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Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Okay, the run and bike legs weren't regulation. (Marathoners get very upset when you try to relate your shorter-distance running experiences to theirs.)  But still, this is Grumpy Old Guy we're talking about here. So Ima proud of what I got done.

Workwise, this week isn't even a half-marathon compared to last week; it's barely a Fun Run. Early court yesterday, two downtown here today, one more downtown at 1 tomorrow.  And unlike last week, the sun's been out consistently, so it's nice to be running round outside.  Today, though, was the half hour of intensity thanks to screwing up my schedule.

State court at 9:30, Bankruptcy Court at 10. Three blocks apart. Done this dozens if not hundreds of times. I roll in to the first, and find....confusion. No court official present. (Something about "getting her coffee.") Once she arrives, no file.  Turns out Siri betrayed me and it had actually been scheduled in Buffalo for 9:30 yesterday, when I was obliviously in Rochester at a 9:00.

She Without Coffee looks for file, for notes, for everything, as 10 a.m. got closer and those three blocks didn't get any shorter.  Finally, I am released- Well, nothing bad happened yesterday; I'll get back with the date. (She did.The date is June 9th (the morning after an upcoming distance challenge I'll mention at the end of this); the prognosis is good; and I already am in the same building that very morning for something else.)

Still, I have three minutes to power-walk those three blocks, with a metal detector in my way, but I make it, three cases before mine is called, and nobody is opposing.

God, Fate, Time, Whatever? Thank you.


The run portion was short and mostly metaphorical. Biking was real, though.

Two mornings ago, as chronicled here, I came home at lunchtime and took my bike on its maiden voyage of the unspringy spring.  A stiff wind and some stiff hamstrings kept me from going all the way to the office, but at least I clocked maybe a mile round the 'hood.  After returning from court and needing a Fact from a File in the Garage, I came home, ate lunch here, lost the suit, and decided to try it again.  This time, the headwind was from the north: perfect, since the ride to my office has its longest  stretch (and steepest incline) on the southbound part on Harlem Road.  I chanced it- and made it.  On my previous efforts last year, I needed to stop and catch my breath at least once on the uphill. Today, though, I stopped only when dodging cars right before our office driveway made it necessary. 

The headwind was still there going home, but it was downhill. Coast, baby, coast! It's not as far as Eleanor's going on the days (like today) that she bikes to work- just under 2 miles for me, closer to 2.5 miles for her, plus she tends to haul groceries home on the back of her bike at the end of the day (I return with my car to claim my computer, buy wine, etc., etc., etc.). But today's the first day we both biked to work and back and made it successfully.


Neither of us have any real competitive things scheduled for our ever-growing running/biking capacities. But I was invited to a nice-sounding walk today, sponsored by the Presbyterian Church that's also two-ish miles on a bike from our home, where we've mostly attended musical performances they've sponsored:

North Church, along with Muslim Public Affairs Council Western New York (MPAC-WNY), Congregation Havurah, Islamic Society of Niagara Frontier, Network of Religious Communities, and Westminster Presbyterian Church is sponsoring a 4.5-, 3-, 2-, 1-, and 0-mile solidarity walk that will take place in conjunction with its 12th Annual Tent of Abraham event.

The 4.5-mile walk will start at North and includes a stop at Heim Middle School where a shorter 1-mile walk will begin. (Please note ample water will be available during the walk.) The walk will finish at the Muslim Community Center (Islamic Center), 745 Heim Road, Amherst, where walkers will join “The Tent of Abraham” event participants for dinner. Enjoy and e
vening of friendship and conversation of our shared values as we "break the fast" together. Enjoy this ethnic dinner with friends and neighbors.

Transportation will be available, free of charge, after the Tent of Abraham dinner for participants to pick up their cars from Heim Middle School and North Presbyterian Church. Transportation will also be available at the beginning of the Walk at the Church and Heim Middle School for pick-up of non-perishable food items for distribution to the less fortunate. Please do not forget to bring some non-perishable food for distribution.

The schedule for the evening is as follows:
5: 30-5: 45 PM Forming for 4.5 mile walk at North Presbyterian Church
5: 45 PM The walk begins
7: 00-7: 15 PM Forming for 1-mile walk from the Heim Middle School;
7: 15 PM The walk begins
7: 30 PM Tent of Abraham activities begin at the Islamic Center;
8: 54 PM Iftar (breaking the fast) and dinner

Now more than ever, such circles need to be made and be unbroken.  So far, I am free of court commitment that day, and only have those two-in-the-same-place appearances at a decent hour the next morning.  I am hoping to even get a Buddhist or two to join in. It's not strictly a swim to complete the triathalon, but consider it a baptism of kindness rather than of fire.

