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November 2012 Archives

#250 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 10 of 15

November 30, 2012

250 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgCHECKLIST FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS:

Step 50: CPLR 5529(e): Citations of Decisions:
"(e) Citations of decisions."

"New York decisions shall be cited from the official reports, if any."

"All other decisions shall be cited from the official reports, if any, and also from the National Reporter System if they are there reported."

"Decisions not reported officially or in the National Reporter System shall be cited from the most available source."


Step 51: CPLR 5529(f): Questions and Answers:
"(f) Questions and answers."

"The answer to a question in the appendix shall not begin a new paragraph." Go back to 800.8(b).

Continue reading "#250 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 10 of 15" »

#249 In Memoriam: July 2012 Deaths, Part 2 of 3

November 29, 2012

249 Post-1 Depositphotos_2071841_XS.jpg32. Richard Zanuck, 77, December 13, 1934 - July 13, 2012:
Producer; American film producer; heart attack

If you are like me, and watched a ton of movies in your youth, the likelihood is that many of those movies were produced by this man. Some of these movies were blockbusters like "The Sound Of Music" (1965), "Jaws" (1975), "Jaws 2" (1978), "The Verdict" (1982), "Cocoon" (1985), "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989), "Mulholland Falls" (1996), "Deep Impact" (1998), "Road To Perdition" (2002), "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" (2005), and "Alice In Wonderland" (2010).

He also produced a Clint Eastwood film that was a critical and commercial failure - but which remains as a favorite guilty pleasure: "The Eiger Sanction" (1975).

Continue reading "#249 In Memoriam: July 2012 Deaths, Part 2 of 3" »

#248 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 9 of 15

November 28, 2012

248 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgCHECKLIST FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS:

Step 42: 800.4(b): Appendix Method:
"... with proof of service of a copy upon each adverse party or, in lieu thereof, appellant may file with the clerk proof of service of a notice upon each adverse party that the single copy of the record [on appeal] has been filed in the office of the clerk of this court."

"In the alternative, when serving appellant's brief, appellant may serve the single copy of the record [on appeal] upon respondent and shall so state in an affidavit of service."

"A respondent upon whom the single copy of the record [on appeal] has been served shall file the record [on appeal] with the clerk of this court within 30 days from the date of its service upon him."

"When there are two [2] or more adverse parties, appellant shall obtain instructions from the clerk for use of a single record [on appeal] by respondents and its filing with the clerk."

"Appellant's or petitioner's brief shall contain an appendix in compliance with section 800.8(b) of this Part." Go to 800.8(b).

Continue reading "#248 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 9 of 15" »

#247 In Memoriam: July 2012 Deaths, Part 1 of 3

November 27, 2012

247 Post-1 Depositphotos_2071841_XS.jpgBecause it is so hard to keep up with memorials to specific people, it's easier to track the passing of notable individuals on a monthly basis. So, from now on, this feature will be a monthly one and not an individual one. Deal with it.

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

See blog post #206, for July 19, 2012.

Continue reading "#247 In Memoriam: July 2012 Deaths, Part 1 of 3" »

#246 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 8 of 15

November 26, 2012

246 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgCHECKLIST FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS:

Step 33: 800.7(a)(1): Certification of Record:
"(a) Reproduced Full Record [on Appeal]."

"A reproduced full record [on appeal] shall be certified either by:
(1) a certificate of appellant's or petitioner's attorney pursuant to CPLR 2105; ..." Go to CPLR 2105.


Step 34: CPLR 2105: Certification by Attorney:
"Where a certified copy of a paper is required by law, an attorney admitted to practice in the courts of the state may certify that it has been compared by him with the original and found to be a true and complete copy."

"Such certificate, when subscribed by an attorney, has the same effect as if made by a clerk." Go back to 800.7(a)(2).

Continue reading "#246 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 8 of 15" »

#245 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 7 of 15

November 25, 2012

245 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgCHECKLIST FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS:

Step 28: CPLR 5525(c)(1): Proposed Amendments to Transcript:
"1. Within fifteen [15] days after receiving the transcript from the court reporter or from any other source, the appellant shall make any proposed amendments and serve them and a copy of the transcript upon the respondent."

"Within fifteen [15] days after such service the respondent shall make any proposed amendments or objections to the proposed amendments of the appellant and serve them upon the appellant."

