Friday, June 29, 2007

I Don't Want An iPhone

I have to admit the ads showing flying fingers transforming the screen (which on TV looks pretty big) from the homepage to a list of phone numbers to a display of song covers to, to, to, is fascinating.

But, I have a computer in my office. Since I have DirecTv, it will play XM radio, which I also get at home through the not-state-of-the-art, but adequate, home theater system. The computer at the office of course gives me access to the internet.

I have a laptop that has broadband wireless internet and WiFi access. It will play the same XM stations, and like the office computer has access to the hundreds of streaming radio broadcasts available. Both computers have all the obligatory programs to crunch words, numbers, pictures and other important stuff.

My car has a radio. AM/FM/CD/MP3 and even a cassette player.

My cellphone makes and takes calls and text messages. If I wanted it to, it would Email and surf the Web.

All of these devices have a main function that they do pretty well.

From what I’ve read, the iPhone doesn’t do all of these things, and what it does, it does marginally. I read that if you turn it off, the screen doubles as a pretty good makeup mirror. If I ever need one, there are several available at the office, in the car and at home. And, it’s too big to hang on my belt or slip into my pocket. Does look cool though. Oh, did I mention that it’s $600 of cool?

Besides it’s 90 some degrees in Atlanta; too hot to stand in line.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Is Perfection All It's Cracked Up To Be?

The other day, I used the phrase "in a perfect world" and went on to describe what I thought would be the ultimate outcome concerning the subject of discussion.

This morning I thought about perfection and how it might get in the way of our enjoyment of life. Take golf, even the pros aren't perfect. They make mistakes and we watch avidly to see if they can recover from their errors. Those of us that play golf or another sport make even more mistakes. Would the game be fun if the perfect outcome was always achieved? We'd be quickly bored and quit playing.

I had a drafting teacher in high school. I was always ranked first or second in the class. But, each drawing came back marked "A-." Early on, the drawings had red corrections; but, overtime, there wasn't a mark on the paper except for the grade. I asked him one time what was wrong with the drawing that resulted in the A-. "Do you want me to find something?" I got the point. I kept trying. Never did get rid of the minus though.

When I was a kid I went to a Lutheran grade school and high school. We learned about free will and predestination, as Lutherans, the former being good and the latter, less so. I still buy into that opinion. I don't want to know the outcome. It seems much more interesting to have a stake in getting to the result you want.

I'm not sure I should be equating perfection with predestined outcome; but, they seem related. First, perfection should not be in the cards. Second, outcome should be, at least in part, the result of ability and effort. Why play if there's no chance of winning, or conversely, if you always win?

These two opinions lead to a problem getting my head around the concept of heaven, nirvana, utopia and so on. Won't it be boring? What's the point? If going or not going is already determined, what are we doing here?

God must not play golf.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Paris Hilton, Interviewed By A Turnip

I lasted twenty minutes. Paris came out better than Larry.

Larry has never heard of the concept of the follow on question when the questionee doesn't answer the question. He's about to have her read from her jail house journal.

Confession, Before The Sin

I'm going to watch Larry King Live tonight in, approximately, thirty-three minutes. It is my fervent hope that I don't last for the full hour.

I am sorry, but I just have to watch her stumble as she parrots what the handlers have fed her to respond to what they have prompted Larry to ask her.

Unscientific Survey

I'm in the process of starting a law related website. Keep reading, this isn't a sales pitch.

Even if it turns out to be a total failure, I'll be out some time and money in the "three figures." I can afford the three figures.

Those of you that read me know that I irregularly do a post about stupid Google searches. My adventures in nudism posts still result in probably more than 25 visitors a month; but, the rub is that 1) Google has not done right by my visitors as I am obviously not what they are looking for (my current favorite query from last week was "natural big bobs" from a kind soul in Ankara, Turkey) and 2) the fact that Google does this does not make me confident that search programs will drive the right traffic to the new venture. (One more example, an search for "drop in elevation of ninety feet" gave as its number one result my post a while back about a golf outing that used the phrase. I don't know what the searcher was really looking for, but I certainly was not the goal.)