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Today was the longest and earliest of the three straight days of court this week.  It also packed the greatest quantity of stupid, much of it involving Old Things from over a decade ago.

Court itself first thing in the day was fine, if a little annoying. I then arrived to find papers fully signed by another client in all the right spots- but with three additional party names scribbled on one not-to-be-signed page near the back of the pack. That's it; no addresses, amounts or other details.  Apparently I'm just expected to know these minor details. I've been waiting for a promised clarifying email ever since.

But at least those debts are more-or-less from the last year or so. I left early to head back home because I had no further scheduled appointments and nobody was returning my calls or emails.  I find disappearing to be a good way to remedy this. Sure enough, three calls instantly rolled in once I got in the car.


The first took me back to 2006. Client had a judgment taken against him. I would not meet the man for another nine years, and I filed a BK for him last year, which removed all of his debt except that judgment as a lien on his home. The call today was because the evil creditor had just begun a proceeding to force the payment of the judgment out of the equity in his house. Once I got back and saw what had been actually filed, I offered some options, but he's basically hurting emotionally over the whole thing.  He told me I hadn't done things that I did, and that he'd paid me amounts he never paid (I keep anal records for this very reason). Nothing will even begin to happen for over a month, so I told him to sit tight for a couple of days and think over the choices I gave him. It will be very clear, if he does hire me, what I will be doing and what he will be paying.

Second call was from a fellow attorney who I get along pretty well with, but who is on the opposite side of a fairly nasty contractor dispute.  My client on this one is one of those night owls who tends to send emails in the evening and well into the wee smalls, so it's hard to have really good communication.

Finally, though, came the "Peace Duh Resistance," as they say in France;)  A couple of weeks ago, against my better judgment (foreshadowing-ironic term), I took on a new real estate deal just as I was wrapping up my previous one.  I'd tried to ship this one elsewhere, but the potential replacement was going out of town and boom! there was the contract in my email. So I took it, approved the deal, and waited for the buyer to get his mortgage.

Then the call came last week: Client had a lit-tle problem. Apparently back in 2003, someone took a judgment against HIM, which everyone, including the creditor, proceeded to ignore for the next 13-plus years. Until virtually the same moment that he bid on a house on a deal I approved, whereupon it came back to life and resulted in a garnishment being slapped on him.

Oddity of New York law: judgments are good for 20 years, but are only liens on real estate for 10.  You can renew them for a second decade, but you have to do it within the tenth year. This one was never renewed as a lien, and it thus never appeared in any credit or title report, but the underwriter saw the garnishment on his pay stub and asked about it.  The thing about garnishments, though, is that they are always the same percentage of an employee's pay whether the judgment is for 100 bucks or 100 million bucks.  And nobody in this transaction seems to care which.  Hence, the final call I got in the car today: he has been approved for the mortgage, which will close next month as soon as he presents proof that he's made three months of payment on the garnishment. And once he closes and owns the home, I can make almost completely sure that he will never have to pay it again for a fourth month.


Once finally home, we watched the most recent episode of Class, with a break in the middle because Emily asked me to send copies of the kids' tax returns to them because they, too, are beginning the mortgage process this week- so they may be owning, rather than renting, a home once their current lease is up.

At least with HER, I know I'm not going to have to go back in time before 1992.

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Thus go two more days of life along my threescore-and-tennish quota.

My usual Sunday routine: set an alarm for 7:30. Make sure at least one Dog Church member is coming. If they are, throw on clothes and get to the Bark Park by 8.  But not after last week's work craziness and the continuing rain. Nope, no alarm was set.

Yet there I was, awake at 7:30 after a relatively mellow Saturday, with the only alarm being traces of sunshine coming through the blinds.  They were enough: after recent days, that passed for "mostly sunny," so I dressed (warmly, still, with winter boots because, mud) and leashed the dog for her usual PARP! experience.

All was well. Our usual friends arrived soon after, the semi-regular sweet Dobies joined in (both having spotted me as a sucker, leaning up against me for petting and scritches), and we were soon joined by bunches of beagles and labs and mutts, oh my!  It was a lovely and dry way to start the day.  I passed on the usual Sunday workout because I'd burned three of my eight monthly quota of them last week without even remembering the third (I finished second in the 40-and-up half marathon for April, so there may be a medal coming), and instead finished the last of the five bankruptcies I'd brought home for the weekend as far as I could get them....

until it was time to Be Groot.


GOTG2 was set for 3:10 Sunday. It was worth every minute of the eight Blow Shit Up previews they subjected us to (several Marvels, yet another Transformers, Wonder Woman, Star Wars VIII and Some Shit With Tom Cruise). And while James Gunn and his cast blow plenty of shit up themselves in their almost 2.5 hours, they do it with humor, with meaning, and with a soundtrack that's just as awesome as Awesome Mix Vol. 1.