"At any time thereafter and on at least four [4] days' notice to the adverse party, the transcript and the proposed amendments and objections thereto shall be submitted for settlement to the judge or referee before whom the proceedings were had if the parties cannot agree on the amendments to the transcript."

"The original of the transcript shall be corrected by the appellant in accordance with the agreement of the parties or the direction of the court and its correctness shall be certified thereon by the parties of the judge or referee before whom the proceedings were had."

"When he serves his brief upon the respondent the appellant shall also serve a conformed copy of the transcript or deposit it in the office of the clerk of the court of original instance who shall make it available to respondent."

Continue reading "#245 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 7 of 15" »

#244 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 6 of 15

November 24, 2012

244 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgCHECKLIST FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS:

Step 15: 800.5(a)(2): Table of Contents [of Record on Appeal]:
(2) a table of contents which shall list and briefly describe each paper included in the record [on appeal], each witness' testimony and each transcript."

"The part relating to a transcript of testimony shall separately state as to each witness the page at which the direct, cross, redirect and recross examination begins."

"The part relating to exhibits shall briefly describe each exhibit and shall indicate the page where offered or admitted in evidence and whether the exhibit has been omitted from the record;


Step 16: 800.5(a)(3): Statement Pursuant to CPLR 5531:
(3) a statement pursuant to CPLR 5531; ..." Go to CPLR 5531.

Continue reading "#244 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 6 of 15" »

#243 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 5 of 15

November 23, 2012

243 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgCHECKLIST FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS:

Step 9: 800.5: Record on Appeal or Review:
(a). Form and Content:
"A record on appeal or record on review shall be on good quality, white, unglazed paper and shall comply with CPLR 5526 as to size and form." Go to CPLR 5526.


Step 10: CPLR 5526: Content and Form of Record on Appeal:
"The record on appeal from a final judgment shall consist of the notice of appeal, the judgment-roll, the corrected transcript of the proceedings or a statement pursuant to subdivision (d) of rule 5525 if a trial or hearing was held, ... Go to CPLR 5525(d).


Step 11: CPLR 5525(d): Statement in Lieu of Transcript:
"Statement in lieu of stenographic transcript."

"Where no stenographic record of the proceedings is made, the appellant, within ten [10] days after taking his appeal, shall prepare and serve upon the respondent a statement of the proceedings from the best available sources, including his recollection, for use instead of a transcript."

"The respondent may serve upon the appellant objections or proposed amendments to the statement within ten [10] days after such service."

"The statement, with objections or proposed amendments, shall be submitted for settlement to the judge or referee before whom the proceedings were had." Go back to CPLR 5526.

Continue reading "#243 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 5 of 15" »

#242 Once More From The Top: Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3

November 22, 2012

242 Post-1 Depositphotos_6750609_XS.jpg"Why don't you get back into bed!"

Here we are again. Time, once again, to crank My Thanksgiving Song: "Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3." I'm amazed that we have such wonderful weather for Thanksgiving. Usually, it's cold and windy and the sort of day that's best spent indoors.

We've got a massive turkey (fifty pounder!?) ready to go in the oven to feed the dozen or so extended family members who will be dropping by once noon rolls around. My wife has already baked the apple pies and made her trademark chestnut and sausage stuffing (to die for!). I think I spied some cranberry sauce in the pantry - and there had damned well better be parsnips in the fridge! You simply can't have Thanksgiving without parsnips. And I was hoping for some butternut squash, but I didn't see any. Seems I'm the only one in the family with a hankering for butternut squash.

Continue reading "#242 Once More From The Top: Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3" »

#241 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 4 of 15

November 21, 2012

241 Post Depositphotos_2510286_XS.jpgCHECKLIST FOR CRIMINAL APPEALS:

Start at CPL 460.10(1):

Step 1: CPL 460.10(1): Appeal; How Taken:
"Except as provided in subdivisions two and three, an appeal taken as of right to an intermediate appellate court or directly to the court of appeals from a judgment of a criminal court is taken as follows: ..." Go to CPL 460.10(1)(a).


