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February 2014
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captainsblog [userpic]

You (if "you" are of a certain age) remember the frequent trope from Bugs Bunny cartoons. A character is bamboozled, and upon realizing it, does a fantastic turn into a standup piece of candy:

You can see it here, although the recording they uploaded kinda sucks.

As does what I found out at, oh, close to ten last night.

I told a couple of stories here a few weeks ago about the lonely and dangerous road that lawyers sometimes travel on. Not much new to say about L1 from that tale, the one I've known for awhile, but the road for L2 just came to a sad and, for me and a mutual client, a rather deceitful end.

The short version: I was hired to work with L2 for a client, after it started having communication problems with him. It took me weeks to have any communication with him at all, and I eventually had to resort to an extreme remedy- moving for a court order to replace him.  Usually, you don't have to do this; clients always have an absolute right to hire and fire (subject to any right of payment you might have), and it's almost always resolved by just signing and filing documents to reflect the change. But this guy could not be reached- not by email, phone or even on in-person visits.

The day after I got an initial order signed to provide for his discharge, but before I'd served it, he suddenly emailed me, and he was suddenly cooperative. I told him I had papers for him I needed him to see that day, but he was out of town, so I delivered them as the order required and waited.  A week later, he met me in the lobby of a courthouse I had business at, and signed the necessary consent papers. He still wanted to help, and the client still wanted his help, so we agreed to meet about it two days ago. He was more-or-less prompt, completely candid about the case itself, and we made plans to meet next week to update things.

Then he walked into a courtroom yesterday and got himself disbarred:

A Buffalo attorney pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling $18,550 from an escrow account that held money to be paid to his client as part of a proposed settlement of a civil lawsuit he had filed for the client.

[The 45-year-old] faces a maximum prison term of 28 months to seven years when he is sentenced July 14 by Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka on a felony charge of third-degree grand larceny. He was released on his own recognizance.

His attorney [said he] hopes to make restitution payments between now and sentencing.

In the meantime, [he] is disbarred as a result of pleading guilty to a felony, according to Assistant District Attorney Brian P. Dassero.

The prosecutor said [he] used the money for personal expenses, including paying for his children’s education, between April 1, 2013, and Oct. 31, 2013.

This was within a day of his sitting five feet away from me, talking about our case's history and what he hoped to do to help.

I had to break it to the client this morning (mine was not the one embezzled from), and we're going to regroup in a couple of days to decide how best to proceed.

I saw the signs a month ago- nonresponsiveness, broken promises, yet still with a goodness about both the quality and quantity of work he was delivering when you did communicate with him.  I'd never encountered him before this occasion, but I wonder how many other lawyers, judges, other bar officials did have such encounters and did nothing to stop it and nothing to help.

Because any of us can be one bad circumstance away from being in the exact same place.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment here, or there using OpenID.

She writes [userpic]

HENRY. FREE TO GOOD HOME. Or any home. This this this... Unbelievably naughty kitten is on my last nerve. It's a good thing there's no circus in town, because poof. I'd take a wooden nickel for her tonight.

captainsblog [userpic]

We both spent quality 'rent time with Emily today- me, earlier, at their apartment, visiting the kitzels who are still a little skittish around company but have massive fun playing with things together; and then, both of us tonight, with her on the phone.

She's having some scheduling issues at work as she gears up for the final push on her thesis film. I hadn't realized how much of a work-in-process it still is; technically, she can keep working on it until May 16th, the Friday before graduation, and still have it graded and screened in time for the ceremony the following week.

And yes, for those keeping score at home: RIT's Commencement Weekend is May 23 and 24, but the Big Event for us will be the Commencement Ceremony for the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, which runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday May 23rd.

There are other college and school ceremonies throughout the two-day period, and an all-college Academic Convocation (where the degrees are actually conferred) at 10 that morning, but the CIAS commencement is the big deal for Emily and her crew. Her own subgroup's pre-ceremony reception goes like this:

School of Film and Animation
Friday, May 23, 2:30-4 p.m. - 050 Gannett/SoFA lobby
Asst'd mini pizzas, spinach & cheese in phyllo, smoked chicken quesadillas, Swedish meatballs, cheese, crackers, fruit tray, asst'd biscotti, cream puffs, coffee, tea, lemonade. Small cafe tables and seating. Informal, no program.

