Law and its many connections -- law and literature, love, lollipops, & fun, law and everything else under the sun
Notes: 1) LawAndEverythingElse.Com & BurtLaw.Com don't solicit business for any law firm or give legal advice, other than that lawyers may be hazardous to your health. There are many more bad ones than good ones. Who can find a virtuous lawyer? Her price is far above rubies. It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for a lawyer to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. So saith the Lord. 2) In linking to another site or source, we don't mean to say we necessarily agree with views or ideas expressed there or to attest to the accuracy of facts set forth there. We link to other sites in order to alert you to sites, ideas, books, articles and stories that have interested us and to guide you in your pleasure-seeking, mind-expanding, heart-opening, soul-satisfying outer and inner travels.
"All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
"All the news that gives judges and lawyers fits." Burton Randall Hanson
"The best way to prepare for the law is to [become] a well-read person. Thus alone can one acquire the capacity to use the English language on paper and in speech and with the habits of clear thinking which only a truly liberal education can give. No less important for a lawyer is the cultivation of the imaginative faculties by reading poetry, seeing great paintings,...and listening to great music...." Felix Frankfurter
"Every thing should be treated poetically -- law, politics, housekeeping, money. A judge and a banker drive their craft poetically as well as a dancer or a scribe....If you would write a code or logarithms or a cookbook, you cannot spare the poetic impulse...." Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Weblog/webzine on law and its relation to everything else.
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Library of Congress September 11 Web Archives. BurtLaw's Law And Everything Else, i.e., this website, is part of the Library of Congress September 11 Web Archive, which preserves the web expressions of selected individuals, groups, the press and institutions in the United States and from around the world in the aftermath of the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. Date Captured: September 20, 2001 - December 17, 2001.
Friday, 09.30.2005 - Might this day, fifty years ago, have been the real day the music died? At 3:30 p.m., 09.30.1955, just outside Bakersfield, driving his new Porsche Spyder 550 on the way to Salinas, with his mechanic beside him, he is stopped and ticketed for speeding. At 5:45 p.m., at the intersection of Routes 466 and 41, near Chalame, the Porsche collides with a sedan driven by a fellow named Don Turnupseed. His mechanic is thrown free and survives. James Dean is dead. More at 09.30.2005 at BurtonHanson.Com.
It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis - still relevant 70 years later. "In 1935 Sinclair Lewis, Minnesota's Nobel-prize-winning novelist, published It Can't Happen Here, a novel that imagined the coming-to-dictatorial-power in America of a demagogic politician who promised quick solutions to the Depression, as Hitler had done in Germany in 1933. Fact is, it already had happened. Right here in good ol' Minnesota. And our courts helped make it happen...." More
On judicial swimsuits & the Rules of Judicial Conduct. "Undoubtedly, a judge's wearing nothing but a swimsuit in the courtroom would be deemed to not only demean the judiciary but cause disrespect for the judiciary and interfere with the administration of justice. This is so despite the fact that some of the greatest artistic representations depict Justice as a scantily-clad (and blind) woman and Law as a scantily-clad (and all-seeing?) man...." More at Law & Swimsuits.
Where have all the jockstraps gone? "If you're a guy of a certain age, chances are you wouldn't think of hitting the gym without the all-important jockstrap. For the uninitiated, the item known more formally as an 'athletic supporter' consists of an elasticized waistband and leg straps connected to a pouch that holds....You women can think of it as a sports bra for a guy's....Bike Athletic, the jock's apparent inventor and primary distributor, claims that it has shipped 350 million supporters in the past 130 years. But in recent years, this great elasticized chain binding men across the generations has snapped...." From Where have all the jockstraps gone? -- The decline and fall of the athletic supporter, by Daniel Akst (Slate 07.22.2005). "No jockstrap"? We think otherwise! That's as crazy as saying, "no bra" or "no Santa Claus." We refuse to listen to such nonsense. Not only do men still wear jockstraps and women wear bras, but there are, we believe, lawyers specializing in Jockstrap-and-Bra Law. If you're a Jockstrap-and-Bra Lawyer or just an ordinary person who's curious about this area of legal specialization, click here for a little something we like to call "BurtLaw on Jockstrap and Bra Law."