The word was that 2 was sweeter than 1- and the word was right.  Peter, Gamora and Nebula, and Yondu in his own way all resolve their issues with parents/parenting- and we even see Rocket cry.

There are cheesy parts to the soundtrack- as there were in the original- but let's just spoil that Fleetwood Mac will kick your ass.  Lindsey Buckingham is good at that.


No alarm this morning, either. Three straight mornings of those starting tomorrow. Yet there I was, up just past 7:30 and at my desk by 9.  I emailed the last of the five new filings from the weekend with their Draft So Far, glommed through additional mail, and decided to have lunch at home and even considered a bike ride back to the office since the sun was still, remarkably, out for an entire day.

I hauled out the bike, filled the tires, and began the ride.  The battery on the onboard odometer died over the winter, but I remembered it being right around two miles. Barely three blocks in, my hamstrings started sending signals: Work your way up to this, asshole. And so I detoured back towards home, with a run around the circle coming closer to a mile-and-change the first time out.  I returned to JARVIS and put in an afternoon of intaking yet another BK filing before leaving for the missed Sunday workout, a stop for office supplies, and finally a yummy dinner (thanks, Eleanor) and a semi-clearing of the crap on my desk (thanks, me;).

After getting home, I even mowed the front lawn. Inspiring that was a podcast riffing on a once-favourite podcast, confirming many of the things that caused me to stop listening to it:

There are many reasons for my apostasy, but perhaps this is the biggest: My dog IS allowed in the Dog Park.

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Five days. Court appearances every one of them. Morning (between 9 and 10), all but one of them. Multiples, also all but one of them. Different proceedings for the multiples, all but two of them. And Monday and Wednesday were the trifecta: of multiples, in different proceedings,  but also in different buildings, three blocks apart.  (In fairness, Monday's second was adjourned, it was raining, a friend declined a ride up the three blocks and I decided to just leave.)

Plus, one fallen tree (not mine), one flat tire (mine), and a rarely-ending pelt of rain that promises to turn into snow before getting any better.

In one of those rare moments of not-raining, though, hangs a tale.

Thursday morning. Two appearances, different proceedings, but the same building one floor apart. It's the butt-ugly Brutalist behemoth from the 70s known as the Buffalo City Court building, but in which higher courts also have numerous courtrooms.  Despite its Soviet-style hideousness, I've always seemed to have had better luck in these halls than either of the other two buildings used by the state courts down there.  Thursday, though, was ten minutes of unpaid uselessness, over an hour apart.  One was to confirm a last-minute requested adjournment; the other, a judge-mandated appearance in a case where I am not being paid, the client hasn't communicated with me in over nine months, and the other side also doesn't want to waste time or money on the case, either. But her emails! Standards and Goals reports!* demand that she move the chains every couple of months, so down we come.

Down, to a downtown remarkably full of parked cars and metermaids/metermermen everywhere, because for once it wasn't raining. And full parking ramps, because it would be raining later. A few trips round, and I finally snag a spot on the other side of Niagara Square. One of the small number remaining with the old-school Insert Quarters At This Meter meters**. And with 45 minutes still on it!

I check my stash, and find a single quarter to add 15 minutes to the total and make it the hour I would need.  But of course, I would need more.

Appearance One was quick enough, but Appearance Two was hobbled by (a) an opponent who was himself hobbled on crutches and in a walking boot, (b) the two other judges he had to hobble with and around before he could join me, and (c) two lawyers making arguments in a useless-but-you-gotta-do-it proceeding before Hobble and I could have our five minutes of Her Honor's time.  (You knew they were both gonna be blowhards because they each began their remarks with, "I will be brief.")

By the time we got in and out (with a blessed adjournment of six full months, because Judge Two still just can't let a case sit indefinitely even if everybody wants her to), my hour was up- and the vultures were circling. Leaving me, still with one more errand to be run, in a potential pickle. But I have a Plan.  I have two dollar bills in my wallet, and while no private business or civil servant will deign to make change for parking meters, there's a vending machine- and a totally acceptable candy bar on offer for a buck fifteen.

There's a scribbled sign on it- BILLS ONLY, NO COINS- but I ignore that. I have bills. The bills make me wanna SHOUT! It takes them. It dispenses eight ounces of Snickers- and then out comes my precious 85 cents of coinage in change....

in nickels.