The weekend before will be the screenings of her and her fellow seniors' thesis films.

Be in touch with us, or we will with you, if any or all of the foregoing is of interest.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment here, or there using OpenID.

She writes [userpic]

Palindrome week
Total lunar eclipse

captainsblog [userpic]

It's Day Two of the annual season-changing cold that I always seem to get. Nothing horrible, but I'm feeling very sluggish and running alternately hot and chilled. Not much court this week, fortunately, but plenty of other deadlines and similar things. They include a fairly involved bit of dental work scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but if this isn't better by then I may wind up postponing it, just so bugs don't get into either my dental roots or my dentist.

Emily called at a quarter to six after spending the whole night embracing the porcelain altar. She thinks she may have gotten into a bad loaf of banana bread. I told her to go to the ER if she thought it would help, but that it might wind up quicker just waiting for RIT health services to open- which it was, and which she did.

In fictional medical news, we have last night's season premiere of Nurse Jackie to watch tonight, plus next Sunday's episode 2, which they already put up on On Demand. That works, since we'll likely need all of NEXT Sunday to process the Orphan Black return.

Off to the next meeting now....

captainsblog [userpic]

Eighty-two games. Close to that many different players. Nine different goalies dressed during the course of the worst season in Sabres team history.  Finally, the door gets closed (and hopefully the interior exploded) on this debacle to end all debacles.

The coach got fired. The general manager got fired. A legendary former Sabre came back in glory as the titular head of the front office, bringing back his own one-time coach and the promise of a long-time future leading the franchise, only to quit or be fired (depending on who you believe) barely three months later. Both Game One co-captains got traded, as did the franchise goalie and every other player with a contract due to expire right after the season.  The final weeks have been ugly, bloody and dark. The only hope is that this week will bring the one win of the year that counts: cashing in on their last-place finish's 25% chance of picking first in the June NHL draft. At worst, they'll go second.

At least Ted Nolan got a contract extension; he made the best of the mess that got left behind for him by the stand-pat former GM, and he's well known for bringing out the best in especially young players.  The #1 or 2 pick, along with perhaps a first-rounder from the Islanders (if they choose not to defer to next year's draft) and another from St. Louis (if the team and/or Ryan Miller meet certain post-season criteria), will lead a very young and likely still bad team next year into the Promised Land of Prospects.

For the draft list for a year from now is headed by a kid named Connor McDavid, who is mentioned in the same breath as Gretzky and Crosby as a potential generational offensive-star player.  He is likely the reason the Islanders might give up this year's surely-high pick (they can fall no lower than 5th or 6th in the draft and could even get #1) in hopes of having a shot at the McGreat One next summer.  He is also the reason Seattle is rushing to complete an effort to get an expansion bid in place in time to put a team on the ice for the 2015-16 season, since expansion teams typically bump over the previous year's finishers and get the #1 overall.  Finally, he's the reason some league GMs are considering giving teams less incentive to "tank" for the #1 overall pick- reducing their odds in the lottery, basing it on the average of several prior year records, or allowing the worst team to fall more than just one spot.  Sabres personnel say none of these doomsday scenarios is likely, but considering how the Cigarette Smoking Man feels about our fair city, I really don't like our chances.

Last year, which was bad but nowhere near this bad, the Sabres chose the final home game of the year, their traditional "Fan Appreciation" event, to announce an increase in ticket prices for this clusterfudge of a season.  Everyone I've spoken to seems to agree that the best way they could express "appreciation" this season would be to just forfeit the game before anybody else gets hurt.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment here, or there using OpenID.

captainsblog [userpic]

* Cinema.

Our Netflix queue has shrunk to near nothing, after years of being in the 20s and 30s of backlog.  Some, surely, is Eleanor not adding to it as she always had been (when you're waiting three months for cataract surgery, you're not actively looking for things to watch that you can't see well), but some, also, is from the purge Netflix did around the first of the year of a lot of their titles.

