Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dead man walking

Yesterday at I met Sister Helen Prejean at the Sonoma County Bar luncheon, the author of
Dead Man Walkingand quite the crusty speaker. I've always wondered about the death penalty and the absurd state of affairs that allows this bizarre ritual to take place. Why exactly you would take the life of a human being as a warning to others not to take the lives of human beings seems contradictory. Kind of like "porn stars for virginity" or "Republicans against fear-mongering". How about "Jihadists for tolerance"?

It's a good opportunity to pause and think. How many catholics are for the death penalty but anti-abortion?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

He left his mark

Man Who Shouted 'Tequila!' in Song Dies

The Associated Press

Danny Flores, who played the saxophone and shouted the word "tequila!" in the 1950s hit song "Tequila!", has died. He was 77.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Don't wear your helmet!

Bicycle helmets may backfire by encouraging cars to drive closer to the cyclist. Theory: Wearing a helmet makes you look like you know what you're doing, so drivers assume you can operate in tighter space. Evidence: A traffic psychologist rode a sensor-equipped bike around Britain, and when he wore a helmet, cars passed more than three inches closer, on average, than when he didn't. He was also hit by two vehicles while wearing the helmet. Bonus finding: When he dressed as a woman, drivers gave him more than five inches of extra space. Psychologist's interpretation: Helmets protect you in a low-speed tumble but may backfire in serious car traffic. Accident-prevention group's rebuttal: Wear your helmet, and we'll educate drivers to give you more space. (For Human Nature's update on the dangerous distraction of car navigation systems, click here.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Happy lawyers

Find Satisfaction In the Law: Guest Column

Your First Years as a Lawyer: An Owner's Manual
by Thane J. Messinger, J.D., M.B.A.

The Search for Satisfaction

I'll start this guest column, if the WebFolks don't object, on a radical note:

New lawyers should not be concerned with job satisfaction.

OK...Got your attention?!

Perhaps I should qualify that: New lawyers should not be concerned with job satisfaction...*at first*. They should, instead, prepare themselves for *future* satisfaction. In this, the first few years of law practice are like the first few years of any other intense training program--medicine, music, or the Marines, to name an alliterative few. In any of these disciplines, as in law, it takes an enormous amount of work before you are in a position to enjoy the rewards. (This is not mere seniority-based protectionism. Until you have gained familiarity with the law, and are able to service (and attract) clients on your own, you are in a poor position to fulfill your professional obligations...much less attend to your own psychic needs.)

It's been my experience that lawyers who demand (or just expect) to be satisfied...are often the most unhappy. It's not that job satisfaction is an unreasonable demand. It *is* that demanding satisfaction immediately is both unrealistic and counter-productive. This is especially true for those who expect satisfaction to come externally: as if it's your *employer's* duty to see that you're happy. Yes, employers (of all kinds) are sometimes short-sighted. But, chances are you will be, too, when the roles are reversed; management is not an easy task, and it's easy to take pot-shots at bosses.

Satisfaction comes from doing something one enjoys. The reality of law practice is not often conducive to enjoyment, simply because much of what law does is either adversarial or nit-picky (and often both). But the story doesn't end there; let's look at the other side: Dissatisfaction with law has several components. Some are dissatisfied because they hold unrealistic expectations. If you expect to enjoy the lifestyle that you enjoyed in a sheltered academic existence (if yours was indeed sheltered), without stress or midnight work sessions, then it is very unlikely that you will find satisfaction anywhere in the law (or anywhere outside the law, for that matter). It's a big world out there, and you're a small, small part of it. (And, metaphysics aside, what do you think is the importance of your individual survival within the ecosystem?) Sorry to be so blunt; I'm just trying to grab your attention, and shift your attitude *before* you hurt yourself.

Your job is, first, to understand what is going on, and, second, adapt to your environment for your own survival...not for the benefit of the ecosystem. Many lawyers are miserable, and assume that they're the only ones suffering. This is natural, and one of the reasons I wrote The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book was to let lawyers (and especially new lawyers) know that they're not alone, and prevent many of the problems caused more by inattention than through active disdain.

Don't be so quick to dislike practice. Yes, it's easy to look at the endless sheets of paper crossing your desk, and lose interest. Yes, it's easy to look across the street and imagine all the fun that everyone else is having. Stop. First, that's not fair to your client, who is paying large sums of money for your talent and attention. Second, it's a dangerous attitude in a world of increasing malpractice concern. Third, it's the first step of a path leading to your removal, in one way or another; don't head down that path without some thought. Fourth, it's short-sighted: Everyone else has stress and boredom, too. Finally, you're wrong. Very, very few jobs in life are both rewarding (intellectually and fiscally) and fun. To expect to be entertained at work -- any work -- is simply unfair. Instead, look to the interesting parts of practice. If you only look at the unpleasant aspects of your work, you'll miss the good parts...and you'll make the mistake of assuming that everyone else is cruising through life.

