Sunday, April 26, 2020

My Sunday Comfortably Numb Feeling

I believe that one should speak primarily when one has something to say. Ditto with writing. Or blogging if you don’t consider that to be writing. 

I have nothing to say. Nothing of much import in any event.

So I will catch you later. 

Be careful out there. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

My Sunday Feeling

I don't know much.  But I know this.

I'm glad I'm not in law school.  

Not because law school, especially the first year, is a completely soul killing, brutal and largely costly experience.  Although that is reason in and of itself do be glad that this endeavor is in my distant past.  

The job market is nothing short of dismal.  And this was before the pandemic.

It is my privilege again be a mentor to first year students here at the local law school.  I tend to like this gig.  I like being around young people.  And I have been fortunate, with the exception of one complete, and I do not exaggerate, psychopath to have likable, well rounded, law students in my charge.  

This year's models will be writ on history's immortal scroll as two of my favorites.  A is a cheerful sort, a horsewoman from Tennessee.  J is a country boy from a little town in the Ozarks.  He is a baseball fan.  He also possesses an acerbic sense of humor and a deadpan mode of discourse.  J and I understand each other for some reason.

Anyway, as if the first year of law school were not sufficiently traumatic, they are now forced to divine the secrets of the law through Zoom or Google Classroom.  I can't imagine.  I have had meetings with Zoom that typically involved no more than 5 high school boys.  It can be pretty confusing with all of the cross-talking that typically goes on.

Multiply that by a factor of 5 online with a bunch of mouthy future lawyers.  I found law school instruction on a face to face basis to be fairly incomprehensible at times.  I just can't imagine trying to absorb the law school experience over the Internet.  I just can't.

But these kids were raised on the Internet.  I was not.  They are making do.  J told me the other night that he rather liked doing law school from his home in the hills.  It's turkey season in Arkansas.  He hunts in the morning and studies in the afternoon and at night.  A enjoyed having horses underneath her again when she was back home.  They both also said they didn't much miss being around other law students.

And boy I get that.  However, I have to say that I enjoyed my law school buddies, then and to this day.  Then again, none of us were regarded by our fellow classmates, or the faculty come to think of it, as the second coming of Learned Hand.  Look him up.  So there's comfort in that.

They have both asked me how I think this national emergency will change the practice of law.  Which is only their future profession. And I tell them I don't know.  It is too early to tell.  If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that the big firms will be fine.  But will they offer clerkships for this summer?  A law firm is a business like any other.  When the economy is bad it affects them.  I'm guessing that solo practitioners that are young in the practice will get hit the hardest right off the bat.  Too many-at least for my tastes-young lawyers are forced to "hang out shingles."  If nobody is coming through the door, or if they can't get into court (which they basically can't right now as courthouses all over Arkansas are shut down) they don't make any money.  

But what do I think is going to happen?  I don't know.  I've seen a thing or two in my day but I've never been through a global health crisis.  

The best answer when you don't know is to say "I don't know."  So that's what I say.  

I suspect many business models in all kinds of businesses are about to be rewritten.  That's about all I feel comfortable predicting.

J acknowledges that he feels a great bit of uncertainty about the future.

"But you know?, he said. "I'm glad I'm not a 3L.  I've got two more years.  Maybe things will have straightened up by then. I don't know what those folks are going to do."

Let me rephrase my earlier remarks.  I am glad that I am not in law school.

But boy am I glad that I'm not a 3L in they year 2020.  

I don't know what those folks are going to do.    

Sunday, April 12, 2020

My Easter Feeling

It is Easter and the churches are empty. 

 In this time of pandemic, it is simply too dangerous to gather together to seek the Lord's blessing or to gather together (in groups greater than 10 at least) for pretty much any other reason.  So the churches, while empty, are making do with live stream broadcasts of their services.  Here is a question for my theologically inclined peeps.  Does the priest's (for example) blessing at the conclusion of the service still "count" if it is broadcast digitally?  

I ponder about such things when I have time on my hands.

The churches may be empty but we have a full house here.  Fortunately, it is a big house.  And nobody owns a handgun.  We will get through this.     

It is Easter and one of one the logical fallacies of classical logic informs a substantial portion of our public discourse.  I am referring of course to the Argument from Ignorance or "argumentum ad ignorantiam" as us pedantic showoffs would say.  My mother's formulation of the argument was " You don't know (whatever fact-free notion in the favor of which she was advocating at that moment) that it's not true."

