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July 2012 Archives

#207 Go bhfillead go hÉirinn go Brách

July 31, 2012

207 Post-1 Depositphotos_5693932_XS.jpgI haven't posted any new entries lately for several reasons: 1) I've had no time; 2) I've been on trial over the past several weeks; 3) I've been playing catch-up on all of my files; and 4) I've had to get ready for vacation. Plus, I'm so damned exhausted.

And now, with vacation almost upon me, I wanted to get one more post in before I left ... for Ireland.

Ireland was supposed to be our honeymoon, twenty years ago, but we wound up in the hellish heat of Aruba instead. So, in celebration of our upcoming twentieth wedding anniversary, off to Ireland we go, on what will effectively be our second honeymoon. Why Ireland? Well, though I'm a "mutt", I'm a quarter Irish. In fact, my paternal grandmother was born there. My wife, on the other hand, is three-quarters Irish - though none of her grandparents were born there. I like to tease her about my being "more Irish" than she, despite her having more Irish lineages than I.

Continue reading "#207 Go bhfillead go hÉirinn go Brách" »

#206 In Memoriam: Andy Griffith, June 1, 1926 - July 3, 2012

July 19, 2012

206 Post Depositphotos_2071841_XS.jpg30. Andy Griffith, 86, June 1, 1926 - July 3, 2012:
Actor; American actor, comedian, producer, and singer; heart attack

Another interesting pairing: less than two months ago George Lindsey (Goober Pyle) died.

I don't care how you cut it, Andy Griffith was huge. His grandfatherly, wizened face became iconic as Ben Matlock, and it will remain so forever, thanks to syndication. I grew up watching the much younger version of Griffith as a compassionate authority figure, lending a helping hand and giving sage advice wherever needed, in almost every episode of the beloved "The Andy Griffith Show".

Continue reading "#206 In Memoriam: Andy Griffith, June 1, 1926 - July 3, 2012" »

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

July 18, 2012

205 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgJust as April was too cold and rainy to be outdoors, July was often too damned hot to be outdoors as well. I remember many a scorcher when we would come staggering in, dazed from too much sun and not enough water, hoping to cool off in front of the fan (together with making those creepy voices when speaking through the fan: "Luke. I. Am. Your. Father!"), wondering what to do next. Invariably, music would be one of the first things to come up.

If we were at my house, we'd head for the cellar and the soothing comfort of cold cement floors. If we were at John's house, we'd head upstairs and open all the windows (the days of central air were still a decade or two away). At either house, we had a plush set of leather headphones to swaddle your ears in, sealing out the world as you plunged into the works at hand. Led Zeppelin seemed to work best in the dark (until Zeppelin's later, weird period) where Pink Floyd seemed to work best on beautiful, sunny days (until Floyd's later, dark period). We discovered that every artist had their own, unique mood.

Continue reading "#205 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: July 1972 Playlist, Part 2 of 2" »

#204 In Memoriam: Don Grady, June 8, 1944 - June 27, 2012

July 17, 2012

204 Post Depositphotos_2071841_XS.jpg29. Don Grady (born "Don Louis Agrati"), 68, June 8, 1944 - June 27, 2012:
Actor; American actor and musician; Cancer

It's pretty eerie when two people from the same television show die within hours of the other, after the passage of forty years. And that's the case here: Doris Singleton, a guest star on "My Three Sons" died on June 26, 2012, while Don Grady, a star of the show, died the next day.

Don started out as a Mousketeer, a little before my time, on "The Mickey Mouse Club". He had some bit parts in series like "The Rifleman" and "Wagon Train" but his major claim to fame was as Robbie Douglas, on "My Three Sons".

