best blogs/blawgs/sites/all on-line and electronic magazines. This is All Categories, All Professions, All Nations, All Tribes, All Humans, All Life, All-Cosmos. I've seen the light, having waited for a vision to deliver me. Minor Wisdom has beyond lawyerness: spiritual, literary, musical, political, brave, human, personal and get-off-your-ass. And he's one of the few Jesuit-educated humans who makes it all sound like damn fun. His blog is so much better than every lawyer blog I've seen--including this one--that it makes me want to write full time, even if I starve ("purity of the heart is to will one thing"...). Well, strike the starving part. Anyway, let's pull Ray and MW from that soul-less category: lawyers. He's that and more. He reminds us that Jesus is headed for The Big Easy--and that's enough to make a blind man see.

Posted by JD Hull at 09:37 AM | Comments (3)

January 22, 2008

Southern Winter

Associated Press: "Freeze Follows Snow in South, Gulf Coast"

"...put some bleachers out in the sun/And have it out on Highway 61".

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2008

Real Lawyer Stuff: MLK Day at Blawg Review

Blawg Review #143 is up. It's thoughtful, graceful and first-rate. It's hosted by Gideon at Public Defender Stuff.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2008

The Framers meet Rodney Dangerfield.

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.

--Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr. (1900-1965), speech in Detroit, Oct.7, 1952

Even Adlai Stevenson's political enemies looked up to him. The highly-respected Illinois governor, diplomat and lawyer never got to be president--he lost to crowd-pleaser Eisenhower twice--but a lot of people wanted him to have that job. He liked ideas. American ones. People called him an "egghead" a lot. Ever wish that as a lawyer you did something genuinely worthwhile, important and part of a great American ideal? Something difficult, often unpopular and that reflects hard choices we've made as a society? Or are you just another lawyer dependent on the insurance companies for dough who wants to read a great blog every now and then? Tomorrow's host for Blawg Review is Public Defender Stuff. "Indigent defense news, delivered fresh daily". The guy's name is "Gideon".

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2008

Fancy Brit lawyer Ruthie loses passport in back of Scottish cab.

We know from her on-line confession that this happened to the famous English lawyer-writer-biker Ruthie in Aberdeen, Scotland around New Year's, culminated in a run-in with the feared and notoriously unrelenting Grampian Police, and therefore almost certainly involved booze, men and/or worse. See "Do Not Lose your Passport" at Ruthie's Law. We Yanks expected much better. Arched eyebrows.

Posted by JD Hull at 08:20 PM | Comments (3)

January 17, 2008

Breaking: Hungarian scientists decode Doggy Talk.

See Livescience.com. No inroads, however, reported on Lawyerspeak. But there's hope: "I'm pretty sure this could work with any animal vocal signals," researcher Csaba Molnár told LiveScience.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2008

QuizLaw is original, gutsy and fun.

Non-dweeb lawyers from New York and California write it. Dang. We're naming our next son after it: QuizLaw Pennington Oliver. "We're very proud of Quiz'. After Dartmouth, he'll spend a year at the Sorbonne."

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2008

Best business wisdom quote ever.

He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.

--Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784

If you don't fully understand, worry.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Hermann the German: McCoffee v. Starbucks.

The next Great War: McDonald's has a go at Starbucks. See at Observing Hermann yesterday's piece "We knew this was going to get ugly". Hermann regularly monitors developments in Western thought, culture and commerce--and in The Cosmos generally--but here has confined himself to one of his favorite if more pedestrian topics: sideshows of globalization.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 02, 2008

Ann Althouse: best quotes of 2007, life actually, varmints.

If you don't like your life, change it.

--Lawrence Olivier, who would have turned 100 in 2007

The best one is above--except that it makes way too much sense. If you hate what you do and are, at least you're on the right track--but family, work, clients and feeding your dog merge into a joy-less chore until you fix it. The rest of her favorite quotes from her posts in 2007 are here. She recalls that we learned this past year that Arizona U.S. senator and 2008 GOP contender John McCain has a hair-trigger wit, too. No matter where you stand on gun control or immigration, the

word "varmint" (i.e., troublesome person or animal) deserves a comprehensive come-back in America. Join us. Use the word "varmint" today, preferably in writing--in an opinion letter, Rule 12 opposition brief, Phase I environmental report, or a reply to the Disciplinary Board. Just be discreet. Our young French friend Tocqueville would agree, or at least understand. This is America.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2008

Bang bang, you are the warrior. Ready?

