Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Sunday Feeling

When I was a young lawyer I was scared to death of judges.  Now I am a not-so-young lawyer and I'm no longer scared of them.  Part of this has to do with the fact that I have more experience now.  But it also has to do with the fact that I knew most of these folks when they were plain old lawyers just like me before they were transfigured.  So while I respect them, I'm not afraid of them.  

And I am friends with a few of them.  Got a text message from one the other night.  And I played golf the other day with another one.  When I was young in the practice the notion of my playing golf with someone who wears a black robe 8 hours a day would have been unthinkable.  Now it's no big deal.

I know Judge pretty well.  We have eaten lunch together and serve on committees together.  We had just never played golf together until the other day and I hadn't spent a whole lot of time with him since he went on the bench.  

We had a great time both playing golf and catching up on old news.  And while we really didn't talk much business-mainly because he can't but also because I have none to discuss-I did take the opportunity to ask him how seeing the practice of law from the other side had changed him.  

" I'll tell you," he said as he gazed downrange as we waited for the group ahead of us to clear. "I now understand that removing people from society for long periods of time is a very real part of my job."  

Former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman got himself arrested in Florida the other day.  He was charged with aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief after a domestic disturbance in which he is said to have threatened a lady friend with a shotgun and to have shattered a glass table.  He is free pending the trial, but one of the conditions of his bond was that he not possess firearms.  

To which I reply "about damn time."  

If you may recall, Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of teenager Trayvon Martin a scant four months ago.  In September his ex-wife called 911 after she alleged that he threatened she and her father.  The authorities found insufficient evidence to charge him with that offense.  

Some people just have a nose for trouble.  And it would appear that Zimmerman has such a proboscis himself.  He latest attorney is a public defender.  This is because, according to CNN, he is liquid in the amount of about $150 and owes 2 million in debts.  This implies a history of poor decisions leavened with a healthy dose of bad luck.  In other words, George Zimmerman is a loser.

But as a friend of mine said the other day after learning of Zimmerman's currant run-in with law, "Who would have thought that the slaying of a teenager wouldn't be the stupidest act of a lifetime?"

Indeed.  But there are some people who resist the temptation to lead a quiet normal life.  And Zimmerman appears to be one of those folks.  Even after after having that life restored to him by the jury in perhaps the most racially charged case since the OJ Simpson case.

Me?  I lay low.  But then again, I wouldn't have gotten myself-and in fact- haven't gotten myself into any of the fixes our hero has gotten himself into.

Back here in my little neighborhood, we have been experiencing a spike in property offenses.  People are justifiably angry and scared in equal measure.  We are having a meeting Monday night to discuss this.  One of the topics presented will be whether to form a neighborhood crime watch.

I am less than sanguine about this option primarily due to the Trayvon Martin case.  While I am reasonably sure that we don't have many cowboys like George Zimmerman running around over here in Hillcrest, you never really know.  But I am just one vote.  

I just hope that if we go that route that it will be after extensive training and be subject to stringent rules of engagement.  One Trayvon is too many.

And if George Zimmerman is convicted on the most recent charges, he needs to be removed from society. And he doesn't need to own a weapon ever again.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Sunday Feeling

I finally got to take in my first Hendrix Warriors football game yesterday.  Hendrix fielded its first varsity football team in 53 years this year.  It competes in NCAA's Division III in the Southern Athletic Association along with the likes of Oglethorpe (who are the Stormy Petrels, which has to be the coolest mascot ever), Millsaps, Rhodes, and Sewanee among others.  

As I understand it, Hendrix decided to get back into the football business because kids wanted to play football.  That, and the other states where it recruits heavily, like Texas and Tennessee have an ingrained football culture.  On the other hand, Hendrix also recruits on the East Coast.  So now they play field hockey and lacrosse.  

And so, what once was woods is now an athletic complex that is pretty impressive.  They have a multi-purpose football facility surrounded by a track, really nice baseball and softball parks and a soccer field.

I marveled at all of this stuff when I took in a baseball game last Spring.  Back when I was a kid, Hendrix played basketball, golf, tennis, swimming and did cross-country in what was back then the old Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC).  Women's athletics pretty much existed as club sports although Beth Forney was pretty much the men and women's tennis teams.  And though Hendrix did well in basketball and swimming it was pretty lousy in everything else.  

But then again, it didn't much care.  As long as Cliff Garrison's boys were filling up Grove Gym, everything was hunky-dory on Washington Avenue.  

But those days are over, boy.  

I read, and reviewed for the local paper, The System by Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict.  It is a book that serves as an indictment of how money completely drives and corrupts Division I football.  It is no exaggeration to say that the football tail wags the institutional dog at many of the university that fields teams.  