Also, focus, focus, focus. Once you've mastered an area, then master its intricacies. Not only is it personally rewarding, it'll be professionally rewarding, as well.

If you find that you really, truly, honestly don't like an area of law practice...fine. Plan carefully (and early) to shift to a different area, or to move to a different environment. (More on this is just a bit.) If you find that you really, truly, honestly don't like law practice *at all*...fine. Plan your exit as soon as you can. But take care of your clients and their projects in the meantime. And, in any career event, take care of fundamental professional demands, get comfortable with yourself as an attorney (even if you don't want to do it for long), and worry about self-actualization...later. Don't expect to be satisfied, immediately, and you won't be so disappointed.

Take care of the basics (and take care of them well), and your career options open up. Ignore the basics at your vocational (and emotional) peril.

Thane J. Messinger

PS: Sorry for the harsh tone, but that's part of the message--and it's better to get it from an unknown voice over the Internet...than from the throat of a dissatisfied boss. Don't put your career cart before the job horse. Figure out, now, the rules of the game. The trophies (career and personal) will follow.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Muslims prove that Islam isn't violent

In a phone call to The Associated Press, a group calling itself the "Lions of Monotheism" claimed responsibility for those attacks, saying they were carried out to protest the pope's remarks in a speech this week in Germany linking Islam and violence.
-yahoo news

So in order to demonstrate their anger about comments by the pope who was pontificating upon why the use of violence in the name of religion is unacceptable, these geniuses attacked church property. Not exactly "violent" per se, but good for a laugh....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

WHy I support baggy pants

Baggy pants are now a fashion trend well into the second decade, and I fully support this fashion trend. The reason?

June 20, 2006 — Any plumber could tell you droopy drawers tend to trip you up, but apparently a lot of crooks fail to listen. Loose-fitting, baggy jeans have been in fashion for years, but police officers say they can also help fight crime.

"When they run, it makes our job easier," said Jim Matheny, a lieutenant with the Stamford, Conn., police department. The 41-year-old told ABC News he has no trouble chasing down suspects who wear low-hanging pants.

"They go to take off and either they have to use their hands to hold their pants up or several times the pants just fell down around their knees and they had to stop running," Matheny said. "They spend all day thinking of ways to beat the police and then they go and put these pants on. It really handicaps them."

Matheny said that those considering a life of crime might want to take a look at their wardrobes first.

"It's hilarious to me if you think about it," he said. "This is what they do for a living. It's like when the big thing was not tying your shoes and we had kids running out of their shoes."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I found this particularparagraph while reading a piece on "Deadwood" (which I LOVE)in slate and couldn't help but sigh in despair....when will writers dispense with attempting to impress and just do the job of impressing?

A former Yale and Iowa English lecturer, Milch dresses up his auteurlike compulsiveness with a professorial bearing and impressive erudition, a pose that allows him to effectively advance his idiosyncratic vision for the series. He gets what he wants by keeping the line between perfectionism and egghead narcissism deliciously vague.

Successful prosecutors

From Hiroshi Matsubara’s “Trial By Prosecutor” (Legal Affairs: March/April 2003):

In 1990, a retired high-court judge gave an influential speech that indicted the criminal justice system [of Japan], citing the nation’s 99.8 percent conviction rate as evidence that prosecutors, not courts, decide the fate of criminals. Criminal trials, he declared, are merely “formal ceremonies” en route to conviction. …

Prosecutors are vested with tremendous authority, and courts routinely defer to prosecutorial judgment. The prosecutor, in collaboration with law enforcement, is expected not only to enforce the laws but to decide how to use them to serve the public good. He is given far broader powers of investigation than his American counterpart, including the ability to search, seize, and interrogate without the interference of defense counsel. Justice in Japan is often equated to cooperating with the prosecutor. One of the earliest changes made by legislators to the American legal framework was the addition of a “societal duty” to submit to questioning upon arrest.

Friday, September 01, 2006

True post from

I am the smartest person on this board
Posted by: sombara
Date: August 31, 2006 02:05PM

Prove me wrong

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Re: I am the smartest person on this board
Posted by: B.Rubble
Date: August 31, 2006 02:08PM

res ipsa.

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Re: I am the smartest person on this board
Posted by: sombara
Date: August 31, 2006 02:14PM

Non sequitur

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Re: I am the smartest person on this board
Posted by: pdiddy
Date: August 31, 2006 02:23PM

post hoc ergo procter hoc

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Re: I am the smartest person on this board
Posted by: sombara
Date: August 31, 2006 02:24PM

I have a 1 inchh erect dickk...

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Re: I am the smartest person on this board
Posted by: sombara
Date: August 31, 2006 02:42PM

EDIT: 11