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March 2012 Archives

#110 Spring At Last! Spring At Last! Thank God Almighty, It's Spring At Last!

March 20, 2012

110 Post-1 Depositphotos_2783706_XS.jpgYes, I'm excited that spring is finally here. You can smell it in the air; the promise of amazing adventures to come. The earth is waking up and wonderful things are about to happen. I've always felt this way since I was a little kid. Spring is the great awakening when the earth ends its long winter's sleep. Anticipation is in the air like electricity. Life is about to pick up speed!

I got out of court yesterday and it was so amazingly warm and sunny that I had to make a judgment call: get back to the office and lock myself inside to get work done (bummer, man!) or spend the glorious afternoon out cruising with the windows down (yes, please!). I had just finished my morning calendar with a simple court appearance in Schoharie. The rest of my day was wide open. I could either do the responsible, adult thing, or I could allow myself to be carried away by this amazing day - and be an irresponsible adolescent once again. I decided to mull it over while I devoured some late breakfast (early lunch?) at the Blue Star Cafe, home of the old Alley Cat Restaurant, right there in the Village of Schoharie. What to do, what to do. Over my coffee, orange juice, bacon, and poached eggs on rye, I weighed the pros and cons of being a latter-day Ferris Bueller. Well, that was a no brainer, wasn't it!?

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#109 "I Understand That You're A Lawyer, But What Exactly Do You Do?", Part 4 of 4

March 19, 2012

109 Post-1 Depositphotos_4556228_XS.jpgMore of How I Do What I Do:

Upon rereading these posts, it amazes me how simple my job really is. All I have to do is get out of bed and turn my brain on. The resources that I have listed, so far, happen to be extraordinarily effective tools. Eleven of the twelve tools are simple enough and can be purchased if one has the money (excepting, of course, the client and the courthouse). However, it is that ephemeral "twelfth tool" upon which the other eleven all depend. And without that twelfth tool, the other eleven tools do not even come into play. It should be obvious but, surprisingly, it is not at all obvious to some people. And, because of this, I will not mention it until the end.

I believe it was Thomas Carlyle who stated that the tools belong to the person who can best use them. And all of these tools are wonderful things and people and places. But if these tools cannot, collectively, be utilized to synergistically bring about a practical result for a client, then they are meaningless and, potentially, worthless. Only one thing, one tool, imbues them with their maximum usefulness.

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#108 "I Understand That You're A Lawyer, But What Exactly Do You Do?", Part 3 of 4

March 18, 2012

108 Post-1 Depositphotos_4556228_XS.jpgHow I Do What I Do:

Alright. So, now you know what it is that I once did and what it is that I now do. Still, even upon this question being answered, many people are left with that classic confused look, wondering what a typical day is like in my line of work. And I think most people are amazed when they discover how boring it is. In fact, I think almost everyone's job is boring, to a certain degree (which is why it is called a "job" in the first place, right?).

If you think being an attorney resembles in any way any show you've seen on television, my friend, you are in for the rude awakening of a lifetime. About the only thing those shows get right is the level of the arrogance, the quality of the clothing, and the ambition of the attorneys. That's pretty much it. It is still a largely male profession although, thankfully, that has been changing for at least two generations. It is still an overwhelmingly white profession although, thankfully, that has been changing for at least two generations as well. Lastly, it is still a stuffily conservative profession, seemingly stuck forever in the past, although this, too, is gradually changing as well, though the pace may be glacial.

If I had to break my job down into its component parts, I would have to say that my job basically revolves around twelve (12) absolutely essential and distinct things, all of them very mundane, by any standard. Here they all are, in no particular order:

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#107 "I Understand That You're A Lawyer, But What Exactly Do You Do?", Part 2 of 4

March 18, 2012

107 Post-1 Depositphotos_4556228_XS.jpgWhat I Do:

When I was in law school, I dreamt of becoming an attorney adept in international corporate law. I was conversational in French and had a facility with language such that I was certain that I could learn almost any language within a short period of time, especially if I were to be immersed in it. I already had a rudimentary understanding of Spanish, German, Russian, and Italian, and was thinking about the possibility of learning Arabic or Mandarin as well.

Big dreams.

The problem with big dreams is that if they are not also accompanied by big ambition and hard work, they do not often make it into reality.

And that was precisely the case with this big dream of mine. While I loved high school and did well in college, law school proved to be exceedingly difficult for me. So much so that I very seriously considered dropping out of law school after the first year. There was just one catch: I had all those student loans to pay back, regardless of whether or not I remained in law school. So, like many others, I am sure, I weighed my options and thought: in for a penny, in for a pound. Screw it: I'd already managed to get one year under my belt, how tough could two more be?

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#106 "I Understand That You're A Lawyer, But What Exactly Do You Do?", Part 1 of 4

March 18, 2012
106 Post-1 Depositphotos_4556228_XS.jpg What I Did:


Since Day One, this has been the most frequently asked question I have encountered as an attorney. And, yes, it's "attorney", not "lawyer". That's just one of my pet peeves. It's tantamount to calling a physician a doctor. They're not the same thing, although most people think that they are. But I digress.