Step 2: CPL 460.10(1)(a): A Party Seeking to Appeal:
"A party seeking to appeal from a judgment or a sentence or an order and sentence included within such judgment, or from a resentence, or from an order of a criminal court not included in a judgment, must, within thirty days after service upon such party of a copy of an order not included in a judgment, file with the clerk of the criminal court in which such sentence was imposed or in which such order was entered a written notice of appeal, in duplicate, stating that such party appeals therefrom to a designated appellate court." Go to CPL 460.10(1)(b).

Continue reading "#241 So, You Say You Want To Know How To Perfect A Criminal Appeal?, Part 4 of 15" »

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

November 20, 2012

239 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgWhat I miss most about these old songs is the ability to view some of the truly amazing canvasses that were the album covers, fold-outs, and inner sleeves of the packaging of these albums. Album cover art almost died with the advent of the compact disc, in the early 1980s. By the time the MP3 replaced the compact disc, album art pretty much had gone extinct. And while I actually prefer the digitization of music, I yearn for the uniqueness and individuality of album art.

Back in the old days, artists usually cared a great deal about their audience and they took the time to include not only lyric sheets, musicians, and instruments, but oftentimes extensive notes on the whole songwriting experience. And, of course, there was all that amazing psychedelic cover art. Sadly, those days are long gone.

And here is what I was listening to (many of which I still listen to) ...

Continue reading "#240 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: November 1972 Playlist, Part 2 of 2" »

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

November 19, 2012

238 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAs much as I love reminiscing about the music that I love, next month will be the last post for this particular feature. I just don't have the time available to continue it. Instead, I hope to be able to provide daily blog posts as to Third Department decisions. In fact, I want to be able to get to the point where almost every post on this blog is going to be about decisions from the Third Department, together with reviews of various legal topics.

In this line of work, I sometimes think I need an assistant or a clone just to handle the blog posting, while I deal with the full-time business of running my law practice. This is a legal blog after all. This particular feature was supposed to be a nice, light diversion. The problem is that there is so little time for diversions and not enough time for a full focus on the law.

In any event, it was an interesting experiment and quite enjoyable while it lasted. Therefore, stay tuned for a much more regular helping of caselaw round-ups and related topics.

And here is what I was listening to ...

Continue reading "#239 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: November 1972 Playlist, Part 1 of 2" »

#238 What I'm Listening To: November 2012 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

November 18, 2012

237 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgPart of the fun of blogging is figuring out what works and what doesn't. Unfortunately, a huge factor in blogging is time. With limited time, I want to make sure that I post the most important information. And while listening to music is my only vice (I don't smoke, I rarely drink, I've never done drugs, and I never hang out anymore), I want it to fade into the background again and get back to analyzing interesting caselaw.

Here are the new artists and albums for the month of November:

1. Cage The Elephant, "Thank You Happy Birthday";
2. Civil Twilight, "Civil Twilight";
3. Grizzly Bear, "Veckatimest";
4. Passion Pit, "Manners";
5. Phantogram, "Eyelid Movies";
6. Portugal. The Man, "In The Mountain In The Cloud";
7. Rogue Wave, "Asleep At Heaven's Gate";
8. Them Crooked Vultures, "Them Crooked Vultures";
9. Tune-Yards, "Whokill";
10. Two Door Cinema Club, "Tourist History"; and
11. Washed Out, "Within And Without".

Continue reading "#238 What I'm Listening To: November 2012 Playlist, Part 2 of 2" »

#237 What I'm Listening To: November 2012 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

November 17, 2012

236 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAs much as I love publishing the playlists of all of the various music that I'm listening to, it's obviously at the expense (and, lately, at the outright exclusion) of posting as to all of the decisions from the Third Department that I had hoped to get to (and of which I now have an immense backlog to slog through). So, while it's been a great deal of fun, I'm going to stop doing so in December. I may publish music posts every now and again, but I want to get back to basics.

These are the artists and albums retiring this month:

1. Beck, "Guero";
2. The Buzzhorn, "Disconnected";
3. Collective Soul; "Dosage";
4. Fall Out Boy, "From Under The Cork Tree";
5. The Head And The Heart, "The Head And The Heart";
6. Missy Higgins, "The Sound Of White";
7. Hoobastank, "Hoobastank";
8. Phoenix, "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix";
9. Puddle Of Mudd, "Life On Display";
10. Radiohead, "In Rainbows"; and
11. Ra Ra Riot, "The Orchard".