The everyday saints of my youth. Black branches that sometimes blossom. Minor poets who once or twice in our meager lives produce something beautiful. Small-town Norwegian women whose crafts were making pies and rosettes -- and making memories for little boys.... More at BurtLaw's Secular Sermons.
BurtLaw's "Father of the Year - 2005" - Rev. Dr. Norman J. Kansfield. Until earlier this year, Dr. Kansfield was president of New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey. His daughter Ann, 29, studying to be a minister and engaged to be married, asked him to perform the ceremony. Of course, he did so. What decent father would refuse? For doing so, trustees of the seminary told him they would not renew his contract and he could face other disciplinary action. On June 17, 2005 a "trial" was held. with the general assembly of the Reformed Church in America sitting in judgment. By a majority vote, the assembly voted that Dr. Kansfield violated church law in officiating at the wedding of his daughter. Punishment will follow, perhaps an admonition, perhaps removal from the church's rolls as minister, perhaps excommunication from the church. Where did Dr. Kansfield go wrong in officiating at his daughter's wedding? Well, it seems that in the church's view, his daughter, Ann, married the wrong person, a woman. In his own defense, Dr. Kansfield said he believed he was "following the spirit and letter of the law." Of course, he was referring to what Christ said was the only law: love. "Ministers were not asked, he said, 'to pledge ourselves to the unity, purity and peace of the church , but to the things that make for unity, purity and peace.'" More (N.Y. Times 06.18.2005). I think I hear echoes of Martin Luther in that. Martin Luther said no man needs a priest to stand between him and God -- every man and woman is his or her own priest. But every girl needs a Teddy-Roosevelt-like "bully father" to stand up for her and talk with her and guide her -- and, if asked, officiate at her wedding, even to a boob (or someone with boobs). Dr. Kansfield has answered "the call" to be a good minister, a good man, and, most importantly, a good dad. In my opinion, any so-called church that condemns him for that ought to re-read the Gospels. More.
Of fathers & small-town barber shops & fishing & walleye beer batter. One summer day in 1952, when I was nine years old, I was getting a haircut in one of the chairs at C. K. ("Goose-o!") Brenden's Paris Hotel Barbershop, when Bill McAllister came in to get his daily shave and shoot the breeze with "the boys." Bill had been a traveling casket salesman from Ohio, I believe, back in the 1920's. A handsome man, he became enamored of Anna Hoiland, daughter of the owner of Hoiland's Mortuary & Furniture Co. (for some reason, the two, caskets & furniture, always were sold by the same guy in small-town America). Bill & Anna got married and had one kid, a boy, but.... More at BurtLaw's Fathers & Kids
June 2005 - Ol' Blue turns 17. Ford Motor Co. is observing its 100th birthday. I have owned two Fords for a total of 25 years, one-fourth of all the years Ford has been making cars. My first car, a classic aqua-velva-coloured Mustang, served me well from 1966 to 1976. All June we are celebrating the 15th birthday of Ol' Blue, my 1988 Ford Crown Victoria LTD wagon, which I bought new in 1988 and which recently passed the 197.000 mile mark. Re Ol' Blue's role in rescuing my daughter on Father's Day, click here.
Bill of Rights Golf - The Game. Professor Doug Linder, University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School, has devised an online computer game that you can play right now. It tests your knowledge of hornbook Constitutional Law, the kind law students learn and lawyers tend to forget. It's called Bill of Rights Golf. At the end of your round, drop by the James Madison Clubhouse and quaff a beer or two.
BurtLaw Places. Spring scene, Lake Harriet, one of my two favorite lakes in the famous chain of urban lakes located within the borders of Minneapolis ("City of Lakes").
