Wednesday, September 08, 2010


The results are in

My readers have spoken. The four things people would like to see here the most:

1) Monday posts devoted to life in Minnesota
2) Guest posts by Pickles the Cat
3) Candid naked photos
4) Shocking true stories from/about my readers

Therewith, I now request any shocking true stories you may have. Hold off on the candid naked photos for now, though. Thanks.

I barely even give clear photos of my face. Do not worry about candid shots, nude or otherwise. I am a private person.

I have two shocking true stories, one for lawyers and one for actual humans.

For lawyers, I once corrected Presiding Judge Keller of the Court of Criminal Appeals. It was during the full swing of my oral argument last February and I was flying on autopilot, responding to questions left and right, when she posed a question with an incorrect factual basis. Rather than defer to the presiding judge of the most powerful criminal court in Texas, I plowed right on through with an, "Actually, Judge, if you will look at page seventeen of the record..."

About midway through my recitation of the facts it hit me that I just corrected a judge. Thankfully, I was not incinerated on the spot; she agreed with me and I was allowed to move on to a new point. Narrow brush with death.

For the people to whom that sounds rather routine and not shocking at all, I promise you, in legal circles, that was the equivalent of base jumping.

From the non-lawyer category, I was almost shot in Amsterdam. For some strange reason, though one can easily buy drugs inside of certain establishments, drug dealers attempt to tell drugs to tourists on the streets. Despite my protestations of no interest in his wares, one particular dealer was insistent that I purchase something. At one point, he opened his bag, showed me a handgun, and said, "I think this will convince you."

My companion and I were saved, strangely enough, by another drug dealer, who ran the gun-toting one off. The new drug dealer explained that as long as they didn't harass people, the police were content to let them ply their trade in this area so that at least it was contained, and that one "bad apple" could have ruined a night of business from them all.

Then our erstwhile saviour asked us if we wanted to buy drugs from him. Apparently, it is strange for college-aged men from the United States to refuse to buy drugs in Amsterdam, but there you have it. My two brushes with death.
I think you did what you had to do re: Judge Keller. If she had the facts wrong, she had the facts wrong. What were you supposed to do, change them just because she's the judge? That wouldn't be honest or fair to your client. Maybe your approach wasn't particularly refined, but all's well that ends well.

Meanwhile, I too had a brush with scary drug dealers in Amsterdam. I was with a friend of mine who is significantly overweight and has difficulty with mobility. A very persistent drug dealer was following us, trying to convince me that he could "make my life better" (his exact words). For some reason I found his claim dubious. He continued to follow us, and I panicked. I took off running, leaving my friend. Not my proudest moment, but eventually we found a cab and got back to our hotel. Not very shocking in retrospect, but terrifying at the time.
I think it's one of those "you had to be there." Amsterdam is a wonderful city, and I really think the police there are on to something with controlling all drug dealing in small areas where they let consenting adults make the transactions they want as long as nobody is harassed. The self-policing was helpful; the gun was scary and the insistence of some people trying to make a hard sell, however, is really quite frightening in its juxtaposition against the rest of a city that is nice, obliging and tourist-friendly (I found places like Paris to be hostile, assuming I was an idiot tourist instead of a good tourist). Then again, it probably didn't help that I insisted on speaking to every French person I saw in German.

And it is not so much correcting a judge that was the problem, but that I did not do it in a more diplomatic fashion. Judges are fey things, fickle creatures that hold the fate of lawyers in their hands. Pleasing them and keeping them from turning their wroth upon you is the #1 skill all lawyers should learn.
I once ate a scorpion (it was a delicacy, apparently) and dog meat (not a delicacy, just dinner at a friend's house in the Shandong Province of China).

P.S. Scorpions are, as you might assume, crunchy. Dog tastes like roast beef.
I have a filipino friend that insists dog is quite tasty.

Judges are fey things, fickle creatures that hold the fate of lawyers in their hands.

Or in the case of Keller, hold the fate of death row inmates in their hands, assuming she's not late for her manicure. She's a terrible person.
I have recently been tempted to serve my mother-in-law cat food. A fine grilled white fish with a side of greens. I will tell her it is tuna fish if she asks.

In reality the end of July and early August we had a true Jerry Springer show moment involving trailer trash and the sheriff's department. I wouldn't wish it on any sane individual. People on that show really do exist. It is not an act and it scares the hell out of me.
I would like to point out, with deep humility, that on Friday, July 02, 2010 at 1:18PM I anonymously suggested the Minnesota Monday idea.
I could tell everybody about the time an officer assaulted me after a trial that my client won on a directed verdict.

Presiding Judge Keller is actually quite nice. One morning last February was actually my second meeting with her (at oral argument in her court). In my first meeting, she bought me a drink on a Southwest Airlines flight.
You were there last February? As I recall, there was only one oral argument day. Which case were you?

I like PJ Keller, but I know that correcting any judge is a dicey matter, because I am an attorney, and they are the judges. I always try to remain deferential, even when I disagree.

So, Anon, while I did disagree with Judge Keller's not accepting the late brief under those circumstances, I don't think it makes her a terrible person that she did what she did. We all make judgment calls, and hers happened to be the wrong one at the time.
I have several shocking nude photos of my cat involving indelicate postures - i.e. the "cello" positions. Are they out of order? Would Pickles be offended? She is neutered.

Scary is running EMS calls in the projects at 3 AM, to a person who has consumed Angel Dust (PCP) and has two cops and three firemen trying to get her on a gurney and being thrown off. Oh, and they routinely shoot at emergency workers there if they are bored. No one has been killed yet. Gets the adrenaline flowing, I can tell you.

My house once exploded. My kid wore a red cape til he was 4 years old, and most of that time refused to wear any other articles of clothing. One time he put my Palm Pilot in the Freezer.
All these stories of Lawyerin' and EMS runs and gun toting drug dealers are fine but the real scary thing is Parenthood. You have not experienced fear until your kid takes his pants off in a Weight Watchers Meeting.
Christine, I would def serve that cat food....
I briefly talked through a Gremlin puppet when I was two. Only through the puppet. If you asked me a question, Boglin the Goblin would answer. Usually the answer involved wanting to hurt my brother.

Parenthood is frightening.
Childhood can be worse.
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