July 04, 2022

Americans: Born Outlaws

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July 03, 2022

Henry Miller: The Classics

A man with his belly full of the classics is an enemy of the human race.

— Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer (1934)

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July 3, 1913

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Survivors of Pickett's Charge walk the field their comrades fell upon. Gettysburg 50th anniversary, July 3, 1913.

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July 02, 2022

Stand-up Guy: Daniel O'Connell

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), "Liberator of Ireland", led a movement that forced the British to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, allowing Catholics to become members of the British House of Commons. As a leader, O'Connell had moxie, brains, drive, patience, organizational skills, and big personality. More about him here and here. O'Connell was also a consummate and legendary trial lawyer, a bit of an actor, and way-fun just to be around. In a set of lectures published in 1901, John L. Stoddard said of him:

He was a typical Irishman of the best stock--wily, witty, eloquent, emotional and magnetic. His arrival in town was often an occasion for public rejoicing. His clever repartees were passed from lip to lip, until the island shook with laughter.

In court, he sometimes kept the spectators, jury, judge and even the prisoner, alternating between tears and roars of merriment. Celtic to the core, his subtle mind knew every trick peculiar to the Irish character, and he divined instinctively the shrewdest subterfuges of a shifty witness.

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House Committee on J6: Shame on you folks.

The House select committee on J6 has outdone Tailgunner Joe McCarthy at his worst. Some media thinks it’s not a shameful circus and show for the midterms. What happen to the old non-activist journalism? This is pure shilling. This is dangerous and sad. This “record”? Mainly smears, misrepresentations and lies. The ruination of lives with a cavalier disregard for the truth. Are there any liberal Dems in Congress? The committee’s work is leftist propaganda by older Dem MOCs and trusting GenY aides and support staff who actually think they’re “liberal.”

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July 2: Chicago Girl Gets Her Start

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July 01, 2022

Thanks you 2.

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Happy 72nd, you two kids. You were both broke, average students, and willing. Thank you for the constant caring, the time, putting up with me, the work ethic, the grace, the example. And of course the movie star looks genes.

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JDH IV smirk at 23. Highland Park, IL.

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Chekhov: Storytelling

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

--Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

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Chekhov with Maxim Gorky in Yalta, probably 1900

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June 30, 2022

London, 1841: Ben Disraeli is Fed Up.

I cannot be silent. I have had to struggle against a storm of political hate and malice which few men ever experienced.

--Young MP Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), asking Robert Peel for a post in the Peel Ministry in an 1841 letter. Peel refused him.

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"Dizzy"

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June 29, 2022

Rule Seven: Know the Client.

Rule Seven: Know the Client

The "12 Rules of Client Service" I have been posting one-by-one starting on November 19 appear in a booklet Julie McGuire and I prepared internally 5 years ago for associates and non-lawyer staff. We just call it Hull McGuire Practice Guide* (*or how to become a productive associate or paralegal). In the Guide, we call the same rules "Blackletter Rules for Practicing Law". The idea is that each of the twelve overall practice rules harks back to the idea that the client comes first. Clients, clients, clients. For us, that is practicing law. Except for some rewording, the 2 sets of rules are substantially the same. The first six rules are reproduced here.

Several lawyer-bloggers I respect have posted--and in some very eloquent and interesting ways--on the idea of Rule 7, really knowing the client and its culture. I think they say it all. See Tom Kane, Patrick Lamb, Tom Collins and Arnie Herz. Some of the discussion lately was triggered by the nerve jangling report of complaints of some GCs at a Fulton County, Georgia CLE conference in early December 2005. I've chimed in on that, too--here and here.

The client, it seems, actually wants you to know him, her or it. Take time out to learn the stock price, industry, day-to-day culture, players and overall goals of your client. Visit their offices and plants. Do it free of charge. Associates in particular need to develop the habit of finding out about and keeping up with clients (and a client's trials and tribulations) in and out of the areas they are working in. Learn about your client--and keep learning about it. Devise a system to keep abreast.

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Original post February 3, 2006

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June 28, 2022

In Search of Alphas. It’s Time, Campers.

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Julius Caesar 100 BC - 44 BC

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June 27, 2022

Democracy doesn’t mean cretins, lowlifes, and straight-up human turds are equal to you.

“Democracy” HAS been tortured into “everyone is inherently equal”—and nothing could be further from the truth. We are only equal before the law. Let’s not dampen the ambitions of people who want to change world based on talent, moxie and hard work. Let’s encourage them to do great things. (No, not violence or storming the Bastille.)

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June 25, 2022

Now? Let’s get England back. England once had free speech.

Let’s get England back. I miss England. England was cool. England once had free expression.

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July 1 1950 Miami Beach

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June 23, 2022

Ile St Louis: Ernest, the French aren't like you and me.

Yes, they have far more class.

--with apologies to the Fitzgerald-Hemingway exchange.

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Like their natural enemy, the English, Parisians are wonderful--but neither nation's citizens are openly "friendly". When the English and French encounter Yanks abroad, they just can't get why Americans are so outgoing, or why they would even want to be. Most Americans are openly curious and warm everywhere they go.

Both the English and the French, however, would rather choke to death than ask a question about something they don't know, and they bristle at at the overly-familiar tone they associate with American tourists and businessmen. True, the reserved English are getting better at customer service. But a Parisian retail-level employee is still likely to treat basic customer service as horribly degrading to his or her person-hood: "I know it's my job, I know you aren't like the other Americans, but you are still bothering me, sir."

Despite my own predominately English roots--I've got smaller bits of German, Welsh, Irish and French, and dabs of any of the four can make you hopelessly eccentric and irritating in completely different ways--the French are my still favorite. They are flirtatious and serious, volatile and sturdy, civilized and feral, logical and irrational. But they do teach their children of all social classes that education and being steeped in the best of Western culture is not something like, as Brit author Julian Barnes once suggested in Something to Declare, an optional feature to a car. Art is a necessity, not a luxury. The French are

designed by God to seem as provokingly dissimilar from the British as possible. Catholic, Cartesian, Mediterranean; Machiavellian in politics, Jesuitical in argument, Casanovan in sex; relaxed about pleasure, and treating the arts as central to life, rather than some add-on, like a set of alloy wheels.