In Norway.... "In Norway it is a custom to remove one's parrot from one's shoulder when entering a novelty telephone shop." This was the "Lie of the Day" on Sunday, 06.08.2003 at Dave's Web of Lies' "Lie of the Day." In the archives at Dave's you'll find lots of similar facts-of-the-day submitted by readers, including these goodies: a) All baked beans are individually numbered on the inside. b) Bathing in 'fat digesting' washing powder is under trial in America as the latest means of losing weight. Initial findings suggest that weight loss can be as high as 6 pounds per hour from a single E3 sized box. c) If you release a coyote onto a checkered floor, it will only walk on one coloured square, avoiding the other colour entirely. d) Belgian males remove their trousers while driving. e) The phenomenon known as the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is actually caused by the laser show at an open-air discotheque in Tromso, Norway f) Although best known for playing the saxophone, Bill Clinton first learnt the tuba, but was advised to give up by his PR consultant prior to the presidential elections. (06.09.2003)
Song on my mind today: People, complete strangers, often stop me on the street -- I suppose because I'm a pretty approachable guy -- and they invariably ask me to recall, as they put it, "the thrill of them all." Why it just happened yesterday. I always tell them what I will tell the angels when they ask me the same question. In so many words, I tell them that I remember you. Sometimes I answer in song: "When my life is through/ And the angels ask me to recall/ The thrill of them all/ Then I shall tell them/ I remember you...." The song? I Remember You, music by the composer whose name is on the tip of everyone's tongue, Victor Schertzinger, lyrics by the old reliable, Johnny Mercer, from the 1942 movie musical, The Fleet's In. In the movie the song was performed by Dorothy Lamour, Bob Eberly, Helen O'Connell, and Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra (see soundtrack listing). The song has been recorded by many other artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Ifield, Bette Midler, Björk, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, and Diana Krall.
BurtLaw Poem. Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928) is among my favorite poets. Critics think of him as one of the last as well as best of "the Old" and one of the first as well as best of "the Moderns." I "discovered" him in the 1970's and acquired his gigantic Complete Poems, which I return to often. It is one of my favorite volumes in all of literature. Among my favorite Harding poems is this one, on the "passing preciousness of dreams," A Young Man's Exhortation. Want more Hardy poems? Click here. Want more BurtLaw poems? Click here and here.
BurtLawDailyQuote: "As a rule I detest argument -- no one ever is convinced by it." William Carlos Williams, the great doctor-poet, in a letter dated 03.22.1921.
Future Pipefitters of America. The NYT reports that two guys named Schellhardt (brothers?) have won a patent (#6,561,810) for a toy construction system that allows kids to build "fluid piping systems" and, in the process, helps them learn the basics of plumbing. When I was a kid we had Gilbert Chemistry Sets and Gilbert Erector Sets. When my kids were little they had Lego Systems. But if you've a son, at least, and you want him to be popular with the chicks, you might consider buying him one of these fluid piping systems once they're on the market. I know an attractive & otherwise bright babe of whom it was rumored (falsely, I presume) that she was a sort of pipefitters' groupie. :-) I'm thinking I might develop a BurtLaw Junior Lawyer system that will allow kids to open their own pretend law firms and play the civil "justice" game. Here are some recent links dealing with that game: Reforming contingency fees (LA Daily News); Judge steers fees to friends, supporters (NewsNet5). And see, BurtLaw's Lawyers on Parade and BurtLaw's Law and Economics. For a story on Law and Pipefitters, see Labor Dept. sues over pipefitters' hotel (Hotel-Online).
The real Waldo. My pick for the greatest American is Ralph Waldo Emerson. If I had to pick one writer whose writings have influenced me most, I'd also pick Emerson. The list of people he influenced is long, and includes some of my favorite writers, e.g., Thoreau, William James, Robert Frost, and Wallace Stevens. His influence continues. He was a contemporary of many of our great writers during the "Flowering of New England," including Hawthorne, Melville, and Longfellow. One of these was Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a medical educator at Harvard and wildly-popular author, as well as father of the great Supreme Court Justice of the same name. Emerson's thinking and some of his style are reflected in Justice Holmes' opinions and other writings, including his extraordinary letters. For example, consider this November 1842 entry from Emerson's journal: "Do not be timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment....What if you do fail, & get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never more be so afraid of a tumble." Compare it with this from Holmes' great dissent in Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919): "[T]he best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market....That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe..." Emerson's voice is a revolutionary, true, pure American voice. Emerson links: Ralph Waldo's Laws (LawAndEverythingElse.Com); profile and poems (Academy of American Poets); links to works (Bartleby.Com); links to texts (EmersonCentral.Com); link to texts (RWE.Org); Emerson & Transcendentalism (Transcendentalists.Com); Essay: "The Sage & the Self-Promoter" (NEH.Fed.US).
A prayer -- for hard-hearted judges & lawyers & people -- for "the Scalia" in each of us -- a common prayer I remember from my youth, based upon Ezekial: "Lord, take away my heart of stone and make it a heart like yours, a heart of flesh. Amen."