Continue reading "#237 What I'm Listening To: November 2012 Playlist, Part 1 of 2" »

#236 November

November 16, 2012

235 Post-1 Depositphotos_8271674_XS.jpgI always remember November as a barren, desolate, and cold month. There is simply nothing whatsoever in any way inviting about November. The trees look like shorn matchsticks and the skies are battleship gray. Most wildlife is in hiding and the wind never seems to stop. Right around this time, play gravitated indoors until it became fun again with the first massive snowfall. November was the very beginning of that time that would come to be called Cabin Fever by March. And the worst part of it was the ubiquitous darkness. I could take anything November threw at me - just not the never-ending darkness. Anything but the darkness.

I remember November as a time of watching television almost non-stop. There seemed like there was nothing better to do. Whenever I remember watching all of those horrible monster movies from the 1950s, it seems like it was always in November. The movies were all in black and white - just like the weather. It was a time of dreary colorlessness.

November was one of those months where you constantly wracked your brain to come up with something interesting to do. It was either that or get all of your homework done well ahead of time. And who wanted to do that?

Continue reading "#236 November" »

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

November 15, 2012

234 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAside from those five favorites, my estimation of the near greats were/are the Allman Brothers Band; Black Sabbath; David Bowie; Eric Clapton; Cream; the Doors; Bob Dylan; Emerson, Lake and Palmer; Genesis; Gentle Giant; Grateful Dead; George Harrison; Jimi Hendrix; Elton John; King Crimson; the Kinks; John Lennon; Little Feat; Paul McCartney; the Moody Blues; Van Morrison; Queen; Santana; Simon and Garfunkel; Steely Dan; Rod Stewart; Traffic; the Who; Yes; Neil Young; and Frank Zappa.

That's a rough approximation of course, and I suppose I could come up with a few dozen more bands that come close. But those are the ones that immediately come to mind.

Inevitably, we soured on our favorite artists. I lost faith in Jethro Tull with the truly wretched "Under Wraps" (1984). Their album, "A" (1980), a few years before was iffy, but "Under Wraps" sealed their fate. The Beatles' return to their roots on "Let It Be" (1970) was not my favorite. Far better for them to go out on the extraordinarily high note of "Abbey Road" (1969), the year before. Pink Floyd started to go south with "The Final Cut" (1983) and then Roger Waters left the band and they were never the same (nor was he), though they truly made a diligent effort with "A Momentary Lapse Of Reason" (1987). Led Zeppelin jumped the shark with the 180 degree turn of "In Through The Out Door" (1979) and the truly dreadful "Coda" (1982). And the Rolling Stones have been coasting on fumes for the past thirty years, ever since their last great album, "Tattoo You" (1981).

The Beatles were done by 1970. And by the early 1980s, so were the rest of The Top Five. In fact, none of the artists listed above are making decent music any more, if they're even still around to make it.

Continue reading "#235 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: October 1972 Playlist, Part 2 of 2" »

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

November 14, 2012

233 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAs we listened to album after album of amazingly good music, we very quickly came to realize that there were a handful of bands who were head and shoulders above the rest. These were the bands whose albums we played hundreds of times, as if we were trying to memorize each and every one of their songs. If we found an album we loved, then we immediately wanted more - diving into the artist's back catalogue. The funny thing is that, even to this day, my estimation of the best bands really hasn't changed at all, though all of them are now either long dead or on life support.

My absolute favorite bands, were and remain, in order: Jethro Tull, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones. All of these bands started out as British blues bands, invariably copying American blues in their own distinctive styles. Once they mastered their versions of the blues, the began to experiment and create the amazing music that is now their legacy. Some left the blues altogether, like Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd. Others reverted back to it after wild experimentation in other genres, like the Beatles. Still others continued to rework the blues until they had created a kind of neo-blues, like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.

Continue reading "#234 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: October 1972 Playlist, Part 1 of 2" »

#233 What I'm Listening To: October 2012 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

November 13, 2012

232 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgOne of the primary reasons I've gotten so far behind on blog posts was that I too often published more than one blog post per day. Going back, I notice that there were several days when I posted as many as five (5) posts. That's just insane as I can't possibly keep up such a rapid pace. So, in order to get back in the swing of things, I'm limiting publication to a single post per day, as you may have already noticed.

