Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A fellow model's account of the Tunick installation at the Central Terminal. "My mom asked if it was at all erotic. I answered that it was about as erotic as a pancake supper at a Methodist church. Heck, maybe not even as erotic as that." I don't think I agree, exactly. Unless my mental image of a Methodist pancake supper is radically different from the reality, 1,800 naked people are far, far sexier.

The way people react to my participation in this event has been interesting. My law partner's mother, for example, thinks it is hilarious-- probably the last person I'd have guessed who'd have seen the humor in it. A lot of people seem to think that this is just one more example of the "What the hell?" attitude I apparently give off-- very few people have been surprised that I did it. Years ago I told EGA that it is better to regret what you've done than it is to regret not doing something. I hasten to add that this is not an absolute rule, but her experience seems to bear out the wisdom of this approach, and it has mostly worked for me as well.

I picked up "A Simple Twist of Fate" in Northampton-- I had wanted to read it, and it is just the right length for that sort of, "I need something to read tonight, but tomorrow I'll have the Sunday papers," gap that sometimes occurs when traveling. Ashley Kahn has written two excellent books about the making of classic albums: "Kind of Blue" and "A Love Supreme", and among the albums in the rock cannon deserving of this sort of treatment, "Blood on the Tracks" has to rank pretty high. It is an iconic recording, with a great back story: by far Dylan's most confessional work, he recorded two versions: one in New York, with Phil Ramone producing, and then, after deciding he wasn't satisfied with that, a second, with uncredited musicians in Minneapolis. The version that was ultimately released has some of the New York tracks, but is mostly the Minnesota sessions. We have access to some of the alternate, New York tracks (including a version of "Simple Twist of Fate" that I had not known about, on the "Jerry McGuire" soundtrack)-- the lyrics differ slightly, and the sound overall is more introspective and intimate. What would the original have been like?

Regrettably, the book is not up to the standard Kahn has established for others working in this genre. When it focuses on the task at hand-- the making of the album, what went on during the sessions, the response to the record-- it is interesting stuff, albeit a little bit more technical than anyone probably cares about. I suppose the microphones that were used, and the makes of tape decks, and the brand of tape are interesting in a way, but not really so very interesting as to merit inclusion in an already thin book that has been puffed up with stuff about Nixon and Vietnam that reads like it was cribbed from some news magazine's end of year wrap-up. I'm really looking for more stuff like the fact that Mick Jagger was in the booth getting wasted while the steel guitar parts were being overdubbed. Or the thoughts of the musicians as they worked through this material. Or the backgrounds of the Minneapolis guys, who were, it turns out, local jazz musicians. Or the story about taking "Tangled Up in Blue" up a key, to A, forcing Dylan to sing at the outside of his range, and lending the song a haunted quality missing from the earlier take-- or subsequent live versions.

We probably know as much as we ever will about Dylan's personal life from the songs themselves, although some of the gossipy bits are interesting-- I enjoyed the stuff about the Columbia A&R woman he seems to have written "You're Going To Make Me Lonesome When You Go" was written about (so that's where Ashtabula is!). There is enough interesting new information here to make a worthwhile, in depth magazine article. The rest is so plainly filler that is actually annoying. I never fell for "Self Portrait", and I was never fool enough to buy "Dylan"-- the album of "Self Portrait" out-takes, but buying this comes close.

Monday, August 30, 2004

John McCain is, we are told, a popular politician. Courted by both Kerry and Bush, he allowed the idea that he might accept the VP nomination from Kerry to float out there, but then shut it down. He has been critical of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads, and he is praised for this, but it seems to me that it shouldn't be too hard for someone who was smeared by the same people the same way to come out against this sort of unscrupulous politics. In a way this is sort of typical of McCain's integrity: his big issue is campaign finance reform, and that's because he got caught out once himself. I am leery of that sort of virtue-- the reformed can be quiet about it, or they can become missionaries, and I suppose I prefer the former.

I also question the integrity and independence of someone who would stand with George W. Bush after having been attacked by him. Obviously McCain is doing this because he sees an opening, and in most politicians I suppose this wouldn't warrant much comment. From someone who enjoys McCain's reputation and popularity, however, I think we might be excused for expecting something more. I have never thought McCain was anything special-- he's a conservative Republican, as far as I can see: there is nothing in his voting record that suggest to me that he stands for anything that I agree with.