Even the so-called "academic schools" such as Northwestern, Duke and Vanderbilt have gotten serious about football and all are bowl eligible this season.  Hell, even Tulane is bowl eligible.  And Stanford is about as good as anybody in the country.  

So it can be done and it can be done with a reasonble nod at integrity.  

D-III is all about participation and academics.  The women's sports are taken as seriously as the men's.  You don't hear much about Title IX problems at that level.  Nor do you hear as much about off-the-field-stuff in D-III as do in big time college athletics.  Then again, D-III doesn't offer scholarships and recruits real students.  Real students tend to socialized.  

So, what did I think of today's tilt between the Warriors and the Sewanee Tigers?  Not much.  Neither team was very good.  Sewanee was bigger and had more guys than Hendrix did.  The Warriors were gamers but just got wore down by the visiting Episcopalians.  

By the way, and this is apropos of nothing, but I have visited the campus of the University of the South.  It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  You should go.  Really.

Back to the game, although the boys in black spotted the Tigers 20 points at halftime they came back fired up in the second and almost made a game of it until getting picked off in the 4th quarter which led to Sewanee's final TD for a 35-9 win.  

Still, the Warriors blocked 2 PATs in the first half which I had never seen before and returned one of them back for a safety which I had also never seen before.  And there was a pretty good, albeit brief, fight after the interception which led to the ejection of one of the scrappier Warriors.  That was fun.  

They won 3 games this year.  That's more than I thought they would win.  They are obviously well-coached.  They have a good foundation and nice facilities.  If you have to do football, this is as benign as it gets.

What the hell.  I may go up to Sewanee when Hendrix plays them up there next season.  I hear that guys wear kilts at their games which I can certainly do without.  But the University of the South.  There are worse reasons to go on a road trip.  

And you don't see crazy shit like guys wearing kilts in DI. 

I'm in.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Overtaken By Events

Between short stories and random acts of journalism and photography, there was no time for blogging this week.

Catch you later.  

We'll try to do better next time as Tony Kornheiser says.  

Sunday, November 03, 2013

My Sunday More Light Feeling

Daylight Savings Time ended at 1 AM this morning.  As my friends know, I really don't do very well for the first few days or weeks of Standard Time.  I don't know what it is exactly.  

Maybe it's because the first couple of days it feels as if the dark just falls on top of you out of nowhere.  Maybe it's because I can't play golf late in the afternoon.  Much of my neighborhood is not particularly well lit.  It is unwise to go out for a walk or run without some reflective gear on.  And it has to be said that crime goes up a little when the darkness arrives sooner.  CST is a pain in the butt.  

Then again, maybe I dread CST because it heralds the beginning of the inaccurately named Holidays.  While I tolerate Thanksgiving reasonably well, I have absolutely no use for Christmas.  And very little for New Year's Eve.  And it occurs to me that with that latter remark, this is the earliest in the calendar year that I have started bitching about the Holidays.  On the other hand, there is basketball to watch along with the bowl games.  As long as they keep making whisky I can get by.

One of my friends told me that he and some of my other friends were moderately concerned about me when CST started right after I retired.  He said that I have a tendency to "be a little blue" at the start of CST.  They thought that after all the stuff that had gone on prior to my retirement combined with my complete discombobulation at not having structure in my life,well, they were worried.  

While I am fortunate to have friends that keep watch over me, I didn't think the slight malaise that envelopes me briefly at the end of Daylight time was particularly noticeable.  But I guess it was.  And, seeing as how I find myself typing this, I guess I lived to get beyond November of 2011.  

Not everybody is like me.  I have a friend who is just the opposite.  She gets depressed at the advent of Spring. Which I find unfathomable.  She actually likes the dark and to a lesser extent the cold.  Conversely, she finds my lightened disposition around March to be intolerable.  And she reminds me of this without surcease.  

To each their own.

This year I have a plan for when the lights go out.  Since we tend to stay indoors more during this wretched season, I plan to be productive.  My closets are a disaster.  I plan to straighten them up and donate a bunch of stuff to Goodwill.  I have some book reviews to tend to.  And I need to figure out if I am going to practice law again.  Or maybe I don't.  

The deck is repaired and soon both it and the front porch will be strung with lights and lanterns.  Just in time for the Holidays!  Seriously, I plan to entertain more than I have.  I like to cook.  I like having folks come over.  I need to get back to that.  

Goethe's last words were "More light.  More light."  Well, around 4:30 this afternoon, the light will go away again.  And I won't like it one damn bit as per usual.

But this year, I gotta plan.  This year I gotta plan.