So the humanities, ideas and old verities from great men and women now gone are essential for living and enjoying life as a Whole Person. Art isn't just for the rich, the elite or the intellectual. Moreover, the French are not runners and cowards--don't make the mistake of buying into the notion that they shrink from adversity. Throughout most of their history, they've been calculating, competitive, courageous and war-like. They are intelligently patriotic. And they'll beat you with argument, and arms, if they have to. But their real gods are Reason and Art. My sense is that, in the next few decades, the French will manage to save us all from ourselves, as they can be counted on to remind humans of what's important--and who we all really are. Watch them.

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J. Dan Hull, II, 1933

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J. Dan Hull, II, 1933. Yale Ph.D picture. 2 words: Class act. American dream overachiever and gentlemen's gentlemen. Authentic and honest--and never went out of his way to trumpet either trait. My Grandpop. First Hull in Virginia-Missouri line to even go to college. His dad self-educated John Hull (JDH I) made his first stake as a laborer building railroads out West and ended up owning a drug store in Mountain Grove, Missouri. Grandpop, who fought with his dad a lot, entered University of Missouri at 16 years old and and got his Masters degree from University of Chicago. Grandpop's family were relative newcomers to the colonies compared to my Mom's side of the family, who got to Massachusetts in 1634. Grandpop's great-great-great grandfather came here as a teen from Germany to Virginia about 1750. Scholar. Author. Diplomat. World Traveler. Teacher. Manager. Executive. Musical. Great card player. Sportsman. Fisherman. He had taste, too. Well-read and well-traveled. Effortlessly well-dressed at all times, Grandpop looked more elegant in a T-shirt than most men do in a tux. Loved, admired and respected by the cream of Missourians and Washington, D.C. Member of DC's famous merit-based Cosmos Club. Hung out with John Kenneth Galbraith and Elliot Richardson. Not bad for an Ozarks mountain boy. And great, I'm told, with women folk. Raised 3 sisters after his young mother, Nancy Susan McQuitty--who he adored--died in 1917 on Christmas Eve, when he was always strangely quiet. He lived 87.5 years. (March 11, 1900 - October 13, 1987). Both his Dad JDH I and his granddad Bill (a confederate soldier) lived even longer lives, dying in 1929 and 1953. His wife--and my pistol of a grandmother, Alene Oliver Hull--died in their house in Springfield, MO at 101. Grandpop taught me a lot. I miss him a lot. If it were not for 3 Missourians--Pat Bevier and Mary Helen Allen, my Dad's first cousins, and my marvelous new-found cousin, Super-Mom and Walmart exec Kristi Towe--I would have had a very hard time putting all this together accurately over the past few years. (Well, I may never have; it's time-consuming and I was always doing it half-assed and guessing based on things Grandpop told me, the Internet and 3 "mysterious" not-so-mysterious wills dating back to the 1700s my Dad John Hull gave me.) But 99.5% of the German Hulls is knowable--just not as well-kept as the history of my Mom's family (Holden) who've been keeping accurate records through the Colonial Dames organizations for several generations. Thanks for the work, you 3.

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Suffolk Boy Makes Good

On this day in 1631, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, British lawyer John Winthrop became first Governor of Massachusetts. Winthrop was born near the village of Groton, in Suffolk, England, in 1587. He was one of the leading figures in the founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony, the second major settlement in New England following Plymouth Colony. Winthrop's writings and talks about the fledging Puritan colony as a new "city upon a hill" were influential in the religious and political life of Massachusetts Bay and neighboring colonies as New England expanded.

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Winthrop, in painting done circa 1630, by unknown artist

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June 21, 2022

Alcoholics Anonymous: Springboard? Or Perm Cocoon?

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June 20, 2022

The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew (from the Maestà), Duccio, 1311

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June 19, 2022

Guernica: "Did you paint this?"

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Here's a WWII story I first heard in 1992 in Paris from a struggling young Irish painter named Richard hustling his drinks and living by his wit, humor, charm and talent on a few choice blocks of the Right Bank. I never found out what happened to Richard. But ever since I've thought about this simple and apparently fairly well-known Picasso story, and more and more since 2005.

In the Fall of that year, Julie McGuire and I were together in Madrid. We made time to see Guernica, very likely Pablo Picasso's most famous painting, and some other great modern Spanish works, at the Museo Reina Sofia in central Madrid. Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 after both German and Italian bombers shelled Guernica, in Spain's Basque Country, on April 26 of that year, during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing by Germany and Italy happened at the request of Spanish Nationalist forces. The painting is an outcry, protest and lament of the self-assured, polite, smooth and famously composed Picasso.

The smallest details of the story seem to change. But historians and journalists seem to agree on the following:

In 1942, during the 1940-1944 German occupation of Paris, German officers often visited Picasso's Paris studio at a time when some of his paintings were being burned as decadent. On one visit, an aggressive Gestapo officer found a simple postcard with an image of Guernica in the studio. The officer confronted the painter, and held before Picasso's face the postcard with its breathtaking indictments of war, national pride, meaningless death, pointless suffering, waste, government hypocrisy, inflamed leadership and self-destruction.

"Did you do this?", the officer asked.

“No, sir. You did."

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June 18, 2022

Suffolk Blues

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12 Rules of Client Service. Get off your knees.

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1. Represent only clients you like.

2. The client is the main event.

3. Make sure everyone in your firm knows the client is the main event.

4. Deliver legal work that changes the way clients think about lawyers.

5. Over-communicate: bombard, copy and confirm.

6. When you work, you are marketing.

7. Know the client.

8. Think like the client--help control costs.

9. Be there for clients--24/7.

10. Be accurate, thorough and timely--but not perfect.

11. Treat each co-worker like he or she is your best client.

12. Have fun.

Copyright 2006-2020 John Daniel Hull, IV. All Rights Reserved.

