Thursday, November 29, 2007

You Say Tomato, I Say TomAHto

Burger King says let’s do something utterly stupid. The latest Blogger screen won't print the link so Google or something.

Florida has about 10,000 migrants that pick tomatoes. For a while they’ve gotten about 1 ½ cents for each pound they pick. A while back Taco Bell, under pressure agreed to pay an extra penny a pound for the tomatoes it buys. McDonalds recently joined the parade.

Burger King? “Florida growers have a right to run their businesses how they see fit.” BK’s concern for the sanctity of the plantation/serf relationship will save it a whole $250k a year.

This idiocy was apparently an attempt to one-up the stupidity of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, representing 90 percent of the state’s growers, which recently announced that it will not allow any of its members to collect the extra penny for farm workers. Indeed, it will fine members that do $100k.

Taco Bell says it is still committed to the coalition, yet after two seasons, its suppliers opted out this year. McDonald's has yet to find any supplier that will participate, but will continue to buy Florida tomatoes either way.

The Exchange says that the agreements violate anti-trust statutes and are "un-American" because they allow a third party to set wages and that the industry will continue to develop its own programs to monitor worker treatment and food safety. My humble legal opinion? Bullshit.

What the hell does the Exchange care if fast food giants want to supplement the piecework price its members pay? Maybe I’m dumb or unsophisticated, or something; but, it seems the Exchange wants a return to the good old days of servitude. “We’ll tell them people what they’re goin’ to get for the ‘maters. No outsider is goin’ tell us how to run our serfs.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ode To The Hot Dog

I have always loved hot dogs.

First rule, no ketchup, unless you are under five years of age, and then only sparingly and you are doing your child no favor by such indulgence.

Second rule, skins, not skinless. This one isn’t hard and fast, as the preferable isn’t always available and OK is better than nothing.

Third rule, Sabretts. That’s pretty much it, other than the fact that you can’t always find it here in the South. Boar’s Head is an acceptable substitute. Nathans, in a pinch. Ballpark only at such a venue; but, it can be tasty.

Now the fun.

Other than Chicago style condiments: who’s going to put a sport pepper, whatever that is, iridescent relish AND a dill pickle on what is otherwise a thing of beauty?

I started out with the love of my life in Detroit. There we had Coney Islands. Not of the New York variety. Of the Americanized Greek variety. When I was a teenager, my father managed a grocery store. On Saturday nights after close, we mopped the floors, which took about three hours. About Midnight, we drove from Dearborn to Downtown Detroit to the corner of Lafayette and, as I recall, Woodward. On a whim, I just Googled “Lafayette hot dog.” Here’s what I got. An article about the Lafayette and American, two Coneys next door to each other, run by two brothers back when, and now by their descendants.

We always went to the Lafayette rather than the American. I'm not sure why. This was forty years ago. If it was slow, they'd be standing at the doors of both places, telling you not to go to the other. If my memory serves me, the picture of the counter in the site linked above of the counter is indeed the Lafayette, it looks like the same one my Dad and I sat at. Read the link for a description of the ambiance and food, the author does a better job than I could. I'll add that I could never decide between a six ounce Coke which I had to nurse, or a twelve ounce orange which I didn't like as much, but got me through the two dogs, as the author in the link says, with onion, mustard and chili. The “loose” was pretty good too, onions and mustard.

That’s enough for now. To come in this maybe series: Real New York hot dogs from a cart. L.A., the land of the hot dog and the donut. Maybe to upset some people, why Chicagoans have no idea what they are doing, and Cincinnati is not far behind.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How Many Cellphones Do You Have In Your Closet?

I have a number. I know right where they are, with their chargers and owner manuals. Once I signed up for another year or two and got the shining new phone, I didn’t think about them again.

I know they were free, or quite cheap, given the service commitment and the monthly price. Throw-a-ways, like a malfunctioning VCR, DVD player or TV.

But the wireless world, boys and girls, is a changin’. Two things are helping or hurting the current model, depending on your viewpoint. The Government which owns our air is going to auction TV “spectrum” that is now reserved for broadcast UHF. For those of you that are young, Google the term. You’ll be amazed to know that TV’s used to have two knobs that clicked as you turned them. I know, I know, don’t believe me, go, find out from the company that does no evil. Soon there will be no analog TV. The spectrum needed for digital broadcast TV will be much less than is now reserved for it. The Feds are going to sell it to the wireless companies.