One that did just come, and we enjoyed, was a back-catalog piece from Guy Ritchie titled Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It's plenty bloody, and contains enough f-bombs to light the night sky, but it's well crafted and devilishly funny.  IMDBing it also got me to add a similar film to the queue- Bob Hoskins's 1980 cinematic debut titled The Long Good Friday, also starring Helen Mirren (but not Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln).

* Podcasts.

Another place I've finally caught up in is Night Vale.  Weeks of three-at-a-time listens in the car have got me to just the past two episodes, which I'll likely knock off by the time the next one releases on 15 April. It's interesting to see how the show has come since it began not quite two years ago; they're no longer as welcoming of story and music ideas as the initial episodes were, the background music no longer says it "can all be downloaded for free," and the intro and outros are more about pushing donations and the merch than about silliness.  I'm wondering if there's a very tiny shark under lane five of the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex, just waiting to jump.

* The TV.

I got suckered in by an April Fools post on Jezebel about Netflix signing an a la Arrested Development deal to bring back Firefly.  I suppose it's better to be Malrolled than Rickrolled, but still. Boo.

We have three of the original Orphan Black episodes to rewatch before next weekend's S2 premiere. I'm guessing these will go more slowly and carefully so we can remember exactly where we left off.

* Bookses.

I'm up to 15-ish read on the 2014 list (now kept here). It's "ish"-ish because I'm not officially counting a read of an unpublished one I'm editing on a ARC basis, nor a non-fiction epub I just pick at in between other library books.

And certainly, as of now, not Renowned Author Dan Brown's latest magnum opus deiInferno finally came off the library's 7-day list, although I could probably eat this brain candy in less than a week if I really tried.  Why pain myself with it? Because some road accidents just have to be slowed down for.  Admittedly, though, I couldn't get through it without a little help from my (robot) friends:

Best reaction I got to that picture was from a Facebook friend who explained, The TITLE of the book is actually INSTRUCTIONS for disposal.

I bet Tom Hanks is wishing he'd stayed in character as Walt Disney and gotten himself frozen, rather than having to face acting his way through this mess.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment here, or there using OpenID.

captainsblog [userpic]

I almost posted about Letterman's retirement, and almost used the Colbert icon with it, when the news of just that came out last week. Now that Stephen has been named as the Late Show heir apparent, it's of course even more appropriate.

A generation ago, this would've really mattered to me. I'd become a Carson fan in college, vaguely aware of the Tonight Show as a cultural thing earlier than that, but the early 80s brought my first actual stay-up late nights to learn Carnac, and the Mighty Carson Art Players, and all the other by-play among Johnny, Ed, Doc, Tommy and the couches full of guests.  On my one California visit ever in the winter of 1980, seeing the Tonight Show set at the Burbank studios was a highlight- Bert Parks had just been sacked as the longtime host of the Miss America pageant, and Johnny was in the middle of his "WE WANT BERT" campaign with that slogan on Ed's podium.

In time, we heard about this weird daytime show being put on NBC and hosted by some former Indiana TV weatherman. The David Letterman Show was decades ahead of its time, and lasted barely four months, despite a creative crew that included Dave's longtime girlfriend and comedy soulmate Merrill Markoe and future SNL (and, even later, QI) regular Rich Hall. Everybody wrote it off to being the right show at the wrong time, and the effort led, eventually, to his getting the after-Johnny gig in the NBC late night slot he has held down (give or take an hour) for the past 32 years.

We stayed up later in the late 80s and early 90s, VCRs helping as well, and we fell in love with Dave's post-Carson trappings- Late Night's Top Ten List, Stupid Pet Tricks, Larry "Bud" Melman, Chris Elliott's various outrages, and odd things only we seem to remember, like video of barn owls eating mice to the musical accompaniment of "Tomorrow" from Annie. When Johnny announced his retirement in the early 90s, I was squarely in Dave's camp, and when he ultimately took it on the Chin, I stopped watching and recording NBC at night.

