Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2:16:36, a PR for CLA.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Via Topless Robot, the 13 best lawyers in comics. Some of these are judges, and I think that should be a separate list.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My CEPA "Visions of Greater Buffalo" entry.

I had a couple like this, actually, with several different buildings. I haven't seen a proof sheet so I don't know how the other shots came out, but there is an apartment building at the head of Cleveland Drive that I was hoping to get in the right light. The idea here, which is pretty Photography 101 I guess, was to capture the vertical feeling of the structure, sort of the way that the opening credits of "North by Northwest" work. The horizontal plane of the balconies and the windows contrast with the lampposts, which is what I was going for. I pass by this building twice a day and it always makes me happy- it is a somewhat anomalous structure for Buffalo, which is what I like about it. It was built long after the parade had passed the city by, but it has a kind of optimism. Its materials are different from the brick and sandstone of its neighbors, and have a modern feel. Its color is more Caribbean than Great Lakes. If you saw this building in Miami you'd shrug, but in Buffalo it stands out. This is one of several shots I took on a February afternoon when I went out for a run. The light was neutral, which may be why this ended up working.

It looks like several of the other photographers had more or less the same notion, which makes sense: we live in an urban area, and one of the defining qualities of US cities is the sense of vertical space. I tried some nature photography too, but it was February and I was trying to avoid photographs of snow-capped anything.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Driving back from CLA's commencement last night I mused over how pleasing it was to listen to the various speakers talk about the potential the members of the Smith College class of 2011 have to work good in the world knowing that CLA will be realizing that potential in January when she ships off to Africa on a Peace Corps mission.

I also thought about the clever way that Smith works with tradition. There are a lot of Smith traditions: Sophomore Push is a venerable one I didn't know about, for example. Shown here are two newer ones. These are some of the seniors who rowed with CLA. They wore their unitards under their robes, "a Crew thing" as CLA described it. The woman in the white hard hat is a graduate of the engineering program, which admitted its first students in 2000. The engineering graduates enter the ceremony wearing mortarboards like the rest of the students, and carrying these white helmets. When their degrees are conferred, instead of moving the mortarboard tassel from one side to the other they take off the mortarboards and put on the hardhats. The symbolism is terrific-- now they are ready to go to work-- but what I really like is that nobody bothers to mention it during the ceremony.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oh good. Newt's in. There is no downside to this that I can see.

FURTHER THOUGHTS: I am disposed to dislike the lot of them anyway, but even at that has there ever been a less likable field of potential candidates? Even Republicans are gagging. Mittens belongs to a kook religion-- I don't care how much the monied elite likes him, LDS is a deal-breaker, and then there is the Irish Setter, and the Massachusetts health care thing. In a sane world he could run on his record, but in 2012 he has to run as hard as he can to get away from it. Huck has the opposite problem-- religious nuts like him, but the money people don't. I also doubt that he really wants to go for it this time-- he is making good money for the first time in his life, and is unlikely to want to walk away from that. My theory about Newt is that Calista is always with him because she is the only person that can stand him. T-Paw is a non-entity on his best days. Sarah and Trump are both in the position of kinda having to stay in for the time being, just to remain more-or-less relevant. Nobody likes them, and The Situation has just about the same shot at the nomination. Barbour is out. Those are the popular ones. Then we get down to the truly hateful. Rick Santorum. Thank you, Dan Savage. Rudy Guiliani. All of Newt's baggage, plus he made his bones by going after the cats with money. He has no base is what I'm saying. I doubt he'd carry Staten Island. Michelle Bachman. A nut, pure and simple, Ke$ha to Palin's Lady GaGa. Jon Huntsman. I don't see this as a race about differences in foreign policy, and Huntsman was an agent of the incumbent's foreign policy. How is that a selling point?

There are more
, but I just don't see anyone from the back of this pack breaking out.

You know, out of this bunch Ron Paul starts looking pretty good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We wanted to go see Thor this weekend, but couldn't fit it in. This remix of the classic cartoon will have to do for now.

This Maureen Dowd parody effectively eliminates the need to ever read Maureen Dowd again. (Even assuming such a need ever existed.)

Monday, May 09, 2011

To the Pete Malinverni Trio at the Albright-Knox Saturday night, the final show in Bruce Eaton's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series this season. Bruce deserves every plaudit I can think of for working this project the way he has-- I am inclined to believe that it is one of the most important cultural institutions in the region. It sprang from his forehead full-blown, and now it has acquired a world-wide reputation-- pretty impressive. Usually at the end of a season Bruce lets us in on who is coming next season, but this year we just got a teaser. Charles Lloyd went back to his label after his performance and said that the Art of Jazz audience was the best they'd played in front of on their entire tour. ECM, which already liked the series and the venue, came back with this news, and told Bruce that they have an artist who'll be playing three dates in the US next year: one in New York, one on the West Coast, and when would be good for the Albright-Knox date?