Said non-evil company is lobbying to set the rules for the auction so that bidders for the spectrum have to agree to not tie equipment to access to service. Kind of like open source software, but not quite.

And now, Verizon has announced that it will voluntarily offer two ways for customers to use its air. What we have now and the new Verizon “BYOC” model (C standing for cellular device). I think, Verizon doesn’t want to be mandated to open its air and it is getting ahead of the curve, I think also, a good thing.

As an example of the difference this makes, think of the world today if Microsoft had been able not to just steal its operating system and make it the dominant system in the world, but if a law said that if you want to operate a computer or access the Internet you have to use Windows. Though not as dominant as the Evil Empire, wireless transmission today is dominated in the U.S. by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint/Nextel and T-Mobile (?), the first two by far the dominant players. If you want access to their systems, you buy their devices. Period. End of discussion.

This has led to the pipeline providers dictating what the device providers offer. Think of all the ads that the wireless companies run telling you that you can get a Razr, now an I-Phone, etc. but only if you sign a two year contract with them and only them.

Actually I just thought of another major event in this shift, the I-Phone. Apple, the device provider had the upper hand in its relationship with AT&T, the pipeline provider. Think of Apple, Nokia, Samsung and Motorola competing with each other for all of the market, unfiltered by the deals they now have to make with the wireless companies. If a device maker like Apple was faced with a market of other makers that used 3G transmission for a similar product, do you think I-Phones would be limited to Edge? I don’t. (All of AT&T’s other wireless products have 3G, why limit the I-Phone to the slower Edge? I don’t know but it wouldn’t happen if there were real competition for the best device over the entire wireless market.)

No big finish here, I just think there will be some interesting changes coming as I type this post on my Dell laptop, about to send it to Blogger over my AT&T wireless broadband connection that costs too much – maybe soon I can threaten to move to Verizon, something I can’t do now without buying a different card that works on Verizon’s network and then sign up for a couple of years of servitude. There’s the word to wrap this up, servitude. Thank God Almighty, we may be free at last.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Potential, Possible Progress

I’m watching Georgia squeak by Georgia Tech in the annual battle, Tennessee having beaten Kentucky in something like the fourth overtime to gain the title game against LSU in the SEC.

I know that matters little to most of you, other than Fermi and Rick and Tennessee Tony; and, it should not, given the exciting developments happening now in the sovereign nation of Iraq. We should be very, very happy about what the Iraqis potentially, possibly, given a strong headwind, might well do. Unnamed sources from the Bush Administration in an article today in The New York Times said some important, anonymous things:

“With American military successes outpacing political gains in Iraq, the Bush administration has lowered its expectation of quickly achieving major steps toward unifying the country, including passage of a long-stymied plan to share oil revenues and holding regional elections.

”Instead, administration officials say they are focusing their immediate efforts on several more limited but achievable goals in the hope of convincing Iraqis, foreign governments and Americans that progress is being made toward the political breakthroughs that the military campaign of the past 10 months was supposed to promote.

"The short-term American targets include passage of a $48 billion Iraqi budget….”

That’s right folks, goals, surges, and all the other nouns we’ve had for the past few years have boiled down to a couple of “targets,” one of which is to get the boys in Baghdad to pass a budget. Imagine that, years and trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives and we may be able to get the boys to pass a budget, only a target, but maybe, maybe if we wish real hard, they’ll pass a budget.

That’s it. Return to shopping and football.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What Thanksgiving Is All About

For your Thanksgiving pleasure, a small gift from the Seventies:

"It's a helicopter, and it's coming this way. It's flying something behind it, I can't quite make it out, it's a large banner and it says, uh - Happy... Thaaaaanksss... giving! ... From ... W ... K ... R... P!! No parachutes yet. Can't be skydivers... I can't tell just yet what they are, but - Oh my God, Johnny, they're turkeys!! Johnny, can you get this? Oh, they're plunging to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! Oh, the humanity! The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! …. Not since the Hindenberg tragedy has there been anything like this!"

That was Les Nessman

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!!!"

They mounted a counter attack

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Reading Over Your Shoulder

Amazon has introduced the Kindle, a one pound, book sized device that lets you read wirelessly downloaded material, books, magazines, etc.