Continue reading "#204 In Memoriam: Don Grady, June 8, 1944 - June 27, 2012" »

#203 What I'm Listening To: July 2012 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

July 16, 2012

202 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgA new month, a new round of albums and artists. Twenty-two (22) more to be exact:

1. The Avalanches, "Since I Left You";
2. Better Than Ezra, "Closer";
3. The B-52s, "Time Capsule: Songs For A Future Generation";
4. The Black Crowes, "By Your Side";
5. Blur, "The Best Of Blur";
6. Bowling For Soup, "Drunk Enough To Dance";
7. The Buzzhorn, "Disconnected";
8. Clutch, "Pure Rock Fury";
9. Course Of Nature, "Superkala";
10. Drowning Pool, "Sinner";
11. Evanescence, "Fallen";
12. Fall Out Boy, "From Under The Cork Tree";
13. Harvey Danger, "Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?";
14. The Head And The Heart, "The Head And The Heart";
15. Hot Hot Heat, "Make Up The Breakdown";
16. Rage Against The Machine, "Renegades";
17. Remy Zero, "The Golden Hum";
18. Rooney, "Rooney";
19. The Shins, "Oh, Inverted World";
20. Spin Doctors, "Here Comes The Bride";
21. Theory Of A Deadman, "Theory Of A Deadman"; and
22. TV On The Radio, "Nine Types Of Light".

Continue reading "#203 What I'm Listening To: July 2012 Playlist, Part 2 of 2" »

#202 In Memoriam: Doris Singleton, September 28, 1919 - June 26, 2012

July 15, 2012

198 Post Depositphotos_2071841_XS.jpg28. Doris Singleton, 92, September 28, 1919 - June 26, 2012:
Actor; American actor; natural causes

Most will probably have no idea of who Doris Singleton was or that she was an actress. I thought she had died decades ago, actually. I can't even remember where I came across her obituary other than that I finally had the answer to the question "I wonder what ever happened to ...?"

However, once again, if you are a child of the 60s, then you'll remember her from "I Love Lucy" and "The Lucy Show". She even appeared in "Here's Lucy".

Continue reading "#202 In Memoriam: Doris Singleton, September 28, 1919 - June 26, 2012" »

#201 Retainer Agreement, Part 25 of 25

July 14, 2012

201 Post Depositphotos_1291876_XS.jpgArticles 71 through 75:

And here we come to the end of it at last. This last series of articles accomplishes two important functions: it specifically spells out what the client is retaining the attorney to do for the client and it makes clear to both the client and the attorney when and how the attorney-client relationship is concluded with regard to the litigation at hand.

And, really, this is what any decent retainer agreement is always about: when do services commence?; what are those services?; how much do those services cost?; what is the objective of those services?; and when do the services end?

It's that simple.

Continue reading "#201 Retainer Agreement, Part 25 of 25" »

#200 In Memoriam: Nora Ephron, May 19, 1941 - June 26, 2012

July 13, 2012

200 Post Depositphotos_5480853_XS.jpg28. Nora Ephron, 71, May 19, 1941 - June 26, 2012:
Screenwriter; American blogger, director, essayist, journalist; novelist; playwright, producer and screenwriter; complications from leukemia

Another shocking death. One day she was blogging away at the Huff Post and the next she was dead. Apparently she had been ill for some time.

Nora Ephron has many claims to fame but, to my mind, her greatest is as a screenwriter. You know Nora Ephron from such blockbusters as "When Harry Met Sally ..." (which she also produced), from 1989, and "Sleepless In Seattle" (which she also directed), from 1993. I adored both movies but loved the first movie more for the amazing chemistry between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Plus, the former movie had many memorable lines and hysterical scenes.

She also wrote such hits as "Silkwood" (1983), "Heartburn" (1986), "Michael" (1996), "You've Got Mail" (1998) (basically Hanks + Ryan, Part 2), "Julie & Julia" (2009), and the cult classic and personal favorite, "My Blue Heaven" (1990). I don't know what it is about Steve Martin in this movie but he comes off as funny as all hell. The scene of him mowing the lawn in his suit in the hot sun is itself worth watching the entire movie: "What a day fer a mow!"

