Watch Me Take The Bar
Watch Me Take The Bar
This blog, originally started as a chronicle of my taking the bar, is now a look into the mind of an attorney in solo practice in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Friday, November 17, 2006

You Know That Mitch Albom Guy? He Occasionally Writes About Sports, Too!

I'm sure you've read Tuesdays with Morrie, the touching/tearjerking/wonderful book on life and death by Mitch Albom, who we are told is a sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press.

As it happens, this is the first time I've actually seen sportswriting by Mitch Albom.

The title of the piece? "Carr Has Proved Self, Win Or Lose Saturday." ("Saturday" refers to the football game to be played in Columbus tomorrow, featuring the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes against the about-to-not-be-undefeated Michigan Wolverines, which will start in 28 hours and 11 minutes, for those of you who have been living in a cave for the past week.)

Now, this article appeals to me on levels beyond, "Wow! Mitch Albom is writing about sports! Neat!"

Far better than this, it is appparent that those living up north are already trying to soften the disappointment of LOSING.

For that, my friends, is what is about to happen. Rest assured, the Wolverines are going to LOSE.

How come?

There are about ten good reasons:

1. Jim Tressel

2. Jim Tressel: We used to have this coach named John Cooper. From 1988 to 2000, he led the Buckeyes, if that's not too strong a term. Actually, I rather liked The Coop, and he was a pretty good coach for all but the last regular-season game of the year. The problem was, if you're Ohio State, your last regular-season game of the year will always be Michigan, and only winning against Michigan twice (1994 and 1998) out of twelve years (OK, he also managed to get us to a rather disappointing tie in 1992) is simply unacceptable.

Along came Jim Tressel. So much for that Wolverine boondoggle. 4-1 against That Team Up North. A man who coaches his teams to win in big games. He's quite impressive.

3. This Game's in Columbus: Columbus has three claims to fame. It's the home of the state capital; the Columbus Bluejackets; and the Ohio State Buckeye. Ted Strickland doesn't get sworn in until January and the Bluejackets suck, leaving Columbus fans with (as usual) one thing to do, and that is go apeshit over the Buckeyes.

And apeshit they have gone. While in Columbus for a conference this week, the evening news led with the story of The Game. After four minutes of that, they turned to the less-important story that there was a murderer on the loose in Columbus.

This is, without a doubt, the heart of Buckeye Nation. And Buckeye Nation is hungry, nay, ravenous for Wolverine meat.

When Chad Henne wanders into the Horseshoe, he will feel like his Aunt Penny who said the sky was falling. It will be -- with scarlet and gray, cheering the Buckeyes on to another victory.

4. It's Like A Bowl Game: And we all know what Jim Tressel's teams do with bowl games. They go out, keep it interesting for a bit, and then win.

5. It's Like A Bowl Game: And we all know what Lloyd Carr's teams do with bowl games. They go out, keep it interesting as we wonder how they'll manage to lose, and then answer the question.

(Honestly. Last year, I was falling asleep and noticed Michigan was leading in the mid-fourth quarter in a bowl game. I figured I'd flip over and see how they'd manage to lose it and -- guess what! -- they did.)

At this very moment, Lloyd Carr is having his regular breakfast of Cheerios on a plate.

If they were in a bowl, he'd lose them.

6. The Buckeyes Are Just Better. No, Really: No one's beeen too terribly surprised at Ohio State's run this year. After we hornswoggled the Longhorns and hacked the Hawkeyes, it was pretty clear we were The Best Damn Team In The Land.

Michigan, on the other hand? No one picked them to be 11-zip. They have had the great surprise of winning every game, which they were not expected to do.

Indeed, for the Wolverines, this season has been an unexpected joy. They should be quite proud of all they've accomplished, and stop the highlight film with last week's game. There's no shame in finishing 11-2. (I've added an extra loss to account for their inevitable bowl trip.)

7. We. Are Buckeyes. We Are Killer Nuts. (Not Rodents): Actual conversation:

ME: Hey, at least my mascot isn't a rodent.

PLEASANT REASON (sigh, a Michigan fan, alas): Our mascot isn't a rodent. Wolverine's aren't rodents.

ME: Really? What are they?

PLEASANT REASON (sound of typing on the other end of the phone): Oh. (Long uncomfortable silence.)

'Bout that.

The Wolverines are about to find those killer nuts dropped on their heads, and will need to sprout legs and run to Ann Arbor just as fast as they can.

8. Troy Smith

9. Troy Smith

10. Troy Smith: Our QB is awesome on an ordinary day. Put him up against Michigan, and he's phenomenal.

Ohio State wins this one, folks. The Wolverines have had a great season, and should feel no shame in losing.