Like all new electronic toys, it’s expensive, $400.00. It’s a bit clunky according to a couple of reviews I read. Amazon has priced downloaded books at $9.99, not at all cheap considering that it does not have the material, printing and distribution costs associated with a traditional book.

“… Amazon grants you the non-exclusive right to keep a permanent copy of the …Digital Content and to view, use, and display such… an unlimited number of times, solely on the Device… and solely for your personal, non-commercial use.


“You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notice or labels on the Digital Content. In addition, you may not, and you will not encourage, assist or authorize any other person to, bypass, modify, defeat or circumvent security features that protect the Digital Content.


“The Device Software will provide Amazon with data about your Device and its interaction with the Service… and information related to the content on your Device and your use of it…. Annotations, bookmarks, notes, highlights, or similar marking you make in your Device are backed up through the Service.”

If you read this literally, you can’t let anyone else read from your Kindle. You can’t lend it. Amazon keeps a record of when you read, what you read and what you think about what you read (at least if you make an annotation or highlight text).

I know, most websites keep info derived from your use of the site; but, this keeping track of “your use” seems a step or two too many.

But my concerns are easily solved, I won’t be buying a Kindle.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And the Word Is...

What is an eight-letter word for acoustic guitar or push lawn mower or golf partner?

Why retronym of course. I swear I hadn’t read Sunday’s New York Times when I did my recent post about the word partner; but, in the Magazine, William Safire did a piece on the addition of an adjective to a noun when the noun became ambiguous or took on another meaning. “’A word or phrase created because an existing term that was once used alone needs to be distinguished from a term referring to a new development….’” Safire quoting the definition from the Fourth American Heritage Dictionary. Though he uses the term business partner as an example he pairs it with life partner and domestic partner which the definition seems to require. He says that the single noun partner is ambiguous. Though it may be, it is increasingly being used to describe one’s significant other, another annoying term. “Tea” might be similar to partner here in the South. Tea is a drink made from tea leaves. In many places in the South if you ask for tea you get sweet tea. So you learn to ask for hot tea or unsweetened tea.

I have to go now, someone’s calling on the landline.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just As My Faith In Mankind Flagged...

If you read the previous post, you know I'm not at the top of my game. But you know, sometimes there are just times when the signs just show you there's a better way. The following Email just made it's way into my personal Email box. There are people looking out for me. This particular person, wasn't even an employee of PayPal. No, this kind soul comes from Italy. Her name, kind soul, is Donatella Vernego at She took it upon herself to tell me that I was in danger, leaving her Email address in the "Properties" section of IE in case I have any questions. I don't even have a PayPal account, but she's looking out for me. I'm thankful.
Here's her letter:

Dear PayPal Member,

As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal system. We recently contacted you after noticing an issue on your account.We requested information from you for the following reason:

We recently received a report of unauthorized credit card use associated with this account. As a precaution, we have limited access to your PayPal account in order to protect against future unauthorized transactions.
Case ID Number: PP-392-735-806

This is a reminder to log in to PayPal as soon as possible.

Be sure to log in securely by opening a new browser window and typing the PayPal URL. Once you log in, you will be provided with steps to restore your account access. We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure account safety.

Click here to restore your account access

In accordance with PayPal's User Agreement, your account access will remain limited until the issue has been resolved. Unfortunately, if access to your account remains limited for an extended period of time, it may result in further limitations or eventual account closure. We encourage you to log in to your PayPal account as soon as possible to help avoid this.

To review your account and some or all of the information that PayPal used to make its decision to limit your account access, please visit the Resolution Center. If, after reviewing your account information, you seek further clarification regarding your account access, please contact PayPal by visiting the Help Center and clicking "Contact Us".

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your account. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Sincerely,PayPal Account Review Department----------------------------------------------------------------
PayPal Email ID PP907------------------------------------------------------------------


This post is inspired, I suppose that’s too strong a word, by a post by Exception at The Exception, a song she referred to in her post on Friday, “Forever and Ever Amen” by Randy Travis and a post she did today about Thanksgiving as a “true,” non-commercial holiday. Family, friends, food, you know.

Well with all that and my current down mood, I guess this is my obligatory Thanksgiving post. For the uplifting version read Tryptophan and Thanksgiving from last year.

