Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm thinking an exacta of Devil May Care and Sidney's Candy.

Good article on 'begging the question', a phrase which has migrated in meaning. The author advocates surrender: use "assuming the conclusion" instead, and say "raise the question" when that's what you mean. (Via The Volokh Conspiracy.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The poetics of place and displacement in the songs of Bob Dylan. Richard Elliott argues that there is a tension between "recognizable locations... which are... crucial to the ability of his audience to identify with the texts",and the use of "displacement techniques and refusal of a fixed identity". It would be interesting to contrast this concept in Dylan's work with the way the same dynamic between place and displacement works in the songs of Lucinda Williams, I think. Blood on the Tracks and Car Wheels on a Gravel Road are similar albums in a number of ways, even as to the complex back-stories surrounding the recording process for both; the Dylan side seems more about displacement and the Williams set more about place, but I think a closer look might flip that perception.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I don't really have an outlet for this sort of thing at the moment, but I still care: Fashion Terror Watch List: Shoes for Dudes.

To make up for a more or less substantive post on law, politics and the judiciary yesterday: The Cheesiest Cheeseball Guitarists of All Time! Freebird!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

At the Volokh Conspiracy Jonathan H. Adler opines that "For many, the selection of federal judges is one of the most important things a President can do," and that something similar can be said about the appointments governors make to state courts. He cites Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, arguing that Pawlenty's upcoming pick to the Minnisota Supreme Court "could reveal something about Pawlenty’s political aspirations," and notes that "conservative activists had soured" on Florida Governor Charlie Crist over his picks for Florida’s high court.

I think the premise here is hilariously flawed. Lawyers care about judicial appointments; almost nobody else does. This is especially true in the context of state court judges. As evidence I'd point to the media coverage that such appointments receive. An appointment to the highest court in a state might get front-page coverage, but there'll be precious little about the legislative hearing that follows, and I can't tell you the last time I saw television coverage of even the appointment.

In addition, although state high courts deal with indisputably important issues, those issues are not, typically, the sorts of things that lay people follow. Let's take a look at three decisions handed down by the New York Court of Appeals this month as an example: Linton v. Nawaz is a memorandum decision on the question of whether the plaintiff met the no-fault threshold. People v. Kadarko involved a question about whether the trial court's failure to fully disclose the contents of a note returned by a jury during its deliberation constituted a "mode of proceedings error". (It's an interesting decision, actually, written by an interesting judge, but I promise you that it will be little remarked upon.) Trupia v. Lake George Central School District is about assumption of risk. It is a notable decision in the context of New York law because it resolves a split among the intermediate appellate courts in the state, and because it clarifies an area that has been murky for about fifteen years. I have not seen this decision remarked upon outside of the trade press, even though it could be argued that it represents a softening of New York tort law in favor of plaintiffs. (It is also interesting because it doesn't completely clarify the question of how assumption of risk is to be applied in the context of scholastic sports activities.)

Let's do one more: American Standard v. Oakfabco. Did the buyer of a business assume the seller's liabilities for tort claims brought in connection with products sold before the acquisition where the injury did not occur until after the acquisition? You're just going to have to read it to find out, because nobody you know is going to be talking about it.

Try this with any three or four recent decisions from your state-- I just picked at random, and you can too. Ain't nobody's political career being affected by the appointment of the judges that wrote these decisions.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" the greatest work of fiction about my sport? Probably not, since it isn't really about the sport at all, but it is certainly the best title for a running novel ever. As movies about running go I'd put Saint Ralph at the head of my list. Movies about running have a lot of the same problems that movies about any sport have. There are usually only two possible outcomes-- Crushing Defeat or Inspiring Victory, and Loneliness avoids those. Other running movie problems: too much Steve Prefontaine. (I was a fan too, but c'mon.); and too much slo-mo (in a movie about sprinters!).