And here are the new artists and albums for the month:

1. Marilyn Manson, "Lest We Forget: The Best Of";
2. Metric, "Fantasies";
3. Mutemath, "Odd Soul";
4. The Naked And Famous, "Passive Me, Aggressive You"; and
5. The Temper Trap, "Conditions".

Continue reading "#233 What I'm Listening To: October 2012 Playlist, Part 2 of 2" »

#232 What I'm Listening To: October 2012 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

November 12, 2012

231 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI realize that I'm posting all of the lighter, more personalized stuff, and none of the weightier analyses of caselaw, but give it time: I'm almost caught up on the belated blog posts. Once we get to Thanksgiving, I intend to dive into the formidable backlog of blog posts dealing exclusively with analyzing the many decisions from the Third Department. With a little luck, I should be able to start posting every day. Even at that rate, it'll take until late winter to be caught up with the prodigious caselaw already handed down by the Third Department.

Once again, we have only a handful of artists and albums retiring for the month:

1. Awolnation, "Megalithic Symphony";
2. Goo Goo Dolls, "Dizzy Up The Girl";
3. New Found Glory, "Sticks And Stones";
4. She Wants Revenge, "She Wants Revenge"; and
5. Shiny Toy Guns, "We Are Pilots".

Continue reading "#232 What I'm Listening To: October 2012 Playlist, Part 1 of 2" »

#231 October

November 11, 2012

230 Post-1 Depositphotos_8271664_XS.jpgOctober was always the time when I'd wind up catching a nasty cold - usually because I was too stubborn to admit that summer was over and it was too damned cold to go outdoors without a coat on. Once Indian summer had passed, you could no longer fool yourself: winter was on its way. I remember this time of year for spending a great deal of time hanging out in the woods, making forts, and generally doing the sorts of things my parents had explicitly told me not to do. As a kid, October was about getting into all sorts of trouble and hoping nobody found out about it.

October was a great month for just hanging out. It was a vast swath of time that needed to be filled. With watching television. With listening to music. With playing all manner of board games. With pestering our parents to the point where we were told to "Go play outside!"

And, once outside, it was time for Tricks On Bikes. Inevitably, one or more of us would get hurt or come dangerously close to losing an eye or a finger ("Betcha can't put yer legs over the handlebars!" Betcha I can!") and calmer heads would prevail and we'd find something else - something safer - to do. Usually, we'd just wander off into the woods. And that was usually when things got the most interesting ...

Continue reading "#231 October" »

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

November 10, 2012

229 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAt some point, Kasey Kasem started counting down songs and various people thought it was a novelty, perhaps a fad, and that it would most surely fade away. Well, not only did the American Top 40 not fade away into obscurity, it became the gaping doorway for kids my age to enter into the wonderful realm of popular music - namely rock - and all of its many wild and wooly sub-genres.

I remember that night like it was last night. That is how blown away I was by what I had heard. If I had known the phrase then, I would have said, simply: WTF!? What was this? Whatever the hell it was, I wanted more. Much more. Up to this point in my life, music was basically church (classical and liturgical, on an ethereal and massive organ), the Beatles, and WROW (adult contemporary; and, yes, it's still on the dial, the last time I checked!). Here was something amazingly different. Here was something I had never heard before. Here was something I could never ever get enough of.

While I later grew out of the American Top 40, sometime around my passage into high school, in 1978, I have to tip my hat to the man and the program that introduced me to the world of rock. All those Saturday evenings, counting them down. Which led to a hunger for endless singles. Which led to a hunger for endless albums. Which led to gatherings of friends, cobbling together the soundtracks of our lives. Which led to, well, today. From 1970 to 1978, you may not have known where I was, but you could always be assured of what I was doing: listening to the radio. And counting them down with Kasey.

Continue reading "#230 What I Was Listening To ... 40 Years Ago: September 1972 Playlist, Part 2 of 2" »

#229 What I Was Listening To ... 40 years Ago: September 1972 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

November 9, 2012

228 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgLooking back, what amazes me so much about the early days of my youth was how much we seemed to do with so little. Oh course, the key was that we didn't have the future available so that we could look back on ourselves and realize how different 2012 would be from 1972. Back in the day, you basically had radio stations and vinyl ruling your life. For those of us too poor to buy singles or albums regularly (i.e., almost all of us kids), we had to rely on the good graces of older brothers or sisters - or the older siblings of friends - or the compassion of parents (or decent allowances). Otherwise, we were left counting them down with good ol' Kasey Kasem, and his American Top 40, every Saturday night in basements and bedrooms across America.