Assuming you read the link, I’m not feeling like that this year. A friend of mine lost his job a couple of weeks ago. A blogging friend died last week at a relatively early age. Political happenings, locally, nationally and globally suck the big one. To add insult to injury, it’s supposed to be cold at Thanksgiving. The high, for here, is a bit chilly as predicted, 55˚.

So, thanksgiving.

At this point, I planned to turn this around and point out all there is to be thankful for. There’s a lot of it I’m sure. Heartwarming, schmaltzy stuff. (Word doesn’t know how to spell Americanized Yiddish. There at least a small bit of humor.)

At this point, I’m taking a break in writing, something I’ve never done before in a post. I’ve always been able to start, wander and end, making a small point. The wandering and the end, much less the point, are eluding me.

To be continued…

Absolute Compromise

Those having read me for awhile know that I’m not a member of the NRA. I’m also not a “strict constructionist” when it comes to interpreting the Constitution.

Over the last year of this blog, I’ve done a couple of posts about gun control and the Second Amendment. You can find them by searching the blog for “Second Amendment gun” if you want to know the details of what I think.

The Supreme Court will announce soon whether it will hear the latest Second Amendment case which found the District of Columbia’s very restrictive gun law to be in violation of the Second Amendment. (Only the D.C. Circuit and the Fifth Circuit have held that people have an expansive right to own guns, the rest of the Circuits (ten) have held that restrictions on ownership, types of guns allowed and uses are constitutional.)

Robert A. Levy, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is one of the lawyers that brought the D.C. challenge. He wrote an opinion piece that has been published in a couple of papers. Here is the link to it in The Los Angeles Times:,0,2444377.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

What I found interesting is that he does not believe the Second Amendment gives “absolute” rights when it comes to guns.

“What restrictions on gun possession and use would be permissible? Almost no one argues that 2nd Amendment rights are absolute. After all, under the 1st Amendment, the right to free speech does not protect disturbing the peace; religious freedom does not shield human sacrifice…. Similarly, gun regulations can be imposed on some weapons (e.g., missiles) some people (e.g., preteens) and some uses (e.g., murder).”

Speaking of his case he said “[s]omewhere in the middle, regulations will be deemed constitutional even if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court.”

If Mr. Levy is right, and I think he is, review by the Supreme Court is much ado about nothing. What will change if he is right is that gun law will become more of a federal matter, with less discretion left to state and local government. We'll see a long series of Supreme Court cases that flesh out the ruling, the results ebbing and flowing over the decades along the lines already seen with the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and most recently, Eighth Amendments.

It's interesting to contrast this with the apparent trend in abortion cases where the Supremes are ceding more control to state and local governments. Different amendments, different treatments, with the same result.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I played golf this morning, I know, what else is new. There were four of us. We played a "scramble" or "best ball" round. Two of us played against the other two, each team hitting the best ball hit by a member of the team on each shot.

On the, I think, sixth hole, I announced that I wanted a new "partner," not a golf partner, just a partner. It was, if you were there, humorous, he'd duffed his shot, we'd not shot well up to that point and I was open to a new alliance.

There's a word for us, ally, we need it; because, partner seems to require an adjective these days.

I used to be a partner in a law firm. For years when description was necessary, I'd say I was a lawyer, or if required by context, that I was a partner. Then, maybe ten years back, I heard people describing themselves as a "law partner" in circumstances where it was known that the person was a lawyer. Then I heard someone say that so and so was his "business partner," again when the context made it obvious that that was the relationship he was referring to.

Before I played golf this morning I read the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As part of its hard hitting coverage each week it has a feature on Sunday called "Private Quarters." It tells us about a house in Metro Atlanta that someone has built or renovated, usually costing enough money to feed a rural poor county somewhere for a year.

Today's piece was about two partners. Two guys. They'd renovated a house in a very nice part of town. They weren't described as golf, business or law partners, though they may be all, some or none of those things. "Tim and his partner Tom sit in the den of ...."

If you've read this blog at all, you know I'm not anti-gay or lesbian. I guess I don't have much of a point for this post, other than to note that language evolves; and, that given current usage, that I have to start using more adjectives.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ham Sandwich With A Side Of Lies

As it turns out, I didn't have the whole story when I wrote yesterday's post. Barry Bonds did have immunity when he went before the second grand jury. His only problem is that even though he was immune from prosecution, if he told the truth, he didn't, four times according to the new indictment. Stupid man.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ode To A Ham Sandwich

Barry Bonds who holds two of baseball’s most cherished records, was indicted in San Francisco today on four counts of perjury in connection with his testimony about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. He was also indicted on one count of obstruction of justice. The charges stem from his testimony to a federal grand jury in December 2003 when he denied knowingly taking steroids.