But, I regularly use Google to find things on the web. If I'm in the market for a widget, I'll narrow my search, pretty efficiently and quickly, by a search. If I need to find something out about a company or an industry, there's a wealth of information a few clicks away. What I'm looking for is almost always on the first page of results. So does this just mean that having used Boolean searching before it was cool, I'm better than the average surfer at forming a query? Or, have the sites that I find quickly done something to make them easily findable?

I'm obviously interested in the latter possibility. So as to pander to your egos, I know I have some fairly smart readers. Anyone out there aware, beyond AdSense and its competitors, of ways to make a site easily findable?

Monday, June 25, 2007

It Rained...

in Atlanta about a half hour ago. Where I live. For about twenty minutes. Everything outside was wet. How strange. I saw a puddle. Not much of a puddle. But a puddle none-the-less.

That is all. You may resume your normal activities.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

W's Surge Just May Work

"More than 50 leading economists published a harshly worded, open letter to the president saying his policies were bringing economic ruin. High unemployment persists, there has been little foreign investment and inflation is galloping, with gasoline alone jumping 25 percent this spring." NYTimes online, June 23, 2007. The quote is from an article about an Iranian crackdown on dissent. "The shift is occurring against the backdrop of an economy so stressed that although Iran is the world’s second-largest oil exporter, it is on the verge of rationing gasoline."

Geopolitically, but not from a human rights point of view, this is a good thing. If Iran's economy is falling apart, it won't have the capacity to mess too much in the region. Probably isn't going to help gas prices much; but, coupled with the growing irritation shown by the other Gulf countries, Iran may have to moderate its rhetoric and actions. Now if those same Gulf countries would start pressuring Sunni and Shitte "moderates," if there are such things, to sit down and stop their crazy friends from killing each other, maybe the "surge" will after some historical revisionism, be found to have worked.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Smile and...."

Day in and day out I’m not a smiler. I often have a bit of a dour face. Maybe more accurately, I have a blank face, I think it’s the result of my mind wandering around within its confines. I can stare straight through people I know. I’m not being difficult, it’s just that my eyes are focusing on the middle distance, as my head churns on.

This post is the result of a post:
I left a comment and got thinking about what James Burnett said.

I’m not an aggressive person. I don’t lash out at people even if I’m mad at them. I’m one of those stewing, simmering angry people.

That though, isn’t the point of the post. Have you ever noticed that when you make eye contact with strangers, be they the clerk at the convenience store, the person in the aisle at the grocery store, if you start to smile, not always, but often enough, they can’t help themselves, they start to smile? If you bloom into a smile they respond as if there is a chemical reaction?

Somewhat differently, holding a door open for the next person, and starting that smile gets the same reaction. “Thanks.” “No problem.” Smiles all around.

I don’t think my nascent theory will change the world, but it couldn’t hurt. I insist. Give it a try. Smile when you see strangers. Kind of makes you feel good and it can’t hurt them.

So Far, William Shatner Hasn't Made The List is the link; but, but, but, you are forewarned. is in the process of listing the 100 worst cover songs of all time. They have gotten from 100 "up" to 25 at the time of this post. They are doing a couple more each day. As noted in the title, Captain Kirk has not yet been "honored." Mr. Spock has made the list.

I've not listened to anything yet, I just read some of the comments that accompany the links to the videos. Wonderful stuff. I'm off to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," no. 100, as covered by Bill Cosby; and, it gets better/worse.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Don't Trust The News Until You Know Where The Wampum Came From

RTW News. Atlanta. Update: June 22, 2007. 9:09 a.m. EDT.

RTW wants to make clear that it does not pay for news it brings to you in this space. This position has nothing to do with journalistic ethics. RTW has no access to the interviewees and no budget to bribe them with if it bumped into them on the street. RTW gathers its news in the traditional, time-honored way. It reads several stories on the internet, paraphrases them and then pontificates, as demonstrated below:,1,2494128.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews&track=crosspromo is a link to an LATimes article on the wider story of NBC's reportedly offering Paris Hilton a cool Million Dollars for an exclusive post slammer story.

