December 2015


Tense this holiday season? Maybe a roaring "fire" is good for what ails you. bill-murray-scrooged-holiday-movies GIF

Tense this holiday season? Maybe a roaring “fire” is good for what ails you.

The phrase “I can’t even” may have been invented for today’s blog post, which may be my last for the next week-ish of the holiday season.

How better to enjoy the holidays than gathered around a roaring fire with family and other loved ones? That is the notion behind the longtime TV version of the Yule log, which some stations traditionally have played while holiday music streams. Cheesy, but effective.

A roaring fire: You feel better already, don't you? fireplace norman rockwell

A roaring fire: You feel better already, don’t you?

An inspired “film” on Netflix has taken that a step further. “Fireplace for Your Home” is that tried-and-true approach. But wait … there’s more.

First of all, there is a trailer (yes, a trailer!) for this cinematic effort. Does it build your anticipation? Here it is:

And then, committed to the cinéma vérité of their effort, the auteurs added “behind the scenes” footage. For reals:

If this doesn’t make you chuckle, well, I can only recommend the movie Scrooged to you.

Happy holidays!

scrooged poster Bill Murray

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A great gift awaits at Hidden Track Bottle Shop in downtown Phoenix. (photo Downtown Phoenix Inc.)

A great gift awaits at Hidden Track Bottle Shop in downtown Phoenix. (photo Downtown Phoenix Inc.)

It’s only Tuesday, so, as someone committed to a deadline-driven world, I resist the notion that we are in a “last-minute” situation for Christmas. It’s not until Friday, after all.

But if you’re still on the hunt for a little something-something for people you care about, here are a few ideas.

First, head here to read about gift ideas for the downtown Phoenix enthusiast. (Sorry, but I have no comparable link for Tucson or elsewhere.)

The story includes 13 super, smart, and curated links to #dtphx businesses. A few favorites of mine include Hazel & Violet letterpress and Hidden Track Bottle Shop. They—and the other businesses—may have what the holidays yearn for.

It doesn't get much more artisanal than this: handmade items from Hazel & Violet letterpress, on historic Grand Ave. in downtown Phoenix. (Photo Downtown Phoenix Inc.)

It doesn’t get much more artisanal than this: handmade items from Hazel & Violet letterpress, on historic Grand Ave. in downtown Phoenix. (Photo Downtown Phoenix Inc.)

A second suggestion comes via photographer James Palka. You may recall the Pulitzer Prize-winning fellow by his great work for Arizona Attorney Magazine photographing the historic Pima County Courthouse.

Happily, he has a few calendars featuring his work. But you won’t be relegated to courthouses all year ‘round. No, instead he’s offering calendars featuring phenomenal shots of two of his favorite cities, Chicago and Tucson.

James Palka Chicago calendar

To view the images contained in these 8.5″ x 11″ calendars ($20 each), go to his etsy shop.

James Palka Tucson calendar

Or email Jim at jfp1111@gmail.com. He’d love to hear from you.

Wisconsin Lawyer 25 Cool Tech Toys

This week, my expectation is that only a small portion of folks are reading legal (or any) blogs. But for those of you who are—and who may still be scouring Amazon for that perfect last-minute gift—I urge you to read an article on the topic.

Thanks to the Wisconsin Lawyer Magazine, we have a story on the “25 Cool Tech Toys.”

And to kick off your week, here is a video snippet from A Christmas Story, all about “an indescribable award.”

Let’s hope you’ve got an indescribably great week planned.

It may take an old-timey miner and his canary to spot the depths we've sunk to in our pursuit for comfort.

It may take an old-timey miner and his canary to spot the depths we’ve sunk to in our pursuit for comfort.

I fear I’ve grown soft. Here’s the latest evidence.

In November, I confessed a certain … curiosity … about a chair that allows you to work as you recline. That cannot be a good thing, for me or for our nation.

And on this Change of Venue Friday, I point you to a video about … Netflix socks.

As you can see for yourself in the video below, these are socks that will pause your binge-watched program if they sense you have nodded off—in your Barcalounger or otherwise.

The bots at Netflix say this technology is part of actigraphy, “a non-invasive method of monitoring human rest/activity cycles. A small actigraph unit, also called an actimetry sensor, is worn … to measure gross motor activity. The unit is usually, in a wrist-watch-like package, worn on the wrist.”

… Or around your ankles, I suppose, as they are rapidly consumed by gout. ‘Murica.

Like most sensible people, I clicked the “news” video expecting to laugh uproariously at the depth to which we’ve plunged, civilization-wise. After all, this kind of product puts the “gross” in gross motor activity. Amiright?

Instead, as I watched, I caught myself musing on how smart that tech is, and what a boon to humankind. RED FLAGS! Here’s the video:

I’ll admit that the warning signs were there. I already have demonstrated a fondness for socks, as the following photos show (the second is a portion of my sock drawer—I reveal all to you, supportive readers!)

My socks at work, while my angle of recline indicates "not workin'."

Would a miner have worn these? My socks at work, while my angle of recline indicates “not workin’.”