When that grand jury expired without indicting Mr. Bonds, the case was sent over to a second grand jury, which focused on whether he had perjured himself before the first grand jury. Last July, with that grand jury set to expire, it was widely believed that Mr. Bonds would be indicted. But that grand jury also expired without an indictment and another grand jury was impaneled.”

From today’s New York Times online.

The third one got him.

I’m not a criminal lawyer; but, the first rule of not being indicted for perjury is to not talk with the people that might indict you.

You’ve got to know that the case against Bonds is weak when it took three grand juries, known for their willingness to indict “a ham sandwich” on the urging of a prosecutor, to finally issue charges.

It always amazes me that people that are suspects of wrongdoing talk to the police, prosecutors, and give testimony, without immunity, before grand juries. Don’t get me wrong. Bad people that are proven to have broken the law should be punished. But, more and more when prosecutors can’t find the evidence to do anything with those they suspect of breaking the law, they fall back on the suspects’ failure to get everything straight the fifty-third time they are asked about it. Hah! You lied to me. Do not pass Go.

Barry Bonds is not among my favorite people. That said, he was given bad legal advise; and, he is the victim of a prosecutor that had too much invested in multi-year investigation to let it go without taking a shot at him. And a prosecutor that took three tries to get the ham.

Monday, November 12, 2007

An Airbus 380, A Learjet or a Flatscreen TV

Airbus announced that a Saudi prince with a net worth of about $20 billion has ordered an Airbus VIP 380. He currently is flying in a 747. Airbus will only say that it will cost more than the plane’s $320 million list price. The AP article in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution online said the plane when outfitted may run $50 to $150 million more.

The article went on to say "’[t]he amount of billionaires has sky rocketed in recent years, and the really rich ones are looking to buy a commercial airline[r] rather than a Learjet….’”

"’It's like buying a new car or a new TV,…[o]ne wants something bigger and better.’"

I want a flat screen TV. I’m not sure whether it should be an LCD or plasma. I know I want it to be a 42 incher. The neighborhood bar has those and 50’s. A 42 is good enough for my “needs.” Ah, there’s the rub.

I don’t need a TV. I have two. A 36” fat TV in the living room and an ancient 20” TV in the bedroom. I was fine until a couple of years back when I got the 36 for the living room and then looked at the “baby” TV in the bedroom.

My plan is to put the fat TV in the bedroom, dump the baby TV and go with the the new monster in the living room.

I’ve said that I’d do it when they went to $800. Sears ran an ad for an LCD at that price this weekend. I’m not going to give up on this, but I’m going to delay till after Christmas. The New York Times says the price will drop further.

But, I’m having trouble with my Depression Era parents’ influence. I don’t NEED a TV, I only WANT a TV. Saudi princes don't seem to have this problem.

I Missed It

"It" being the 10,000th visitor to the site. It happened last month sometime. I'm over 17,000 page hits. Missed that too.

Though I've neglected the blog lately, I'm still clicking along at an average of 35 visits a day. I've only done five posts this month, six with this one. If I keep up this lack of production, it will be my lowest output since March. And still people visit.

I guess I understand, as I surf the people I read even when they haven't put something out in awhile.

So, I promise to think about posting more often, and maybe even doing it. This post is the second in two days. I'm on my way.

"We thank you for your support." (Bonus points if you can tell me where the quote comes from.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The "W's"

Who, what, when, where. Those are the main ones, you can add why, but it can verge in to subjectivity. At least that’s how I remember it from grade school.

I read the opinion pieces in The New York Times on Sunday. The thing is, I know they are opinion and that they have a bias. I can deal with that. Fox, the fair and balanced news source has a bias in its non-news programming. I can deal with that.

I’ve long defended the paper when it came to its reporting. It has broken big stories and consistently published accurate and literate articles about what is happening in the country and the world. The New York Times, for better or worse, is still close to the gold standard when it comes to reporting; but, it has suffered, by its own disclosures, some lapses in judgment, shall we call them. There was Jason Blair who concocted his stories. Kurt Eichenwald got overly involved in a story he wrote about a teenager ensnared in online porn. Judith Miller has played close to the line in her career.