The Senate is a funny place: because it is small, the members have to learn to work with each other in order to get things done. This can lead to some very strange bedfellows: Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch are best buddies, for example. It is hardly surprising that two Vietnam Vets like Kerry and McCain would find that they had enough in common to become friends. I believe that the principals and the country believe that this election is important-- I think the most important in a generation. I think that it speaks poorly of McCain that with considerations of friendship and country on one side, and considerations of personal ambition and party loyalty on the other, he chose to stand with Bush and his own prospects four years from now.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Judge Posner on privacy in the context of encryption: "[P]rivacy is an equivocal good. This statement will shock many people, for whom “privacy,” like “liberty” and “justice,” signifies an unallowed good. In fact all that “privacy” means, in the case of communications at any rate, is concealment, which obviously can serve bad as well as good purposes; few civil libertarians are so doctrinaire as to deny that there are some situations in which wiretapping of phone conversations is legitimate. So what if telephone or other electronic communications are so effectively encrypted that wiretapping (or wireless tapping) is impossible? It would be another example, analytically symmetrical with that of the use of encryption to protect (and extend) copyright protection, of technology upsetting a balance deliberately struck by the law, in this case between freedom and safety."

The problem, as I see it, is who sets the balance. Typically it would be Congress, a blunt instrument for such a delicate task, to say the least. In the context of the NSA's monitoring electronic communications what we are talking about is the Executive branch doing it, a subtler hand on the scalpel to be sure, but not necesessarily one I trust more.

Actually, who I trust is the judicial branch, but nobody is ever happy with that solution. Judges don't want to get involved with this sort of thing, and probably rightly so: as ham fisted as Congress is, the mind of man has conceived fewer clumsier tools than the lawsuit. When "activist judges" are criticized I suppress a sneer-- judges don't go out looking for cases to decide. Questions come to them, and they do what they can about providing answers.

In a funny way privacy rights are like electricity. High power lines are just bare wire, you know. Utilities depend on what is called "insulation by isolation" to protect against electrocution-- they suspend the wire away from where anyone can easily get at it, in effect depending on air and distance to provide insulation. In a similar way, the vast bulk of personal data that exists operates to protect the privacy rights of most people.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

To Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes last night. I saw Johnny and the Jukes at the Calderone Concert Hall in Hempstead. They were touring behind "This Time It's For Real", so it must have been 1977 or '78. I won the tickets in a contest sponsored by WLIR ("Avant Garde Radio"), and I remember it was a terrific show. Actually, I don't think I ever saw a bad show at the Calderone-- unless you want to count all those Todd Rundgren shows that I thought were just swell at the time.

The years have been good to Southside Johnny, who somewhat resembles a squaty version of my brother. His material is strong, (he introduced Springsteen's "Fever" years ago, and I still prefer his version, for example). I'm a sucker for a flash horn section, and this was all that, spinning their horns, putting on the dance moves-- great stuff. This sort of thing seldom comes off as well on record, unfortunately-- live it's a big band, but recordings turn it into "Chicago III". Still, if it came down to Springsteen at HSBC or Johnny and the Jukes somewhere down the block, I'd have to go with Johnny. It takes a fair amount to get me dancing, but there I was, grinning like an idiot. As I walked down to the Square last night I thought about what it would be like if Southside Johnny traded bands with Ted Nugent. The Motor City Madman would get the better of the deal, but Johnny and the Amboy Dukes would still work out. I expect that both would end up doing "Journey to the Center of Your Mind", and they also both might do "Walk Away Renee". Or maybe not.

I didn't get to much Thursday in the Square this year: should have gone to Kim Mitchell and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and probably Blue Rodeo; made it to Leon Russell and Spirit of the West.

Nellie McKay is coming to the Center for the Arts. "Get Away From Me" has been making me happy all summer. By every report I've seen she is an engaging live performer, so this looks like a must attend, I think.

The other must attend on that list is David Sedaris, October 16. I am also tempted by the Derick Trucks gig, November 17. Trucks is one of the artists they play a lot on WFMU-- when I am driving around downstate, I write down the names of people I want to follow up with, and my pockets are stuffed with little scraps of paper that say "Derick Trucks". He works the jazz side of the Allman Brothers Band equation, rather than the boogie side, and I have a feeling I'll be sorry if I let him leave town without seeing him.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Here at Outside Counsel we are big Richard Posner fans: judges that are legal philosophers, and literary critics, and intellectuals are rare, and that's just scratching the surface of Judge Posner. He is "guest blogging" at Professor Lessig's site, and I've just caught up with what he is laying down.