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GeekLawyer on Dan Hull

@Geeklawyer on Dan Hull and What About Clients/Paris?

“Hull? A depraved evil sociopathic neocon beast pretending to love clients to get into their wallets. Then there's his dark side.”

—Geeklawyer, London, 2009


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June 17, 2022

Editing


“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

― Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), The Provincial Letters, Letter 16, 1657

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June 16, 2022

Malcolm Lowry's “Under the Volcano”

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Lowry's great romp about an alcoholic British consul in a small Mexican town was published in 1947. The story is set on All Souls' Day--or the Day of the Dead--on November 2, 1938 in Quauhnahuac, Mexico.

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June 15, 2022

Racehorse Haynes

I would have won them all if my clients hadn’t kept reloading and firing.

~ Richard Racehorse Haynes, 2009


Below: Haynes in 1979. War hero, Texan, trial legend, risk-taker and wit, Haynes died in 2017 at the age of 90.

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Rule 4: Deliver legal services that change the way clients think about lawyers.

Based on actual experience lawyering, we wrote and published 12 Rules of Client Service in installments during a six-month period starting in October 2005. The 12 rules do seem to have legs. We are flattered. In whole or in part, they regularly appear in publications and sites for lawyers and non-lawyers (e.g., accounting and real estate). Some folks who discuss, quote or mention them like all 12 rules. Others like one or two in particular.

Our favorite? It's Rule Four: Deliver Legal Work That Change the Way Clients Think About Lawyers. It's our "Harry Beckwith" rule. Harry Beckwith, who first ignited the thinking of many professional services thinkers in "Selling the Invisible", was a huge influence on how we could make changes in everyone's lawyering--and the idea here is really his, not ours. An excerpt from Rule 4:

Why try "to exceed expectations" when the overall lawyer standard is perceived as low to mediocre? If your clients are all Fortune 500 stand-outs, and the GCs' seem to love you and your firm, is that because your service delivery is so good--or because other lawyers they use are so "bad" on service? Why have a low standard, or one that merely makes you look incrementally more responsive and on top of things than the boutique on the next floor up? Why not overhaul and re-create the whole game?

If you read the better writers on selling and delivering services, like Harry Beckwith in Selling The Invisible, you pick up on this simple idea: Rather than under-promise/over-deliver, why not change the way people think of lawyers generally and what they can expect from them generally? Get good clients--those clients you like and want--to keep coming back to you by communicating in all aspects of your work that you care deeply about your lawyering for them, you want to serve their interests on an ongoing basis and that it's a privilege to be their lawyer. Show them you fit no lawyer mold.

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June 14, 2022

William Carlos Williams: A New Mind.

Without invention nothing is well spaced,
unless the mind change, unless
the stars are new measured, according
to their relative positions, the
line will not change, the necessity
will not matriculate: unless there is
a new mind there cannot be a new
line, the old will go on
repeating itself with recurring
deadliness.

William Carlos Williams in Paterson, Book 2 ("Sunday in the Park")

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Hull’s Lore, Law and Mystery of Handwritten Thank You Notes.

Break the rules at your peril. People will say mean things about your dog, your wife, your girlfriend, or all three.

In case your Mother or Governess never told you, you're from Utah, or you were stoned all seven years at Choate, let us remind you to never thank anyone for something truly important--a meeting, referral or a dinner--with anything but a prompt handwritten thank-you note. No valid excuses exist for not doing it. Too few of us practice gratitude--in either business or our "other" lives--enough. Some say the practice of saying thanks is good for the soul. Others swear it's good for revenues, too.

Many, many business people and some lawyers with the highest standards taste (i.e., wear socks to meetings or court) think that no written thank-you note means no class--as harsh and low-tech as that may sound.

Typed is okay--but handwritten is better. Even if you are not convinced that thank-you notes are noticed and appreciated (they are), pretend that we know more than you (we do), and do it anyway (thank us later).

Good stationery. We suggest Crane's on the lower end, or something better, like stationery from Tiffany's, or a Tiffany-style knock-off, on the higher end. A "studio card", maybe. Just make it plain. Simple. Initials on it at most.

If you get personalized stuff, have a return envelope address to a home or business--but without the business mentioned. It's personal. Leave Acme Law Firm off it.

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Continue reading...

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June 13, 2022

Sharp Dressed Man: Raoul Duke Does the Kentucky Derby.

Cuff links, stick pin. When I step out I'm gonna do you in.

--Gibbons, Hill and Beard

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Raoul Duke (1937-2005)

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June 12, 2022

Rule 6: When You Work, You Are Marketing.

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When you work, you are marketing. You are constantly sending the customer small but powerful ads. Rule Six comes from our hopelessly arrogant and deeply infuriating but consistently right, practical, and world-famous 12 Rules of Client Service.

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June 10, 2022

Encore: T.J. O’Hara - Dan Hull interview, November 17, 2021

Written intro by T. J. O’Hara

“John Daniel Hull, IV, founder and partner of the D.C. law firm of Hull McGuire PC, joins T.J. O’Hara, host of Deconstructed, to share his political experiences and observations from inside the Beltway. Mr. Hull is a distinguished attorney who, as a Democrat, served as a Legislative Assistant to a congressional Republican before beginning his career as a litigating attorney.”

“In recent years, his political affiliation has shifted to a more conservative point of view, and he explains what drove his change of heart. He cites the tenor of the media in Washington, D.C. and how it has impacted the way with which events and individuals are often portrayed.”

“Mr. Hull describes the similarities and differences he personally observed in the Black Lives Matter protests he attended as well as the January 6th rally that served as a precursor to the insurrection at the Capitol later that day. His observations of the attendees and some of the groups that drove the behavior of the crowds are quite interesting in each case. As a former journalist, his “takeaways” are quite compelling.”

“Then, Mr. Hull does a “deep dive” into “free speech” differentiating the actual element of that phrase and its misplaced use. T.J. quizzes him on “freedom of the press” as well, and he dissects that issue as well.”