Sheltered, we were a bit shocked by the NBC report. It turns out that NBC is a piker when it comes to "paying but not paying" for the Hilton interview. More money has been paid to others.

Sixth Grade: "Who, What, When, Where, Why." The why, only if it was an editorial. What "W" do we need to add to the rubric on how to judge a news story? I've got it! Wampum. Following the money is now a part of the mix when deciding whether news has credibility. Remember, that sixth W is of no consequence when you consider RTW's reportage. Our motto: No Wampum, All The Time. Depend On It.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Veterans' Benefits?

This is an AP story as published by The Boston Globe online:

The wife of a Massachusetts soldier missing in Iraq could face deportation, her lawyer said in an interview with a Boston television station yesterday.

Army Specialist Alex Jimenez of Lawrence, who has been missing since his unit was attacked by insurgents in Iraq on May 12, had petitioned for a green card for his wife, Yaderlin, whom he married in 2004, WBZ-TV reported.

Their attorney, Matthew Kolken, said Yaderlin Jimenez illegally entered the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2001. Her husband's request for a green card and legal residence status for her alerted authorities to her situation, Kolken said.

The attorney said his client would not be eligible for a green card under normal circumstances, but he is seeking a hardship waiver for her. If she were to have to leave the United States, she would have to wait 10 years before reapplying.
"I can't imagine a bigger injustice than that, to be deporting someone's wife who is fighting and possibly dying for our country," Kolken told the station.

An immigration judge put a temporary stop to the proceedings since Alex Jimenez was reported missing. The soldier's wife is living with family members in Pennsylvania, the station reported.

US forces continue to search for Jimenez, 25, and a comrade, Private Brian Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich.

The soldiers' identification cards were found in an Al Qaeda site north of Baghdad, along with video production equipment, computers, and weapons, the US military said Saturday. An Al Qaeda front group claimed in a video posted on the Internet earlier this month that the soldiers were killed and buried, and it showed images of the ID's. The video offered no proof of their fates.

I'm not sure what I think about this story. Mrs. Jimenez entered the country illegally, remains illegal and apparently is not eligible for any program that will let her stay in the country. That being the case, it was probably kind of dumb to apply for a green card. That being said and her husband's status aside, it seems immigration officials would have better things to do than pressing for her deportation in the first place.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The House of Representatives Stupidly Weighs In on the Stupid Immigration Debate

I caught a few seconds of Fox News covering the House’s rival plan to the currently on hiatus Senate immigration plan.

I then Googled the House plan and skimmed a couple of articles. As near as I can tell, the House wants to pass a law that requires the Government to enforce the laws we already have. I’m giving it a broad stroke here; but, I think I’m close enough, other than the sponsors’ great need for some airtime while pontificating on the issue.

I think this is a great concept. Let’s pass a law that says, “Damn it, you better well do what we told you had to do the time before and the time before that. And, if you don’t do it this time, and it’s still a popular enough issue down the road, we’ll be up here on the dais again yelling at you to Enforce The Law!”

“Oh, wait, that’s us, the Government, that isn’t enforcing the law. Well, that’s that other part of the Government that we told to do it, but didn’t give any money to so as to actually do it.”

The face-time guys railed about the Senate plan’s flaws. Only building about half of the idiotic “whole” fence along the boarder? Outrageous! They demanded 23,000 border guards instead of something in the high teens. They said employers who hire the nasty illegals should be prosecuted.
If you’ve read me for a while now, you know I have some strong opinions on this idiocy. But, I’m going to reverse my course here and give the idiot talkers in our nation’s and the states’ legislatures the chance to put their money where their mouths are. How ‘bout this:

Take your twenty-some thousand border cops. Hell, you don’t need a thousand. Do some swoops on the bad, bad wetbacks and, be careful now, the people that give them the money that gave them the incentive to come here, to stay here, to come back here if on occasion they get kicked out.