I now have no choice but to exit my spot- fortunately unticketed in the 10 minute of exposure- and try my luck again.  On the way, I see Hobble on the corner, and I decide to be kind and offer him a ride. He declines, but Someone was watching, for there, closer to my final destination, was a spot that only my tiny (and well-tired***) car would have a prayer of backing into. With a meter machine that took my useless pile of 5-cent-pieces.

See? It's all good.


Even when it appears to be horribly, horribly bad.

Yesterday was the earliest and furthest of the appearances- Rochester at 9 a.m. Which, thanks to the dog's scheduling, wound up with me just staying up after she woke me up at 5, getting a proper diner breakfast en route, and arriving in the downtown Federal Building a good 20 minutes ahead of when the clients were expected.  It was built at about the same time as Buffalo's city court erection****, but Nixon's architects were somehow better visioned than Nelson Rockefeller's. It was built out of marble, with plenty of glass and street-facing exterior offices, all of which have now been fenced and walled off by 20 years of terrorismophobia. But the marble's still nicer to the eye than the Brutalist brick- at least until you hang shit on it.

Obama and Biden's portraits came out of the lobby right after the Inauguration, but this was my first sight, surreptitiously photographed, of their unfortunate replacements:

Several people who saw that refused to believe that's his official portrait photo.  The more I looked at it, the more I wondered if, yeah, maybe there is some rogue in the General Services Administration who did it to mock him.  (He's very sensitive, if you hadn't heard- and they're now investigating and even prosecuting people for laughing at and telling jokes about him and his nominees.)

Despite the intestinal distress coming from the sight of that bigly-ugly mug (Eleanor's response was that he looks constipated), the final two hearings of the week went well, I got through the rest of the day without incident or ticket, and other than the rain, it remained all good.

Now on to next week- only three appearances, and only one a day.


* You might sympathize with a state employee being pressured by "standards and goals" reports. But when that employee is a judge, that pressure is meaningless to anything other than their personal pride. Judges, once elected for terms ranging from 10 to 14 years, enjoy complete job security- even convicted criminals cannot be removed from a bench without extended legal proceedings- full dedicated staffs of three or more employees, and near-dictatorial control of what they do, when they do it, and what and when they decide things.  In theory, a judge could be reassigned to the wilds of Allegany County (or, worse, the Bronx) if they really bucked the system, but that's about the only leverage anybody has over them.

** Most of the spaces are now regulated by one-to-a-block meter machines, which accept nickels-and-up coinage and even credit cards (but not bills, although Baltimore, for one, orders them with slots for greenbacks). Buffalo and Rochester both got the original versions a year or so apart; the City of Good Neighbors has now "upgraded" to a version that requires you to key in your license plate number which is printed on the receipt, because people were being too Good Neighborly and giving their unused-time receipts to people pulling in.

*** AND remarkably clean. Apparently when you drop $160 fixing a tire, one of the only four things on a new car not covered by warranty in the first few thousand miles, they wash your car for you. We also removed the FUDT bumper sticker, just in case the tire was "keyed" by a Trumpernutter.

**** Yes, I'm twelve.

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Back in that Other Place I used to use as my primary blog site, it took all of four days of 2017 for me to call the year into the principal's office for a good talking-to.  Not fully done with three days of May, and it's time for a refresher.


MayDay itself wasn't especially bad, other than the weather, noted here at the time.  Just one court appearance, which went about as expected, and the Mets won #hownovel .

Tuesday, though, brought on the need for the talk.  Before 9 a.m., there were two calls and two voicemails from my sister down in the 607. Here's how Siri, in her inimitable transcription mode, reported it:

Hi _⁠_⁠_ it's Donna I have to tell you something that happened you last night um I'm gonna try calling you _⁠_ _⁠_ on the cell phone but I wanted to talk to you before I call the insurance man talk to you later bye-bye…

"Insurance man" is never good. Neither is what happened down there in the wee smalls of Mayday Night: a large tree fell over, crashed into the fence around her inground pool, and smooshed the shed next to the pool that houses the filter and other stuff. Nobody was hurt, and at last report the filter and other pool innards hadn't been damaged, but what a way to start a morning.


Tuesday  was also my latest-of-the-day court of the five straight days this week, so I came home before the noon appointment and saw Eleanor's car still in the garage.... but her bike missing. Ah. She'd been talking about biking to work for a couple of weeks, and had been taking some morning rides round the neighborhood to work up to it. That day, turned out, she'd done just that- and was fortunately wearing a poncho, because the rain was coming down on-and-off the whole 2-to-3 ish miles over there.

Meanwhile, I got to, in and out of my noon court and back for an afternoon appointment, a pile of backlogged documents needing to go out, and a phone full of other annoyances. I beat Eleanor home by half an hour or so-understandable, since the wind had picked up and was blowing against her the whole way home. We tried the new Fargo series with mixed reactions, and turned in for our respective runs at the Day of Hump.