Continue reading "#200 In Memoriam: Nora Ephron, May 19, 1941 - June 26, 2012" »

#199 Retainer Agreement, Part 24 of 25

July 12, 2012

199 Post Depositphotos_1291876_XS.jpgArticles 68 through 70:

The remainder of the retainer agreement includes what is known in the profession as "boilerplate". This is merely contractual language that is commonly found in many or most retainer agreements simply because it so perfectly captures specific aspects of the contractual arrangement between an attorney and his client.

Continue reading "#199 Retainer Agreement, Part 24 of 25" »

#198 In Memoriam: Frank Cady, September 8, 1915 - June 8, 2012

July 12, 2012

198 Post Depositphotos_2071841_XS.jpg27. Frank Cady, 96, September 8, 1915 - June 8, 2012:
Actor; American actor; natural causes

If you were a kid of the 60s, then I guarantee that you watched many television shows but that you watched three (3) shows fairly regularly, those being - from most favorite to least favorite - "The Beverly Hillbillies", "Green Acres", and "Petticoat Junction". And, if you watched these three shows, you began to realize that they were somehow connected to one another, especially by way of a certain actor. That actor was Frank Cady. And his character in all three shows was the same: Sam Drucker.

Now, all three of these shows featured characters whose sanity was never clear. In fact, I think it was safe to say that it was always in question. But that was just the magic of the shows. Almost all of these characters were "over the rainbow", as a childhood friend used to call it. Almost all. The one character who was not crazy (or, perhaps, the least crazy) was Sam Drucker, the store keeper and jack-of-all-trades in Hooterville. Aside from running the general store, Sam held many other important positions in this odd little town, from town constable to postmaster to banker to editor of a newspaper to the superintendent of schools to god knew what else. In fact, the more jobs you came to know that Sam had, the more you suspected that he, too, was very probably insane.

Continue reading "#198 In Memoriam: Frank Cady, September 8, 1915 - June 8, 2012" »

#197 Retainer Agreement, Part 23 of 25

July 10, 2012

198 Post Depositphotos_1291876_XS.jpgArticles 64 through 67:

Here are four more articles which deal with matters that are patently obvious to fellow attorneys but may not even occur to clients. These articles basically deal with the inevitable obstacles one encounters in litigation. Those obstacles can be quite annoying when they turn out to be specific individuals with a reputation for being "difficult". And, for the client, "difficult" almost always translates into "expensive".

Continue reading "#197 Retainer Agreement, Part 23 of 25" »

#196 Independence Day

July 5, 2012

196 Post Depositphotos_5899271_XS.jpgIndependence Day is a big deal to a kid, for several reasons. First, while school has already been out for a good two weeks, there has never been any sort of community celebration of the end of school and the beginning of summer vacation. Second, two weeks is a long time as a kid and school is already a distant memory and apart from the bookend holidays of Memorial Day and Labor Day, there is only one real holiday in the summer. Third, while June was affiliated with all-thing-school, July was the first real month in the year where you were truly free; no school until September. Fourth, this holiday was best celebrated outdoors and at night, with crowds of people; no other holiday is quite like it. July was the beginning of over sixty days of freedom from the slavery of school. And for all these reasons, Independence Day was eagerly anticipated.

The younger kids were given sparklers to play with while the older kids were given a variety of more exotic fireworks, most of them harmless. The teenagers had the actual firecrackers and things like roman candles. And then there were the crazy adults with the M-80s. It was a holiday of beautiful, blinding lights and explosions.

Continue reading "#196 Independence Day" »

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

July 4, 2012

195 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgLike everyone else, we had our phases of new favorite artist, album, and song. Where John was stuck forever in his Pink Floyd phase, I started out obsessed with everything in any way related to the Beatles. So much so, in fact, that I remember insisting that the Knickerbockers' "Lies" and the Lemon Pipers' "Green Tambourine" were really just secret Beatles' side projects (In retrospect, this isn't as crazy as it might sound if one considers how many songs McCartney wrote and gave away for other artists to cover).