BurtLaw Quote. "Observance of customs and laws can very easily be a cloak for a lie so subtle that our fellow human beings are unable to detect it. It may help us to escape all criticism, we may even be able to deceive ourselves in the belief of our obvious righteousness. But deep down, below the surface of the average man's conscience, he hears a voice whispering, 'There is something not right,' no matter how much his rightness is supported by public opinion or by the moral code." Carl Jung, from his 1931 introduction to Frances Wickes, The Inner World of Childhood. More quotes: here and here.
Harvard Law School in Professor Kingsfield's day. Recently the publisher of John Jay Osborne's novel The Paper Chase reissued it in a 30th anniversary edition. I graduated the same year Osborne started out as a 1L, and the Harvard Law School described in the novel is the Harvard Law School I experienced as a shell-shocked student from Minnesota, which, coincidentally, is the home state of its main character, Hart -- the guy who gets to bed down with Kingsfield's enigmatic daughter, played in the movie version by Linday Wagner. I didn't bed down with Kingsfield's daughter nor was I half the student Hart was, but.... More at Advice to a Recent Harvard Law Grad.
Illicit sex in the Supreme Court!!! I didn't suspect that the members of the court even knew how to do it, but how wrong I was:
I met Justice William Douglas, the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court, when I was clerking for Justice William Brennan. Douglas struck me as cold and brusque but charismatic -- the most charismatic judge (well, the only charismatic judge) on the Court. Little did I know that this elderly gentleman (he was sixty-four when I was a law clerk) was having sex with his soon-to-be third wife in his Supreme Court office, that he was being stalked by his justifiably suspicious soon-to-be ex-wife, and that on one occasion he had to hide the wife-to-be in his closet in order to prevent the current wife from discovering her....
From The Anti-Hero by Richard A. Posner in 02.24.2003 The New Republic (via law.uchicago.edu/news), a review of Bruce Allen Murphy, Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas (2003). Judge Posner adds: "Apart from being a flagrant liar, Douglas was a compulsive womanizer, a heavy drinker, a terrible husband to each of his four wives, a terrible father to his two children, and a bored, distracted, uncollegial, irresponsible, and at times unethical Supreme Court justice...." Apart from that, was he an "o.k. guy"? (02.28.2003)
Romantic screen kisses. The most romantic screen kisses are in movies from the days when nude scenes were not only not obligatory but not allowed. My favorite is also Lisa Zeidner's favorite: "Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, jointly holding the phone to their ears in 'It's a Wonderful Life' (1946)." Lisa Zeidner, "When a Movie Kiss Is More Than a Kiss," New York Times 04.30.2000, reprinted at the author's site, LisaZeidner.Com. More at BurtLaw on Law and Kissing.
The Love Calculator. When I was in high school there were a number of mathematical formulae one could use to determine one's compatibility with a classmate of the opposing gender. Thanks to The Love Calculator, one can now get a quick calculation presumably using one of those old time-tested formulae. The instructions for this one are to type in your full first and last name and the full first and last name of the person in whom you're interested. More at BurtLaw's Law and Love I & II.
Randall Kennedy on Clarence Thomas' choice of a spouse. "Q - Has having a white wife helped Clarence Thomas throughout his career? A - There the thing is so crosscutting, so rich! You have this ultraconservative black judge who is married in Virginia, and of course it was the case Loving v. Virginia that struck down antimiscegenation laws. But not only does he live in Virginia; his wife's name is Virginia. And another thing is he is the Supreme Court's most vocal proponent of originalism. He could never have been married under the Constitution as it was originally written. And then during his confirmation hearings, one of his strongest advocates is Strom Thurmond. I mean, this was beyond anything any novelist could have come up with." From Color Dynamics, an interview by Regan Good of Randall Kennedy, author of Interracial Intimacies, in the NYTimes Magazine 02.09.2003).
Our failed sentencing policies. "The inevitable consequence of America's high incarceration rate is a high prison-release rate -- and the prisoners getting out are more often more violent or antisocial than they were before. It's time to rethink -- and rebuild -- rehabilitation and parole." Catch and Release by Margaret Talbot (The Atlantic January/February 2003). More at BurtLaw on Crime & Punishment.
Interrogation, confessions, audiotaping and videotaping. Our recent critical casenote, infra, dealing with Minnesota's experience and example with respect to the use of electronic recording (audiotaping and/or videotaping) of police-conducted interrogations, both in the field and at the stationhouse, continues to receive good play. More at BurtLaw's Featured CaseLaw.