Alan Sillitoe the author of "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" died last week, one of those writers who are remembered for their early success. I haven't read anything of his apart from "Loneliness" but I have a hunch that his subsequent work suffered because his early success distanced him from his great subject, and he ran out of things to say.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here's the thing with Jeff Beck albums-- it is always great to hear him play, but his taste in material and in sidemen is frequently off. It sounds stupid to say about one of the last rock'n'roll musicians who routinely releases instrumental sides but it's true: it often seems as though he doesn't have much to say. When he is on his game that is never a problem. Reasonable minds may differ about how to rank them, but I think most fans would agree that "Wired" and "Blow by Blow" belong at the top of the list. I'd put "Truth" up there, and "Beck-ola", although it's pretty clear on the latter that he's not so happy working with a singer. That's been a problem for him, and my theory is that that's why he released so much stuff with such dreadful vocalists-- it's a way for him to be sure that people are more interested in the guitar than in the vocals. As much as I enjoy Beck's work, it's been a long time since I rushed out to buy a new Beck release. In fact, I didn't rush out to buy "Emotion & Commotion" either-- I won a copy, on 180-gram vinyl. (Thanks, Popdose!) If your taste in Jeff Beck albums is along the lines I've described, this is a Jeff Beck album you want, a useful blend of "Blow by Blow" Jeff Beck with strings and bloozier material featuring a couple of vocal numbers with Joss Stone and a couple more with Imelda May. It's a beautifully engineered recording and the total package is only marred by the Love Eagle on the cover. I can forgive Beck that, just as I forgive him his mullet. Someday that mullet will be in the Smithsonian-- it may already be the last one in the wild.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

As Eyjafjallajokull percolates along I find myself musing about various ScFi scenarios. The last time it erupted it kept erupting for two years-- would that mean the end of air travel to and in Europe for the duration? Of course Europe isn't cut off-- we are able to communicate, just not travel. Will we see a renaissance in ship travel? If I were a cruise line I'd be doing some focus groups right now. What do the supermarkets look like, with no fresh produce from the south? Apparently several NATO F-16 fighters suffered engine damage after flying through the ash cloud-- what are the security aspects of that kind of thing, long term? If this keeps on would the economy of Europe shift to the south and the east?

It would be interesting to be somewhere to see what is happening, but maybe not Iceland. I've always wanted to see it-- who hasn't? Shaped like a duck, out there in the middle of the North Atlantic, they've been having a rough time of it lately. Who'd have thought that the duck-shaped island where Bjork comes from could wreck so much havoc on the European economy? What next, dragons?

I'm not really getting the sense that this is the most photogenic event: what I'm seeing mostly are satellite pix or pictures of people sitting around in airports. What does the sky look like?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lance Mannion had problems with Pirate Radio (or The Boat That Rocked-- movies that can't figure out what they are supposed to be called should just pick a name fer crying out loud). I have problems with it too. It is a meandering shaggy dog story that can't seem to get a grip on what it is supposed to be about, and that was irritating. LCA sat with her back to it most of the time, chatting on Facebook, and that may have been the best way to experience it, because the soundtrack is terrific. Unfortunately, the soundtrack was my big issue. If you are going to make a movie about DJs in 1966 the music they play should not be from 1967, or 1968, or 1971. There was all kinds of great rock'n'roll that they could have played-- and they did play some of it-- but the anachronisms were truly jarring. I imagine this is an issue for most people who see the movie-- the demographic that goes to a movie starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a hip DJ is pretty much going to know what grade they were in when they first heard "Won't Get Fooled Again", to say nothing of Hi Ho Silver Lining (Jeff Beck, 1967); Eleanor (The Turtles, 1968); or Father and Son (Cat Stevens, back when he was Cat Stevens, 1970. Preachy damn song, but Tea for the Tillerman was huge when I was in 8th Grade).

Which reminds me, Saturday was Record Store Day. LCA and I partook at the University Plaza Record Theater-- she picked up a Wanda Jackson EP, and I bought the Stones' single, Plundered My Soul b/w All Down the Line. Plundered will be included with some other archive stuff on the Exile on Main Street re-issue. I don't think anyone ever listened to Exile and thought, "Wow. Another couple of songs and that would be perfect!", but on the other hand 1972 Stones is the Stones at their peak, and the Stones at their peak have never been topped. LCA has decided that she likes 60's rock, and vinyl, which should come as a surprise to no-one, but nuanced things about the medium escape her. She was not aware, for example, that some vinyl is played at 45 rpm, and was surprised when, after taking the Stones side off the turntable an queuing up her Wanda Jackson EP the Queen of Rockabilly sounded like the Queen of the Chipmunks. Adjustments were made.