“From Antifa to the Proud Boys, Mr. Hull has had an opportunity to directly observe the behaviors of both and the aftermaths of their actions. He describes what the media reported relative to the facts versus the impact of any partisan spin on national perspectives. Learn how an actual observer evaluates the actions he saw, the people he met, and the way each was presented to the public. Some may be in complete alignment with what you might suspect. Others may stun you with what the genuine details reveal… particularly with respect to the law.”

“Leave your political biases at the door and enter the world of someone who lives in D.C. and regularly experiences history as it occurs. Then, ask why this isn’t what you may have read or seen from either side of the aisle.”

Broadcast November 17, 2021

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June 04, 2022

The Book of Kells

Is anything human-made more beautiful? Below is Folio 292r (circa 800) of The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament. This page opens the Gospel of John. Illustrations in the Book of Kells mix pagan, Celtic and Christian symbols and motifs covering nearly 8000 years of Irish history. The result is an ancient montage of mixed media that's playful, quirky, sexual, mystical and yet deeply Christian. A masterwork of Western calligraphy. 680 pages of the book survives. Housed at Trinity College Library in Dublin.

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June 03, 2022

Best of Partner Emeritus No. 3: Summering Correctly in Gotham.

Several years ago our hero Partner Emeritus commented in response to an Above the Law piece on summer associate offers:

It's a sad world we live in where kids think they are having the time of their lives by raising bottles of Korbel champagne adorned with cheap sparklers. The video [in the ATL article] is proof that law firms are not celebrating like it was 1984 or 2007 for that matter.

When I was a younger partner, I would take a handful of summer associates to Smith & Wollensky or Peter Luger's in Brooklyn and then party hard at the VIP lounge at Flash Dancers ('80s) or Scores ('90s). Most of the summer associates were caught in compromising positions during these soirees. For example, I had many Polaroids with SAs who were photographed in salacious positions with female entertainers. I even photographed a few doing lines of coke in the VIP lounge.

Once the summer associates became associates I would bring them into my office and give them copies of the Polaroids and remind them that I was the last person they ever wanted to cross if they wanted to keep their job or law license. Most of these folks became partners, which proves my methods for inspiring peak performance were quite effective.

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Photo taken in 1986 believed to be PE instructing summer associates Photo: Paramount Pictures).

Original post: Summer 2015

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June 02, 2022

Pointe Aux Barques, MI. Est. 1896.

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Bring Back Real Women: Audrey Tautou.

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Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe (2011)

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June 01, 2022

Gene Dwyer’s New Orleans Muse: "She Walks On Gilded Splinters"

New Orleans-based writer, lawyer and Renaissance man Gene Dwyer is a gifted storyteller. Get and ready his novel about Marie Laveau. ‘Til you burn up, campers. ‘Til you burn up.

Marie Laveau of New Orleans is recognized as one of the most influential women of 19th Century North America. The life and legend of this Voodoo Priestess has been clouded in mystery. Her followers in the American South witnessed her supernatural powers of healing and casting spells prior to the Civil War and then during Reconstruction. Her legend, including her immortality, is even stronger and more complex. Thousands come to her New Orleans mausoleum every year to ask favors and pay homage.

"She Walks On Gilded Splinters" is the never before told story of the life and legend of Marie Laveau. Explore 16th Century Africa and New Orleans. with a riveting opening chapter in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965, a watershed day in the American Civil Rights movement. The novel is a unique, intricate murder mystery following retribution for the sins of past generations set against the history and consequences of the slave trade.

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Milan Kundera: On Older Women.

An older woman is a jewel in the life of a man.

--Milan Kundera (1929- ) in "Immortality", 1990

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One critic: The book will make you "maybe even a better lover".

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May 31, 2022

Byron Galvez: Rosa, 1989.

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"Rosa", 1989, Byron Galvez (1941-2009)

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Writing Well: Editors.

I have performed the necessary butchery. Here is the bleeding corpse.

--Henry James (1843-1916), after a request by the Times Literary Supplement to cut 3 lines from a 5,000 word article.

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May 30, 2022

Memorial Day is not about barbecue, chili or doing drugs with cousin Jasper.

For Yanks, Memorial Day is about resolute if terrified men and women, innocents all, who died, often alone, horribly and in confusion, in American military engagements.

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June 6, 1944. U.S. army officer watching Norman coast as his landing craft approaches Omaha Beach.

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May 29, 2022

Amarcord

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Ray Davies: A Nod to Old Blighty.


Ray Davies cries "Victoria", Glastonbury 2010

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Scottish: Glasgow-born Angus Young is Bobby Burns on Crack.


Angus McKinnon Young (1955- )


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Robert Burns, Bard of Ayrshire (1759-1796)

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May 27, 2022

Sterling Hayden: Our Greatest Lover of Being Alive.

Although actor Sterling Hayden (1916-1986) was not in love with Hollywood or acting, he was a highly regarded actor who was cast in westerns, action films and film noir for over forty years, usually as a leading man. He was also a spy, war hero, seeker, sailor, adventurer, rebel, gifted writer and eccentric's eccentric, all six foot five of him. He was authentic. Never contrived, posed, phony or obliged to be different. Never sucking up. A pure lover of being alive. Read his biography, artful screed and best work, in "Wanderer" (1977).

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May 25, 2022

54 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île, Paris

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Hotel du Jeu de Paume, 54 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île, 75004 Paris

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May 24, 2022

Mircea Eliade's "Shamanism": A classic in the history of religions.

Or you may view it as a classic of anthropology. Whatever you call it, it is serious scholarship and in a class by itself. Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) was a famously-erudite and highly regarded University of Chicago religion professor and writer. His study "Shamanism" (about 600 pages in my 2004 edition pictured below) was first published in 1951. It covers 2500 years of shamanism all over the planet, including the Americas, Siberia, China, Indonesia and Tibet. Consider reading all or part of this deeply interesting and often strange study of the drive for a spirit-life that comes up from the Earth and dwells in the infinite.