As pathetic as it is to write the following, it is probably even more pathetic to remember: I actually recall the inauguration of the American Top 40, waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back on Saturday evening, July 4, 1970. Yes: I'm that old. I remember being in a car with the radio on (when wasn't the radio on when we were all traveling in cars?). I was a newly-minted graduate from Miss Gwynn's Green Meadow Elementary School kindergarten class, and we were watching the fireworks on that vast, grassy plain upon which sat the First United Methodist Church of East Greenbush, the East Greenbush Central School District bus garage, and the Goff Middle School (where they all sit to this very day). The fireworks were held on that part of the plain then occupied by a small, private airport (and now a very large middle-class, suburban development, on Hayes Road).

Continue reading "#229 What I Was Listening To ... 40 years Ago: September 1972 Playlist, Part 1 of 2" »

#228 Autumn

November 8, 2012

227 Post-1 Depositphotos_1791546_xs.jpgThe ancients were really on to something: there's just something about the equinoxes and solstices. I can often smell the season coming from weeks away. You know what I mean: there's a certain scent that your memory pairs with a given season and, once you sense it, you just know it's right around the corner.

For me, autumn has an acrid scent with a bite in the air and the sound of softly falling leaves. It sadly informs you that all growth and greenery has come to an end and the world is about to plunge into The Long Sleep. Autumn is, therefore, the most bittersweet of seasons.

It is also a busy time, professionally and personally. Just before the major holidays, litigation seems to reach its end-of-year peak. And, of course, one has to busy oneself with cleaning up the yard and winterizing almost everything in sight. It's a time of stocking up and making sure you're ready for the long haul of winter.

When I was in school, I loved autumn more than I do today. Now, all that autumn reminds me of is the inevitability of dissolution and death. Sooner or later, we all enter our own autumns, our final hibernations.

Continue reading "#228 Autumn" »

#227 Breathe The Free Air Again, My Friends!

November 7, 2012

227 Post-1 Depositphotos_3378778_XS.jpgBreathe the free air again, my friends.

Where do I begin? First, I'd like to thank my bachelor of arts degree in political science from Siena College for allowing me to call the Electoral College exactly (which I will never let my wife live down). I nailed the exact vote (332 to 206) and the exact series of states for each candidate. As the evening began, with Mitt Romney ahead in both electoral votes and the popular vote, my family thought I was crazy. All I would say was this: "I did the math and my math is correct - Obama is going to win the electoral and squeak by in the popular." They laughed. Surprise! The Electoral College decides the victor, not the popular vote. I thought we all learned this the hard way back in 2000!?

Second, after channel surfing for the first few hours of the evening, I found that CBS and CNN probably had the best coverage, so I ping-ponged between the two every couple of minutes (much to the hostility of my family). The rule in our house is a simple one: on election night, I have total control of the remote. All other days of the year I hand off the remote to my wife or my son. Never on election night. Never.

Continue reading "#227 Breathe The Free Air Again, My Friends!" »

#226 Election Day

November 6, 2012

226 Post-1 Depositphotos_1034782_XS.jpgYaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! It's Election Day! And you know what that means! It means that this particular brand of American insanity now comes to a long-awaited end, and we can get on with actually governing this seemingly radically-polarized nation of haves and have-nots.

I am sooooo sick of the robo-calls. I am sooooo sick of the phone-bank volunteers asking me to volunteer (no) for their candidate or vote (no!) for their candidate. I am sooooo sick of the outright lies in television, radio, and internet ads masquerading as The Essential Information You Need To Vote! I am sooooo sick of the talking heads and so-called pundits giving me their "gut" reading of the various (and often spurious) poll numbers.

I am sooooo sick of it all.

Yes, I'm going to vote. No, I'm not going to tell you who I'm voting for. However, this year, I'm not at all thrilled about going to the polls. No one excites me. It's hard to wade through the white noise of modern-day politicking to get to the heart of what any candidate might be like if elected to office.