I can give the idiots some free tips on effective and cost-efficient bad guy busting:

My office complex, near the corner of I-85 and Chamblee Tucker Road in Atlanta, a couple of mornings a week, has eight or nine of the bad guys buzzing around trimming and cutting vegetation. My bet is one or more of these hard working guys doesn’t have the right papers. While here, they can get the address of the company that hired them from the nice logo on the truck “xxxxxxxxxx Landscaping. 770-555-5555.” Then they can go to the Mr. American Business Owner and handcuff him and throw him in the back of the van with his workers.

While the idiots are in the neighborhood, they can go across the highway to the townhouse condo development that is in the midst of framing work. Sure to pick up a few bad guys and they can maybe get lucky and nab Mr. American Business Owner number two as he supervises. If not that lucky, the signs on the development have lots of business names and numbers. Easy to track down those employers so as to put them in hand cuffs. Hell, I can set up busts that’ll take a month, all within ten miles of where I live and work. After a month of arrests, what will we have? Twenty or thirty thousand bad, bad guys and four or five hundred Mr. American Business Owners cooling their heels in jail. OK, the Americans will be out on bail.

Then the idiots can move on over to the next metro area and start again.

Do this for the rest of the year, and for better or worse, you won’t have an immigration problem.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Some Father Thoughts

I got a comment on a post that speculated I wasn’t a father because I didn’t do anything in the way of a post for yesterday’s occasion. I’m not. I’ve over the weekend read a couple of posts by bloggers about their fathers. I’d recommend and Steve’s Nude Memphis Blog for your reading enjoyment on the subject.

Even if Steve hadn’t done a great post, I’ve decided to give him a plug on a regular basis because that Nude word, Nude, Nude, Nude (by the way there’s, or at least was, a strip club on Century Boulevard between LAX and the 405, on your left as you leave the Airport, that has/had a huge reader board that said “Nude, Nude, Nude.” Don’t know the name of the strip joint, but, having mentioned Steve and it, I figure I’ve got my Nudism covered for the month, so to speak. Fermi, I think this is how you drive the traffic, in answer to your comment.) Oops, turns out that wasn’t a complete sentence. Here’s the end of it: really drives traffic.

So, to the subject of the post. My father.

He grew up during the Depression. He helped build the Alaskan Highway while in the Army and then followed the combat troops through Europe. He came home and had a lot of different jobs. We never had a lot of money. But, we always had lots of food and clean clothes.

Random remembrances:

I was four or so and we were on vacation at a family friend’s cottage in Northern Michigan. The friend was on the dock with me and Dad was in the water, both encouraging me to jump. I was not biting. Friend picked me up and threw me, missing the target of my Father. He scooped me up quick enough and realized I was scared to death. He held me as he walked up to the grass and sat awhile. Nothing said, just his presence.

When we “visited” (that’s what you did back then) friends and relatives we got a lecture on what was and wasn’t allowed. We did what we were told.

I got a D - - for a grade in Algebra II. The minus minus kept me on the Varsity wrestling team. It didn’t impress my father. He very softly explained that he could not afford to send me to college; but, I was going, he said. To do that, I had to have good grades to get grants and scholarships. I paid a bit more attention in class after that.

I wrestled in high school. My Father, at the end of my senior year. got an award from the team, none of whom told me about it, for the ‘best parent.” He attended about 95% of our meets. I was, with some shame now, embarrassed. My teammates had more class than I did.

After I got out of college, I lived at home for about six months. At night I worked as a bartender, getting off work at 2:30 a.m., and then often going to a party for a while. One late morning, I wandered into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. My father was sitting there. He said “when you finish your coffee, come on outside, I want to show you something.” “What?” “Nothing much, when you’re finished, I’ll be outside.” I walked out. He was sitting on the swing. My car was in the driveway. The sides, up to the windows, were streaked with mud and weeds. I walked over to him. “I don’t want to lose you. Give me a call next time. No questions asked. OK?” This from the man who yelled at me if I had my feet on the couch.