A sampling of socks gaze out from a portion of my drawer (yes, there are more socks).

A sampling of socks gaze out from a portion of my drawer (yes, there are more socks).

But I must somehow be pulled back from the modern-ridiculousness abyss.

At work, someone has brought in factory-made Swiss Miss hot “chocolate” mix—with “marshmallows.” And I’m considering it. Seriously. Someone call for help—and I wish you a weekend free of techy socks.

Arizona Attorney Magazine, November 2015Bending Toward Justice” was the headline for our November cover story of Arizona Attorney Magazine. We thought it was an ideal combination of lawyers practicing yoga and one of the most evocative quotes of the civil rights era.

The full quote from which we drew the concept is, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

Do you recall who said it, and when? (I’ll tell you at the bottom of this post.)

In the meantime, I’ve noted before how yoga has made legal news this fall. So maybe I was just primed for the topic when I opened Google this week to the animated image of a man bending into a yoga pose.

yoga bks-iyengars-97th-birthday-5749978756546560-5758531089203200-ror

Yes, there are more.

yoga Google 2 unnamed

yoga Google 3 unnamedTurns out, those Google staffers were noting what would have been the 97th birthday of B.K.S. Iyengar, “the founder of the style of yoga known as ‘Iyengar Yoga’ and was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world.”

Curious, I asked Wikipedia about him:

“He was the author of many books on yoga practice and philosophy including Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Light on Life. Iyengar was one of the earliest students of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who is often referred to as ‘the father of modern yoga.’ He has been credited with popularizing yoga, first in India and then around the world.”

More detail on this remarkable man is here.

And our quote about the arc of justice?

If you said it comes from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., you would be correct. He spoke the moving words in August 1967 when he addressed the Southern Christian Fellowship Conference.

But extra points go to you if you recall that Reverend King was paraphrasing American Transcendentalist Theodore Parker, who lived before the Civil War and who “predicted the inevitable success of the abolitionist cause” this way:

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

I hope in this, the stirring month of December, you exercise your power and skill in the effort to bend toward justice.

If a position at the State Bar sounds good to you or someone in your circle, things may be looking up.

If a position at the State Bar sounds good to you or someone in your circle, things may be looking up.

Today, I’m pleased to report that there are some open positions at the State Bar—jobs—and that you and your circle may be interested.

When you get to the web page with the listings, here, you’ll see that they range from jobs for an attorney to those for various other staff positions.

Please read, share, and apply at will.

As you’d guess, each position comes with its own requirements, skills, and experience levels. Among them, I suppose, there’s always a general, free-floating requirement that you get along with others (even for the lawyer position—ha!). HR might disagree with me, but that may be the most important skill of all. But … how best to assess that?

Well, before you consider applying, I urge you to contemplate the following hypothetical, wholly unrelated to my own experience at the State Bar of Arizona. (This is my own entirely un-self-interested way of helping out the HR professionals—you’re welcome!)

Mere drops left in a hot carafe: Whom does this help, I ask you? Whom? empty coffee pot hot burner this is not ok

Mere drops left in a hot carafe: Whom does this help, I ask you? Whom?

For this hypo, refer to the exemplar photo at right.

You walk into the break room for a cup of coffee. The carafe appears to hold a few teaspoons more than a single cup. Do you:

A. Pour the pot down the drain and start a fresh pot, because the remaining coffee is probably awful.

B. Fill your own cup, and then start a fresh pot.

C. Fill your own cup, replace the carafe onto the hot burner with mere drops left, and walk away.

Answer key:

A. You are a stand-up individual, one who should be considered for employment.

B. Though your taste in coffee is suspect, you would be welcome to be hired in a probationary capacity.

C. I can’t even. Please gather up your application and resume and return to the parking lot. We’re done.

Again, this is a mere hypothetical, not one that an applicant would necessarily be subjected to. Just food for thought.

Happy job hunting!

That's Robert Craghead--not Santa--gracing the cover of the December Illinois Bar Journal.

That’s Robert Craghead–not Santa–gracing the cover of the December Illinois Bar Journal.

When you edit a legal magazine, here’s one thing you end up doing—a lot: Reading other legal magazines. (Plus websites, newsletters, podcasts, videos, skywriting, and messages in bottles).

Occasionally, the stack of reading material can get pretty daunting, so you wrestle your nemesis to the ground and focus on what will engage you the most. And that’s how I came across … a terrific Q&A.

Robert Craghead is the longtime Executive Director of the Illinois State Bar Association. Fortunately for his colleagues and lawyers from the Land of Lincoln, he’s also one of the nicest guys in the legal biz.

I’ve had the pleasure to speak with Bob many times at national conferences, and I never fail to walk away with a smile on my face—and an idea or two to steal for my own association.

The Q&A is concise—I’m guessing it will take you 15 minutes to read. And when you do, you’ll hear a smart guy address issues that will determine the future of the legal profession.

You can read the magazine piece here.

Well done to Bob and the smart folks at the Illinois Bar Journal.

In my experience, it's hard not to find Robert Craghead smiling.

In my experience, it’s hard not to find Robert Craghead smiling.

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