Of course, when the Beatles went their separate ways, one felt compelled to follow at least one of the four in their solo careers. Despite loving the brilliance of John Lennon, Paul McCartney's awesome tunefulness won me over. Where Lennon spurned the crassness of commercial music, McCartney pandered to it. Therefore, McCartney was the much more accessible of the two if you were a kid plugged into the Top 40.

Continue reading "#195 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: July 1972 Playlist, Part 1 of 2" »

#194 Retainer Agreement, Part 22 of 25

July 3, 2012

194 Post Depositphotos_1291876_XS.jpgArticles 61 through 63:

Just like the previous blog post in this series, these articles are included to apprise the client of the possibility of "hidden" fees when the judge decides that it might be a good idea to order the client to do something as a part of the ongoing litigation.

If there are allegations (or worse: testimony) that the client has a bit of a temper - and very young children are involved - then it is not at all surprising to have the judge order the client to register for, attend, successfully complete, and follow the recommendations of an anger management class.

The same holds true if the judge suspects that the client has any sort of substance abuse addiction - even if it's something as "harmless" as regular marijuana use or drinking as little as a can of beer a day. Anything potentially harmful substances that smacks of regular use is a red flag - again, especially if young children are involved in the litigation. This should not be surprising at all, given that children are so vulnerable and judges will do everything that they can to protect children.

However, because many clients have been taken by surprise by these sorts of things, I've decided to include these items in my retainer agreement.

Continue reading "#194 Retainer Agreement, Part 22 of 25" »

#193 In Memoriam: Bob Welch, August 31, 1945 - June 7, 2012

July 3, 2012

193 Post Depositphotos_2695492_XS.jpg26. Bob Welch, 66, August 31, 1945 - June 7, 2012:
Musician; American rock guitarist and vocalist; post-surgery suicide

If you were a fan of Fleetwood Mac in their transitional middle period of 1971 to 1974, when they veered away from British blues and began their long foray into commercial, melodic pop, then you know who Bob Welch was. Bob was the rhythm guitarist on "Future Games" and "Bare Trees", and took over lead guitar duties on "Penguin", "Mystery To Me", and "Heroes Are Hard To Find", after Danny Kirwan was fired from the band.

Once Welch had lead guitar duties, and on the strength of their seventh studio album, "Penguin", the band finally broke through into the Top 50 Albums Chart in America, though it didn't have any real hits.

Continue reading "#193 In Memoriam: Bob Welch, August 31, 1945 - June 7, 2012" »

#192 Retainer Agreement, Part 21 of 25

July 2, 2012

192 Post Depositphotos_1291876_XS.jpgArticles 58 through 60:

One thing in particular that clients (and attorneys) hate, more than anything else, is surprises. Attorneys build their reputations on being able to divine likely outcomes to cases given a certain set of facts, laws, and personalities. Being thrown a curve ball which results in the destruction of your case is the stuff of nightmares.

With clients, they don't like "hidden" or unanticipated fees. So, why not be as candid as possible about the likelihood of auxiliary fees in the litigation. Expert fees is a big issue in matrimonial matters. However, there are also fees in Family Court matters as well. Two such fees are psychological evaluations (which often start at $750.00!) and parenting classes (which are much less expensive but often much harder to schedule).

These fees are often mandatory if the judge issues an order directing psychological evaluations and/or parenting classes. If the client fails to pay the fee to take the evaluation or the class, then the client would then be in violation of a court order - with the possibility of the judge sending the client to jail for contempt of court. While judges strongly prefer not to do this, I have actually seen it done on rare occasions, usually where the party has repeatedly failed to obey a court order.

Jail has a wonderful way of making people get their priorities straight.