Or here's an example.  We don't know for certain that the moon is not made of swiss cheese.  Therefore it is made of swiss cheese.

Or here is one from current events. "We don't know that chloroquinine won't work with people who have the Covid-19 virus.  Therefore we should try it."

An annoying manifestation of this application is an apparent run on tonic water in the neighborhood by amateur pharmacists who are self-medicating with Canada Dry.  A  MEDICAL DOCTOR of my acquaintance put it best:

"I could have saved those folks a lot of trouble.  The quinine in tonic water is not the same as in the medication.  However, they are both alike in that neither has been proven to be effective against Covid-19." 

Or as my NURSE PRACTITIONER brother Bob said, "They don't know if chloroquine is going to be effective against the virus.  They do know that it screws up the heart's electrical system in some folks.  So you have to be careful who you give it to."

The run on tonic water is merely an annoyance which will force me to dilute my Brokers with club soda.  Or to drink it straight if my nerves are especially frazzled at the cocktail hour.  But giving medication for an off label purpose without adequate testing because you don't know that it won't work is irresponsible. Or at least used to be.  

But we don't trust expertise in this country and haven't in sometime.  Those eggheads tend to make things complicated.  And some of us just know that we're not getting the straight story.  Therefore they-the media, government, every authority figure other than Donald Trump (for God's sake) are lying to us.

I can forgive Mother.  Any widow raising 4 boys on her own is entitled to use any weapon at her disposal.  TASS, I mean FOX, Pat Robertson,  and other cable network blowhards, along with the President of the United States, not so much.  

It is Easter.  And paranoia abounds.  

The following must be a thing on Facebook as I have seen it various iterations of this post on-naturally-Facebook:

" It sure seems strange to me that the economy of the greatest country on Earth has ground to a halt over a virus.  Does it seem strange to anybody else?"

I was tempted to respond thusly:

" Not to me. It's not that complicated.  Our economy is largely a service economy.  We don't so much make stuff anymore as provide goods and services.  As you may recall, the mayors and governors across the land, shut down the schools, imposed social distancing and sheltering in varying degrees, and ordered non-essential businesses to close.  All of these measures were indicated to slow the progression of the virus.  The state and local authorities were forced to take the lead, and for the most part admirably so, due to the complete lack of leadership from the Moron in Chief.  Anyhoo, due to the fact that people are staying at home for the most part and not spending as much money as usual what we are seeing is what is known by the economists as a variant of the "Paradox of Thrift" that states that when consumers save money on a large scale, a service economy suffers because they aren't spending money.  Which has a ripple effect.  But you are way too stupid to accept this as a plausible explanation for the present crisis preferring instead to place blame on the takeover of the Federal Reserve by the Jews or some such nonsense."

But that would be a waste of typing.  So I didn't do it.

Or you can believe, as an acquaintance I ran into on my walk yesterday does, that the "soft crash of the economy (whatever that is)" is not due to the pandemic.  According to her there is no pandemic.  Which would certainly come as a surprise to the medical professionals in my life and family. No. It is the takeover by " the New World Order."  She whispered this info to me in case the lady pushing a stroller next to us was wearing a wire I suppose.

I was tempted to respond thusly:

"Well, it's hard to reconcile a "takeover" by a world wide monolith in the face of the upsurge of nationalism here in the West.  But you are...."

Well you know.  

It occurs to me that conspiracy theorists surely have never heard of Sir William of Ockham who devised what came to be know as "Ockham's Razor" which states that when one is confronted with two conflicting propositions, the simpler explanation is preferred.  Ockham's Razor has served me well in the practice of law and in dealing with teenaged boys.   

And in picking out sense from nonsense.  

It is Easter.  Got help us.  It is Easter.

Love may have come down at Christmas but hope resides in Easter.

Be careful. Stay well.  

Hope resides in Easter.  The simpler explanation is preferred.  

We will get through this.  


Sunday, April 05, 2020

My Sunday Not Much To Report Feeling

Let’s see.  What did I do last week?  

Not much.  Took walks.  Went to the driving range 2-3 times.  Did a Zoom meeting.  Practiced law.  Read magazines.  Read books.  Watched it rain.  Talked on the phone.  Texted.  Emailed. Instant messaged.

Like I said.  Not much to report.  

And with that, I will sign off.

Take care of yourself.  You’re the only one that can.

See ya next week.