Break out of captivity
And follow me, stereo jungle child
Love is the kill.....your heart's still wild

--P. Smyth

New day, new year, and it's time for lawyers to lead. Let's resolve to:

Put clients first, tell clients what we really think, give advice and not just options, stop covering our asses, take risks, stop pretending we are "special", minimize our clubbiness, practice discipline and structure, stop making the law about our convenience and schedules, think like business people and not like mere academics, help clients control costs, fight the mediocrity in legal products and client service we continue to accept, change the way people think about lawyers, quit writing to clients, to courts and to each other like mental patients talking to themselves, become trusted consigilieres, surround ourselves with strong talented people, fire bad clients, refuse to bottom-feed, fire employees who don't or won't get it (and stop pretending they'll see the light), act, and otherwise stop being weenies.

Our clients still wait for us to so evolve. To lead. Ready?

JDH, HHO, TWC 1/1/08

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2007

Blogging in Cuba is different.

So you've got your blog, your pet ideas, and you write about them. But you think you've got sand? As WAC? understands it, blogs are supposed to be out-front journals, i.e., honest and brave, right? What are you willing to risk to get your ideas out there? Here's a must-see from WSJ.com called "Cuban Revolution" about a Havana-bred woman, 32, who blogs from Cuba about Cuba.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2007

No sleep 'til Christmas

Been quite a year. The sub-prime mortgage crash rippled through other markets, international approval of America has remained at a steady low for nearly 5 years now, and WAC? met Parker Posey on his way to Europe. Now we're travelling again. Which these days, we think, lawyers should be doing anyway to service clients. So we're shutting down our Palo Alto-based "news division" until the 26th--unless, of course, in the next couple of days, North Korea accidently destroys Japan, Ron Paul picks up 30 points in the polls, Time Magazine declares lawyers, politicians or executive headhunters the most admired humans on earth, or Keith Richards passes from over-eating.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2007

On the Senate, court and cocktail parties.

I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity.

--Marcus Tullius Cicero, lawyer-statesman-poet-pundit (106-43 BC)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2007

What About Clients? named to ABA's "Blawg 100".

Many first-rate blogs didn't make this list--so we're really honored. We hope that our inclusion will bring attention to some of the consistent themes of What About Clients? since we started this project in August 2005, with the solid advice, example and help of a fine Chicago trial lawyer-blogger, and at the urging of two old D.C. friends of Hull McGuire: (1) client/customer service all over the world is remarkably poor, if not a cynical global joke; lawyers and other professionals can discipline themselves to deliver a better "experience"--weaving technical skills and real service--to valued clients, (2) corporate law firms under 150 lawyers can land and keep Fortune 500 companies if they have the right people and game plan (it's time for those with true grit to stop groveling and bottom-feeding), and (3) the legal services marketplace has become international for nearly all business lawyers.

There are the other WAC? categories--international business, litigation, IP, natural resources, HR, politics, writing well, Keith Richards, other mysteries of universe--listed over on your right that we cover every week. Other blogs we are "competing" with for votes in this ABA thing are very, very good. However, we think that WAC?--a part-time gig written by practicing lawyers (often under pressure and in very bad moods)--is more honest, broader in scope, funnier, better written, more useful, more thought-provoking, edgier, less constrained and just flat-out braver than most of the other great blogs out there. Life's short, and we started WAC? to say a few things you won't always hear at the cocktail parties and other dweeb-fests we all attend this time of year.

In short, we think lawyers should lead. So, if you are hearing us, and you appreciate it:

Posted by JD Hull at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2007

More French job news: perks.

WAC? always wondered what people kept in those $2 million apartments near our usual hotel on I'lle Saint-Louis. AP: "French President Linked with Supermodel Bruni".

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2007

Driving instructor sues Borat and Fox studio.

A cast member files in SDNY for fraud, emotional distress and punitive damages, alleging he was paid $500 in cash to give Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) a driving lesson--during which Cohen drove wild and crazy down residential streets, drank booze and "yelled to a female pedestrian he would pay her $10 for 'sexy time'". [Reuters-UK]

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2007

Anne Frank tree gets a second reprieve.