I was the first one out. And the first to Fail:P

Before I was even out of the driveway, JARVIS popped an idiot light. Only not his warning tire pressure low one  but a major DANGER SEVERE TIRE DAMAGE one previously unseen.  The ride felt okay, but I'd gotten up early enough before court to check, so I rolled into the gas station kittycorner to my office and pumped up all four to spec. The left front seemed the softest, but it was the right rear which turned out to have the inch-long screw poking out of the edge of its tread.

Avengers, assembled! I knew Eleanor didn't go in to work until 11, but didn't know if she was planning to bike in again;  but I texted her, grabbed her electric car with its 90 percent charge, and boogied downtown. She, eventually, had the presence of mind to call Mercedes roadside assistance (because our lil Smarts are, indeed, full-fledged members of the Daimler-Benz familie) rather than AAA, and she got them to come to the house, get him on a tow truck (no small feat, since Smart tow hooks are buried in odd places), and got a ride to the store with him.

Meanwhile, Ziggy was a champ. Court, a detour Emily had asked me to make for Cameron's brother, back to work, a post-work errand for a client, and finally to our Under New Management cardio gym and he still had plenty of juice.  Things got a little dicey because I didn't know about the riding-to-work-in-the-tow-truck part until I snarked about picking Eleanor up from the store- but I did. After heading for said cardio, (factory-reset) tablet in hand, and discovering that the New Management did not pay the cable/internet bill for the Old Management and thus, no wifi. And, since I'd just reset the tablet, no Kindle, either.

I picked Eleanor up early.

We'd found out, earlier, that the tire was indeed screwed- non-repairable and in need of a new one. About the only part not covered under a new car bumper-to-bumper-but-not-the-tires warranty.  We didn't get out in time to pick it up  by their closing time, and thus will be out there tomorrow morning, stupid early, so I can pick up JARVIS and head downtown for Fourth of Five.

Complaining is futile. I will be ass-holilated. I might even see our own kid at some point tomorrow- either before they leave town or if I get to the Rochester area the afternoon before Fifth of Five. AKA cinco de mayo. Which involves drinking heavily, which has been a major inspiration of this post.

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It's that most stressful time of the year for people like us who don't watch much television. All of the Good Stuff has come back, or is coming back in the coming weeks. It's cutting into my cardio reading schedule; as perhaps a bit of karma, my Android tablet has just shat the bed and won't come out of an infinite boot cycle. I've resorted to Factory Reset and even that seems slow to fix things. It's within a year of purchase, so I may also have return options. I didn't drop or drain or otherwise damage it; it just decided it'd had enough silliness and Dystopianess.  So stay tuned on that.

Meanwhile, here's a quick summary of what I, and/or we, have been keeping up on and/or looking forward to:

* MST3K:) Joel and the bots are now Jonah and the same-differently-voiced bots, and Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank are now Kinga and Max- but Joel and many of the original participants are behind this crowdsourced return. The first two eps laid down the renewed premise and gave us two utterly horrible films to make fun of. Emily especially enjoyed the many Muppet references.

* BBC current:) We're three weeks into both series 10 of the reGenerated Doctor and series 1 of the spunoff Class. Both are brilliantly acted, well-written, and full of scripted moments that bring out the best of both.

* Handmaid's Tale. I couldn't pass up on the best of current dystopia, so I began this one right before the tablet checked out, and finished the pilot on this laptop. It's been updated to present-dayish with Uber and mobile phone references, and the cast is much more diverse than the Atwood original and prior film allowed, but the main things remain: the fear. The evil misuse of religious doctrine. The plutocracy.  (Wait- the miniseries also includes those. I was referring to current events.)  My only objection concerned the commercials which Hulu fed me as I was sitting there feeling for these women: David's Bridal with models prancing about? And an online lingerie site?  That's right up there with the oven cleaner commercials during the 70s Holocaust miniseries. (Oddly, Emily, who also watched it, didn't get those offensive ads. I must have a fucking weird algorhythmic presence.)

* Fargo.  Of course I missed that Series 3 of these Coen-blessed spinoffs had begun.  We tried the first ep; Eleanor bailed, but I will likely check back in on where Noah Hawley goes with two Ewan McGregors and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who I fell in love with during the dear-departed Brain Dead.

* House of Cards.  Trailers and other hints abound, but Francis and the gang won't be formally back until the end of the month. That hasn't stopped a local billboard from riffing on it:

* And finally (of this list and for the Clones), Orphan Black. It's routinely teased during Doctor and Class as being the final season, but it won't be back until June.  The focus seems to be on the main four: Sarah, Alison, Helena and Kosima; but there are plenty of hints of spinoffs and detours. Pass the pork rinds AND the chards.

