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August 2003
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October 2003

Tasty Sounds to Admit to Your Ears

I know this world is full of fans of Norah Jones -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- but for my money (and meaning no offense to Ms. Jones and her large and appreciative audience) the jazz-country-and-what-have-you singer to listen to is Norah's predecessor as the Grammys' Best New Artist, Shelby Lynne.

Shelby's breakout CD, I Am Shelby Lynne encompassed everything from Dusty Springfield-style orchestral drama to hearttwisting ballads of romantic remorse, sung with purity, directness and quiet punch that stays fresh on every listening. The follow-up Love, Shelby succumbed to producer-itis at the hands of Glenn Ballard and is best disregarded (hence the preceding non-link), but the freshly-released and largely self-produced Identity Crisis is a convincing return to form. Musically, the new record is even more eclectic than I Am, including healthy dollops of gospel, Patsy Cline-like honky-tonk heartbreak, and straight-ahead guitar rock'n'roll, and the songwriting and singing are as strong or stronger than on the earlier recording.

At least temporarily, you can find a link on this page to a full RealAudio stream of the album. (And there's not even any registration required! Who was asleep in the marketing department? They deserve to be thanked.) Listen and judge for yourselves, informed consumers!
You can also find a streaming version of a recent live appearance in the invaluable archives at KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic

Cross-Blogging: In Which a Lawyer is Done To As He Has Done to Others

Another slow-starting blog day here because of necessary court appearances and time spent on the responses to a post on the legal blog (Declarations and Exclusions) about Lawyers Who Insult Judges. That post started out as a response to this one by attorney David Giacalone at his persistently interesting legal ethics blog, ethicalEsq?:.

[No, gentle reader, "legal ethics" is not, if you do it right, an oxymoron. Harrumph.]

The catalyst for the entire discussion is a story, linked to by David first and then by me, about a prominent New York medical malpractice lawyer whose antics in trial have caused the court to pull the plug on a $16 Million judgment he had won for his client.

David has updated his original post to include comment on my response; others have chimed in, and the whole thing is spiraling bloggily out of hand. But I can't stop now: I have further comments on the comments and will be posting them to Decs and Excs, as well as putting my two cents into David's recently started roundtable on the musical question Why are Lawyers Such Snobs? -- which, in turn, was set off by David's exchange of correspondence with young attorney Sherry/Scheherazade Fowler, who blogs under the self-effacing title, Civil Procedure.

[Are you keeping track of all this? There will likely be a quiz at some point.]

[Update: Here is the link to my latest addition on these topics at the other blog.]
[Further Update: This post re-edited 9/22/03 to correct the misspelling of David Giacalone's name. Go, read his blog immediately to make recompense for my error.]

Storm Watch à la Fool

As Jeff Jarvis has noted, far more fear-inducing that Hurricane Isabel itself is the prospect of [shudder] "team coverage." The phenomenon is universal, of course: Here in Southern California, the prospect of even an inch of rain will put all the local television stations "on storm watch," and it seems that every summer here is now the "Summer of Fire," regardless of any fluctuation in the frequency or severity of brushfires. (My own subjective sense is that it has been less flammable here this summer than in the recent past, but I can't offer any statistical proof at the moment.)

In the spirit of this blustery day, a quick jog among the blogs for a variety of weather-related items:

Gregg Easterbrook is notably cranky about exaggerated coverage, especially when tied to global warming.

The media is so disaster-hype-prone at the moment -- partly because disaster predictions keep the ever-larger demographic of senior citizens glued to the tube -- that Isabel will be spoken of as some kind of weather event without precedent. It's been worse 65 times in the last century.

Second, you'll hear that property damage is unprecedented. This will be cited by hype-meisters to justify the notion of Isabel as a phenomenal mega-event, and cited by enviros to back claims the hurricanes are increasing in intensity. But of course property damage will set new records: property is becoming more valuable. Between inflation, the strong market in housing values and a 30-year trend of building upscale housing in coastal areas, with each passing year, what stands in the paths of hurricane is simply worth more.
Easterbrook also offers valuable safety tips. Andrew Sullivan (with his beagle) is in a similarly skeptical vein:
I also love the way weather people on the telly pretend to be terribly upset that a hurricane may come and give us hell, when quite obviously they're having the time of their lives. The crushing look of disappointment they feel telling viewers it isn't going to be as intense as they first 'feared' has to be seen to be believed.
♣ But enough of pundits! Fool readers will want to know: how are poets affected by harsh weather? Ron Silliman reports, taking time away from praising a Milwaukee bookstore and some exceedingly spartan poetry drawn from Great Lakes shipping.