Coming soon to a court near you. I have long felt that one of the public policy outrages of the 1990's was the federal government's failure to discourage -- indeed, its indirect encouragement of -- the manufacture and sale of SUVs. And back in 1997 I predicted that plaintiffs' lawyers someday would target the manufacturers, and maybe the drivers, of SUVs. The other day the New York Times, in a story titled The Lawyers are Lurking over SUV's, reported that, yes indeed, plaintiffs' lawyers are targeting SUV manufacturers, giving us yet another example of government by default -- that is, expensive litigation in the courts as a substitute for the responsible leadership that big business and big government fail to provide. Giving fuel to the litigation engine is NYT reporter Keith Bradsher's book, High and Mighty: SUV's, reviewed by Stephanie Mencimer in The Washington Monthly in a piece titled Bumper Mentality, a piece that begins, provocatively enough, with this simple query: "Have you ever wondered why sport utility vehicle drivers seem like such assholes?" (Actually, I know some who aren't.) In any event, although I believe our society is not only overlawyered but over-litigated and over-regulated, I guess I'll be pleased if anyone --even plaintiffs' lawyers -- help put an end to SUV-madness. (01.06.2003)
Aluminum bats don't break. Let's outlaw them. A few years ago Massachusetts was thinking of outlawing aluminum bats. I'm not sure if they did, but I'm all for it. Their reasons were partly of safety: baseballs hit with aluminum bats travel at higher speeds and thus carry with them the potential of inflicting greater harm if they hit someone. There are other reasons I'm for such a ban, one being that aluminum bats don't break, or don't break as easily, as wood bats. Baseball bats that break easily are a good thing. See Broken bats and the lessons they teach.
Of war talk and war plans, of Eros and Death. In response to some of our anti-Bush, anti-BushWarOnIraqII postings, a friend informs us that she prays for peace but adds that "good" must "overcome evil" and therefore she "understand[s] that war [with Iraq] is inevitable" to protect the good old USA from "more evil," which she posits will ultimately benefit the Iraqi people if we can free them by "quash[ing] evil dictatorship."
Interestingly, this kind of thinking and rhetoric illustrates points made in an interview I serendipitously came across at TomPaine.Com with Chris Hedges, a New York Times war reporter who is the author of a recently-published book titled War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, a book that analyzes what happens to good people and good societies as they go to war. He "unravels the myths and dysfunctional nationalism that grip nations heading to war; the intoxicating effect of these causes and rhetoric; and the terrible costs that soldiers, victims and societies pay -- when the realities of war -- not the rhetoric -- are experienced." Hedges observes that at the inception of a conflict leading to war:
"The state gives you a language to speak and you can't speak outside that language or it becomes very difficult. There is no communication outside of the clichés and the jingos, 'The War on Terror,' 'Showdown With Iraq,' 'The Axis of Evil,' all of this stuff....The myth [of the glory of patriotism and war] predominates -- the myth, which is a lie, of course, built around glory, heroism, heroic self-sacrifice, the nobility of the nation. And it is a kind of intoxication. People lose individual conscience for this huge communal enterprise....We become the embodiment of light and goodness. We become the defenders of civilization, of all that is decent. We are more noble than others. We are braver than others. We are kinder and more compassionate than others -- [and] the enemy...is perfidious, dark, somewhat inhuman. We turn [our enemies] into two-dimensional figures. I think that's part of the process of linguistically dehumanizing them. And in wartime, we always turn the other into an object....The defeat in Vietnam made us a better nation and a better people. We were forced to step outside our own borders and see how other people saw us. We were forced to accept very unpleasant truths about ourselves -- our own capacity for evil. I think that that process, especially during the Reagan years, or at least that state, began to disintegrate. War once again became fun: Grenada; Panama, culminating in the Persian Gulf War. So that we're now at a process -- Freud argues that all of life, both for the individual and within human society, is a battle between Eros, or love, and Thanatos, or the death instinct. And that one of these instincts is always ascendant, at one time or another. I think after the Vietnam war, because of the terrible costs that we paid, because of the tragedy that Vietnam was, Eros was ascendant. I think after the Persian Gulf war, where we fell in love with war -- and what is war, war is death -- Thanatos is ascendant. It will, unfortunately, take that grim harvest of dead, that ultimately those that are intoxicated with war must always swallow, for us to wake up again...."