My father didn’t get a high school diploma. Wasn’t that big a deal in the late ‘30’s. When I was in my twenties, I’d come home on a weekend to “visit.” Maybe the visit thing is a Michigan phenomenon. My Dad was a member of the small town, local restaurant “coffee club.” They had the big table in the back. If you weren’t a member and thus part of the town elders, you didn’t sit there. No one said anything, you just didn’t. We went in one morning and he introduced me to his fellow elders as “my son, David, that went away to college.” They knew more about me than I thought my Father knew.

One time when I was visiting, I announced that I was taking Mom and Dad and my brother, his wife and their then three year old daughter out for dinner for the Friday Night Fish Fry at the Mushroom Bar. All you can eat for something like $7.99. My niece spilled her milk two or three times. The young waitress was always there immediately with a bar towel and more milk. The fried perch, fries and coleslaw were never ending. When she brought the bill, my father tried to grab it. I fought him off. The total was something in the neighborhood of $40.00. I put $50.00 on top of the bill as we gathered ourselves to leave. She brought back the change. We got up and my father nudged me, “you forgot your change.” “That’s for her, she worked her butt off.” My father, the child of the Depression, “you’ll spoil her.”

There are a lot of other stories. These came off the fingers first as I typed.

Mark Twain, said something like, it’s amazing how much my father learned after I turned 21. I wish I’d had more time to learn what he knew.

A Contribution

The last couple of posts didn't start out as a fund raising effort; but, I've been asked how to send a contribution to the kids mentioned in the last post.

Here's the website of the orphanage that Keith supports. You can see what they do and find out how to help if you are so inclined:

Alternatively, you can contact Keith directly at

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Contest Called, And The Winner Is....

I suck at doing links. So please go to the comments on the previous post and then to Keith's profile at one of his comments. He won. And, there couldn't be a better winner. Sorry Big Rick.

I sent him an Email instead of just announcing it in the comments. His reply was to ask if I were serious about him winning, if I'd be willing to let him "pass it on" to some kids that could use some clothes, or whatever. My response, yep.

If you haven't read Keith, you might want to. He lives, at least in his Blog (sorry Keith, as a lawyer, I have to keep some skepticism), the quintessential, classic Christian life. Not dogma, just caring for others.

Anyone else want to help a kid that needs some clothes or maybe an ice cream cone? I'm gonna chip for at least an ice cream cone over and above the prize.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Contest

As of about five minutes ago, according to Sitemeter, I've had 4,942 visits to my site since it was rolled out in late September.

Granted, about fifty or so are the direct result of me being one of the top Google results for nude, nuder, nudist, and some weird combinations of those words with other words, my favorite being "working nude." Another easy fifty are due to my top ranking for all variations of "federal judge song."

I'm going to give some sort of award to the regular reader that comes closest to being the 5,000th visitor. Given my Google rankings, the actual winner will probably be some guy from Turkey looking for "nuding wrkg while federal judge song plays Al Sharpton."

The race is on. Pithy comments are appreciated, and required for a good prize.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Twenty Years Ago Today

Well actually, 20 years plus 2 days, I argued my very first motion in court. I'd been a lawyer for all of four days.

I did law school in 28 months by taking 2 classes at night in the summers. That got me out in December. I started "clerking" for the law firm that hired me in March after studying for and taking the bar exam.

I spent most of my time the first 3 months working on a several million dollar case for one of the partners. A trial was scheduled for June. The Defendant had filed a Motion for Summary Judgment just after I started working. I did the research for our opposition to the motion and for the most part wrote the brief.

A hearing on the motion was scheduled for June 12, a Friday. The Friday before, the partner told me I'd be arguing the motion because I'd done the research and the writing and knew more about the issues than she did. After a mild panic attack, I realized that I was not yet a lawyer and told her. I'd gotten notice a few days before that I'd passed the bar exam; but, I hadn't gotten around to going to Superior Court to get sworn in. There was also the problem that the case was being tried in Alabama, next door to Georgia, and that I'd have to be admitted "pro hac vice," or "for the matter."