How great would it be to take a class from this guy? Here he is on the fair use doctrine: "The doctrine, which has close counterparts in patent and trademark law, permits a degree of unauthorized copying of copyrighted works. Shocking! If a teenager takes a joyride in my car and is arrested, can he defend by arguing that it was a “fair use”? No, but the example points up an important difference between physical and intellectual property, a difference obscured by the use of words like “theft” and “piracy” to describe unauthorized copying. If someone takes my car, he deprives me of its use. If he copies my copyrighted book, I still can read, use, and sell the book, although my publisher’s and my income may be less because one fewer copy will be sold. But maybe not--maybe the copycat wouldn’t have bought the book if he’d had to pay the retail price. And if instead of copying an entire book, a book reviewer quotes a paragraph from it, I may well be better off (in contrast, say, to someone who doesn’t want to drive my car but just store stuff in the trunk); and if he had to get my permission to quote, I might be worse off, especially since reviews would lack credibility if reviewers needed the author’s permission to quote. Unauthorized quotation by book reviewers is an example of fair use."

Phil Spector has retained Bruce Cutler. I've always thought that the Cutler story would make a great novel-- or maybe even better, a movie. He is famous for representing John Gotti, of course, and all by itself the consiglieri thing is interesting-- Tom Hagen was always my favorite character-- but there is more to it than that.

When A. joined the Brooklyn DA's office out of law school she found herself in one of the most talented groups of lawyers I have ever seen. She was one of the first classes Liz Holtzman recruited, and they came from all the top schools in the country. One of them was Bruce Cutler's brother, Rich, who was pretty much regarded as one of the best of the group. The Cutler's father had been a cop. He'd gone to law school, and had a little neighborhood practice in Brooklyn. Bruce came out of law school and joined the DA's office back when Gene Gold was running it. He was a star, and after he came out and went into private practice he pretty quickly acquired a reputation as the defense lawyer to get. And then he went on retainer for Gotti. There was a time when that was a full time gig, and he had a real winning streak going. In his first trial defending the Dapper Don Cutler slam-dunked the indictment into the trash can, called a prosecutor a slut and ignored repeated warnings from Judge Eugene Nickerson to stop badgering witnesses. Meanwhile his brother became a career prosecutor-- he's in the US Attorney's office in California these days. The whole thing is so cinematic, and now it will have a Phil Spector score. I mean, can't you see it? It would open in Scorcese black and white, the mean streets of Brooklyn, then blaze into California color, "Da Doo Ron Ron" playing in the background....

I imagine the Cutler boys would argue about who Duvall would play.

iPod Addiction. Right now I am just getting a kick out of putting music on mine, but I have to admit, I do love this toy. I don't run with music, or work with music, but it is wonderful when I'm traveling. It seems to me that New York is a better place or this sort of thing than Buffalo: when I'm in the car, I listen to the radio, but the iPod is really more satisfying. I had a walkman when they were new-- actually, I had several, culminating with a Yellow Sony Sports model-- but the iPod experience is different. I have over a thousand songs on the thing,(and room for ten times that many) and that sort of catalogue depth means that I have music that works for anything. I mostly just shuffle, and have been pleasantly surprised by how nicely one song works with the next. It's such an elegant little device, too, cool, clean and white like a refrigerator, compact, with enough heft to let you know it's a serious piece of technology. I love the control interface-- completely intuitive. At home I have a gigantic piece of furniture to hold my music; when I am done ripping it all, it will fit in a device that's smaller than a deck of cards. I've never been a Apple user, but I get it now.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

This is a still from a videoThe Brooklyn District Attorney's office describes as the centerpiece of its case against Justice Gerald Garson, showing him accepting $1,000 cash and a $250 box of cigars in his office from attorney Paul Siminovsky, in return for giving him the edge in divorce cases and for referring clients to him. The tapes were shown to the jury last week in the related trial in which the Judge's clerk and court officer are being prosecuted. The New York Times reports: "In the final tape shown yesterday, made March 10, 2003, Justice Garson shares with Mr. Siminovsky some of his judicial philosophy.

When Mr. Siminovsky asks, "Do you got any trials this week?" Justice Garson replies: "Let me tell you something about this job. One of the greatest things about this job is I don't know what the [expletive] I have tomorrow until I get here. I don't give a [expletive] either, you know."

Mr. Siminovsky replies, "Can't argue with that."