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May 23, 2022

2121 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

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May 22, 2022

Anthony Burgess, Polymath: Clockwork Orange, novella or Kubrick movie, is besides the point.

Anthony Burgess's frightening 1962 dystopian novel Clockwork Orange and satire is not my favorite book. Its spectacular 1971 adaptation to Hollywood blockbuster, starring Malcolm McDowell as the sociopathic droog leader Alex DeLarge, is not my favorite Stanley Kubrick movie, either. But Burgess, a Brit who died in 1993, was a simply amazing human being who may have regarded what his now most famous work as simply a short if odd detour in his career. Burgess (1917-1993), in addition to being a celebrated writer, he was an accomplished playwright, critic, producer, linguist, translator and composer, with over 200 musical scores to his credit. Polymath--the term some of us use when Renaissance man would be an understatement, may be the right category for Burgess.

God did not make many of them.

When I was a junior in college, I went to hear Burgess, then in his mid-50s, talk extemporaneously to maybe 250 undergraduate students and answer questions. He was up there for an hour at most. He was, hands down, the most fluent, articulate human being I had ever heard speak the English language. Burgess did this without pretension, glibness or any apparent awareness of his gift for seizing exactly the right word for every nuance and sentiment out of his mouth. And his speech, rhythms and inflections were the same fielding our often precocious questions as when he was speaking continuously without notes for the first 45 minutes at the Page Auditorium lectern.

"Natural" is too wimpy and understated a word to describe what he was doing. "Symphonic" maybe? That suggests that he was somehow being carried with the sound or import of his own voice. He wasn't. I can't summon up any right words for what Burgess could do. And, of course, I am not Burgess. I've still heard no live speaker with the quality of the command of the English language Anthony Burgess had. (I heard William Buckley speak twice the following year and, as brilliant as Wild Bill was with words, it just wasn't the same.) I wish I had an audio tape of that fall evening. Burgess was joy to see and hear.

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Original: May 23, 2015

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Stephen Fry: The Joys of Swearing

Actor, Writer, Renaissance Man, Polymath: London's Stephen Fry.

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May 20, 2022

The Best of Partner Emeritus: "I own a dog so I can understand how to be patient with associates."

If you work for a peer firm, you will encounter me or someone very much like me. [Y]ou cannot avoid the essence of my character if you aspire to succeed... I or some form of my embodiment will exist to make your existence as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it can be. Welcome to the legal profession you self-entitled nimrods have created.

--Partner Emeritus, commenting at Above The Law, 2009

To the dismay of many, Partner Emeritus, the urbane, well-heeled lawyer, writer, satirist, culture critic, enemy of the militantly mediocre and hands-down Dean Swift of Above the Law's wise if wonderfully deranged Commentariat, has caught this blog's attention. With humility and honor, we today announce that "Best of Partner Emeritus" will be a feature and its own category here at What About Clients/Paris? Probably forever.

Among other subjects, we will spotlight PE's views on dogs, lawyers, brothels, sexual techniques and remedial programs for broken GenY JDs with Tourettes, Sydenham's chorea and/or lifelong spine problems.

We begin simply. We love a short but busy comment PE just made about his dog Simeon and his love for dogs--which for our money are about the best thing on this fourth-rate planet anyway. It follows from yesterday's ATL piece, Prosecutor’s Pooch Spawns Epic Email Bitchfest by ATL's founder, ageless boy wonder and polymath David Lat:

Everyone here on ATL knows I am a dog lover. In the early '90s, a German colleague suggested that I own a dog so I can understand how to be patient with associates. I purchased my first Afghan hound, the late Algernon, in 1995 and I trained him to be a show dog champion. Algernon then sired my current canine companion, Simeon, who was a favorite to win the 2008 Westminster Dog Show before someone sabotaged his chances by slipping contaminated food in his kennel the night before the competition commenced.

This all being said, the AUSA who complains about doing his job on the weekend is in the wrong here. The workplace is not his home and he simply cannot act as if he were home (e.g., take off his mustard stained chinos and walk around in his underwear, etc.). Moreover, what if the dog bites a co-worker? Can the co-worker file a workman's compensation claim or does the lout who brought his dog to the office have separate liability insurance for the dog? As much as I detest government bureaucrats, I have to side with the dragon lady office manager in this dogfight.

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Simeon cruising London's Hyde Park?

The Best of Partner Emeritus: Introduction/No. 1

Original post September 15, 2015

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May 19, 2022

Euripides: Speech, Expression, Humor, Satire.

This is slavery, not to speak one's thought.

— Eurípides (480-406 BC)

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Blaise Pascal: Time and Brevity.

I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

― Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), The Provincial Letters, Letter 16, 1657

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By François II Quesnel for Gérard Edelinck, 1691

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May 17, 2022

May 17, 1928

"There’s not a man in a carload of you."

- John Daniel Hull III (May 17, 1928 - December 12, 2012)

Happy birthday, Big John.

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May 16, 2022

Jack London: On Real Life

‪You can’t wait for Inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

‪— Jack London (1876-1916)‬

London in 1905‬
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London, 1835: Ben Disraeli Disses Daniel O'Connell.

Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon. --Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), Parliament, 1835.
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May 15, 2022

Robert Frost's Work-Life Pulitzer

The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week.

Robert Frost (1874-1963) spent his life as a poet, student, teacher, newspaper reporter, farmer, factory worker, father, husband and accomplished Yankee. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize four times.

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(New York World-Telegram & Sun)

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May 14, 2022

Goethe jokes with The Immortals.

Eternity is a mere moment--just long enough for a joke.

--Hermann Hesse's version of Goethe, dead, possessed of a superior perspective, and speaking to Harry Haller, in Steppenwolf (1927).

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May 13, 2022

“Nice Smart American Kids Make Lousy Lawyers”

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Image: Ragdoll Productions for BBC TV

What kind of human makes a great lawyer?