Anyway, from Day One, it's always been difficult to come up with an acceptable or comprehensive answer to that particular question. Why? Because a good attorney should be capable of doing a great many things for his or her clients, all of them involving getting good results.

Another reason why this question is hard to answer is because, over the course of an attorney's career - and certainly over the course of mine - one is very often involved in a wide variety of specialties and sub-specialties. It's the vocational equivalent of being Goldilocks. Some specialties are too erudite, some specialties are too boring, and some specialties are just right: making the perfect fit with one's strengths and passions. For me, after almost twenty years of practicing law, "just right" is what I find myself doing now: a lot of family law, with a bit of matrimonial law, criminal defense, and appellate work thrown in just to round things out and keep things interesting.

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#105 March

March 1, 2012

105 Post-1 Depositphotos_8271650_XS.jpgYay, snow! FINALLY! So, does this mean March came in like a lion ... or a yeti? In like a snowstorm, out like a rainstorm? All I know is that it is our first official snow day for the school year and now I have to play Mr. Mom. And plow the driveway. But it's all worth it just to have this wonderful, wintry blanket finally upon us. White is so much nicer to look out upon than brown.

And it's not that odd. After all, it's still winter until later in the month. I remember snowstorms as late as mid-April. I'm just hoping this doesn't kill all the green shoots that were coming up, thinking spring was already here.

Of course, it would have been nice to have all this snow come a day later, giving us a three-day weekend to play in. But, I'll take what I can get.

I was lucky enough to be headed into the Schoharie Valley when the snow started falling yesterday morning. The Schoharie Valley is beautiful on any day of the year, but it is particularly striking when a cold front moves through it, carrying a wall of snow.

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#104 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: March 1972 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

March 1, 2012

105 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgBetween the two lists for March 1972, there are several songs that I consider absolute, hands-down, don't-gimme-that-look, top-notch classics:

1. America's "A Horse With No Name";
2. T. Rex's "Bang A Gong (Get It On)";
3. The Who's "Bargain";
4. Grateful Dead's "Casey Jones";
5. The Beatles' "Come Together";
6. The Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers";
7. Led Zeppelin's "Four Sticks";
8. Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold";
9. John Lennon's "Imagine";
10. Black Sabbath's "Iron Man";
11. Jethro Tull's "My God";
12. The Doors' "Peace Frog";
13. Yes' "The Fish (Shindleria Praematurus)"; and
14. The Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post".

Dig it.

Each and every one of these songs still sound just as amazing today as they did forty years ago. Maybe even more so. They still have such amazing, visceral, and evocative power. Air guitar, anyone?

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#103 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: March 1972 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

March 1, 2012

104 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgIt's strange that what I thought were some of the oddest songs, when I first heard them forty years ago, almost universally seem to be the ones that have stood the test of time. And what I thought were amazing songs forty years ago have, largely, not stood the test of time. A large part of this is due, I'm sure, to the wide gap between the tastes of an 8-year old and those of a 48-year old. That being said, I still like the guilty pleasures of Top 40 and I still find Dylan to be very difficult to listen to (if not downright irritating!). Even though, at 8, I had the keen sense that Dylan was a master of his craft, I also had the perceptive ear to know that there was just no way in hell he was ever going to be anything other than an acquired taste. Like fingernails scraping across a blackboard. After a while, you get used to it. Yeah.

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#102 What I'm Listening To: March 2012 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

March 1, 2012

102 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI was also very pleasantly surprised by the likes of As Fast As, Citizen Cope, The Dandy Warhols, Fatboy Slim, Gorillaz, Kings Of Leon, She Wants Revenge, and Teddybears.

Muse and Wolfmother are the new gods of neo-progressive, right alongside The Mars Volta and The Flaming Lips. Of those four bands, I can't think of a single song any of them do that I don't like. But, then again, I love novel and weird, together with complicated time signatures.

Thom Yorke seems to be a bit too preoccupied with weird-for-weird's-sake noises from modern-age synthesizers for my tastes, whereas Radiohead is pure bliss. And Eve 6 is better than I ever gave them credit for. Queens Of The Stone Age are as weird and wonderful as I had hoped, especially given their several smash hits. 311 have got some sort of updated Police white-reggae thing going that I really like.

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#101 What I'm Listening To: March 2012 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

March 1, 2012

101 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI haven't really commented on any of these hundred albums (forgive me, but I could never bring myself to call these things anything other than "albums"), so I guess I will here.

I was sad to hear that R.E.M. finally called it quits - that is, until I remembered how long they'd been together as a band! They've done their time and they are entitled to retire on top. Pity more artists don't do that.

Mickey Avalon has turned out to be a very big surprise, once you get past the near-constant filth. His oeuvre is simultaneously narcissistic, funny, ignorant, and pathetic. Imagine a soundtrack to a slow-motion car accident and you'll get what I mean. His unapologetically crass forays into the gritty underbelly of modern-day America are so unnerving that he forces you to listen to him and then google all his lyrics and go "Wow!" "So Rich, So Pretty" has got to be one of the best songs I've heard in a long time and it really sticks with you, like any good earworm should.

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