A few minutes later on the tape, Mr. Siminovsky hands the judge something that prosecutors say is a short stack of ten marked $100 bills. The judge pockets it without comment. Ten minutes later, Justice Garson, alone in his office, pulls what appears to be the money out of his pocket and counts it.

After an interlude in which he is interviewed in his office by a high school student, Justice Garson, having apparently summoned Mr. Siminovsky back to his office, gives him back the money and asks him to write a check to his wife's judicial campaign instead.

Mr. Siminovsky urges the judge to take the money and offers to write a check, too. Justice Garson seems to agree and puts the money in his drawer.

A few minutes later, Mr. Siminovsky leaves the office.

"Keep the faith," he tells the judge." Posted by Hello

Friday, August 20, 2004

I walked into the courtroom where I am presently trying a case and found the judge, an affable sort, on the bench, chatting with the court stenographer. "Here's something that's up your alley," he said. "Do you know about "The Wizard of Oz" and Pink Floyd?" Now, as it happens I do know that it is said that if one is really baked and plays "Dark Side of the Moon" at the same time as "The Wizard" the two are supposed to match up in some revealing way-- but I have never tried it. For one thing, perhaps uniquely among white males in my age cohort, I have never owned a copy of "Dark Side".

"I've heard about it," I admitted, "But what I want to know is why you thought I would have." I didn't get an answer, and now, for some reason, I want to see "Meet Me In St. Louis" this weekend. Maybe I'll play "Are You Experienced" in the background.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

We were at dinner a week or so ago with a couple who moved from the Buffalo area to Washington, D.C. a couple of years ago. They grew up here, and had lived here all their lives, and were well known for their civic-mindedness. They kept their house here, and come back in the summer-- a sensible thing, as anyone familiar with the summers in the two places can tell you. Over the course of catching up with this and that we talked some about the current state of Buffalo. It's always some sort of drama here, of course. We are, at present, being governed by a financial control board; no one knows what is going to happen with the Peace Bridge; the Superintendant of Schools just quit and there is a big fight about whether to accept private financing to conduct a search; Drew Bledsoe may be washed up; and the culture of the place remains one where people enjoy complaining generally.

"Is Buffalo ever going to turn the corner?" Tom asked. I tried to answer the question, but I feel like I dropped the ball. I've been thinking about it since, and I think I should have started by asking, "What corner?" There is a sense around here that Buffalo should be something other than what it actually is, and this has the effect of making the people who live here feel like it is some sort of Third World country. As a former New Yorker I find it hard to get my mind around the idea that people compare Buffalo unfavorably to Pittsburgh or Cleveland, but they do, and they shouldn't. For starters, both of those cities have much larger populations (Pittsburgh has about a hundred thousand more people living in the city than Buffalo; Cleveland is roughly twice as populous). Both have larger metropolitan area populations.) Another popular city to compare Buffalo against is Toronto-- the economic and cultural capital of an entire nation.

Buffalo is never going to be those places. It is never going to be New York, either, although I think most of the people who live here are fine with that, at least. (I wouldn't mind it, but that is a different story.) I'm not so sure that I know what people want Buffalo to be, but it seems to me that a lot of the people who are complaining about it fail to consider what it is. It is a town with a great music scene. I have been a lot of places, and I have never, ever seen a city with a more diverse and accessable arts community. It has a great university, and a lot of nice little colleges, which means that it is a city with a whole lot of well educated people. I practice all over the state-- the quality of bench and bar here is second to none. I'm not crazy about the Buffalo News, but it is not owned by a chain (the Gannett papers are both a plague and an embrassment to a lot of otherwise decent communities, and they aren't even the worst).

When we moved here, a friend told me, "Once you get past the weather, it's fine." The weather is mostly not even all that bad: I would prefer a shorter winter, but the winter here is far from being as brutal as it is thought to be. The summers really are pretty nice, even this summer, which has been mostly wet. I'm not really even all that worried about Bledsoe's arm.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I dunno, does everybody have a hard-luck ball club that they kinda like, but don't actually root for? Mine has always been the Expos, which is weird, because they play in the same division as the team I actually like. I can't help but wish better things for them then they ever get. About as good as it gets for them is Gary Carter throwing the team a bone and going into the Hall of Fame in an Expos' cap. (I wouldn't be seen in an Expos cap. Ugly for one thing. Look like beachballs.) The Expos are just snakebit-- whenever it looks like they might contend, there's a strike or something. The Cubs got nothin' on the Expos (and the Red Sox are just whiners).