AND we have unseen Portlandias, and One Days at a Time, and are way backlogged on films. All in all, good problems to have:)

ETA Annnd the factory reset worked. Tablet, email accounts, Kindle, Netflix and Hulu are all back and running:) Oh, and in the other news of the day: Eleanor got through rain falling on her riding her bike to work for the first time today; the ride home was drier but windier and much harder. And my sister got through a tree falling on her pool and poolshed overnight. I had nothing fall on me except clients, but I seem to have lived:)

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It's three days ahead of Star Wars Day, but let's be clear: April is over.  Except the "showers" part.

I had court (aka "First of Five") this morning, avoiding most of the downpour, but it came and found me when I stopped out for lunch. Then, just as I got ready to leave at the end of the day, it really started coming down, water leaking through the lawyer's office window adjacent to mine and thunder and hail joining in. By the time I finally got up the two major highways leading home, on my turn into this subdivision I found the first street in to be completely flooded. Of course, I "found" this only after I was about ten feet into the brink. I somehow kept my wits and my engine power and got home to a relatively dry inside. As of a few minutes ago, it appears God is keeping His promise and we won't have to build another Ark:

In between dodging downpours, not a bad day getting things done. I cleared a long-bothersome project off my desk; picked up a piece of business that could be majorly good, majorly trouble or both; and moved a Stupid Early appointment from Friday morning in Rochester to tomorrow afternoon here. Plus both Third and Fourth of Five have decent chances of being resolved before their Wednesday and Thursday respectivelies.  Borg, Schmorg.
And in between those in-betweens, I got to read about a hitherto-untold version of the story of the American Civil War:

“I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’ People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
— Donald Trump

Narrator: The Civil War, if you think about it, why?

Sad fiddle music begins to play.

Yes, this is the story of that conflict as told by Ken Burns (or at least as imagined Ken would have told it, riffed by the WaPo blogger who fooled the Cheeto into putting one of her parody pieces onto the whitehouse.gov website back in March).

Given his sympathies for the losing cause, the biggest surprise is that he didn't refer to it as the "War Against Northern Aggression." But then, those are bigly words with lots of syllables. Probably want to make sure he learns his colors first.

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Not long after I moved here over 35 years ago, I worked out that the calendar is not the same as in the rest of the world. January, January, February, March, May, July, July, August, October, November, December, December is much more accurate.  And never assume that this "March" is gonna go out like a lamb, either. We had nearly hot days once or twice, but it was 39F outside as I took Ebony to the Bark Park for her first trip since it reopened last week- and quickly boogied home when it began to pour and then thunder about half an hour later. Still was worth it- saw old friends from back before the cleanup-closing, including a fat low-to-the-ground named Peter and a puppy with him named Piper. (They promised the next rescue would be named "Pickled Pepper.")

That explains the icon. As for the headline, those were fixtures of the past few days around here.  All last week, from co-workers to random people in conversation, the talk was All About That Castle.  Yes, there really is one in the nearby Village, barely a block from the church I just quit my lifetime membership in.  I'd been vaguely aware of it from occasional tales told over the years- including of the owners letting kids onto the grounds at Halloween.  But this was a rare opportunity to see it up close and even inside, as for three days the contents were put up at an estate sale and the public was invited in:

An estate sale began at 9 a.m. Thursday in the stone home known alternately as "Cambria Castle" or "Oechsner's Castle." It was built on 1.3 acres of Dream Island beginning in 1917 by a German-born mason named Ignatz Oechsner.

Oechsner was "homesick for his native village Oxenforte in Germany on the Meine River" and "determined to build exactly the medieval castle that was so familiar to him in his early boyhood," according to the 1965 book "A History of the Town of Amherst, New York" by Sue Miller Young.

Fossil rock from the Town of Holland was used to build the castle, towers and moat. But Oechsner died in 1942, having never completed his dream....

The property was then neglected, changed ownership several times and badly damaged by a fire in 1956 leaving only the walls just after it was purchased by H. Reginald Davies and his wife, Winifred. The couple "painstakingly" restored the home's interior in 1958, Miller Young wrote.

Winifred Davies had studied architecture at the University at Buffalo in the 1950s, said Mary Lowther, president of the Village of Williamsville Historical Society.

"She actually drew the drawings for when they restored the building," she said. "It looks exactly the same today."

The castle became a mix of modern and medieval. The exterior features a carrier pigeon tower, gargoyles, animal reliefs, arched cornices and a library room in a turret, Lowther said.