I don't mean a go-through-the-motions lawyer, a tell-you-what-the law-is lawyer (dipstick variety) or even a yeoman lawyer here. I mean a solid and effective advocate-adviser you can count on when money, reputation, freedom and sometimes life itself is at stake.

People who work every day for 40 years for each client as if it's their first day working on their first real client assignment. Sure, some of the details get to be tedious or old hat after a while--but those juices are always flowing. They are always tuned into their responsibilities to others. They take great pride in it. People, if you will, who were born to be lawyers.

"Nice, smart" kids, maybe?

No. In fact, "nice, smart" kids including scads of first-borns who were always great students, maybe elected Senior Class President in high school or on the debating team in college--they come in droves to the legal profession every year and have done that for generations--almost always make shitty lawyers.

"Smart" is a prerequisite. "Nice" is okay--"happy" is more important--but you meet few sane clients who insist on "nice".

To be an effective lawyer, you need a lot more going on, whether you are doing litigation, transactional work, regulatory matters and even legislative/lobbying kinds of projects. I'm not an expert on personality types. But in my view you probably ought to have all of the following: (1) more energy than most people have, (2) stamina (good physical health, perhaps better than average health), (3) persistence, (4) ambition, (5) resilience, (6) competitiveness and a (7) mean streak a mile wide you can turn off and on. And that's for starters. Here are two more: (8) a natural tendency to thrive on and even relish conflict (no, not "embrace", I said relish) and (9) a natural tendency to regard "stress as kind of fuel".

So with that in mind, we've renamed our blog, starting two days ago--until the day after Labor Day--What About Clients/Paris? will be known as "It's Not About the Lawyers, Teacups." As most of our seven or eight regular readers we've picked up since our launch 10 years ago already know, we think there is currently in the legal profession an alarmingly undue emphasis on concepts like:

(a) lawyer comfort and satisfaction generally,

(b) lawyer self-esteem,

(c) lawyer "resilience" (N.B. "lawyer resilience"; this is a subtopic if there ever was one that is certain to make a lot of sophisticated clients look suddenly like they've lost several pints of blood the first time they hear it),

(d) lawyer "mindfulness" and other pop-Zen faux-Eastern notions of well-being, calm, repose, serenity and right state of mind which are taught by people who have no idea what they're talking about to often youngish lawyers who don't know the difference and which would have Alan Watts, Eknath Easwaran or Gautama Himself rolling agonizingly in their graves;

(e) lawyer mental health, and

(f) the new "Lawyer Patienthood", especially underemployed or unemployed younger lawyers who are desperate to make the profession "fit them" even if in the best of economic times it would be painfully apparent to them and many others that they are wonderful, important and talented creatures who deserve to be happy but were simply not cut out to be lawyers in the first place. "Nice, smart kids" can certainly do many other things.

I think that the wrong humans have been entering law school for some time now, from the oldest Baby Boomers to the youngest of Gen-Ys. Somehow we need to attract those who are born with the basic mental, emotional and physical makings of the kind of person clients and customers can rely on with confidence. There are lots of these folks--and we need to start attracting them to this profession. For the last three decades, at least, they have not appeared in great numbers. Let's develop more sophisticated ways of identifying them--and for the sake of clients everywhere somehow start getting them here.

Original post: September 3, 2015

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May 10, 2022

Partner Emeritus on Half-Windsor Knots, Bow Ties, Real Men, Everything.

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Last week, in the comments of an article at Above the Law by Shannon Achimalbe entitled Guess Who Else is Reading Your Legal Blog?, our muse, hero and law god Partner Emeritus was asked out of the blue (and by yours truly) about half-Windsor knots versus full-Windsor knots in straight ties for men. He answered:

Full Windsor is credited. If you were with a "10" model, would you give her a "half" or "full" effort?

As subsequent comments that day reflect, I and many others were grateful for the answer and advice.

But that apparently got the Great Man thinking about bow-ties, which unbeknown (hopefully) to him I've worn myself frequently over the past 30 years. An hour later he also commented:

For the record, I always thought males who donned bow ties (exception: Nation of Islam) and half Windsor knotted ties were queer and it was a subtle call sign to other like minded depraved monsters. So Dan, perhaps the folks you see on K Street sporting the half Windsor are looking to swallow or ride the baloney pony; after all, AmeriKa has been on the buggery express ever since the Kommissar seized the reins of power.

So I am rethinking bow ties. And to be honest, I felt funny when I wore a bow tie one day last week and two days this week. Normally I don't care about what anyone says. But with PE, it's just different. As you know, Rhodes scholars, SCOTUS clerks, polymaths and Renaissance men around the world would kill for his fleeting approval on anything. Word is that even Brad Pitt looks to PE on how to dress his children.

I keep thinking. Bow ties. Is there something wrong with me?

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J. Daniel Hull, Budapest, before the Great Neutering.

Original post: 12/24/2015

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May 08, 2022

Mother's Day.

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July 1, 1950

My mother--to us, "Mom"--was and is that mom all the other kids in the neighborhoods we lived in wanted to be their mom. In Grand Rapids, Detroit, Chicago and finally Cincinnati. Before that, way before, she and her ancestors were part of one of the most romantic stories ever told. I imagine first thousands, and then tens of thousands, and then even more, of people out of Suffolk via Ipswich to Groton and other towns and slowly invading America, Massachusetts, Canada, and Three Oaks, Michigan.

But she never let on as we grew up that her family--and therefore mine--had been in America so long. We'd only heard about Hulls or Holles--German Protestant minsters and farmer stock in the Palatine who come over on a ship from Rotterdam in the just-yesterday mid-1700s. I had to piece it together myself with some colonial organization records prepared in the late 1940s (at the request of a patron great aunt in Jacksonville, Florida who threw my parents' wedding in 1950) she had kept from everyone and finally gave me; it's actually typed before my birth and condensed to 6 pages. And a little help from Google on the part of Suffolk they came from via Ipswich. It turns out Mom all along was a Colonial Dame.