She being a wise lawyer said "well you better get going with the getting admitted." So I got sworn in and wrote and filed a Motion for Admission, Pro Hac Vice and kept getting ready for trial.

Friday morning came around and we drove over to Birmingham from Atlanta. The hearing was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The Courthouse in Birmingham was built by the WPA during the Depression. If you've ever been in one, you know that everything is big and covered with marble or wood paneling. This was before the time of veneers. The ceiling was about 20 feet high and had chandeliers.

The AC wasn't running and the local lawyers were carrying their suit coats. The partner and I had our jackets on and were getting a bit moist. The Judge entered from behind the bench, putting on his robe over a checked shirt, as he walked, no tie.

He smiled and looked at the sodden duo from Atlanta, "I gather you are Mr. Smith and Ms. Jones from Atlanta."

"Yes, your Honor," as I rose.

"Well, a couple of things before we start, take those jackets off, I don't want you falling over." We obeyed.

"Mr. Smith, I see you're a smoker (the cigarette pack was visible through the pocket of my white shirt), I think I've got an ashtray up here for you" he said as he rummaged under the bench, finding it and holding it out to me. I guess I looked a little shocked, so he said we were going to probably be there awhile and that if I felt the need, I should just go ahead. I got the ashtray, but never used it.

We got going. The Judge noted that I had filed the motion to be admitted for the matter and that the Defendant hadn't filed an objection. He looked over at the lawyer for the Defendant, Bibb Allen. "Bibb, you mind if Mr. Smith participates in the trial with us?"

Bibb Allen was an elder statesman of the Alabama Bar. He had a full head of pure white hair. He looked a bit like the late Tip O'Neill, but spoke with a strong, deep South accent. "I don't mind at all your Honor."

We argued the issues for an hour or so. The Judge told us to take a break for a half hour and then come to his chambers. We went in and he denied the Motion for Summary Judgment which meant there'd be a trial starting on Monday. I'd scored a big win my first time out!

The win streak had a quick end. We put on our case for 3 1/2 days. The Defendant moved for a "directed verdict." Usually Judges don't grant such verdicts at the close of the Plaintiff's case. This Judge did. I was one for two.

We appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court and went down in flames. One for three. You can look it up: Collins Co., Inc. v. City of Decatur, 533 So.2d 1127 (Ala. 1988).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Breaking Weather News

For anyone that doesn't live in Atlanta, move along now, but do come back next time.

For my fellow Atlantans, at 6:28 p.m. on Monday, the eleventh of June, in The Year Of Our Lord,Two-thousand and Seven, I am hearing thunder, seeing lightning and seeing small drops of water falling from the sky, in what has become the new Sahara Desert. More thunder and lightning than drops, but it may be the start. Yep, I looked out the window and the pavement is damp. Damp, I Say! Could WET PAVEMENT be next?

8:05 p.m. Update: Nah. Cloudy. No thunder. No lightning. The only water around comes out of faucets.

Paris Hilton And The Law

Paris "announced" (the quotes are there because: have you ever heard her talk? Compare her style to the press release. She has a ghost writer.) that she would not appeal the Judge's order returning her to jail.

Without knowing California law on the issue, in Georgia, her lawyers would have a good case for springing her again.

Here a judge does not have the jurisdiction to mandate where or how long a prisoner serves time. Those decisions are made by jail or prison authorities. In a case like Hilton's, the County Sheriff makes the call on both matters.

I don't have much sympathy for Paris; but, she appears to me to have been the unwitting pawn in a turf war between the Judge and the Sheriff.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Breaking News: Paris Hilton Sprung

RTW News Service. Los Angeles, CA. The title of this post should get RTW a few Google hits, though not from a demographic that is likely to read us.

This just in over the "wires."

RTW has always said, if you are going to get in trouble with the law, the place to do it is California. It apparently helps to have a good lawyer, therapist and accommodating Sheriffs Department.