Pete Malinverni, to get back to the artist under discussion, is originally from Niagara Falls, although he is now based in New York, so he had a hometown crowd to work with, full of family, relatives and friends. He reveled in it, and put on a bright, energetic performance that was a pleasure to hear. Really, when you get right down to it there are few things that sound as great as a piano trio. The pre-concert feature was a movie: Bill Evans in Helsinki, which documented Evans and his trio playing in a Finnish living room in 1970. At one point Evans said that the trio he was working with (Eddie Gomez, bass and Marty Morell, drums) played together "like water pouring from a faucet". I'd say that Malinverni and his group (bassist Lee Hudson and drummer Eliot Zigmund-- an Evans alum) were more like a mountain brook-- bubbly and bright, and more powerful than they first appeared. The opener was a Malinverni composition based on the changes from "What is This Thing Called Love"-- Malinverni titled his piece "Good Question" and that sense of humor pervaded the entire performance.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

It is going to be blog as notebook today. Here's something cool: The Willis Test. A few years back I was corresponding with someone about rock'n'roll as literature and I said that if the form has to be considered that way (I think it is a square peg myself) than we really need to talk about rock criticism. The late 60's through the 70's were a golden age for writing about rock, and Ellen Willis was one of its great practitioners. I was unaware of her test for misogyny in rock lyrics-- the equivalent of the Bechtel Test for movies-- but I like it:

"A crude but often revealing method of assessing male bias in lyrics is to take a song written by a man about a woman and reverse the sexes. By this test, a diatribe like [the Rolling Stones'] "Under My Thumb" is not nearly so sexist in its implications as, for example, Cat Stevens' gentle, sympathetic "Wild World"; Jagger's fantasy of sweet revenge could easily be female—in fact, it has a female counterpart, Nancy Sinatra's "Boots" — but it's hard to imagine a woman sadly warning her ex-lover that he's too innocent for the big bad world out there."

I found myself thinking about the issue of confidentiality in court filings this weekend, a topic that has long been an academic interest of mine. I searched Outside counsel for the presentation I made to the New York Commission on Public Access to Court Records back in 2003-- one of the purposes of this site is to act as a repository for that sort of thing-- but I couldn't find it, so here is a link. My bit is towards the end.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

I didn't have time to come up with anything creative for the Derby, and with this field who knows? I put $2 bucks on Mucho Macho Man on the nose.

This is probably delicious, but it looks like it would be at least as much fun to make as it would be to eat. I guess the trick at the heart of it is to turn the catsup into a solid that will hold up to the cooking-- a quick deep fry, sous vide, and then broiling, then a rest. No cheese, which is interesting...

Friday, May 06, 2011

When something does not bear repeating is that because it so slight or trivial a matter that no mention of it need be made, or because it is so horrifying and monstrous that its mere mention is itself horrifying and monstrous?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Because they feel like they have to talk about something, and because lots of things require more thought than they are prepared to bring to a topic I am hearing and reading pundits discussing the question of whether the photographs depicting bin Laden's corpse should be released. (See, also, Why won't President Obama release a photo of Osama bin Laden in hell?). The fact is that this is not really a close call-- we know from the release of the video of Saddam Hussein's hanging that releasing this kind of material is a bad idea. If you still doubt the wisdom of experience ask, 'what would Bush have done?'

Hilariously, the reason Bush did not see fit to accompany Obama to the World Trade Center site is apparently that he feels as though he did not get enough credit for killing Osama Bin Laden. There are still those who will tell you that Bush is smarter than he gets credit for, but I cannot believe they are serious. The dog the Navy SEALS brought on the mission is more self-aware than George W. Bush.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

I finished up my Lawyers in Movies class earlier this week. Scheduling issues meant that I had to move some things around, and although to my way of thinking the movie that should be the capstone of the course is Billy Wilder's "The Fortune Cookie" we ended instead with the Cohen brothers' "Intolerable Cruelty". I think I may move "Intolerable Cruelty" up in the rotation next semester. It is, like all of the Cohen's movies, built like a Swiss watch, and it is also more accessible to the age demographic I'm dealing with here. There are several running jokes/themes running through it. Dogs, for example. The Rottweilers that Marylin releases and that chase Rex Rexroth, (and Gus Petch) Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy's Papillon, Marylin's Poodle-- are all there because Marylin and her friends think of divorce lawyers as being like dogs-- some are hounds, some are Rottwielers and some are Schnauzers. All of them are hired to do one thing, and are, therefore, one-dimensional-- like Miles, and like Marylin.

Another joke-- the joke that the movie builds to in its conclusion-- is the "nail your ass" thing. The movie is well-enough put together for this to be funny in the beginning and all the way through-- in lesser hands it would have gotten tired.

Finally there is the Simon & Garfunkel theme. The movie opens with Freddy screwing up as he sings along to "The Boxer". Strict formalists that they are, the Cohens make a good joke out of the fact that Freddy is out of synch with the universe. The point is underlined by the fact that Simon & Garfunkel are noted for their harmony-- the fact that Freddy is incapable of properly singing along to a beautifully harmonized song demonstrates how inharmonious his life actually is, as we see as the scene progresses. We get Simon & Garfunkel throughout. The officiant at the wedding of Marylin and Howard Doyle enters playing "April, Come She Will", for example, a wildly inappropriate song for a wedding. ("June, she´ll change her tune/In restless walks she´ll prowl the night/July, she will fly/And give no warning to her flight./August, die she must/The autumn winds blow chilly and cold/
September I´ll remember/A love once new has now grown old.") The shaman doesn't sing those verses, but any S&G fan will know them.

And that's the thing. See, my students aren't going to be familiar with one of the more obscure tracks from "Sounds of Silence". They don't really know that S&G are perhaps most famous for the soundtrack of a movie about dysfunctional relationships. It is quite beyond them that the S&G break-up was second only to the break-up of the Beatles in terms of generational trauma (which is, I suspect, what these songs are doing on the soundtrack in the first place).

That's the challenge, I guess. I can explain the dogs, and show how the 'nail your ass' joke is constructed. I can point out that when Howard eats the prenup he is in a one shot, but when Marylin tears it up Miles is in the frame with her-- but an entire cultural education is beyond the scope of my seminar. Is it that we have more culture now that makes it so hard to get to universal issues in a class like this? I will admit that I am probably less attuned to the cultural touchstones of my students than my teachers probably were to mine (for the most part), but I'm not sure why that is.

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