I personally know some of the people running for office. And you couldn't pay me a million dollars to vote for most of them. Unfortunately, I'm rather certain that the ones I really like - and think are most suited to the positions for which they are running for election - will be defeated.

Continue reading "#226 Election Day" »

#225 Twentieth Anniversary

November 5, 2012

225 Post-1 Depositphotos_1411720_XS.jpgWhen I was a kid, I always marveled at the longevity of certain marriages in my extended family. It was nothing to celebrate twentieth, thirtieth, fortieth - hell - even fiftieth wedding anniversaries. And, as a kid, it was pretty much impossible for me to imagine liking - let alone loving - another human being for such a seeming eternity. Sure, sure, I would always love my parents. And I was certain that I would always love my siblings - to a greater or lesser degree, depending largely upon whether and how badly they annoyed me from day-to-day. But, beyond that, it was really hard to comprehend loving another human being - and doing so for such an unfathomably (uncomfortably?) long period of time.

About as far as I could ever get was loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Certain friends you liked so dearly that, in retrospect, you really did love them - and maybe still do. But loving a complete and utter stranger!? And actually having children with them!? No way. Just no way. Never gonna happen.

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#224 What I'm Listening To: September 2012 Playlist, Part 2 of 2

November 4, 2012

224 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgI guess the thing I never imagined was the convenience of it all. I look at my massive music library and then I think that it all fits on my amazingly small external hard drive. All that music in that little black box! And while I am far from impressed with the quality of the sound produced by the computer system, I'm blown away by how easy it is to access any track from any source within seconds. Seconds! It makes creating playlists quite enjoyable.

In thirty years, we've gone from spending minutes trying to get the settings just right on your cassette player to capture that "must have" single song from the radio to spending the same amount of time dragging and clicking to create a playlist with hundreds of songs that can be immediately played. Makes me wonder what's next.

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#223 What I'm Listening To: September 2012 Playlist, Part 1 of 2

November 3, 2012

223 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgAnd as I rush to get September's posts up, we're suddenly in November. October's posts can't be far behind. I'm finding that I listen to music almost exclusively now via MP3s. I don't even bother with compact discs anymore - other than the occasional purchase to immediately import into my computer and iTunes. As little as ten years ago, I never would've believed it if someone told me I'd get rid of my stereo system and play almost all of my music on a computer system.

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#222 September

November 2, 2012

222 Post-1 Depositphotos_8271652_XS.jpgI've always had a love-hate relationship with September, as I'm sure most people have. It was always a time of excitement as you progressed into a new grade - and sometimes a new school - but it was bittersweet as well because there was no more obvious proof that summer was completely over. And once I graduated from high school, this mentality continued. Even past college and law school. Of course, by the time law school was over with, September wasn't merely an end to a carefree way of life and the beginning of serious study, it was the end of my youth. So, in a larger sense, September is the sort of month we all know is looming in the future, but that we have no real desire to get to. Once we hit September, everything changes. And it's not so much getting ready for fall as it is getting ready for the coming darkness of winter.

About the only decent thing that September provides is one last hurrah for summer, in the form of Labor Day Weekend. Just as Memorial Day Weekend seems to officially open summer, Labor Day Weekend brings it to an official end.

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

November 1, 2012

221 Post-1 Depositphotos_2286999_XS.jpgThen there is the whole issue of thinking in lyrics and feeling in notes. All is metaphor. Just as a snippet of song will connect to an amazing memory, that same snippet of song may also have an emotional connotation as well. The same goes for lyrics: many of the metaphors that I find that I deal with as an attorney are largely based in either song lyrics or memorable lines of poetry or literature. As little as a song's or poem's title is often enough to start the mental chain reaction. In fact, I have always been amazed at how bizarrely intertwined are language, thought, emotion, and music. They all seem to be different faces of the same thing. Perhaps this is why, above all others, music has such amazing power: it is the sound of thought, of emotion, of memory.

It seems that all the greatest artists knew this. Where Beethoven and Mozart had their distinctive ostinatos, every major rock artist has their own killer riffs.

For a long time, I pondered a career in music. Why not? It had always been my first love and it came as naturally as breathing. It only made sense to consider it. However, I often felt the same way about art and writing. I was an extraordinarily creative person and I knew that whatever I did with my future, it had to be in the arts. It made the most sense.

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