♣ On the other side of the continent, meanwhile, Doc Searls is dealing with gales in the Gulf of Alaska, where he is otherwise preoccupied with cruising, blogging and posting pictures of glaciers (as well as links to, yes, global warming information).

♣ And some people aren't blogging about the weather because they are under it.

On the Must-Read List

This exceptionally smart piece by Paul Lake in Contemporary Poetry Review on the prospects for the arts' emergence from the spectral shadow of post-modernism has drawn enthusiastic links from the likes of Mike Snider and the Blowhards. I, too, endorse it, having given it a first once-over last night. Lake even invokes one of my own longstanding favorites, the late novelist John Gardner and his characterization of successful fiction as a "vivid and continuous dream." I want to absorb it further and will probably post additional comment anon.

Driving the Road to Recall, Literally

Out and about on professional errands today, I passed through the interchange of the Harbor and Century freeways and discovered that that impressive structure -- it towers mightily, with an elevated light rail line piercing through its center, and is remarkably pleasing as such things go -- actually has a name: The Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange. Judge Pregerson, the longest-serving active jurist on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, was one of the members of the panel that earlier this week ordered the stay of the California gubernatorial recall election. You can see Judge Pregerson and the highway sign that bears his name at page 5 of this rather self-congratulatory California Department of Transportation Newsletter.

In Googling to find the preceding link, I also discovered that the Interchange had already found its way into a June post by tireless lawyer/Blogger Denise Howell at Bag and Baggage. Happy as Judge Pregerson apparently was to follow Bush v. Gore, Denise's post reminds us that he can be surprisingly dismissive toward U.S. Supreme Court decisions when it suits him.

For in That Sphere of Blogs, What Links May Come?

You never can tell who is reading you and what impressions they may be getting. I was checking the referrer logs for my other, law-related weblog, Declarations and Exclusions and discovered that it has been added to the blogroll at Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog, associated with the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research. (I know they're conservative because their blog's subtitle is "What Conservatives Think" -- which may be a bit of an overgeneralization.)

I can't for the life of me figure out how or why this happened -- there's no link to any particular post -- but I am running in some pretty fast conservative company on a relatively short list. More conservative, really, than my own politics warrant (whatever some of my friends may think). I'm certainly pleased to be thought worthwhile, albeit from an unexpected angle.

In any case, if you are among my conservative readers here, and don't have enough reading already on your plate you should perhaps give Ms. Ridenour's site a look, and thank her for the link. Who knows, maybe this site will be added to her list.

As We Danced to the Recall Rhumba

Several recall-obsessed blogs have noted a report deep within the Los Angeles Times' story on the 9th Circuit's recall stay to the effect that the new non-punchcard voting equipment in Los Angeles County won't have the capacity to handle the recall election concurrently with the other items -- such as the Democratic Presidential primary and the usual plethora of initiatives and referenda -- that will be on the regular March 2004 ballot. Mickey Kaus has no permalinks, so he'll be snubbed by this blog in favor of, yes, Daniel Weintraub's post on the subject. [Really, if you don't mind scrolling down to find it, you should look at the Kaus version, too.]

Assuming the recall actually is postponed to March -- that is, assuming that the 9th Circuit does not rehear the issue en banc and/or otherwise lets the injunction stand, and assuming (as I think is likely) that the U.S. Supreme Court won't touch the issue with a ten-foot precedent -- perhaps L.A. County's problem cries out for a solution to the larger perception of the recall as a "circus". With six months available, perhaps the Secretary of State should offer some incentive for a large proportion of the 130+ current replacement candidates to formally withdraw, so that their names need not take up space on the March ballot. Surely most of the candidates have had whatever moment in the sun they wished for and, knowing that they stand no chance whatever of becoming Governor of California, they could do themselves and their fellow Californians a favor by graciously leaving the stage.

Hey, a fool can dream, can't he?