AP: The famous chestnut tree, over 150 years old, wins another stay from Judge Bade. Amsterdam city officials must present more detailed alternatives to the tree's proposed destruction.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2007

Anne Frank's chestnut tree

We've followed this one over the last few months. According to the AP, the 150-year-old ailing chestnut tree in Amsterdam that Anne Frank saw daily outside her attic window during the two years she hid from the Nazis will be cut down. The Anne Frank Museum has taken grafts from the tree in hopes that a sapling can replace it.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2007

Norman Mailer (1923-2007)

I don't think life is absurd. I think we are all here for a huge purpose. I think we shrink from the immensity of the purpose we are here for.

Irish guys always liked Norman Mailer. About twenty five years ago Legs McNeil wrote, after doing an interview with Mailer, "nobody talks better than Norm". Mailer reveled in words, and the man could talk. And punch. But our best-ever American literary talker-brawler won two Pulitzers, and was famous for writing alone by the age of 25. He died at age 84 on Friday after nearly 60 years on a pedestal he built and maintained himself. He could be a blow-hard, but he knew something important. Strong opinions put strongly--about writing, men, women, politics, modern life--isn't about getting press. It's a way to have the Conversation in the midst of conformity and complacency. Enemies?

Natural provocateur Mailer knew also that, if you don't have a few, you simply aren't in the game. Like Mailer himself, the news coverage is spirited, opinionated, immense. L.A. Times: Mailer: An Ego with an Insecure Streak; The Irish Times: U.S. Literary Giant, Norman Mailer Dies Aged 84; NYT: Towering Writer with a Matching Ego, Dies at 84; The Guardian: Death of an Icon; The Huffington Post: Norman Mailer: Death and Remembrance. But Norm would have liked this next one the best. Via Pajamas Media, see at Chesler Chronicles: "Norman Mailer, one Tough Jew, is dead." And how many Jewish guys can drink like that? Gaelic retired toper WAC? is way impressed. Keep up the Conversation, Norm. We're bored down here already.

Posted by JD Hull at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2007

"No, officer, the book didn't exactly attack me--but I definitely felt menaced".

Fear and loathing in Bloomington. For a kind of Hoosier madness other than basketball, see at WSJ's Law Blog the piece "Indiana Law Student Shoots Real-Estate Finance Casebook". Casebook, shot twice in a parking lot, is reported to be in critical condition.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2007

Got Resilience?

Please see a piece by Texas lawyer Mark Bennett I've been brooding about ever since I saw it: "Resiliency". But don't obsess about it too much. Ironically, resilience--the ability to recover and spring back from adversity, a shock or a set-back in short order--is not a lawyer trait. Indeed, these days there's lots of commentary out there which in the aggregate goes something like this: lawyers don't market, work, argue, negotiate, or even do trial work as well as they could because they are "relational", nice, academic at heart, a bit passive aggressive, naturally not "war-like" and--even when we are competitive and direct--we suffer, brood and worry too long about setbacks and defeats. And we are beginning to hate what we do all day long because, oddly, (1) neither fighting (2) nor "going with the flow" are in our natures. It's true. We lawyers are, in the main, natural-born

weenies and squirrels. We are great people. But we sweat small stuff--part of our job, of course--and we over-react. We have amazingly poor defenses to each day's hard knocks and battles.

Well, why? My take: the profession attracts type-A eldest-child perfectionists who can become disoriented and even ashamed by not winning on every point. We get hurt easily. Too many of us suffer guilt or shame in the smallest defeat. We even kick ourselves about being that way. We feel like impostors. And that--trying to be something we can't always easily be--makes things worse. We start to hate our jobs and our lives. If our clients knew how thin-skinned and tortured some of us really are, they'd just take pity and fire us.