Her family came from the still-tiny village of Lindsey, England, to Massachusetts in 1634. This is mainstream early Yank history. (I visit Lindsey, in Suffolk, in 2003. Her family's name is still on some of the stones in the churchyard, and in recent records of weddings still kept in the church.)

Exactly three centuries later, a photogenic only child is growing up in Chicago. It's the Depression. She starts working as a model when she is quite young. She's a bit quiet and sweet. And tall. Her own mother is strong, "well-raised", and with an Auntie Mame/stage mother quality she had until her death in 1970. In the late 1930s and 40s, the agencies love Mom's "all-American" girl next door face and smile. In photos, commercial or not, they jump off a page at you. Without makeup, she comes by a young yet "all grown-up" look at a very young age.

I am looking at one of them hung in my home right now.

Her face: Strength. Spirit. Fun. Femininity. A real but completely natural Charisma. In this one agency photo, that she's classically beautiful is nearly besides the point. At thirteen, she's an experienced model. Looks aren't everything--but in the 1940s they are still the pinnacle for a girl or woman. Times are hard. You're female? You're an off-the-charts pretty girl from Evanston? You've a natural figure? Well, use it, honey. She has some other breaks. She's good at language--and college bound. A pretty good athlete. A relative in the American South offers to pays for much of her education.

And then there's this one: she actually spends much of her teen and early adult years trying to gain weight. Milkshakes and candy bars. Anything is okay--and that continued. Here's someone put on earth to compensate for some of the rest of us: she has brains, smarts and charm. And an enviable--no maddening--metabolism. She can't gain weight. She even tries. I have the same gift/problem as a kid. I drink milkshakes with her. But I am 11 and she is 35.

But mainly, and here's The Gift: she loves people. I mean, she really, really loves them.

Today, in her eighties, she is still tall, almost 5'10", angular, with dark hair, and fresh, friendly, athletic, striking. In boarding school and college, she is always the homecoming queen, or "May Queen", or something--but that rare and somewhat quiet one without enemies.

All my life, I've heard both men and women remark how beautiful she is--and how nice she is to them.

People talk about the two qualities almost interchangeably--as if they go together. Usually, folks, they do not. With the exception of her, and just one other person, I consider humans without enemies as sad, low and worthless. They're either spineless soulless schemers or straight-up lily white wimps who must be 'liked' by everyone, and won't play in The Game of Real Life. But not Mom.

She is modest, and very private about her own needs, my brother and sister and I learn over time. The eldest, I am most 40 when I first see her entire modelling portfolio--scores of 1940s and 1950s glossies and pictures in magazines I heard about growing up. It is all stunning covering 15 years. Yet she quits it all early--because of us.

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Lindsey, England 2003. Some Holdens (from Houlden, probably a Norman name, at some point) left here for Massachusetts in 1634.


A late-coming family beef: Sorry, Dad, and Mom--but why not haul out those pictures earlier? I love black and whites of my Dad playing Hoosier basketball and football, both at Shortridge and college. And then color came slowly to the pictures in the post-college 1960 pictures. Who would not love the glories of Tide, Jif, Bounty and Charmin? Who isn't glued once they start looking through them to our albums of fishing trips and Pointe Aux Barques years? Vacations with 3 cousins named McCracken. A few male Holdens from Michigan. The pictures show how few in number--but how amazingly healthy--the last three generations of our family had become. One aunt. One uncle. The neighborhoods in La Grange, Grand Rapids, Detroit, then Chicago again.

Finally lots of images of Cincinnati: the promised land and, as it turned out, a class act. A true City-State with real city government that attracted talent. True, Cincy's a bit stiff but hardworking. True, it seems like we're a "tolerated minority" again. In Highland Park, Chicago, we weren't Jewish. In Cincinnati, we weren't Catholic--or of the "old German 'Zinzinnati stock". But nothing beats these Indian Hill schools. Like Braeside, another life-changer. It's the teachers--and the kids. The luck on us. Even my grandparents (the youngest of the four was born in 1900) are lucky enough to graduate from college And Mom tells us to notice it all. And I do.

In the pictures, she always looks as if she is quietly celebrating. Is she in prayer?

There are even some some black and white photos of my first real home: Aberdeen Proving Grounds. G.W. Hospital. Washington Circle. Beginnings I can't quite see. Anyway, lots of images: places and people we met. Musical instruments. Tennis rackets. Teachers for both. Much later Marco Island. Naples. French Lick. Kiawah summers with a new grandkid each one. Even meeting in Paris (my parents and me only; they were my first docents and guides). The 50-year anniversary trip. A 100th birthday party for a grandparent in Springfield, Missouri. Hey, I was there, too. We all were. Great photos--and I treasure them.

But when your smart French-speaking mom men are whispering about all through high school and college looks, and talks, better than "either Hepburn", and so many people like her, show me that stuff at sixteen, okay? Why the silence? Because she's a Greatest Generation-era woman? Here is the main event and fact of our lives: Our mother, Mom, is never interested in herself. Not ever. (It bothers us all). The past-glories portfolio can stay in the trunks, she must have thought to herself.

Beginning at 25, things change. She now loves noisy children and sloppy dogs. Too energetic and too physical, she still does things too quickly. I got this from her: an odd mixture of athleticism and metabolism that yields accidents.

But she, unlike me, always moves too fast for the sake of others. Fond of the troubled, those with raw deals, the strays, she must get things done for them. This, to me, is drive at its purest. She sizes them (and the rest of us) up in seconds. Notwithstanding the judgment you do get, everyone gets a pass. Street people, the mailman, animals and executives and wives.

Yes, our animals, too. She thinks of them as friends. Real friends. Word's been out for some time that Mom speaks several dialects of American Dog.

Each of the above creatures, human or not, is part of Life. All are equally considered. At our house it is always Christmas Eve. "Here," her voice seems to say in our house, "we will consider you. That is what we do here? Got it?" And with a determined let's-go smile: "Let's get this done. Now, please." Or "We have a problem to solve."

She has a very private but active spiritual life, and a natural class and ease with others. She is comfortable with, and genuinely interested in, everyone she meets, anywhere in the world. She wants to know them. She interviews you--but only out of curiosity, genuine interest and an enduring love for humankind most of us lose by 25.