The closing credits of Pirate Radio features a montage of album covers that I think I liked better than the movie, and it was fun to flip through the LPs at Record Theater. The CD buying experience is clankier than shopping for vinyl, and of course nobody buys CDs anymore either. I like the fact that I can carry my music collection anywhere, but I miss the thrill of the hunt, and I miss record jackets. Convenience has not really improved the experience of recorded music, although you'd have had a hard time persuading me of that back when I was haunting J&R Music World on a regular basis. As we drove to Record Theater LCA and I talked about the experience of music shopping. It was crowded in the store, and hipsters were buying vinyl, but it was distinctly an exercise in nostalgia, and I guess that was my bottom line problem with the movie. Nostalgia is pointless.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Still too cold to set the fish free, I'm afraid. The goldfish could probably hack it, but I don't know about the neons. (I think that's what the little blue ones are.) Still, I've proven how responsible I am with pets. Maybe I'll get a pony next. I promise to brush it and feed it and walk it and love it, and I'll give it a carrot.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Your Best Bob Dylan Album Calculator. (Related: Rolling Stone's 15 Worst Albums By Great Bands. Why only 15, Rolling Stone? Why not 20?)

Stuart Taylor Jr., a self-described "conflicted moderate with (for example) a center-left sympathy for gay rights and a center-right discomfort with large racial and gender preferences" contends, apropos of Justice Stewart's pending departure, that "Like some other Republican-appointed justices in recent decades -- Harry Blackmun and Sandra Day O'Connor and, to a lesser extent, David Souter, Warren Burger and Lewis Powell -- Stevens has become markedly more liberal during his years on the court.
Meanwhile, no Democratic-appointed justice has become substantially more conservative over time."

I'm not so sure that this is true, and I didn't have to strain to come up with a counter-example: Felix Frankfurter, appointed by FDR, voted to uphold the expulsion of Jehovah's Witnesses who refused to pledge the flag at school; voted with the minority in Baker v. Carr, the one-man-one-vote case; and was generally viewed as the leader of the Court's conservative faction.

Of course, what is meant by "conservative" in this context is sometimes hard to parse. I'll grant that Stevens First Amendment views seem to have become more liberal, but on the issue of reproductive rights, which is where Taylor seems to hang his hat, it seems to me that Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter were actually acting as one would expect a conservative jurist to act, by respecting stare decisis. I think that to say, as Stewart does, that "While many liberals see this trend as a case of acquiring wisdom on the job, conservative critics including Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia have claimed that their more liberal Republican-appointed colleagues have been moved neither by wisdom, nor by legal principle, nor by general public opinion, but by the leftward march of the intellectual elite, especially in the media and academia," is utter rubbish, and actually irresponsible.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I didn't see it coming, but a Pulitzer for Hank Williams makes all kinds of sense.

"A posthumous special citation to Hank Williams for his craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life."

These Special Citations are nice. Dylan picked one up two years ago, John Coltrane the year before that. Thelonious Monk was awarded one in 2006, and Duke Ellington in 1999. There are non-musicians a-plenty (Ray Bradbury, Dr. Seuss...) but I like the idea of recognizing the cultural contributions of people like Monk and Williams. Miles deserves one, but they should honor the living and bestow one on Chuck Berry next.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our television habits are formed around LCA's dance schedule, which means that we seldom sit down and watch a whole program from beginning to end. We scroll, and if we spot something we watch it until it is time to take or retrieve LCA from dance. One of the rules of scrolling is that if we see a ballgame we pause for a moment to check it out, and lately the ballgames we've been coming across have been from 1986.

Of course back then we lived in New York, and were Mets ticket holders, so we may have been at some of those games. We almost certainly watched quite a few, but the appeal remains. These games are fun to watch on so many levels it is hard to list them all. There's the mustaches, for instance, and the body types. Latter on Lenny Dykstra would bulk up, but back then he was just a skinny kid. Darryl Strawberry was a thing of beauty. There is the better understanding of the game that we have now. Last night was Game 5 of the NLCS. Davey Johnson kept Dwight Gooden in for ten innings. Nolan Ryan went the full nine. Can you imagine that happening today? Both teams had great bullpens-- Roger McDowell and Jesse Orosco were probably the best tandem in baseball. Why would you keep your ace in the game for ten innings?

I used to think that those Mets were a pretty slick fielding operation. What they actually had was an outstanding pitching staff and Keith Hernandez. A slick fielding first baseman almost sounds like an oxymoron, but Keith really was so good that he made the other guys -- I'm looking at you, Wally Bachman-- look capable.