Other than the fact they're going to lose.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Herbert Hoover Is Dead, But His Relatives Are Still Pushing Republicans On Us

*a few moments ago, in my office*

[phone ringing]

ME: Michael Bassett.

VOICE: Hello, Mr. Bassett? My name is Linda Hoover. I'm calling on behalf of Congressman Tom Reynolds and the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.

ME [thinking to myself]: Gosh. This week just couldn't get sweeter. First, I watch the Republicans get thumped on national TV for two straight days; and now they're calling my office to check up on my well-being. And they've still got Hoovers working for them? Isn't that how we got into the 1930s?

LINDA HOOVER [continuing]: We've selected you to receive a Leadership Award. We'd like to invite you to Washington, DC to our annual Presidential Dinner, and to participate in our Business Advisory Council.

ME: Really.

LINDA HOOVER: [stopping me before I can get to my next statement]: Do you have a minute to hear a taped message from Congressman Reynolds?

ME: [I'm not doing busy at the moment, and it's their nickel.] Sure. [It'll be interesting to hear how they're spinning this.]

TAPED VOICE OF CONGRESSMAN MEL REYNOLDS: This is Congressman Mel Reynolds, Chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee. I've called you because you are a business leader and a risk-taker.

ME: [Yes, it's a risk trying to operate a business while W's in the White House. Then, he knows about risk. He tried to find oil in Texas and failed.]

TAPED VOICE OF CONGRESSMAN MEL REYNOLDS: We know you want to support Republicans who will support lower taxes and the President's small business plan.

ME: [Tom, you've obviously overestimated my tax bracket. No way am I getting any tax cuts from this White House this year.]

TAPED VOICE OF CONGRESSMAN MEL REYNOLDS: Please stay on the line so we can invite you to join our panel.

WOMAN: Hello?

ME: Linda?

WOMAN: Mr. Bassett?

ME: Yes. Linda?

WOMAN: No, this is [Someone Else.]

ME: [Well, they got rid of Linda Hoover. Only seventy-four years after the rest of us got rid of Herbert. They're rather quick on the uptake, those Republicans.]

WOMAN: We'd like you to join the Business Advisory Council. You'll receive confidential surveys and an opportunity to have your picture taken with the President to hang on your office wall.

ME: [But I want my clients to like me.]

WOMAN: You'll also serve as an honorary finance chairman for the state of Ohio.

ME: [Things are getting really desperate in Ohio if they need me to do things to help the Republican party.]

WOMAN: Of course, the big event of the year is the Presidential Dinner, which is dinner with the President.

ME: [But I like to be able to eat.]

WOMAN: And you will receive a leadership award.

ME: [Ready to reel her in.] Yes. Tell me more about that. Would that be for my service as Chairman of the Ottawa County Democratic Central Committee?

WOMAN: [Long pause.] Uhhhhhh ---

ME: And as to making any contribution to you, first, I'm not inclined to, I'm happy with what happened Tuesday, and second, it's a bit tough right now because all my clients are unemployed so they have trouble paying their bills, but that should get better when the Democrats take over Congress. So no, I think I'll pass on your leadership award.

WOMAN: Well, I respect your opinion. Have a good day.

ME: [snarky laugh] I'm already having a great week!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Two Notes of Note

OK, OK, it's been a while. Don't get too excited, there were just two items I needed to comment on.

The first is this item in today's Washington Times. Bill Kristol has predicted that Donald Rumsfeld will be out as Secretary of Defense after the November 7 election.

Rumsfeld's comment: "The fellow said the same damn thing in April of 2001. He has been on that shtick, and people keep repeating it and repeating it. I don't know why they listen to him. He's been wrong so many times. There ought to be some accountability."

So, let me get this straight: If you make a prediction (like, I don't know, we will be greeted in Iraq as liberators) and then it doesn't come true (things in Iraq go south), we should have accountability? Maybe someone should lose their jobs?

Gosh. What a concept.


Tigers fans, take heart. You may be happier that you lost Game 4 last night.

Whenever the Tigers and Cardinals have played in the World Series, the Cards have won Game 1. Game 2 goes to the Tigers, and Game 3 to the Cardinals.

Who wins? The determining factor appears to be who wins Game 4. It's a bit of a poison pill.

When the Tigers have won it, the Cardinals have gone on to win the Series in 7.

Ditto for when the Cardinals win it.

Here's hoping that one stays true.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

If You've Never Heard of Ann Richards

You owe it to yourself to click here, and ether read or better yet listen to the mp3 of her 1988 keynote at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.