A new kind of "judicial outreach" program -- lecturing kids while driving school bus. See "Q&A of Dr. F. Lavoris Pusso, SuperNintendent of Schools" at BurtLaw's Law & Kids.
Greatest Dick in History? My pick? Dick Tracy. He's the cop whose sophisticated understanding of constitutional law ("A murdering rat like you has no constitutional rights") inspired many of us children of the '40's & '50's to go to law school or become cops or legal secretaries. He also helped habituate some of us to read newspapers regularly. In my case, the daily comic strips, of which Dick Tracy was my favorite, and the sports section were the two main reasons I was a regular reader of the Minneapolis daily newspapers at an early age. I loved the great rogues and villains created by Dick's creator, Chester Gould -- characters like Flyace, Flattop, Jerome Trohs and Mama, Littleface, B-B Eyes, Breathless Mahoney, The Brow, Crewy Lou, Cueball, Momma and the Midget, Mumbles, Pruneface, and Rughead. Want good guys? How about Chief Brandon, Sam Catchem, B.O. Plenty, Gravel Gertie, Sparkle Plenty, Pat Patton, Tess Truehart, Junior Tracy, Vitamin Flintheart, and Diet Smith. Gadgets? Dick had scores of them, including one I always wanted, the two-way wrist radio. And I loved his "crimestoppers tips." And the way bullets fired by Tracy made perfect holes in people. Here's a link to a selection from the 1936 Dick Tracy series The Hotel Murders. Further reading: BurtLaw's Law & Comics.
Baywatch Law? I've been meaning to write a "recommended reading" on the novels of John Casey, one of three outstanding fiction writers whose attendance at Harvard Law School in the 1960's overlapped with mine -- the other two are James Alan McPherson, the Pulitizer-prize-winning short-story writer, and John Jay Osborn, Jr., author of The Paper Chase and of a new, soon-to-be-published sequel to his novel, The Associates). The first Casey novel I read was actually a novella, A Year in Mid-Air (1972), republished in Redbook's Famous Fiction 56 (1977) (Harriet, a sweet, shy, pretty girl with "soft features...high, smooth forehead and...pale, fine hair," makes the Harvard Law Review, then asks her study-mate, stuttering Harry, to.... More
"Sit down & shut up," the teacher explained. Dr. Peter West, an expert on the education of boys, has said that ''For too many...boys, school is a place where they have to sit down, shut up and write this down.'' (National Post 06.29.2002). I agree with this observation and other ones by Dr. West. For some of my observation, see, BurtLaw's Law and Kids.
True Romance. You may have been sucker enough to watch, as I did, the unimaginative broadcast on CBS that premiered the American Film Institute's pedestrian list of the "Top 100" romance films. Here's the list.. As an example of glaring omissions, Rear Window (1954), which is my pick for "best movie I've ever seen," didn't make the list, although the lesser Hitchcock movie, To Catch a Thief, did. It's true that Rear Window is partly a suspense movie about voyeurism, which is classified by psychiatrists as one of the paraphilias or perversions of the love instinct. But Vertigo, which is also about a perversion of the love instinct, did make the list, and the romance at its core is anything but "romantic." What's so romantic about Rear Window? In case you didn't catch on when you saw it (don't feel bad, the people who assembled the list apparently didn't catch on either), each apartment into which James Stewart and his voyeuristic accomplices peer is occupied by individual(s) experiencing some form of romantic love (or murderous hate, its opposite) or the anticipation or loss of love. And at the core of it all is the terrific (totally healthy, not the least bit perverted) romance of James Stewart and Grace Kelly, the latter at her absolute freshest and loveliest.
My list. Everyone who likes romantic movies, as I do, has his or her own list of the top ones. Here's my list, in two parts: one & two. Of movies I've seen this year, one I'm going to add to my list when I get around to it is Monsoon Wedding, which I saw with my lawyer daughter. One of the weddings in the movie is an arranged one between two members of a well-to-do upper-class caste, the groom being an Americanized Indian who meets his bride for the first time on returning to India for the wedding. In such weddings the ceremony typically precedes any romance, but in this one...well, see the movie. The other romance in the movie, a "downstairs" one between a poor-but-upwardly-striving wedding- or party-planner & a servant girl, is one that is not at all arranged. Another one I also saw with my daughter, and enjoyed, is Punch-Drunk Love, starring Adam Sandler and the beguiling Emily Watson.