The best part is watching the guys we'd forgotten about. There was a July game against the Padres on a week or so ago. Dane Iorg! Carmelo Martinez! Amazing to think that the '86 Padres featured more future Hall of Fame players than those Mets. Watching Straw play we knew that there were no limits to what he might do-- except there were. Gooden was never the same after 1986, but at the time he was 20 years old and looked like nothing anybody had ever seen before. Hell, Kevin Mitchell seemed like a world-beater. On the Padres side? Well, Tony Gwynn. Also Goose Gossage. A said, "He's one of those guys I'm glad I can say I saw play," and she nailed it. As great as those Mets were, the only HOF player in the clubhouse turned out to be Gary Carter. We knew he was going in back then, of course. We just thought he'd have company.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Writing about the Catholic Church feels like piling on, but it seems to me that there are a few points that some people are missing. A few years back we were speaking at a conference in Salzburg where one of the other participants was a lawyer from Kentucky who'd been one of the first to successfully sue the Church for clerical abuse. He was an interesting guy, and more than a bit of zealot, and he insisted that there were documents that were going to come to light that would establish that the Vatican was deeply implicated. I doubted it, and it appears I was wrong, so here's the first thing that nobody seems to be saying: the cover-up is worse than the crime. Church apologists say stupid things like "The permissive sexual culture that prevailed everywhere, seminaries included, during the silly season of the '70s deserves a share of the blame, as does that era’s overemphasis on therapy," and you'd hardly think that reasoning like that would require critiquing, but it apparently does. So that's the second thing that needs to be pointed out: it seems to be that quite a few people think that sexual abuse is about sex. This surprises the hell out of me. Nitwits like Maureen Dowd (or her brother) pretend that pedophilia has something to do with homosexuality, and that pedophiles wouldn't abuse children if they weren't forced by the church to be celibate. Of course neither of these things are true. Sexual preference is irrelevant to child abuse, and is being dragged into the discussion by the Church's defenders as a distraction. ("If we blame the gays the rest of us will be in the clear.") The celibacy argument is likewise grotesque. Child abusers don't molest children because they haven't any other sexual outlet-- like all sex crimes sexual abuse is a crime of violence. It would be one thing if we were living in 1937-- there was certainly a time when we were more ignorant about sex than we should be today. There is no excuse for making these arguments now. Pretending that clerical sex abuse is an isolated problem, or something that could be fixed by tweaking a fairly minor rule about the domestic life of priests is ducking the question. We don't know the full scope of the issue-- it sounds like there was a big problem among the various religious orders, but mostly what we know about was taking place at parish and at the diocesan level. What is clear is that there was scienter,and that it went all the way to the top of the organization. The response has been to stonewall, and we all know how stonewalling ends.

It is not my place, or the place of anyone else, to tell a religion what its rules should be, but as it happens I do know some of the rules the Church has put out-- the Devil can quote scripture, after all. One of the rules the Catholic Church seems to have forgotten is that it's supposed to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Another core principle is that acknowledging wrong must precede absolution. How come I know this stuff and the Pope doesn't seem to? Three years ago, following the resignation of Warsaw's archbishop I argued that the Catholic Church had squandered it's moral authority and asked, "What will that look like, I wonder, the collapse of the world's largest religion? The history of the Reformation doesn't really inform the question-- it was too different a world." We are, I think, closer to finding out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I've been trying to work out a formula for the American Trinity-- have been for a while as part of longstanding project. How's this: all rock and all jazz are informed by the blues, not infrequently in direct proportion to the quality of the rock or jazz under discussion. That lets in, e.g. electric Miles; leaves stuff like Emerson, Lake & Palmer out; and provides a workable start towards the formulation of a metric for quality.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Missouri was a slave state, but not a member of the Confederacy-- in fact, after Southern states began trying to secede in 1861, the Missouri legislature called for the election of a special convention on secession which voted to remain in the Union. The state legislature subsiquently enacted a secession ordinance, but since the convention had been voted sole authority on the issue this was not recognized as being legitimate. As a practical matter the state mostly sat out the Civil War --there were some Confederate raids but the fighting in the state consisted chiefly of guerrilla warfare waged by assholes like Colonel William Quantrill, and Frank and Jesse James (the real one, not the Michelle Bombshell guy). Political scientists regard it as a "border state" rather than a southern state per se. They didn't have quite the class of West Virginia, but on balance you'd have to say (I'd have to say, I guess) that on the moral spectrum they were closer to W.Va than to South Carolina. I didn't see any Confederate flags on our trip through, which is more than I can say about a lot of parts of New York.