She was a great American politician, rhetor, and lady. I remember watching her and Clayton Williams go at it when she ran for governor of Texas in 1990. (Yes, I was in fifth grade at the time and keeping track of the Texas governor's race. I was a special kind of kid.)

A few years ago, when I was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Boston, I splurged and spent $125 to go to an EMILY'S LIST luncheon featuring Ann Richards and other Democratic women. She was, far and away, the best speaker there.

RIP, Governor.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dear Fellow Attorney

You know, I don't blog about my job. First of all, there's that whole confidentiality and attorney-client privilege thing that makes it rather difficult, and while I've grown to love this blog, even though I do neglect it with alarming frequency, but I value my law license even more.
What I'll discuss is not, of course, covered by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege, although I still feel somewhat reluctant. You know, there's supposedly this "brotherhood of attorneys" (the reasons for why that gender is chosen may be clearer after reading this post), and we try not to make each other's lives more difficult than necessary in zealously representing our clients.

Neither of these protections, sir, apply to you. First of all, we were not on the same case; indeed, you did not even deign to speak to me or introduce yourself. Your comments were made sitting in a public hallway; you did not lower your voice; you did not seem embarassed that I was two seats over from you and another attorney was another two seats over from you. In fact, we were in the hallway of the courthouse, and most anyone could have wandered in upon your conversation.

I should mention that I wondered if you would make it to te point where you would sit down. You are not, sir, an attractive man. You are overweight, with jowels to spare and a pockmarked face. There are several bartender's children who are probably in med school due to you.

I had this feeling I wasn't going to like you when you started commenting to your client how much you objected to waiting for the prosecutor to appear to pretry your case. With as old as you are, you've clearly been around, and the prosecutor usually runs into a backlog. You're getting paid obscene amounts of money for hanging out to deal with parking tickets or other such kerfuffle, so just deal with it.

I guess it's a good thing you were so pressed for time, insofar as you compared how some attorneys ended up lining up like there was an open bar. This led to your musing that, "We went to a wedding, where they had an open bar, and --"

Whereupon, your client helpfully supplied, "Your significant other?"

Which, surprisingly, you did not go along with; you said it wasn't to that stage yet. After all, "the last one still hasn't moved out." But, that's fine, relationships go through stages, and perhaps you've found someone nice in the 52-to-65 range to accompany you to events while the last one packs her boxes.

Apparently, Last One called you last night, crying that you didn't love her anymore. (You confirmed this was true.) She was crying because you were going to make her kids homeless. This did not seem to bother you.

Anyway, your Signif -- oops, girlfriend -- and you went to a wedding where they had an open bar, and New One apparently enjoyed partaking of this, to the tune of five doubles, and was smashed by the end of the night.

At which point, I was tempted to lean over and tell you that the Pleasant Reason and I recently went to a wedding where they had an open bar, and the Pleasant Reason (who is, I assure you, a very Significant Other), did not get smashed, and we had an absolutely wonderful time talking all night and on the way home, as well.

I'm rather pleased I didn't, however, because you provided more than enough detail about what happened after the wedding. While your girlfriend was apparently drunk after five doubles, she still "put on a porno and wanted to do everything in it." This was, apparently, asking a little too much of you; after all, you're nearing sixty years old.

Now, really. Is that the sort of thing you find you must discuss in an open hallway? Where anyone can hear it? Apparently, your client didn't mind this detail, and he in fact asked, "Her name's not Staci, is it?"

As a matter of fact, it wasn't. In fact, this led to your commenting that you "weren't sure if you'd ever lived with a Staci before. Let me think. This'll take a while. [Pause] No, I haven't lived with a Staci. I've lived with five Teresas, though."

(If there are any statistically minded readers out there who'd like to work out how many women one has to live with to live with five Teresas, I'd be fascinated to know.)

This led to something of a detour into what Teresas like to be called (Terri; Traci; Reesa.) Apparently, the one who went by Reesa was a lot of fun; although she'd never have kids, you all tried. (Your words, not mine.)

But, then we went back to the Not Significant Other. You suggested that she was a bit more, shall we say, ambitious than you, since she is, after all, twenty-eight years old and you'll be sixty next Monday. She apparently was living in South Carolina, but called you to come pick her up, so you took two and a half days off, the longest vacation you've taken since 1967. (Which suggests you're either a workaholic or no one wants to go on vacation with you. I know which horse I'm betting on.) But, really, it ended up being four days together, since you did get that weekend in there. (And there are some who say romance is dead!)

You then mused that relationships don't get better and -- and this was where I had a major problem with you, really -- then commented that "they never should have passed that amendment back in the 1920s." I knew what you were talking about, but your client apparently didn't, leading him to force you to illuminate that it was the one that gave women the right to vote.