The Astros are like that, too. Someone should look into just how it is that a team that always seems like it has the talent it needs to contend somehow manages to fall short every single time. As close as they ever got was the '86 NLCS-- as good a series as I've ever watched (Carter hit .148 for that series, by the way, with one double). How psyched were Astros fans this winter when the Yankees let Andy Pettitte slide from their fingers to sign with his hometown team-- and then persuaded Roger "Wicked Fat" Clemmons to come out of retirement and join him? Who'd have thought that Clemmons would continue to be Clemmons, and Pettite would end the season with elbow surgery, 6-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 15 starts? I mean, sure, there is a big karmic debt for artificial turf, and those uniforms never helped, but it would really take a heart of stone not to feel bad for the Astros.

Monday, August 16, 2004

This doesn't really capture it. Posted by Hello

Sunday, August 15, 2004

What could be sexier than standing in Buffalo’s abandoned Central Terminal with hundreds of other people, all naked? I couldn’t think of anything, so when I read in the paper that Spencer Tunick was looking for volunteers for one of his installations I signed up that day.

Tunick has been photographing large groups of nudes all over the world, and I have found his work fascinating for as long as I have known about it. The buzz that surrounded his coming to Buffalo was closer to a low roar all summer: it seemed like everywhere I went, anytime people were standing around holding drinks there was talk about it. Naked being what it is, whenever my wife volunteered that I had signed up there were always jokes, but a surprising number of people would then confide that they’d thought about going themselves. Buffalo being Buffalo, I knew I’d know other people there-- I just wasn’t sure if that was a good thing. Did I want to be naked in front of people I know? Did I want to see them naked?

Because so many people were talking about it, I found that I was thinking about it more than I might have if this was just something I was doing on a whim. The whole idea of mass public nudity in the context of what Tunick does is powerful and complex. As I looked at the photographs of previous installations I was struck by the fact that they were erotic, but also more. Nude white bodies lying on the street, or on plazas in front of iconic buildings evoked nuclear holocaust in my mind; and the idea of hundreds of naked people in the ruins of the Central Terminal-- in the heart of the Polish East Side, drew my thoughts to the trains that brought the European Jews to their deaths.

Beyond that there were the technical details. What do you wear to something like this? Where do you put your keys? The e-mail instructions we received were not particularly helpful: “You will only be nude for a short period of time during the actual installation. The event will be finished by approximately 2:00 pm. While posing do not wear any clothing. No hats, no sunglasses, no jewelry, no socks. Completely nude. Also, it may be easier to undress and dress in a more timely manner if you do not wear any underwear, so you may want to
forgo wearing any that day.”

I figured parking might be a problem so after I showered and pulled on a tee shirt and a pair of running shorts I rode my bicycle to the Terminal. I’d guessed right: traffic was streaming off the 33 onto Filmore at a steady rate. You could fire a cannon down Filmore most times of day, most days of the week, but on this Sunday morning it was like rush hour on one of the main arteries into the city. I noticed a few out of state plates, and passed a woman walking with her baby. “Everybody’s got to see the naked people,” she said, shaking her head. Cars were backed up for several blocks-- more people than I have ever seen on the East Side, Easter Week included.

The Terminal sits in a neighborhood that was always residential, far from downtown, or anything else, in the middle of a crumbling parking lot. The lot was full, and police were directing traffic. People were streaming in. I locked my bike, presented my Model Release to one of the volunteers, and joined the crowd at the back of the Terminal. It was a warm morning. I started wandering around, trying to get a feel for who was there. Some couples, some people on their own, but mostly what seemed to be same sex groups of two or three or four, there on a lark. Some mothers with their daughters, and I saw one father and son; a fair number of what I would classify as old hippies-- of both sexes, with long gray ponytails. Some people who pretty obviously arrived on their Harleys. A fair number of college age people. I didn’t see anyone I knew, until I did, two of my cool neighbors. It was the first and only time I blushed throughout the whole adventure, bright red, but I got over it.

Tunick’s program director got up on top of a stepladder and made some announcements. People were still pouring in. The atmosphere seemed to be becoming more relaxed as more and more people arrived, saw that they weren’t the only ones that thought this was something good to do. For the rest of the event I continued to see people I knew, or people I recognized-- in the end, the waiting area looked pretty much like any gathering of about 2000 people from around here. The scene started to remind me of the start of a road race, like the Shamrock, or the Turkey Trot, only more lightly attired, and with the mild subcutaneous electric thrill that comes from the thought that we were all doing something a little different, a little bit sexually charged. We were all about to be in a big group of naked people.