Why is health insurance so expensive? All you have to do is watch TV to figure out one reason: drug companies fill the airways with subtle ads that persuade the gullible public that there's a drug that'll solve nearly every problem. I saw a study recently that said a high percentage of docs are inclined to prescribe a drug if a patient requests it. Reason? They fear the patient will switch to a different gate-keeper clinic if they refuse. Politicians this last summer and fall added their ads to the mix in an attempt to persuade a gullible public that if elected, they'd solve the problem. But you're not likely ever to hear any politician say that we all maybe ought to think twice before we run off to the doctor asking her to prescribe yet another drug. What drugs are you on? Here's a list of the 300 most-prescribed drugs (via MetaFilter).
Protect your nerdish kids! I read a story in The Onion about some obviously-good parents who are rightly concerned that their nerdish kid will fall in with the popular crowd. One thing those parents could do is buy their kid one of our BurtLaw Nerd Club Pocket Protecters. Worn in the left front pocket of a nerdishly-white dress shirt, this badge of pathos will say to the popular kids, "I'm a nerd; stay away." And (this is the good part), it really works! Only $14.95, plus a modest shipping & handling charge of only $20.05. Free BurtLaw Nerd Club Member certificate included.
Fathers and kids. When my lawyer daughter was a second year student at Harvard College, she signed a contract with the Boston publisher, Houghton-Mifflin, to write a trade paperback, The Real Freshman Handbook: An Irreverent & Totally Honest Guide to Life on Campus, which was published in 1996. See, interview/profile in Harvard Gazette. The book has made its way onto a number of "recommended reading" lists for college freshmen. See, e.g., this piece in a University of Colorado alumni publication by William C. Marolt, CEO/President, U.S. Olympic Ski Team, Park City, Utah, recommending three books to kids about to go to college and their parents, one of them J. HA's book. Very few books stay in print for long, fewer still do well enough to justify a second edition. J.HA's book has remained in print since it was published and has been sufficiently successful -- "enormously successful," according to Houghton-Mifflin -- that H-M subsequently published a revised, updated second edition, with around 20% new material, including a new cover. Click here for table of contents. The new edition of the book was featured at graduation time a couple years ago in a national promotion of "Gifts for Grads" by Barnes and Noble. More...
The paper chase revisited. "This is one of the great puzzles of the modern workplace. Computer technology was supposed to replace paper. But that hasn't happened. Every country in the Western world uses more paper today, on a per-capita basis, than it did ten years ago...." From The social life of paper, by Malcolm Gladwell (Gladwell.Com).
Rehnquist Confidential! When I was a teen, there was a Hollywood gossip tabloid called Confidential, a forerunner to today's National Enquirer. Somedays methinks there is enough "story material" to justify my publishing a separate weblog/webzine called Court Confidential, which would take readers "behind the burgundy velvet curtains" and reveal "all the news that gives judges fits." Occasionally, I could have "special collector's editions," e.g., a special issue devoted to the other famous Swedish jurist (after Per Curiam), C. J. Wm. Rehnquist himself. There are a couple fairly current items on the internet newslines that I could use right now. One is the story of C. J. Rehnquist's little hissy fit over a minor breach of the Chief's sense of courtroom decorum and dignity during a recent oral.... More Update. We actually are publishing such a weblog/webzine now. It's called BurtLaw's The Daily Judge.
Lack of imagination. It's a BurtLaw Rule-of-Thumb: politicians who yammer that we need to "get tough on crime" by mandating prison terms for this or that offense or offender are charlatans and/or they lack imagination -- in my view, usually both. They're charlatans, because they think voters are suckers and they'll say anything to get their vote. They lack imagination, because... More
BurtLaw Featured Sites. The Oyez Project at Northwestern University Law School has a special section devoted to current and former Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. From LLRX's review: "Overviews [of each Justice] include appointment information and professional experience with an interesting biographical sketch. You can also view a list of cases in which each Justice participated and additional online resources. That information is not on the front page, it is in a series of tabs on the left side of the screen. The same information is provided for former Justices, all the way back to John Jay who served from 1789 until 1795." Earlier featured sites.