For awhile, we kept up with the new Dave in the new place, but I haven't watched one live in close to 20 years or recorded in almost as long. More recent years have made "clips" of the best late-night bits more accessible outside broadcast hours,  but little other than Conan and (more recently) Fallon actually makes it onto our computer screens. So this announced retirement will likely bring me back to the fold more often for the coming year, and I'll certainly be there live for the final night with Dave, Paul Shaffer (he's right over there, until he, too, rides out with his longtime podner) and all the other trappings of the Ed Sullivan Theatre that their show gave new life to after the post-Carson breakup of the band.


Stephen, I also came to gradually. Not long after joining LJ (10 years ago next week- watch for a smooshy post;), a friend hooked me up with something called Strangers with Candy, a Comedy Central series starring Amy Sedaris but with a rather scary Stephen Colbert in  a lead role, as well.

Not long after discovering him from that, the network spun off his Colbert Report parody from the Daily Show as its own nightly feature, and in May of 2006, I scored tickets to see the Reporr's taping with my best bud mayiwrite There's even photographic evidence of this:

(That's me behind the high-fiver's left shoulder; Maymay and a very hypothetical baby girl are to my left and out of view;)

Stephen has held forth on this bit for the ensuing years, routinely pissing off the right and, occasionally, the left, but he has now been given the second oldest and most legendary comedy time slot in the country, which he intends to perform in as Stephen rather than as "Stephen".

I love them both, and he has Dave's blessing to move forward at that hour on that network. Curious who the sidekick/bandleader will be (and whether it will be one or two people).

So enjoy your final year, Dave and "Stephen."  We'll leave the light on in the Home Office for ya:)

This entry was originally posted at Please comment here, or there using OpenID.

captainsblog [userpic]

Ebony is doing much better after a full week of medication. She had what turned out to be a bacterial infection on her schnozz, and she was put on some horse-pill antibiotics to clear the underlying cause, but also an antihistamine/steroid combo to help it heal.

Which it has. But there are side effects.  These are the ones they told us about:


I can assure you, that's true.  Her water bowl is emptying at least three times a day despite us filling it to the near-brim, and especially at night, that water is heading out to the back yard at unfortunately regular intervals. I was up at least four times during the night just now playing Carlton Your Doorman for her.  Worse, though, is when Mr. and Mrs. Carlton are out all day, as they were yesterday.  We came home to major puddlage right next to this desk.  Two soaked towels later, I'm still running a fan at my feet and have an open window to help dry it out. (The phone says its 57F out there, but there's a freakin' wind chill here.)

Then there's what they didn't tell us:


Ebony's always been a little on the oral-fixation side, but these few days have been ridic. She's nailed at least two t-shirts, one or two pieces of underwear, a placemat and something of Eleanor's I could only identify in the wastebasket as "formerly purple."

We just halved the dosage again, and by middle of next week, the next time we'll both be out all day again, it'll have been halved again. So unless the Red Sox sign her, I'm hoping the roid rage will soon be over.


At least she's mostly quiet in all this. Next door, not so much.

The Kids Next Door have had a shiba inu puppy since they moved here last fall.  Her name is Lexi, and she's a sweet enough thing, but hasn't had much in the way of training. Many a night, she's let out to pee and just stays out despite efforts to get her in, barking and (we think) trying to hunt varmints that (we think) live under the unbasemented half of that house.  Eleanor got so frustrated with it a few weeks ago, she shlepped over in the dead of night in the still-frozen tundra trying to get them to contain it, and the couple wrote back a thorough and contrite reply, including their phone numbers.

Last night, Lexi went off again, and Eleanor (who sleeps about ten feet from where the dog goes out on our side of their yard) couldn't take it, so I went out several times to help wrangle her.  Then I wound up later with my own doorman duties, plus some insomnia to boot, so I decided to check on just who these 20-somethings over there are, by googling the phone numbers.

I'd suspected they were UB students, possibly (from some of the verbiage of the note they left) law students. Well, yes and no. I found L by number- and she's a fellow law school graduate of mine (29 years removed), and works for a firm I know in a field I'm in.

I also found a link to their wedding site- the Big Day is in August, and there are several registries.

Something for the dog, I'm thinking.

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She writes [userpic]

Reason I never leave home without my kindle: dinner date with someone who is running late!

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