In the event you don't know what we're talking about, Paris Hilton, heir to the Hilton Hotels family, got sent to the slammer for violating a traffic-court order that she not drive. The Judge made a big deal that she was going to serve the full forty-five day sentence and couldn't serve it in one of California's ritzier (hiltier?) "pay jails." That lasted a week or so when the Sheriff's Department said she'd only serve twenty-three days because of time off for good behavior (how to you get up front "good time" before you've been good to earn it?). It continued to get better for Ms. Hilton. She checked in to the jail late Sunday night after making an appearance at the MTV Awards. Turns out by checking in before midnight, she got a full days credit against the time to be served. Today, she was spirited away from the jail to the palatial Hilton estate to serve the remainder of the "full" sentence - forty days - Noah didn't have it so good. She will have to wear an ankle bracelet as she wanders from room to room to room in the mansion. Why spring her? The Sheriff's Department spokesman wouldn't elaborate; but, the press says she developed an "unknown medical condition." Obviously something that can't be treated other than by her personal physician making mansion calls.

Ah California.

UPDATE. 1:32 p.m. An LATimes headline reports that Ms. Hilton has "been sent to her room" for further punishment. RTW has learned that Paris will not be relegated to the Hilton estate. Her sentence will be served by confinement in her 2700 s.f., three bedroom, three bath home in a gated community in the Hollywood Hills which she purchased in 2005 for $3.1 million. RTW assumes that the gates have bars in them. The bungalow is equipped with a media room, pool, Baccarat crystal chandelier, 400 s.f. closet and a "pet living area" complete with pink pillows for the pets. RTW regrets calling the cozy pad a mansion.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

So Here's The Trial

Kind of.

First, there was no trial as is so often the case. The stupidest thing about my profession, or my narrow corner of it is, when it comes time to blink, someone blinks. Blinking should occur early on in the process. Less expensive for the blinker and the blinkee. Might cut into my income, but I have other stuff to do.

Midnight, the start of Tuesday: I'd gone to bed an hour or so before. I woke up for the first, not the last time that night. Inside insight: as are most things that are high stress, having a trial the next day, a hearing, a brief due in the Court of Appeals, your body, despite however many times you've done it, pays no attention and goes on alert. I'm a great believer in preparation. When I'd left the office the day before, there was a pile of manila folders, nicely labelled, with perfectly cornered piles of stapled paper in them. Each witness had a folder with an outline on top of the pile and exhibits below. There was another folder for motions and issues that might come up. A miscellaneous folder. Several others.

I won't bother with times, but I woke up three or four time during the night. Then starting at about 5:00 a.m. I started waking up every ten minutes or so. Six, hell with it, get up.

7:30 a.m. In the office, nothing really to do other than look at what's in the folders again and put them in the shoulder bag.

7:50 a.m. First real stress, stupid as it is, I've done this before after all. My witnesses are supposed to meet me at the office at 8:00 a.m. I know it isn't that time yet; but, if I were supposed to meet someone on the day of a trial, I'd be there ahead of time.

8:00 a.m. My expert witness pulls into the parking lot exactly on time. We chat, and talk about a few aspects of his testimony. My other two witnesses pull in and I look at my watch. Stress convulses my body. It's 8:19 a.m. I need to be in a courtroom at Nine, that is, on a good day a half hour away.

Inside insight: I hate not being anywhere on time. I especially hate walking into a courtroom with the judge already on the bench.

8:59 a.m. I walk into the courtroom. My witnesses straggle behind me. The bad guys aren't there.

The Judge enters at about quarter after. The bad guys still aren't there. It really isn't a big thing given what the Judge knows about traffic. He starts calling the calendar. My case is second in line. "I see Mr. B. isn't here yet, your case will take awhile, I'll get back to you when he gets here.

Inside insight: it means absolutely nothing that my case is number two. This is a "non-jury civil trial calendar." That means that everything and everything but actual jury trials happen on this day. The best thing about being in State Court is that only Superior Court hears domestic relations cases: divorce. I had a case a few years back in Forsyth County, Georgia Superior Court that was highly contested. The was some stupid motion (none of mine were stupid) most every month for a few years. I had to sit and listen to the domestic stuff. I'd sworn in law school that I'd never do domestic relations or criminal law. Having sat while I heard divorce and custody hearings for a year or two, I figured, though I knew nothing about that area of law, I could specialize in it.