A few weeks back, the Public Editor of the Times, Clark Hoyt, did a piece (you have to register to read it) talking about complaints by people who had been “interviewed” by Deborah Solomon for a regular feature called “Questions For.” As it turns out, Ms. Solomon did not accurately record either her questions or her subjects’ answers. Sometimes, she would make up a question to provide a basis for reporting an answer that had been given in response to another question. Other times she wrote an accurate answer, but prefaced it by a question that hadn’t been asked Then she would mix it up by writing the “answer” to two “questions.”

Well The Times has “addressed” the problem after having been outed. Mr. Hoyt wrote about it in this morning's paper. The Time’s solution? The feature now has a new caveat below the title: It says “'Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Deborah Solomon.’ That’s a signal, said Craig Whitney, the assistant managing editor in charge of maintaining Times standards, that ‘Questions For’ is ‘a little different from a straight news transcript.’”

Here’s the real kicker: “Q. and A. interviews can be ‘drastically condensed,’ without indicating where words were left out. But every word in an answer has to be what was actually said, and, in condensing, the speaker’s intent has to be preserved.”

So let’s get this straight. I ask a question. It’s good that I can’t make up the question anymore. You give an answer. It isn’t good that I don’t have to use that answer. I’m allowed to drastically reduce it. My only constraint is that in my eyes and that of my editors, we have to decide that what I make up preserves your “intent.” Oh, and I have to “digitally record” the interview so that I can’t “lose” it, so as to not be caught doing what I’m not supposed to do.

Is there such a huge problem with asking good questions that elicit interesting answers and writing them all down? Those “W’s” at the top of the post really aren’t such a bad thing. After all, I’m not at the level of The New York Times; but, I managed to convey what I think about what the NYT is doing wrong and at the same time accurately quote what the NYT said. Sixth grade stuff, it seems to me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Do the striking writers have words on their picket signs?

(Stolen from

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So as to put to rest rumors of...

my tragic, much too early demise:

Yes, I’ve, to my shame, been working rather than posting. I have got to win Mega Millions, even though it is down to a measly $16 mil.

The following is a quick recap of the work week so far, I shudder to use the adjective:

Monday morning I had to be at the DeKalb County Courthouse at 9:00 a.m. for a hearing on a Defendant’s Traverse of a garnishment I’d filed to collect on a judgment. We won’t talk about getting to the office at 7:00 a.m., getting ready and then wandering the back roads to Decatur because there was an accident that prevented me from getting on I-85. I’d, happily, scored on the garnishment to the tune of about half of what he owed my client on the underlying Judgment. Traverse hearings are held with Dispossessory (eviction) hearings. It is a mill. There were 94 cases on the morning calendar. I was number two; but, before you think that is a good thing, since my case was “contested,” it went to the back of the line, after all of the cases where the tenant had no reason for not paying rent other than not having the money, given a litany of woes.

About 10:30 a.m., the Judge got back to us and heard a brief, incoherent tale from the Defendant about why my client wasn’t entitled to the money we’d frozen in his bank account. Judge: “Go out and talk, this will take time to try, so far you are last.” In case you didn’t know it, judges don’t like trying cases.

We talked. I talked to my client on the phone. I put my client on the phone with the Defendant. We reached an accommodation. The Defendant would pay what he owed that day. Amazing how someone with no money finds money when checks start bouncing after you freeze their accounts.

I just re-read what I’ve written. Do I sound sufficiently hard hearted to qualify as a lawyer?

Then the afternoon was mostly spent on the odyssey of getting the bank where the funds were kept to release them to my client at the same time, rather than after, I released the garnishment hold on them. Isn’t what I do fascinating?

That accomplished, I spent the morning yesterday preparing the documents to dismiss the garnishment actions (three, in three different counties), a Satisfaction of Judgment, a Release of Lis Pendens (two, in two counties) and cover letters for all of the aforementioned.