Solution? Somehow--and I don't care how--get over yourself, free yourself from all that bondage of self, and accept that some defeat is inherent in everything you do, and may be even helpful to achieve good results. I am NOT talking here about being a good loser or lowering standards. It's about Sweating Just Big Stuff. Stepping back. Getting perspective. Nothing brilliant here. However, without even doing an empirical study, it's obvious to me that lawyer "over-sensitivity" is a huge problem in our lawyer worlds and workplaces. Our reactions to the sum of small bad stuff prevents us from doing the big stuff or from doing it well. This hurts us as people. But way more importantly, it hurts your client: the main event. Remember that as a lawyer you are not royalty--sorry, but you never were that special. Clients are not "the equipment" for a patrician game. You are there to serve.

If you can't get a plan for this and change yourself--or can only do it the cost of violating who you really are--think about another career path. And for godssake if you're a trial lawyer, part of your damn job is to be resilient. So get some of it really, really fast, and buck up there, mate--or just teach, sell women's shoes or get that masters in taxation at NYU you sometimes dream about.

Posted by JD Hull at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2007

Geoff Sharp: Fear as a Tool

New Zealand's Geoff Sharp at mediator blah...blah... is just not that PC. He isn't compelled to make the same comfortable New Age noises as the rest of us (especially Americans) so often make and take refuge in. He's honest, innovative and authentic. See his "The Legitimate Use of Fear to Encourage Settlement". You got sand, Geoff.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2007

Charles Fox: Autism, and Blawg Review #113

Today is Autism Awareness Day (1 of every 150 children, according to the U.S. CDC). Chicago attorney Charles P. Fox of Special Education Law hosts a special Blawg Review, #113.

Posted by JD Hull at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2007

David Halberstam (1934-2007)

Halberstam, a New Yorker, Yankee's Yankee and Pulitzer Prize winner at the age of 30 for war reporting, was killed in a car accident today in San Francisco. He gave us both the idea and the book of Viet Nam as supreme American hubris in the 1972 bestseller The Best and the Brightest.

Posted by JD Hull at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ms Bry, Renaissance woman.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:37 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2007

Kid from Brooklyn on Human Rights, 2nd Amendment.

Here. Open windows, turn up speakers, earplug the kids.

Posted by JD Hull at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2007

More Irish Guys

"With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?"

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900) had a rare mind, wrote well, lived too short a life, and was one of those people who give humans a good name. He had mega-talent, moxie and a good heart. Years ago, I visted the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris to see the graves of Jim Morrison, Richard Wright, Chopin and others and learned that Wilde was there, too.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2006

On the good foot....(1933-2006)

"Early in the morning/Can't get a ride/Had a little time/With my baby last night/Early in the morning/Gotta do the walk..."

A South Carolina native, James Brown died on Christmas. He was either 73 or 78. We loved it when he screamed to his band members things like "Maceo, hey Maceo, help me out!"

Posted by JD Hull at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2006

Ms. Bry stars in "The 60s" - All you need is love, and a shrink.

She is actress, producer, writer, Renaissance babe, mom, ex-stunt girl (for fun, Google her name re: the Superman movies), and WAC? friend and advisor. Ellen Bry stars tonight in the Trish Soodik comedy "The 60s" at the acclaimed Pacific Theatre in Los Angeles, 703 Venice Boulevard, at 8:00 PM. Directed by Paul Linke.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2006

Mount Purgatory Warm-up

See "lawyers sentenced to haiku purgatory, without appeal " at f/k/a [formerly known as]. WAC? loves Dante, and serenely awaits guides Virgil and Colin Samuels at next Blawg Review, No. 86.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2006

Curmudgeon This--For Now.

Busy as I am defending corporate America and European companies from the forces of darkness and dumbness, traveling around the U.S. and western Europe with my new assistant Ms. Bry, working hard to get a couple of good books turned into movies, and trying here and there to teach people in my shop about the Holy Surprise and Miracle of Rule 36 and the fun break-dancing between Rules 30, 45 and 34, I feel very left out. I haven't read or even held in my hands Mark Herrmann's popular book The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law (ABA Litigation Section, 2006). But I want to read it, and will, for a few reasons:

First, you hear and read everywhere that Herrmann's Curmudgeon's Guide is intelligent and very funny. Second, about my vintage, Mark's a trial lawyer and writer with real lawyer credentials from a legendary firm (Cleveland-based Jones Day, ruled for years with an iron hand by a legendary curmudgeon) which was big, international and multi-officed before all that was cool. Mark's firm, unlike many firms from 250 to 3000 plus lawyers on growth streaks, seems to have expanded without doing great violence to or compromising its own gene pool. Third, WSJ Law Blog's Peter Lattman (e.g., here) likes Mark's book a lot, and has posted about it three times. Finally, and importantly, Arnie Herz, of Legal Sanity, did read Mark's book--and, hey, Arnie liked it. Arnie, also busy, is wise, perceptive, discriminating, and with a litigator's filter. That's enough for me until I get to Mark's book. See Arnie's post "The Curmudgeonly Law Firm Mentor".