Tunick mounted the stepladder, and started giving instructions. He thanked the people who helped put the installation together, thanked us. The crowd was enthusiastic, ready to applaud and cheer anything. Tunick had us separate into two groups, men and women. The men booed, good-humoredly, and we shifted positions. I thought about what it all meant, taking direction from a man with a bullhorn talking to us from the top of a ladder, trying to discern if this was part of some sort of dark, totalitarian vibe, but it didn't feel like that. It was more like a day at the beach. Tunick told us that the first “set up” would be with just the women, then he would do something with everyone, and then he’d “do some other things”. He was charming throughout, with a higher voice than you’d think, dressed in black jeans and a black tee shirt to identify him as the Artist. Everyone in the crowd seemed to immediately like him. He made light little jokes, and seemed to be trying to get everyone to relax. It worked. Whatever tension or anxiety that had been out there before dissipated as we separated. The women were on the inside of the crowd now, closer to the entrance of the Terminal. After about ten minutes the call came for the women to disrobe, leaving their clothes where they stood.

Through the crowd of men they could be seen. Suddenly a lot more tattoos were in evidence, but something else was immediately noticeable: these women looked great. There was applause and cheering from the appreciative men, and there were hoots and cheers from the excited women, who proceeded to walk into the Terminal, each looking like a figure in a Renaissance painting. The men waited outside.

With the women gone (we could hear the occassional cheer from inside) the men were at loose ends. Anxious to disrobe, a lot took off their shirts; others of us looked around for a good place to leave our clothes. At least one guy decided that he was there to be naked, and just undressed; he sat on his clothes in the lotus position looking more naked than you would think a naked guy could. The man next to me took a yellow plastic grocery bag out of his pocket, sat down and put his sneakers in it.

No one bothered to climb a ladder to tell the men to disrobe. The call came, and everyone was naked. There was less hooting and cheering as we entered the Terminal-- from the men. The women cheered, and as my eyes adjusted to the light I saw that the same thing I've seen outside was true inside. The soft gray light, filtered though the dirty windows of the Terminal made the bodies of everyone standing there glow with warmth. We’d really only seen the women from the back, like so many Botticellis -- they owned the space we were entering now, and saw us as we marched in, tender footed, shoulders back.

If we were all naked all the time we would all have better posture. If we were all naked all the time, we would all feel more beautiful, I think. Everyone in there looked great.

The Terminal space is vast, and Tunick’s first concern, standing on top of the shopping end of the concourse, was to have us fill it in. I would estimate that the ratio of men to women among the models was about two to one; this meant that there were now quite a few more bodies to fill the area. There was ample personal space, although we were all pretty much within arm’s length of the nearest person in each direction. When he was satisfied that the models were properly disbursed, he told us that he was going to photograph our faces first. He had us close our eyes, then open them on a count of three. We did this several times. We’d been instructed to take off our glasses, so the mass of naked humanity in the room during this was really just that for me-- undifferentiated people colored shapes. Now that we were in it, whatever anxiety there had been outside was completely gone. Everyone was excited, buzzing, and hearing Tunick’s directions was sometime difficult.

He had us turn around, backs to the camera, then kneel, and hold ourselves in a ball. At this point the experience became more like modeling, as we held the position we were in for a minute or two several times. Standing in between shoots I was aware of the people around me. Curled in a ball on the floor I was aware of the Terminal’s dust from the floor on the soles of the feet of the person in front of me, the pattern of the terrazzo floor, the stiffness in my knees and back.

He then had us kneel, with the left side of the room leaning left and the right side of the room leaning right, and then dismissed everyone there older than 30 and younger than 50-- just about exactly the way I describe my age, about half of the entire group. I filed out with the others, again struck by how simply beautiful the people around me were, and sorry that the whole thing was over so quickly. We emerged into the early afternoon, butterflies turning back into caterpillars, no one looking as wonderful as we had a moment before.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Julia Child was one of those 20th Century figures whose influence improved the quality of a lot of people's lives, including mine. She was a Smith grad, of course, and she died today, in her sleep.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Kate and I have a little game we play sometimes: she picks up a copy of The Economist and we try to spot the slam on America. There's always one or two, just twitting, really, meant mostly in fun. (The KRAC game is similar, but easier: find the slam on France in Maxim.) The game is useful because it forces you to read the whole magazine-- the slam may be buried in a long article about the Horn of Africa, or something else that we'd be unlikely to read otherwise. It is a terrific magazine, but, like The New Yorker (or the New York Review of Books, or a couple of others I could mention) it is really too much to read every week. Ernie the Attorney points us to the magazine's style book, and particularly the section on Americanisms-- great stuff.

