Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Friday, January 31, 2014

You can whoop those two guys easy enough. But what if they come back with a friend who’s big enough to lift you off the ground and pin you to the wall with one hand? What then, slugger?

The Renaissance Faire may not be the source of all your problems, but it sure as shit isn’t helping any. 

The rash won’t go away on its own.

More good advice here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Williamsburg of Buffalo is Elmwood. (And the Bushwick is Allentown.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We all have our personal heroes and patron saints, and one of A's has always been Pete Seeger, who lived an exemplary life and lived like that to the very end. We should all try to live by our convictions, and Seeger did that, perhaps, at times, naively, but always with a sense of humility.
Carl Sandberg crowned Seeger "America's tuning fork." But when Bob Dylan called Seeger a saint, that was going too far.
"What a terrible thing to call someone," Seeger told USA TODAY on the eve of his 90th birthday. "I've made a lot of foolish mistakes over the years."
It is pleasing to think that this optimistic man lived long enough to see environmentalism become a mainstream cause, and stood on the  platform at the inauguration of an African-American President. If he was surprised at all by either it was probably only because he'd reckoned that these things would have come about sooner.
My job,” he said in 2009, “is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.”
The 50's that he lived in were a dastardly, cowardly time, and if all he'd ever done was to be cited for contempt of Congress that would have been a life worthy of commemoration.
“I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”
Watching the embedded video just now I felt uplifted. That's what great artists do-- and great people. Sometimes the death of a hero makes us feel diminished a little, but losing Pete Seeger doesn't feel like that: it feels more like he showed us the way.

Monday, January 27, 2014

To Tim Berne/Snakeoil yesterday, an afternoon of avant-garde jazz that left me feeling as though I had lightning coming from my fingertips. This was highly composed, tightly played music, and notwithstanding some sonic resemblances to free jazz the band was was working from a score. Great band--Oscar Noriega, clarinet and bass clarinet, Matt Mitchell, piano and Ches Smith, drums, vibes and assorted percussion. Smith's vibes had a very pleasing effect, taking things in some surprising directions. Mitchell's piano demonstrated how much room there was within each composition to move, and Noriega, a fireplug of a reedman, contributed texture to Berne's alto sound that meant that the whole was a great deal more melodic than someone walking by and just catching a snatch of what they were playing would have assumed. Granted, this sort of thing is not everyone's cup of meat, but one of the great things about Bruce Eaton's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series at the Albright-Knox is that it is a room full of people who get it.

An aside: Upcoming is Ambrose Akinmusire, who is, apparently, fronting the first "traditional" (trumpet, sax, piano, bass, drums) quintet the series has featured. Funny to think that we've had at least two bands come through that featured bass clarinet before we got trumpet and sax.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Greave's Rules
10. Regional variations. In various parts of the country, a particular establishment will impose its own individual codicil. In one Yorkshire pub, for example, the landlord's Jack Russell terrier expects to be included in every round. Where such amendments exist, and are properly advertised, they must be piously observed. We are, after all, talking about a religion.

Friday, January 24, 2014

You know what would be cool? Placemats that had losing presidential candidates. Or, even better, losing Vice Presidential candidates. Also, placemats featuring Speakers of the House! Make mealtime fun time!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I have often said that if someone is interested in getting into jazz one good way would be to buy a copy of Kind of Blue, then start collecting sides by each of the musicians on it as leaders. In fact, just finding sides featuring any of that Quintet's members would also work pretty well, and actually you could do worse than to just start exploring recordings issued by the labels that those cats appeared on: a shelf full of Blue Notes or Verve or..... well, it is a rich field. I listen to a lot of stuff, but when it comes right down to it, post-war jazz, and particularly the jazz from the mid to late 50's is music I can just slip into as comfortably as anything else. Before me is Arthur Taylor's first recording as a leader. Although Taylor recorded prolifically with others, he only made five disks as a leader, in 1956, 1959, 1960, and 1991 and 1992. The '92 side, Wailin' At The Vanguard, has been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard it, which, come to think of it, was around the time it was issued. The disk I'm listening to now (Prestige 7117), is amazing. It holds one cut from a March 22, 1957 session that I'd love to hear more of-- Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A.", featuring John Coltrane, Red Garland and Paul Chambers. The rest of the set features Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, pre-Monk Charlie Rouse, Ray Bryant and Wendell Marshall. This is the first band-- as opposed to solo-- recording of Monk's "Off Minor", and there is a nifty version of "Well, You Needn't" as well. The whole thing is a pleasure, one of those recordings that can just send you off on a listening binge.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kurt Warner. Kurt Warner started two Super Bowls for two different teams (Rams and Cardinals). Also Craig Morton. (Cowboys and Broncos). Morton was 0-2, Warner was 1-1.* Peyton Manning has been twice with the Colts and is 1-1.

*CORRECTION: Warner's overall Super Bowl record is actually 1-2; he started two with the Rams and split them (beat the Titans, lost to the Patriots). 

Friday, January 17, 2014

I've written in the past about my developing interest in Country music: in a lot of ways the form developed along parallel tracks from blues and rock and roll, although of course there has been substantial cross-fertilization along the way.When I replaced my phone recently I found that the bulk of the music on my old phone wasn't easily transferable to my new one, and that quite a bit of the music that did come over was stuff I'd downloaded from Any Major Dude With Half A Heart, particularly the History of Country series. I've found that the best way in to an unfamiliar art form is a trustworthy guide, and this series is beautifully curated. I mostly listen to music on shuffle, so six months ago there was a substantial amount of jazz in my mix which has now been replaced by fiddles and steel guitar, but this is suiting me fine at the moment. I used to think it was all cornball, but now I know that Dolly Parton deserves a Pulitzer Prize for her contributions to American culture.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Apparently Lucinda Williams is working with, inter alia, Bill Frisell. That sounds promising.