Posted by JD Hull at 05:51 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2006

Work-Life Balance This.

It's Sunday, near the end of October. This week offers us all a series of ancient harvest and life-death cycle observances with Pagan, Celtic, Roman and even Christian roots. Halloween (also called "Pooky Night" is some parts of Ireland) is just a faint shadow of this celebration of the awesome powers in the Cosmos.

U.S. kids of course love this week for its costumes and candy. Some cultures and religions commune a bit more seriously with the spirit world this week. But for me, a boring Anglo-Saxon Protestant who grew up in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, it's just Fall (and a chance to catch again on TV two of the funniest movies ever made: The Exorcist and The Shining).

So inspired and assisted by an e-mail from my college and, later, Washington, D.C. roommate--friend, Super-father, husband, thinker, doer, outdoorsman, environmentalist, Duke and Columbia graduate, man of letters, journalist and author of, among other things, the acclaimed The Trade Warriors: USTR and the American Crusade for Free Trade (by S. J. Dryden, Oxford University Press)--WAC? offers, in an audio reading by Robert Pinsky, and in print below, John Keats's (1795-1821) poem To Autumn. And I can't improve on my friend's introduction to the poem:

"Give it up for my man John Keats and his poem To Autumn!"


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom‑friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch‑eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er‑brimmed their clammy cells.


Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on the granary floor,
Thy hair soft‑lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or, on a half‑reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider‑press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.


Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too—
While barréd clouds bloom the soft‑dying day,
And touch the stubble‑plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full‑grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge‑crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden‑croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

September 19, 1819

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2006

Charon QC

Saturday is a particularly good day to visit my friend Charon QC. Here's a Brit who works harder than most of us Yanks, and has fun doing it. He's got a dang good WLB, too. WAC? has it on good authority that Charon loves the law, clients, hard work, counting his money, thinking, ideas, politics, reading, action, talking, sports, smoking, drinking and biking. Only Bill Clinton is better connected, or as dynamic and fun. Charon blogs at least once a day--but just for the bloody hell of it. Meet Mike Semple Piggot, Renaissance chap.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2006

Ellen Bry: New Judge on Boston Legal

Later this Fall on ABC watch for the elegant Ellen Bry to play a judge in two episodes of Boston Legal. Ellen and I met at a Renaissance Weekend in 2003, and she was impressed that I don't watch television. She doesn't either; when she landed a guest role on TNT's The Closer last year, her LA friends and I had to explain it to her. We've conspired for 3 years, often without screaming at one another. I posted about the talented Ms. Bry back in March. She made me like Los Angeles.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2006

NBC Deal: Anonymous Lawyer May Hit the Screen.

From Washington, D.C.'s Legal Times, here's "The Anonymous Anti-Hero", by Alexia Garamfalvi. Go Blachman.

Posted by JD Hull at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2006

Born Lucky.

On July 12, 1986, around 1:30 AM EST, I had my last drink. By that, I mean my last Heineken, Jameson, wine, hooch or inebriant of any kind. Where this happened was a wonderfully depraved Irish bar my friends (cocky young litgators and news people, mainly) and I loved. It was midway between and my house on Capitol Hill and my job on Eye Street. Like all DC bars, it had fire-breathing trial lawyers, deal lawyers, politicians, journalists, students, professors, diplomats, and a novelist or two. But this was no "fern bar". It was whispered that the IRA raised money and ran guns through the place. It was common to see people in suits asleep on the floor. The waiters and waitresses had brogues from places like Tralee and Cork. The day bartenders were belligerent, and often drunk by noon. My kind of saloon. Perfect venue for the last drink: amazingly grace-less bar.