I'm wrestling with this because I do not like the South. Even though much of what is best about American culture-- literature, music and cuisine-- has its genesis below the Mason-Dixon Line that region is also responsible for what Faulkner termed America's Original Sin, and damned if they don't still celebrate it. In order to be comfortable with EGA's present choice of domicile I'm obliged to slice things pretty thin. Charlie Parker was from Missouri, I tell myself, and Calvin Trillen too. Now I see that the Southern Foodways Alliance doesn't reckon the Show Me State as falling within its jurisdiction. It's small things like this that help me rationalize, but I have to admit that notwithstanding my anathema for Dixie planning a roadtrip using the SFA's Trip Builder would be kind of fun. As long as I'm focused on the barbecue I don't have to worry about the pervasive religious nutism of the region as much, although by that standard Missouri is right in the heart of the Bible Belt. At some point shortly after we passed St. Louis we saw a minivan caked in mud, roof to wheelwells. On the back window someone had written "Jesus Loves You". "What the hell is that?" I asked A. "What kind of place is this when that's what you write on a dirty car, instead of 'Wash me'? Damn, it's like living in a Flannery O'Connor story out here."

Friday, April 09, 2010

One of my first college classes was Professor Edward Janosik's Introduction to American Politics, and on the first test he gave us there was a section where he listed names and we had to identify them. One of the names on the list was John Paul Stevens, who'd just been nominated for the Supreme Court Seat which Justice Douglas had vacated. Back then Supreme Court nominations were less splashy affairs, I think. Not everyone in the class got that question, I remember that, and I can't imagine that happening today. I hope Justice Stevens enjoys a long, healthy retirement, and plays tennis to the end. And I hope the President picks the youngest, most liberal woman he can find to replace him. Stevens was a class act all the way.

I doubt that I'll read it, but I'm enjoying the reviews of Norris Church Mailer's memoir. She sounds like she knows how to put a story together, for one thing. Having a fling with Bill Clinton is interesting, for example, but knowing how to tell about it is another:

"Years later in New York, after all the scandals broke, a man I knew socially who was in politics said, 'I guess he slept with every woman in Arkansas except you, Norris.' 'Sorry, Russ,' I replied, 'I’m afraid he got us all'."
(Image found at the invaluable If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger.)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Malcolm McLaren has died. For some of us he'll be remembered as an important figure in late 20th Century culture, although all he really did was recognize and promote artists who actually embodied and shaped that culture. Lately I've been listening to Andrew Loog Oldham's show on satellite radio-- he's a similar figure from a generation earlier. The Sex Pistols and the Stones were both somewhat creations of their manager/producers-- the Pistols never really grew beyond that, the Stones did, but neither would have become what they did had it not been for their impresarios. McLaren deserves particular credit for recognizing the social disruption created by the policies of Margaret Thatcher and assembling the band which became the voice of the disaffected. (It's interesting that there isn't a similar figure in the Clash's background....).

Finally, and further to an email exchange last week, McClaren had a rock'n'roll take on libraries that I am completely down with: "More recently he stood for the then newly created London mayoralty in 2000. Amongst his policies was the serving of alcohol in libraries." He could have hired Keef to run them.

To a workshop on teaching at the law school last night, presented by four winners of the Faculty Award, an honor bestowed each year by the graduating class for excellence in teaching. The story I tell about my Discovery class is that it had its genesis one evening as I drove home from an unusually contentious deposition in Syracuse. "You couldn't teach the skills that were on display in that room," I thought to myself, and then, "But if you were going to try to teach it the transcript from today would be a good place to start." From there I worked up an outline, and from that I developed a class that actually does teach something that I'd thought could only be learned by trial and error. That's how I learned it. I read a lot of transcripts, and watched what other lawyers did, and from time to time a partner or a senior person would make a suggestion, but for the most part I learned by screwing up. The students I teach get the benefit of a conceptual framework to start from, and some practice at the specific skill set that the discovery process draws on. It is teachable-- I just had to figure out how to do it.