If soldiers had killed Escoffier’s family in front of him and then forced him to make dinner, this is what he would have cooked.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mother of mercy, is this the end of International Shoe?

UPDATE: There is a good discussion of Daimler Chrysler v. Bauman here. My sense is that we are in for a stretch of confusing arguments about jurisdiction.

Glenn Berger was in on some amazing sessions, and his memoirs are fascinating.

Monday, January 13, 2014

If you see only one movie with a cat in it this year, see Inside Llewyn Davis.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

At the Censorship Show last night at the Burchfield-Penny. Dorothea Braemer, the producer of the program asked me to help with the Q&A following the screening. At some point I realized that I'm more used to asking questions-- at trial, in class. This was like appellate advocacy, and it felt good to flex that part of my brain.

Friday, January 10, 2014

So long, Amiri Baraka. I used to think it was hilarious that for a long time his name appeared on the covers of his books as "Amiri Baraka (LeRoy Jones)", as though it was pronounced with finger parentheses. Now that seems to me to have been sorta racist. If you tried finger parens with Mohammad Ali (Cassius Clay), you'd be begging for an ass-kicking, and I wonder why Baraka tolerated it.

“Somebody Blew Up America” is probably the poem that he will be remembered by, and although I think it was wrong-headed and hateful I get it, I think. I'm a privileged middle aged white guy, and if I didn't feel a little ashamed of that I'd be the one who was mistaken. Baraka was one of the guys who helped me understand that.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Unless it was written by the late Doug Ireland-- or me-- the coverage of the Lawrence Brose case has been pretty shoddy. Today in the Buffalo News Colin Dabkowski gets it right, reporting just the plain facts. For those just tuning in, Brose has been fighting the charges against him since 2008. He is an experimental filmmaker and a former arts administrator who has exactly the resources you would expect someone with those credentials to possess-- along with the support of a few friends. He is a high-profile defendant charged under a merciless statute, being dogged by a prosecutor's office that has, for all practical purposes, the essentially infinite resources of the United States government. One federal court judge has already recommended that the charges be dismissed, and as the case has unfolded it has become more and more apparent that the government's case is nothing like as clear-cut as was initially thought. Since the government's case is weak, the government's best play is to double down-- if the case were to go to trial tomorrow Lawrence would likely win, but at what cost? His reputation has been trampled on, his savings exhausted. If the case were to go to trial in the ordinary course-- probably about a year down the road the way it is looking-- the result would be the same. Frankly, at this point, even in the unlikely event of a conviction the government will have accomplished it's goal. It has already won by crushing the guy.

It is very easy to talk about artistic freedom when you are standing in a gallery holding a glass of white wine. Standing with Lawrence Brose is a truer measure of one's beliefs. Dorothea Braemer and the other artists who have assembled tomorrow's Censorship Show have my utmost respect.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Because we are having a blizzard the radio clicks on every morning with the school closings. These are, in turn, evidence of the ethnic diversity of the Catholics who settled in this icebox two or three generations ago. For example, until I lived here I'd never heard of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, a sort of Justice League of saints that Rhineland Catholics invoke as protection against various ailments. Some I knew. St. Blase, invoked for protection against diseases of the throat, is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He extracted a fishbone from the throat of a choking child. On his feast day we'd go and have our throats blessed, an act performed with two crossed candles. Mr. Christopher, now thought to be apocryphal, is likewise familiar-- he used to be the patron saint of travelers, because in his origin story he carried the Christ child across a river. He is also good, I now know, for invoking against sudden and unplanned for death. Like the real Justice League the Fourteen Holy Helpers seem to be a group of several front line saints, and several who are more like the J'onn J'onzz or Red Tornado sort of saint. I think I am familiar with all of the 14, but in different capacities, generally, than in their disease-prevention roles: St. Elmo is the patron of mariners, for example, but also invoked for instances of abdominal maladies. St. Vitus is considered the patron saint of actors, comedians, dancers, and epileptics, which makes a kind of sense, and kind of doesn't.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Interesting that the only home team that won over the weekend was Indy. Flukiest win? I'd say Bolts over Bengals-- Cinci just sort of fell apart at the end. Also, Colin Kaepernick is a badass.

Other weekend notes: I've modified this Tuscan Braised Kale recipe by adding white beans and Italian sausage. It is terrific.

Cuomo is loosening marijuana restrictions, which is a good idea. What's not such a good idea is that he is doing it in such a limited fashion. David Brooks to the contrary notwithstanding reefer is pretty well established as a pretty benign vice-- and the criminalization of it has damaged and destroyed far more lives than toking up ever did. Should it be available to sick people? Of course it should-- I can't see how that's even a serious question. Should it be available to anyone over 18 in a regulated marketplace? Why on earth not?

I thought the Little Sisters of the Poor were a football team.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Everything about the way that Lynne Stewart was treated was an affront to what Outside Counsel believes about what American justice should stand for, but now-- at last-- she has been granted compassionate release, and will be allowed to die at home.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

'But Hodge shan't be shot; no, no, Hodge shall not be shot.'

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