But there is nothing remarkable about why I quit. I had a great job, and was headed toward a partnership. My childhood had been lucky and fun. I could not have asked for more loving parents, siblings and friends. Nothing to drink about. I just liked it way too much. Born different, I guess. It isolated me, even with people around. That isolation, and knowing that drinking had somehow separated me from the rest of the universe, was enough. Sure, it's hard to quit. You may experience for the first time "exclusion"--even if it's self-imposed. You're in a minority. You feel left out. Yet lots of people, including adventuresome fire-breathing trial lawyers with one dash of the wrong DNA, do finally give up booze so they can tap into and use the gifts they have, and grow. Born different, maybe. Born lucky, too.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2006

Vital Voices, Improbability--and Julie Meets Hillary.

Last night my law partner and respected corporate tax attorney, Julie McGuire, an alleged Republican, was unexpectedly introduced to Hillary Rodham Clinton, certainly a Democrat, by Paula Stern, a very accomplished human and "known" Democrat, at the annual Global Leadership Awards and Benefit of Vital Voices in D.C. at the Kennedy Center. No conversions occurred--but Hillary was "very nice!" and it was an honor for Julie to meet her. A good start.

Apart from name dropping, implying that our firm can effortlessly work both sides of the aisle in our lobbying practice, and proving that life is strange, I mention this as a plug for Vital Voices, an innovative bi-partisan non-profit which invests in and honors women worldwide--often unsung and especially in the human rights area--who have undertaken key leadership roles in their countries. More information about Vital Voices Programs is here.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2006

Do What You Love: Hero 4 - Julie Elizabeth McGuire

Even serial over-achievers are impressed with a person who was graduated first in her class from both college and law school. In this case, our subject Julie Elizabeth McGuire has raving fans, most of them accomplished themselves, all over--in Fortune 500 companies, giant firms based abroad (especially in western Europe) and business lawyers worldwide. A multi-talented corporate tax and transactions lawyer, and CPA as well, Julie can land a job tomorrow morning at any in-house counsel shop or law firm she wants. A former in-house lawyer at Alcoa, she knows how General Counsels and CFOs think and what they worry about. She's what clients want in deals: a savvy business person and a tough, shrewd negotiator. At the same time, Julie McGuire has few if any enemies--just people who want to be more like her. It's not just the resume. She's serene, kind and genuinely friendly. She focuses on others. In a phrase, she's as nice as she is brilliant.

So what's Julie McGuire doing with me? In fact, people never politely or in passing ask "So, how did you two become partners and form Hull McGuire PC anyway?" Instead, they ask, in an intrigued, puzzled and slightly embarrassed tone: "Uh, how did you two even meet, anyway"? It's just difficult to believe that a Universe with any order or compassion would put Julie--with her no-nonsense Carnegie-Mellon Mathematics and Business Management double majors (try to be first in your class in that stuff!), her Midwestern values and charm, conservative political views, Yoda-like serenity and kindness, and real appreciation for the mysteries of Pittsburgh--in the path of a litigator and lobbyist with a liberal arts background and an enemy here and there, who loves Washington, D.C., old books, and old Europe, once wrote a senior History paper on "How the Shi-shi Got the Chutzpah to Overthrow the Bakufu", and prefers to serve subpoenas on Friday afternoons.

An American professional odd couple--but we are fast friends. We do have something else besides friendship and a law firm in common, and we are obsessive about it: Julie and I (1) both love practicing law, our clients, and traveling all over the U.S. and the world to act for them; (2) both think corporate clients are getting a raw deal on both quality and service at many large and traditional law firms; and (3) both are convinced that nimble, aggressive law boutiques with the right talent can do 85% of the legal work done for Fortune 500 companies, keep those clients safe and happy and have fun doing it.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2006

Do What You Love: Hero 3 - Mark Del Bianco

Speaking of our nation's capitol, I've posted about D.C.-based telecom and lawyer's lawyer Mark C. Del Bianco before, including here a couple of weeks ago. And see this article on "The Law of Telecom" which Mark and I wrote for The Pennsylvania Lawyer. Mark's another Renaissance guy and person-who-gets-it. I've known him for about 20 years, and he loves what he does for clients with legal tech issues.