The music choices politicians make don't have to be flat out terrible. I'm good with Clinton and "Don't Stop", and one of the things that made Jimmy Carter seem sorta hip was that he quoted Dylan. That says it all when it comes to being hip in politics, though-- Jimmy Carter and Fleetwood Mac are as cool as it gets. I don't understand why this is so, but it appears that the Kerry campaign has the same Classic Rock disease as just about everybody else. From Salon: ' "All Right Now" is followed by the theme to "Rocky." "Revolution" starts but soon skips to the truly execrable "Eye of the Tiger" by '80s nightmare Survivor. The reporter beside me has been covering both campaigns for months. "Can Republican music be any worse than this?" he asks.'

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I walked out of the courtroom yesterday amazed that my adversary hadn't taken our last offer. He had made it quite clear that he was unhappy about the prospect of paying for his experts, even though he said, at the same time, that he felt the verdict value of the case was much higher than what we were talking about. I looked at the jury and I saw a pretty conservative looking group. He said he saw something else, but there was enough money on the table that he had to have been thinking about his downside.

You have to know when to go for it, but "no guts no glory" is a mistake a lot of younger lawyers make, and it looked like he was about to. Sometimes it works, but the climate isn't very plaintiff friendly right now, and I wouldn't have tried this case over the difference between where we were, so when I left the building I was shaking my head.

I'd just finished unpacking when the call came on my cellphone. I'm sure he feels bad about not going for it, but knowing when to fold 'em is important. His fee is a lot better today than a third of nothing would have been, and his client is two thirds better off than she would have been if she'd gone home with two thirds of nothing. I decided that a run in Central Park was what I wanted to do with my unexpected evening off.

Friday, August 06, 2004

From Slate, the best argument in support of same sex marrage I've seen: "Every heterosexual marriage has two partners, A and B. Some of the benefits, like tax benefits, are mutual – they apply to both A and B as a unit. Some of the benefits only apply when partner A has done something (like dies). In those cases, the benefits "springs" on B and B alone.

"In either instance, the sex of A or B is completely irrelevant. If A is male, female B gets spousal immunity. If A is female, male B gets survivor benefits. And visa versa.

"This is the key point in the debate over same-sex marriages. If it doesn't matter whether B is the male or female in a heterosexual relationship, then why does A's sex even matter? More technically, why is it rational to think that a male partner of a female deceased can make a burial decision that a female partner of a female deceased cannot? Answer: It isn't rational to think that."

It consistently surprises me that Bush does not have more of a credibility gap. I can understand, sort of, why a lot of people prefer to believe that he is not stupid-- it would reflect poorly on themselves, and besides, most people do not particularly value intelligence. That said, it has been my experience that most people resent being lied to, and most people are at least skeptical enough to inspect the things they are told for a passing resemblance to the truth. The best way to defend a case is to catch the other party out in a statement that can't be defended as true. Even modest exaggeration debases the coin of credibility to the point where a jury will be inclined to discredit most of what that party has to say. I wonder if the Swift Boat attack ad that is presently being run may be the bogus claim that establishes once and for all that these people will say anything if they think it advances their cause, regardless of a statement's relationship to reality. It seems to me that Bush's credibility is already unraveling: although Kerry is not suggesting that the recent terror alert is based more on politics than on actual intelligence, there seem to be a number of people that default to that assumption. The whole terror alert thing seems more like a political toy than anything else to me: we are all as jumpy as cats all the time, and nothing that Tom Ridge has to say about the color of the day has any effect on that.

I'm spending most of next week in NYC, and I'm more afraid of Republicans in town for a pre-convention visit than I am of anything else.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I love the idea of New York forming its own country, but if it goes, I want to go with it. Can't the Empire State secede, and not just The City? I recognize that there are problems with this-- big parts of New York State are Red State places, but that is true even of the five boroughs. I mean, Staten Island? (Actually, what does it mean that the place in New York that are the most Republican are the ones with the fewest people? And hey, isn't that true about all the States?) Posted by Hello

A couple of years ago I appeared on a local cooking show with Pam Priest as part of an effort to promote the plaintiff's personal injury aspect of our practice. The other day I saw a tape of the program for the first time. A couple of observations are in order. First, the camera adds fifty pounds. Easily. What I don't understand is why I seem to have gotten Pam's 50 as well as my own.