Unlicensed, uninsured motorists - 17 million of 'em. Robert Miniter had an Op/Ed piece dated 09.10.2001 in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal making a plausible argument that illegal aliens -- of whom there are an estimated six to nine million -- should be allowed to obtain driver's licenses. He notes, although it is not the point of his piece, that there are an estimated 17 million unlicensed drivers, a very high per cent of whom are illegal aliens and presumably almost all of whom are uninsured. One in five fatal accidents involves an unlicensed (and therefore uninsured) driver. "As a result," says Miniter, "auto insurance rates for law-abiding Americans are artificially higher. Insurance companies have learned the hard way that unlicensed, uninsured drivers rarely pay up -- so you do." While Miniter at that point moves on to other matters to support his main argument, I would like to stop at that point and remind everyone that there is a sensible solution to the problem of high insurance rates we all pay because there are so many uninsured motorists. It's called pay-at-the-pump auto insurance. Many insurance companies, oil companies and personal injury lawyers apparently don't like the idea, as the popular consumer finance writer Andrew Tobias found out in promoting his version of the plan in California. But it is an idea that I think merits careful consideration by lawmakers. Since everyone has to buy gas to drive, motorists who now drive without insurance could not escape paying. Moreover, they, like everyone else, would pay according to their use of fuel. Therefore, an additional benefit of the plan, among several, is that it would encourage use of fuel efficient vehicles. The idea is explained here in detail.
"What does the Herfindahl-Hirschman index measure?" That's the first of 71 questions on the last version of the infamous trivia quiz U.S. Circuit Court Judge Danny Boggs gives his law clerk applicants. I know the answer to the first question because the "Herfindahl" in the HHI is my late mom's late cousin, Orris Herfindahl, who died trekking in Nepal. Click here for the latest story about Judge Boggs & his clerks, three of whom have appeared on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, click here for the New Yorker story and here for the quiz and the answers.
How to contact BRH. I like it when readers contact me. Recently, for example, a large number of high-school students around the country who have found my page on capital punishment via Google have written me. Unfortunately, "spammers" have a way of automatically surfing the Internet and extracting e-mail addresses from sites such as this. I don't like receiving spam. In an effort to foil them, I am not posting my e-mail address in complete form or on a filled-in easy-to-use click-and-send e-mail form, as before. Instead, I will give it to you in three parts: my e-mail moniker, the @ part, and the e-mail server. You put the three together if you want to reach me. :-) The three parts are: BurtLaw; @; and LawAndEverythingElse.Com
DMCA Digital Millennium Copyright Act Claim Notification Info pursuant to Subsection 512(c): Sites registered: TheDailyJudge.Com, DailyJudge.Com, BurtLaw.Com, LawAndEverything Else.Com, BurtonHanson.Com. Designated Agent for Service Providers/Sites: Burton R. Hanson, Owner/Webmaster, 5111 Wooddale Ave. S., Edina, MN 55424. Call digits: first three 952, second three 922, final four 9471 E-mail: Address to "burtonrandall" at "yahoo.com" (I have deliberately not put the address in typical e-mail form, e.g., ABC@TheDailyClog.Com, because when one does so, the automated web-trollers used by spammers add such e-mail addresses to their lists). Note: I believe the best way to request removal of an item on my blog under DMCA is to send an old fashioned letter. :-)
Announcement. We've finally gotten around to launching our new webzine/blawg: BurtLaw's The Daily Judge:
It is not an online newspaper and is not affiliated with or intended to be mistaken for any existing or previously-existing newspaper or journal. Rather, it is a so-called "blawg," a law-related personal "web log" or "blog," one with a subjective, idiosyncratic, and eccentric sociological and social-psychological slant that focuses not on the latest judicial decisions of supposed great importance but on a) the institution of judge in the United States and in other countries throughout the world, b) the judicial office and role, c) judicial personalities, d) the great common law tradition of judging as practiced here and throughout the world, e) judges as judges, f) judges as ordinary people with the usual mix of virtues and flaws, etc. We link to newspapers and other sources in order to alert the reader to ideas, articles, stories, speeches, law books, literary works and other things about "judges" that have interested us and that may interest the reader.
We don't promote our blawgs, but readers of this blog and of our affiliated political opinion blog, BurtonHanson.Com, may be interested in it. We don't think there is another blawg quite like it.