Telecom issues are Everywhere and in Every Deal these days--and Mark figured that out long before it happened. So Del Bianco became a telecommunications law brand--and yet people want to work with him in other areas where his experience and expertise is both broad and deep. If you practice law long enough, and love it the way he does, that will happen: antitrust law (he's also Vice Chair of the Computers and Internet Committee of the ABA's Antitrust Section), foreign trade law (he used to edit the Yale Journal of International Law) and even litigation (DOJ trained him a long time ago). And anything to do with that exciting yet inscrutable new point where the law intersects with the Internet, Technology and All Things Digital. SuperDad, athlete, well-read, well-traveled, and the guy other lawyers go to first for advice on the hard stuff, Mark is the first person you hire when you get elected President. Some say way too many Yale people have been working in or sniffing around the White House these days. I disagree.

Posted by JD Hull at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2006

My New Hero U.S. District Judge Clark..."Attaboy!"

See yesterday's WSJ Law Blog at "Judge Rejects Inscrutable Motion, Cites Adam Sandler’s 'Billy Madison'".

Posted by JD Hull at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2006

Do What You Love: Hero 1 - Chris Abraham

From D.C.-based Chris Abraham--friend, marketing consultant, inspirer, writer, Renaissance dude, interpreter, learner-teacher, person-who-gets-it, and the guy to spend time with when I want new ideas. And he's got the best laugh. I talk to him and read him to get back on track. He actually likes lawyers, and helps them. Those of us who consult him worry he'll go to law school. "Do What You Love", which he's covered better than anyone, is here.

Posted by JD Hull at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2006

Abraham & Del Bianco--Two People You Should Get To Know.

No--this is not a multicultural-sounding law firm. It's two very different Washington, D.C. people I know who are both "digitally-advanced", and who I urge everyone to get to know personally and professionaly. Since more than 10 people a day (still mostly relatives and associates paid to view it but it's getting there) finally are visiting and really reading this site, I thought, why not briefly sing Chris's and Mark's praises in a post? I met DC-based Chris Abraham, an expert on corporate blogging and building on-line communities, and a very interesting human (likely because he's not a lawyer), at a Renaissance Weekend a few years back in California. His blog is at www.ChrisAbraham.com .

Another Washingtonian, and a D.C. native, Mark Del Bianco is an uncommonly talented telecom lawyer, lawyer's lawyer and friend who I have known most of my professional life. Mark is also an invitee to Renaissance but is always too busy to go. See Mark's main site at www.MarkDelBianco.com. Both Mark and Chris are in demand these days. Visit their sites and you can quickly figure out why. Very good people to know. And Mark and Chris--whether they know it or not--in different conversations two years ago got me interested in blogging. In fact, both had to explain to me the meaning of "blog". Neither Mark or Chris know about this post and both of them would be embarrassed by it. Well, maybe not Chris--he's got that Steve Jobs thing going.

Posted by JD Hull at 07:06 AM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2006

Wanted: Natural Born Marketer From Hope, Arkansas.

First, I noticed this blurb in Peter Lattman's new Wall Street Journal Law Blog about Bill Clinton's possible return to the profession. I like Bill Clinton. Face it--even a lot of Republicans like Bill Clinton. The guy's smart, knowledgeable, charming and connects with people. Second, earlier this week Larry Bodine and others reported on Dr. Larry Richard's assertions in a speech to the Marketing Partners Forum in Florida that only 1 out of 5 lawyers are natural born marketers. That troubled my partner Julie McGuire, allegedly a Republican, and me. So here's our new ad:

WANTED: Of counsel for growing Pittsburgh-based boutique business law firm. Must have at least 8 years of highest level federal Exec. Branch experience, world-wide connections, Yale Law degree, one year at Oxford, own money and people skills. Crowd-pleaser. Must be able to sell anything to anyone. And be originally from Hope, Arkansas. State government experience preferred but not required. Same for participation in Renaissance weekends, and fund-raising. United Nations experience also a big plus. You don't need to re-locate. Happy to set up the office for you. Wherever you want. Harlem or Chappaqua, New York are okay. Or DC. You decide. You can work out of your house. Whatever. NOTE: No previous private law practice experience necessary. Not a problem--no problem at all. Excellent benefits package.

Posted by JD Hull at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)