Do I really sound like that? I make Jimmy Breslin sound like Rex Harrison. Bobby Flay seems modest and soft-spoken next to my schtick. And I mis-identified sauce Meuniere as one of the Mother Sauces! What an ignoramus!

On the positive side, my technique looked pretty good. And the dish turned out well-- the host dug right in, and was obviously enjoying it. So I got that to fall back on.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Ice cream recipes from Jeffrey Steingarten. A. brought home some peaches the other night, and I proposed making ice cream. "Noooo," she cried, "My nice peaches are too beautiful to make ice cream. If I thought that was what you would want to do, I'd have bought a bushel." Because a bushel of festering peaches, and the resulting cloud of fruit flies is so much nicer than Peche Meredith Vanilla Gelato with Peaches, Raspberries, and Chilled Zabaglione.

I'm sure that in the distant past, in one iteration of Outside Counsel or another I have linked to this cool "Great Day in Harlem" site, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth doing again. Thanks to "The Morning News" for reminding us.

Monday, August 02, 2004

To Celebrate Brooklyn to see They Might Be Giants with EGA over the weekend, a nice trip. We left early Friday to have some time in the City, and knocked around in Chinatown and the Village for the morning. EGA reports that she understands about 20% of what she sees and overhears in Chinese-- a respectable percentage, particularly since there seems to be a fair amount of Cantonese being spoken. We had a pleasant late lunch/early dinner (really our favorite time to eat) in Park Slope, and then on to the concert. More anon re TMBG; on our way to the park we stopped at a bookstore to get something to read while we stood on line. I was looking for Art Pepper's "Straight Life", but nobody ever has it in stock. I found instead, "Quintet of the Year", by Geoffrey Haydon about the Charley Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach and Charles Mingus concert at Massey Hall in Toronto. The show and the recording of it are legendary -- it was the only time that all of these musicians played together, and the book does an excellent job of setting the stage. Along the way it clears up some questions I've always had (What was up with Parker's plastic sax? How come the sound engineering is so spotty? What is the deal with the discography on this document?). Haydon then devotes a separate chapter to the lives of each of the principals following the concert, which is also revealing and worthwhile. A lot of what I know about these people comes from Miles Davis' autobiography, and Ian Carr's Miles bio. Mingus' "Beneath the Underdog", while great in its way, is more atmospheric; Art Taylor's interviews are limited because they are interviews, other sources are likewise less than definitive, and tend to lack the scope that these chapters provide. There are, as a consequence, some fairly substantial gaps in what I know about these artists, particularly Gillespie, Powell and Roach and Haydon fills in quite a bit.

Of the five only Gillespie could be said to have had a happy life, and even he had to contend with the fact that his creative peak ended long before his career did. Powell's story is sadder than I'd guessed-- he was, of course, quite mad, and seems to have been exploited, one way or another, by almost everyone in his life. The most significant exception, Francis Paudras, a Frenchman and his wife, are candidates for sainthood as far as I am concerned. Roach, the figure I knew the least about, is the only one of the five that is still alive, suffered from problems with drink, and, of course had to endure the deaths of several young collaborators, including Clifford Brown and Bud Powell's brother Richie. Hayden is personally aquainted with Roach, and glosses over a lot of his personal life in favor of discussions about Roach as a civil rights leader and educator, both of which are more interesting to me than the fact that he was married three times. Nevertheless, I'd have been interested in more about Abby Lincoln, who is mentioned, of course, but never quoted.

The book suffers somewhat from redundant passages in each of the chapters owing to its format: when paths cross, Haydon seems to feel honor bound to recite the details notwithstanding the fact that he has already related the same anecdote in a previous chapter. In my view this flaw is compensated for by virtue of a very strong emphasis on the subsequent recordings made by each musician-- a very useful thing. He also does a very good job of detailing the impact of the artist's contractual arrangements with their labels, something that is seldom given more than broad brush treatment, and something that I have always felt deserves more comprehensive treatment. I wondered for a long time why the recording is broken up the way it is: the Quintet's set was broken up by a trio perfuming by Powell and the rest of the rhythm section. That portion of the concert is available as a Bud Powell title, but it is a peculiar side which includes a couple of tracks by a different trio, with Billy Taylor on piano, and Powell stuff from different dates. This discloses oddity is accounted for, sort of, by Haydon, who explains that different segments of the concert where released over time as 10 inch LPs by the label-- Debut Records, owned by Mingus and Roach.

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