Continue reading "#192 Retainer Agreement, Part 21 of 25" »

#191 What I'm Listening To: July 2012 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

July 2, 2012

191 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAfter six (6) solid months, it's time to retire quite a few artists and albums:

1. Audiovent, "Dirty Sexy Knights In Paris";
2. Band Of Skulls, "Baby Darling Doll Face Honey";
3. Cake, "Comfort Eagle";
4. Coldplay, "A Rush Of Blood To The Head";
5. Disturbed, "The Sickness";
6. Fatboy Slim, "The Greatest Hits: Why Try Harder";
7. Foster The People, "Torches";
8. Godsmack, "Godsmack";
9. Guster, "Ganging Up On The Sun";
10. Cold War Kids, "Robbers And Cowards";
11. Keane, "Under The Iron Sea";
12. Living Things, "Ahead Of The Lions";
13. Ludo, "You're Awful, I Love You";
14. Muse, "Black Holes And Revelations";
15. Staind, "Break The Cycle";
16. Sugar Ray, "Sugar Ray";
17. 3 Doors Down, "The Better Life";
18. The Used, "The Used";
19. U2, "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb";
20. Eddie Vedder, "Into The Wild";
21. The White Stripes, "Get Behind Me Satan"; and
22. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "It's Blitz!".

Continue reading "#191 What I'm Listening To: July 2012 Playlist, Part 1 of 2" »

#190 Welcome To The Dog Days!

July 1, 2012

190 Post Depositphotos_1006493_XS.jpgI always loved it when temperatures in the summer broke into the blistery triple digits. And that time always seemed to be right around now. When roadways shimmered and melted and breathing was forced and labored, feeling as though you were stuck under a heavy woolen blanket. And the sun? Dear effing lord, the sun! The sun cooked your brains right where you stood if you were too stupid not to wear a hat and immediately seek and find the shade.

I always marveled at this viciously hot weather and I was in awe when I discovered that it actually had a name - a very cool and strange name indeed: the dog days.

These are the dog days. And I live for them, as I do each and every year.

My great uncle Walt, that revered storehouse of bottomless wisdom, clued me into this.

"Dontcha wanna know why they're called that?"

Well, duh! They were called that because it was so friggin' hot out it drove dogs insane. Frothing at the mouth and all that. Well, not so much.

No, the dog days, I was informed, took their name from the dog star, Sirius.

"Dontcha wanna know why it's called the dog star?"

I know this, I know this. Um ... Okay, I don't know this. Here I was, a student of astronomy, and I could not come up with an answer.

Continue reading "#190 Welcome To The Dog Days!" »

#189 Retainer Agreement, Part 20 of 25

July 1, 2012

189 Post Depositphotos_1291876_XS.jpgArticles 54 through 57:

These four articles cover the initial and middle stages of the litigation, giving the client a basic overview of what to expect. Again, this is painfully obvious to all litigators but it is often a revelation to clients, which is why it is included here.

Clients seem to perceive litigation as mostly occurring in court when, in fact, very little actually occurs in court. The overwhelming majority of litigation occurs outside the courtroom, on paper and in phone calls. I try to persuade clients to view court appearances as a way for the court system to force everyone into the same room so that everyone can be brought up-to-date as to the status of the litigation. The judge is there to nudge the litigation forward and to act as the referee for any disputes.

Continue reading "#189 Retainer Agreement, Part 20 of 25" »

# 188 July

July 1, 2012

188 Post-1 Depositphotos_8271685_XS.jpgAlone among the months, July is special. Apart from being the hottest month of the year, which is memorable in and of itself, July is special for reasons only a child or a young adult would immediately know: no school. At all. Ever.

Unless you were unfortunate enough to have to enroll in summer school or a summer term. Only after I transferred from M.I.T. (various majors) to Siena College (pre-law), and had to take summer terms in order to graduate on time (which didn't happen anyway), did I come to understand the true hell of having to go to school in the middle of summer. And it sucked. There was just no way around it: one needed a vacation from life itself and the month of July was the natural place to put that vacation.

And here I am typing this, sitting in my office, my family already having left for the cool mountains of Vermont, knowing full well that I have a weekend's worth of work to catch up on before I can join them and enjoy a chance to get away from it all. And we all need a chance to get away from it all, some more than others.

Continue reading "# 188 July" »