Effective teaching is is similar, I think. There are pedagogical practices that can be taught, but a lot of the time they are not, at least at the university level. There seems to be an assumption that mastery of the discipline being taught should be sufficient, even though we all know that it is plainly not. How many classes have we taken from experts which were simply dreadful after all? It's funny, actually-- the one job we have watched performed for most of our lives is teaching, and we all "know" what the difference between good teaching and bad teaching looks like, but we seldom systematically consider the overall conceptual framework of what we are doing in front of the classroom. Some things work, some don't, and when they don't the students blame us, and we blame the students. Last night's session was a helpful step towards correcting that, and I'm really happy that UB is doing this. The approaches offered amounted to organizational suggestions-- one professor talked about how part of what he does is to explicitly teach how to construct an argument; another had some suggestions about how to get students to talk (talking is the equivalent of thinking in law); another showed us the sorts of handouts he uses to demonstrate how to reason through a statute. Quite a bit of it was stuff that I already do, but it helps to quantify this sort of thing, and even if some of it was familiar it was validating to hear that people who are obviously excellent teachers employ the same techniques.

When I think back on my law school experience it seems to me that I had a peculiar mix of great teachers and teachers who were simply hopeless. One of the things we talked about last night was "losing" a class. It has never happened to me-- small class size helps-- but I've certainly seen it happen. My Corporations class was lost pretty early on, for example. It is ugly, and a little scary, even if you are just sitting in the room, and I'm sure it was horrible for the professor. There are a lot of things that can prevent this, and one of the best, it seems to me, is to enlist the students as your allies. One of the adjuncts asked, "How important is it to know the student's names?" and I was reminded of the penultimate scene in "The Paper Chase" when Hart tells Kingsfield how much he'd enjoyed his class. Kingsfield says, "What was your name again?" and we are left to wonder if Kingsfield is playing with Hart's head one last time. It's actually not hard to address the students by name-- their photos are part of the class list, and they pretty much all sit in the same place every time. I like to address them as "Mr." or "Ms.", and I feel strongly that referring back to something that they have said earlier in the class, or even earlier in the term-- and attributing the point to them, by name-- helps keep their heads in the game. Someone else wanted to know what part of the class they should be teaching to. Usually by the third meeting I have a pretty good idea of who is getting it and who may never get it, and I've found that the best way to see to it that everybody gets something is to make more available to the students that want it. I always have supplemental readings available, and I make a point of touching on them in my lectures, but my lectures are mostly focused on the core points I am trying to make to the middle of the bell curve. Again, small class size helps, as does the rather specialized nature of what I teach-- it was harder with my undergraduate Lawyers in Movies class.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

If it weren't for the fact that I just drove to the middle of the country I'd be of a mind to go catch a crew meet this weekend.
CLA reports that life is good on a varsity sport-- on rugby the women drove their own cars to games, and more or less self-funded meals and whatnot, but on rowboating there's a team bus, and meal allowances, and for all I know under the table sneaker contracts. The other thing that CLA's adventures in crew put me in mind of is "Absalom, Absalom"-- Quentin's father tells him that if you go to Harvard without seeing a regatta they should refund your tuition....

Monday, April 05, 2010

My law partner's emigration left me custodian of her goldfish. The original plan was that when the weather got warm I'd set them free in Hoyt Lake, but I'm beginning to grow fond of them. "Personality" might be too strong a word, but they display distinct behaviors when I feed them every morning. I'm not really set up to keep them in the office much longer, and they wouldn't last an hour at the house so Hoyt Lake is still their likely future, but I think I'll keep them around for another couple of weeks.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The best bar in Terre Haute is a TGI Fridays. Even though that sounds pretty grim, the reality is that when a TGI Fridays has 32 taps and features mostly local brews, including several worthy IPAs that's a bar that can hold it's head up with pride. For some reason Indiana has quite a few good microbreweries, and all of them seem to produce good pale ales, and excellent IPAs. Recommended: Three Floyds Alpha King.

Serendipity was also responsible for our lunch the next day at Two Dudes Barbecue in Warrenton, MO , a roadside shack that nevertheless has a website. Everyone else had the pulled pork, but my personal code prohibits me from ordering what someone else is having, so I had the sliced brisket. Missouri is in the sauce zone, but is otherwise a divided state, barbecue-wise: in the east pork-- particularly ribs-- is the preferred protean, and in the west it's a beef jurisdiction, see, e.g., Kansas City's Arthur Bryant's. The pulled pork was fine, but the two dudes who run Two Dudes really understand how to smoke a brisket, and that's what I'd recommend. Good vinegar based slaw, too.

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