That was classy. I mean, really. Perhaps I could buy you a big flashing sign to wear around yuor neck, saying, I AM A SEXIST, MALE CHAUVINIST PIG. Besides saving people a valuable three minutes of talking to you before discovering this, it would also help them have something to look at other than your face.

And I'm sorry to keep going back to your appearance, but you were, in a word, ugly. And that wouldn't be so bad, if you didn't seem to need to trumpet the fact that you are now dating someone less than half your age.

You know why she's dating you, and, let me assure you, none of us are fooled, either. While she at first sounded a bit of a lush for drinking five doubles at that wedding, thanks to your graphic description of what transpired thereafter, I think she can plead the defense of necessity. No one believes she's dating you for your chiseled good looks, and she sure as hell ain't with you for your personality.

A few years ago, there was a movie where Robert Redford offered a woman a million dollars to sleep with him. It was called "Indecent Proposal." Truly, the film would have been more aptly titled had its star not been one of the well-known hunks of our time, but rather an unattractive, ill-mannered, chavinistic pig like you. I really don't care why she's dating you, although, if you can't figure it out, please do note that if she wakes you up by saying "BOO!" every morning, it's not a good sign; but I do care about your degrading and despicable treatment of women. The fact you harbor those beliefs is appalling; the fact that you, a member of the bar, feel comfortable making your thoughts on this subject known in such a public forum speaks poorly for you and worse for a society that tolerates it.

In closing, may I just say that, if your sweetie is buying the cigarettes you went outside to smoke for you, it'll be another hint she considers you a significant payday; and I am probably only surpassed by her in the sincere hope that one day your most prized posession turns black and falls off.

Yours very truly, a person who is sorry you make both the legal profession and the male species look bad.

Friday, September 01, 2006

As we start the college football season off...'s worth noting who's picked to be #1 in the polls.

Damn right.

(And note that's for the whole country. Not just the West. Not that we're eligible for it, seeing as how we aren't IN the west. Just thought I'd point that out, since that concept eludes certain schools in states to the north of us, going so far as to loudly proclaim this in their fight song.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Board Member Bassett, Dissenting

Tomorrow, the school board on which I sit will vote on a policy to subject anyone who is involved in an extracurricular activity or drives to school to random drug tests. It is a proposal I will vote against.

I have wrestled with this issue more than almost any other issue I've dealt with in the two and a half years I've been on the school board. Drugs are a scourge, and they affect our entire country. They can end careers, rip apart relationships, bring lives to an untimely end. To believe Port Clinton is any different is folly.

You can't just test any student you want, according to the law; however, those who are involved in extracurriculars are subject to testing, because extracurriculars are a privilege, as is driving.

My first concern, and the predominant one in my decision to vote against this, is this: Extracurriculars are opportunities to enhance student life. They are to offer positive outlets for a student's energy.

Who needs this more than a student who may feel there is some sort of gap in their life? A gap they might choose to fill with substance abuse? Every minute that student is in at French Club, in a play, or playing basketball is a minute they aren't hanging out with a crowd that might influence them in the wrong direction. Every minute in an extracurricular is an opportunity for a positive experience with the school; an opportunity to realize there are other things to life than getting high.

A person who is on the fence is who I fear will be hurt by this policy. A person who is a recreational drug user, but also has some interest in a play or going out for baseball, may decide it's not worth sacrificing an activity they are already into for one they think they might enjoy. And that, I fear, is a tragedy.

I am also concerned about the rationale for this program. In the process of determining whether or not to undertake this policy (and it should be noted that all of the Board members have worked very hard to come to this decision), we were presented with stark evidence of the drug problem. We were not, however, presented with reasons why this would help eradicate it.

At one of our meetings, a police officer I have worked with over the years and have great respect for, spoke. This guy is on the front lines of the war on drugs. I looked forward to his presentation explaining why drug testing would solve the problem. Rather, it was an emotional appeal directed to getting us to understand there is a problem.

I understand that. I think everyone understands that. Kids we see as "bad kids," kids we see as "good kids," all kids understand there's a drug problem.

Unfortunately, he did not provide me with any evidence this would help. I was unconvinced by the testing vendors, as well, who suggested that drug testing would help.

There are compelling arguments in favor of random drug testing. Those who are in extracurriculars and don't use drugs have the right to expect that to be a drug-free zone. There is student safety involved. If it helps a student get off drugs, the program will demonstrate worth.

But I remain convinced that the cost of removing an alternative to other choices for students is greater than the potential of detection and possibly -- possibly -- intervention. It is for that reason I will vote no tomorrow.

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