Back to why being number two means nothing. Most judges take the quick stuff first. My case, a real live trial that will take a couple of hours, at a minimum, is sure to be at the end of the line.

Tenish. "Mr. B and Mr. T, I gather you haven't settled this case, have you discussed settlement lately?" Mumbling from us that translates into "no." "Why don't you go out in the hall and talk about it?" Inside insight: That was not a question, that was a direction.

Desultory talk. The bad guys come up on their offer by about 20%. That sounds really good doesn't it? Problem is our demand, we're the Plaintiffs, is just a little over two hundred percent of the previous offer.

As time passes, it becomes clear that the Judge wants the case settled, not tried. Out in the hall it was going nowhere. That's not quite accurate. It was going: Me, "No." "No." Followed by more of the same.

By the time 11:00 a.m. rolled around, I had quit talking to the bad guys and gone back to sit in the courtroom with an increased offer of another, about 15%. My client lowered the demand by 10% in response.

The Judge was not happy with our ten versus their now just over fifty percent move.

Inside insight: Judges do not care about what is the right settlement. Any settlement means they do not have to try the case, that makes any settlement a right settlement.

At this point, it might make sense to say that my side was for the most part on the side of the angels. The relative movement in settlement offers will give you an independent confirmation of that admittedly otherwise biased opinion.

OK, so it's Eleven. The Judge says, "I'm taking this (not my) case. It will take right up to Noon and I have a lunch appointment. Come back at 1:30 p.m. and we'll try the case; but, I expect you to talk until then."

The bad guy's lawyer and I exchanged cell phone numbers. Ruby Tuesdays provided a nice large table and poor food in exchange for a nice tip.

Inside insight: The lawyer always pays for lunch on trial day.

I'm getting tired of this, as I'm guessing you are.

We got back and the Judge yelled because there had been no movement, so he conducted an improper, but allowed negotiation in the courtroom. He wasn't happy because my side wasn't moving. The bad guys came up another 25% or so, getting to the point that it made sense for us to move down. The problem is we were only ten thousand apart at this point. Since they had moved all morning and we had not budged, we had to move to, as it's called "a last and final number" which no one pays any attention to.

Inside insight: No works. "How about x?" "No." "X plus one?" "No." No is the loveliest negotiating word, especially if you have the better case.

Inside insight: Once you get to the number, add the other stuff in the way of terms that you want.

That took another hour or so.

End result, it wasn't a trial day, I sat around saying no and getting just under all of what my clients wanted.

Someday, maybe this year, I'll get to actually say "Your Honor, my name is Dave and I represent the Plaintiffs....."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Trial Day Post Log

First before we get to my day on trial, I want to relay a story my friend, Big Rick told me about an hour ago.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a few months, you’ve read about Big Rick. If not, do a search on the blog and you can see what I have had to say about him.

Anyway, when Big Rick was Little Richie, to be precise, three months old, his elder brother, by two and a half years, Big Bill had this conversation with their Mom, B.

“Billy, where is Richie?”


“Your little brother.”

Almost three year old dissembling ensued.

B broke down the little criminal with, well I don’t know. Big Rick said “call B, she’ll let you know, all I’ve heard over the years is that he fessed up.”

Big Bill, had gotten tired over the first three months of Big Rick’s, then Little Ritchie’s, life, of being displaced as the center of attention; and, somehow, he dragged Little Richie, in his bassinet, out of the house into the yard and left him there.

Big Rick is big. Even at three months, I have this feeling that the dragging by his under three year old brother was a lot of work. Big Bill was obviously motivated. Just what did he know? Big Rick ain’t talkin’.

Next, either my day on trial or Big Rick, the tree, the lightning and B. I can’t decide.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Almost Three Days

I've gone almost three days without writing a post.

I have a trial coming up and am actually working "rather than...."

Enjoy your weekend. Mine is golf and then more work.