Bear with me. I like movies, and they are often part of my firm's work. Think for a moment of the characters in the 1939 movie "Gone with the Wind". Imagine in one person a fusion of Melanie's love and compassion with Scarlett's resolve and strength.

Are these gifts to us all? Or challenges? Is God throwing down a gauntlet here? It doesn't matter. I want to age that well. I want to care about others that much. I want my laugh, like hers, to ring with the joy and humor of unfinished growth and adventure.

She has put up with me, and my father, and I wish I could be more like her. As the eldest, I am far more of a pain-in-the-ass than either my brother or sister, even though we are all just 2 years apart. (Fair warning: If you eat with me, I may make you finish your vegetables. I will tell you what I think. Maybe who to marry. Who to divorce. Whatever will help you that day.) I compete with my Dad only for a mother-and-wife's worry and angst.

Mom's led a very charmed life, which she views with gratitude, humility and grace. Nothing is taken for granted. She knows. My father, also an American success story (hard work does work), was a big part of that.

We three kids were, too. And our friends, new neighborhoods, adult friends, other people's noisy kids, animals, the happiest dogs on earth, oceans, rivers, lakes, always perch and smallmouth bass, some less edible or less noble fish, ravines, Mountain Grove, Chevy Chase, Port Austin, Alpena, 8 Mile Road, Pleasant Ridge, the Braeside and later Indian Hill schools, Duke (all three changed my life), North Deere Park, church in Glencoe for us red-haired protestants, Drake Road, the Cosmos Club, Mr. Whipple commercials, tennis, basketball, golf, more animals, more dogs, 8 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren foster kids, even foster people--all manner of events and creatures including, of course, human strays.

But she. She lights up all rooms--not just ours.

Happy Mother's Day, Penny Hull. Chicago Girl. Boarding School Sweetie. Ferry Hall May Queen. DePauw Campus Crush. Fashion Model. Keeper of Cockers. Keeper-Carer-Feeder-Trainer of John Hull III. Athlete. Task Master. Social Worker. Patrician Role Model. Angel to Strays and Mutts. Colonial Dame. Last Hull with natural class. Super-Mommy.

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May 06, 2022

Cultural Literacy For America’s White Collars: When?

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Île Saint-Louis on the Seine, seen from a famous bridge.

Americans, the Alpha-humans, the elect and the "winners" in modern world history, are not well-rounded in our knowledge of the world, its people, and how we all got to this point on earth. Art, literature, the humanities, world history and political theory are not just for the rich, the elite, intellectual, and people who attended Choate and Oberlin. These things are the best part of all of us; they can inform, stir and improve every moment. If America could put real education before "jobs", we would astonish--and charm--the entire world.

Education is about more than just getting a job. Cultural literacy has never been an American strength. Oddly, even American professionals, and executives in leadership positions, continue to be satisfied with becoming, and remaining, in effect, "techs". Four years of college or university training. Seven years. Eight years. More. We are not "well-educated" in a traditional or historical sense.

If you don't regularly read this blog--we have a small but steady non-wanker following--here's a suggestion. Before reading further, skim "Thinking Warriors " and "Ernest, the French Aren't Like You and Me". If these posts make you angry, cause a tizzy, give you a headache, or make you pull a hamstring, just try another blog.

Put another way, Americans, the Alpha-humans, the elect and the "winners" in modern world history, are not well-rounded in our knowledge of the world, its people, and how we all got to this point on earth. Browse the American blogs of the Internet for a few hours. Mostly bad neighborhoods--and getting worse and dumber every month. We are insular and at best (being charitable here) semi-literate as a people. We are uninformed about the history, political roots, ideas and art of the West.

Sure, our schools and universities are called "the envy of the world"--and it's all a crock. We are delusional about our true educational achievement for the rank-and-file. We're a pretty dumb lot--and that includes the vast majority of our white collars and execs. The Net, ironically to some, has only made the situation worse; it imparts the idea that everyone (1) has great value and (2) has something very valuable to share. Neither is true. Neither has ever been true.

In short, very few people seem to know what they are thinking and talking about. But that's not important to most of us. We are 300 million "talkers" and know-it-alls, most of whom have four (4) die-hard hobbies: 1. Sitting, 2. Eating, 3. Watching Bad Television, and 4. A Relentless And Seemingly Eternal National Wankfest: Hanging Out With And Talking To The Same People Over And Over Again. Most of us never travel further than Lake Erie. It shows.

The result: not knowing very much, thinking we know everything, having a limited frame of reference about the World--and 80% of us are now Big Enough To Have Our Own Zip Codes.

The future? Well, it's not looking too good. Consider our human resources.

Some view the 18-35 generation as already broken down, and functionally retarded, with lots more budding failures coming up behind them flying the giddy colors of Sloth and McLife. The pattern mentioned above--in which American students at all levels are given poor grounding in global, cultural and historical "basics"--is even worse for these kids. We have dumbed them down silly.

Our short-term solution for younger adults? We've told them all along that they are "just fine". But they are not fine. They are a bust and--please don't lie to yourselves, your customers, co-workers or shareholders--they are dangerous to have in places of work where quality problem-solving is the main daily event. Or on any terrain where you cannot have a "bad day". Mostly drains and bad investments. Our firm will no longer hire them without probation periods--and very tough ones (which can still be a lot of fun for everyone). Nothing less is fair to our clients and co-workers.

Can Americans change any of this? Sure. If we could just learn some things, and put education before jobs, we would astonish and charm the entire world. We would produce better people. We'd have better employees. (Partners across the country again would be able to invite associates to lunch with clients who can read.)

Art, literature, the humanities, world history and political theory aren't just for the rich, the elite or the intellectual. They are the best part of all of us; they can inform, stir and improve every moment.

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Wilder

“If you are going to tell the truth be funny or they will kill you.”

— Billy Wilder, American Filmmaker (1906-2002)

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