"But being in there you would think you stepped back into the '50s the way it looks – the kitchen, everything," she said. "It's a really unique piece of property."

The current owners are Davies' daughters, Mildred O'Rourke and Onalee Davies, said Lowther, who visited the castle several times at their invitation. O'Rourke died several years ago and Onalee Davies resides in an assisted living facility.

It's got what you would expect: a bridge to enter, turrets, probably a bratty kid up in the tallest tower shooting arrows at passing kinnigits.  Also, for those three days, it had ridiculous crowds.  I drove by briefly on my way from getting a forgotten office supply late on Friday, and tried again yesterday: cops had barricades up and the lines to get in were blotto.  But our friend Ann did make it on, and in: here's her whole album of them, but just for a taste:

There are hundreds more, just as beautiful and strange. So go click that bad boy and look.

No word yet on whether they'll be selling and what will happen once it sells; the house has landmark status, so anything will have to respect what's there.  But it's still an amazing view into the past.


Some things, not quite so old, can be demolished much more easily without needing town approval. This, I found out yesterday when I heard some noise outside and Eleanor asked me to come look.

She'd taken a "before" picture- of the brick planter that's been attached to one side of the front of our house since it was built in 1960:

She's hated it for half a forever- the stuff inside it, the potential for ants making it into the house from it, and her very different vision of what to do with that whole strip between house to the right of that angle and her garden outside the shot to the left. Plus, the thing was buckling (see circle and arrow and a paragraph on the back).

Here's what she accomplished with a surprisingly small number of swings of a sledgehammer:

Practically fell apart under its own weight. Scary, the number of times we've climbed into that planter- many of them on top of an extension ladder- to get to windows or gutters.  The big sections of brick are still out there for now, but I made close to a dozen wheelbarrow trips getting the singletons and smaller sectional pieces off the lawn and out onto the back concrete porch.  We'll either need to chisel the big ones apart or get burlier help to get rid of them.

Too bad they're red brick; maybe the realtor at the castle could've used them for repairs;)


I'm still pretty sore, given that activity, the first full mow of the back forty the previous two nights and two workouts to end the "marathon" for April. We have two BBC America hours and numerous other films to catch up on, and my five straight mornings of court await.

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Yesterday. Whole morning pretty much tied up in court here. I got out just in time to place a lunch order for the staff in my Rochester office- an early Administrative Professionals Day observance for them, since I wouldn't be able to join them for the official one today. It was raining on and off and dreary the whole afternoon, and I slogged through four appointments in just about three hours before heading out of my way to drop off a printer at the kids' place.  Hers, Eleanor's previous photo printer which we'd had refurbished, had been leaking and streaking for weeks, and rather than just bringing it home to fix and return (we hope), Eleanor volunteered her own photo printer at least for the duration.

Once we got it up the stairs and on the network, I finally found out why this was such a Big Deal: Emily had drawn Cameron's Valentines Day present on her computer, and it had been sitting there, unprintable, for over two months.

Yeah, I'd say that drawing (and that smile) justified the extra miles:)


No court today (or the next two days- yay!- next week will make up for that, though:P), and my only outside commitment of the day was my local office's observance of Administrative Professionals Day.  The staff doesn't officially work for me, but they are kind and helpful and don't bring me any office-political bullshit. I was invited to join them, at a fairly high-end local steak place, but I first ran out to Wegmans and got greeting and gift cards for everybody.

Minutes after we got there, my co-workers' real boss stopped at a nearby table. She introduced me; this was our landlord, taking his staff out for the occasion. I'd never met him (or really anybody from management) before, since I've been subletting. After our orders were placed, the waiter came up and whispered something to Melissa:

Our landlord had just comped our entire table.

Now, granted, the timing was great in more ways than one. Not only were we both there for the same occasion, but we had just re-upped (with me now as an official co-tenant) for another three years starting next week. So in terms of keeping a good-performing lease on his books, we meant more to them than a table full of very nice salads. Still, it was quite a kind gesture.


That brings us to what tomorrow might bring- and I do expect news.  What it is ranges from hopeful to fearful.

The Supreme Court-ish power of United Methodism is vested in a Judicial Council.  Like the denomination itself, it is made up of voting members from all over the US and from growing foreign jurisdictions, particularly in the Third World, that take a far less progressive view of LGBTQ issues than many corners of the church.

Last year, the bishops of a US-based region of the church elected the first-ever openly LGBTQ pastor to serve in an episcopal role.  Within days, the leaders of a southern-fundie jurisdiction ratted them out and petitioned the Judicial Council to overturn the election because her very existence as an avowed lesbian precluded her from serving in any level of United Methodist clergy, much less as part of the highest body (Methodists ain't got no pope, or Archbishop of Canterbury equivalent).