The afternoon was spent, first with trying to find a person that works for an unnamed credit reporting company, the name of which starts with "E," "E," or "T." She had called and left me a voicemail to say that she'd responded to my Request For Production of Documents To Third Party" by Fedex, but that Fedex said I wasn't at the address she sent it to. Bad me, I'd written her number down incorrectly and deleted the voicemail. Did you know that "E" does not want to talk to you? I found an 800 number on line and called it. "E" employee located in undisclosed country: "Thank you for calling "E," may I help you?" Me: "Yes [explanation of my problem], can you give me Ms. X's number or tranfer me to your internal operator?" E employee: "May I have your confirmation number?" Me: "I don't have a confirmation number [explain problem again]." E employee: "May I have your social security number?" Me, with "big boy voice" and irate tone: "No you may not, this isn't about me, I've told you what I need, can you help me or not?" E employee: "May I place you on hold for one to three minutes?" Me: "Sure."

Ten minutes later, I hung up. Nice hold music though. I hit redail and this time I got a very nice lady located in the undisclosed country who, after I explained my problem, asked me if the woman I wanted to reach worked for E. Three times. The third time, I said "this is the third time you've asked me the same question, the answer is the same as the first two times, yes, she works for E." E employee: "May I place you on hold for one to three minutes?" I then explained that the previous person had asked the same question but hadn't come back when I hung up at the ten minute mark. E employee: "Sir, I must understand the nature of your inquiry..." Me: "May I speak to your supervisor?" E employee: "May I place you on hold for one to three minutes?" Me: Sure.

As I listened to the nice music, I realized I knew someone in an undisclosed department of the unnamed credit reporting company. I called him on my cell phone. "Hey, Y, it's Dave, how you been?" "Dave, man it's been awhile." We talked for awhile and I asked if he'd do me a favor and explained my plight. He said sure, I heard clicking, "Her number is ......." "Thanks Y, do you mind if I hang up on the E employee in the undisclosed country?" "No problem man, I'm all about customer service."

I left Ms. X a voicemail with the correct address. The documents arrived this morning at about 9:30 a.m., by Fedex.

The remainder of yesterday afternoon was spent dealing with a landowner in an undisclosed state attempting to extort money so as to allow my client to do work it was under contract to do. I researched the issues of trespass, conversion and slander of title under said undisclosed state’s law and the whether Federal law pre-empted that state’s law because, hell, I don’t even want to type the why. It’s very boring.

That continued this morning until about 11:30 a.m., when I realized I had to get my butt in the car to drive forty-five minutes north of Atlanta to be at a Calendar Call in the Superior Court of Cherokee County, located in the picturesque, but remote town of Canton, Georgia.

My participation in said Call: “Your Honor, we have filed a Consent Motion to Continue with the Clerk of Court, and provided a courtesy copy to your Clerk.” Judge: “The case will be continued.” Me: “Given the continuance, may we (me and the opposing lawyer) be excused?” Judge: “You may.” Me: “Thank you your Honor.” Drive to Atlanta.

Back at the office: continue to draft a letter to the lawyer for the extorting landowner in undisclosed state. I realize that I need to do some more research and call it a day.

So let’s have a vote: No more descriptions of what I do for a living rather than posting, right?

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Short Self Promotional Post

I held a meeting with myself at lunch and voted that the firm would take a sabbatical this afternoon. It turned out to be a great success.

The activity planned and executed was a round of golf. Eight over. Four Birdies. Damn it all, two doubles. No "gimmee putts," all were legit, from a fair distance, one about forty feet, uphill over a tier with a slight break.

Yes, I'm pleased with me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

It's the End of the World, As We Know It

I have it on good authority that Microsoft actually has at least one person who talks to those people that buy, rather license, its products,. That same person also sends the said same people Emails.

If I remember correctly, the person is a guy and his name is B.J.

A friend just told me that he was having a conflict with IE, Bellsouth (AT&T) and Norton when reconfiguring his Email account. He couldn’t make it work and called Bellsouth. Having worked through the limit of Bellsouth’s knowledge, the rep told him that he was going to conference in a Microsoft person. The line went dead. A couple of minutes later B.J. came on. My friend asked him who he was. He replied that he was with Microsoft technical services, or something of the sort.

“Am I being charged for this?”

“No, you were sent from Bellsouth, there’s no charge.”

B.J. fixed the problem.

I trust my friend, he’s an honest person. He might embellish now and again; but, he passed my cross examination. He at least believes he talked to a person that purported to work for the Evil Empire. He said he is going to forward the two Emails he got from B.J.

He is the only person in the world that, unless he was momentarily delusional, has to my knowledge, ever talked to someone at Microsoft about a problem with one of their products; and, if that wasn't strange enough, had the problem solved.