The Council met yesterday to hear Karen's case. A decision is expected as soon as tomorrow. There;s a progressive bishop and leadership in a neighboring conference of New York, but the one for this region has ranged in his pronouncements from wishy-washy to outright hostile to the step taken by elevating Pastor Karen to the episcopacy.  He sent out an email (yes, I still get them- mainly to track this issue), and he urged restraint in reacting to it:

No one can predict the outcomes of this session of the Judicial Council, but I implore us to trust that God is in the midst of it. While the work of the Judicial Council is significant and has impact upon our common life, I urge us to see this week as simply one part of the whole work that is before us as a denomination. The Commission on a Way Forward, commissioned by the Council of Bishops and authorized by the General Conference, is working diligently to help us find God's way forward for The United Methodist Church, specifically in our fractures around homosexuality.

Just by using the "H" word instead of LGBTQ, he's tipped his hand as to his bias.  The Commission he refers to was, like most other commissions and committees created in organizations, an attempt to kick the can of LGBTQ rights down the road to prevent an up-or-more-likely-down vote on changing the offensive language in Methodist doctrine (dating all the way back to 1972) that bans same-sex marriage and ordination.

He continues:
While you may be tempted to allow the decisions made this week to guide your sense of the future, I beg you not to do so. Whatever the Judicial Council decides, it is the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, acted upon by a special session of the General Conference, which will be the most important decision point for these critical matters.

Yeah. Someday. And probably, even if it calls for a change in the language, the full body of clergy and laity, many filled more with bigotry and fear than with the Holy Spirit, will vote down the change and go thank their God that they saved the Church Ladies from those icky homos one more time.

Perhaps coincidentally, in my travels this morning, I heard this song, by legendary Rochester folk artist Connie Deming:

Oh, where would we be, if Rosa had simply given up her seat?

The song starts about a minute in, after some banter and tuning:

No, Mark, I'm done with commissions and task forces and surveys. I'm sick of my friends, and likely a relative somewhere, being pushed to the back of the ecclesiastical bus because of homophobia preserved in biblical amber for almost 2,000 years. I'm hurt when I read shit like this from one of the fundie-side organizations which has come out (heh heh) to beat down (heh heh) progress in the face of Bishop Karen's bravery:

The Wesleyan Covenant Association, a United Methodist evangelical group, will be meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, April 28-29, meaning it could be in session when the Judicial Council decision is announced.

The Rev. Jeffrey Greenway, a leader of the group, said the timing was coincidental. But he said the hearing is definitely on his mind and that of other WCA members. He’s praying for the various parties involved, but said he hopes the Judicial Council invalidates Oliveto’s election.

“She is a bishop of the whole United Methodist Church, while publicly embracing and advocating a lifestyle that is contrary to our polity in terms of licensing, ordination and appointment of clergy,” Greenway said. “For her to remain in her role would make (denominational) unity exponentially more difficult.”

The Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, another unofficial evangelical group, agreed.

“There would just be many evangelicals who could not live in a church that allows not just individuals, but one of our episcopal leaders, to adopt a lifestyle contrary to the scriptures,” he said.

In other words, to live her life the way God created her, in faithful commitment to a single soulmate, inspiring boys and girls and men and women and none of the aboves that they, too, matter in the sight of their God and there is a place for them, not only in the cheap seats and in the receiving line of the Communion table, but on both sides of the altar when the day comes to be called to marriage or ordination. And if "many evangelicals.... could not live in a church" like that, well, guys, don't let the nave doors hit you on the way out. Because otherwise, I've gone out that door, and will join my wife in it being a one-way exit if you fuck this up.

ETA Late Friday, the word came: the Council ruled against her. A neighboring jurisdiction does have the right to tell another one that it can't appoint LGBT bishops- or presumably any other clergy. Bishop Karen is not removed from office or defrocked- yet- but these nine voices could have opened the door (and the hearts and minds that would have come in through it) to saying "We welcome all, nurture all, accept and even empower all." They did not. And so I resigned my membership that night. I might return to it, more likely in a congregation like our former one in Rochester that formally stands as part of the Resistance, but those who live in the 19th century are dead to me.

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Nothing from my workday, though it was okay.

Nor from the end of the day, where we just got home from seeing Boss Baby, which was quite fun and sweeter than the previews would have suggested.

No, tonight I dare YELL just a little bit because


It's been in the works for a few weeks, and I'm almost as proud to say that I had virtually nothing to do with it. My first clue was walking into a colleague's office in Rochester earlier this month and hearing, "Well, I've known her since she was 8, and she's worked here over the summer and did a great job...." I knew that was Brett giving her a reference- for a job which turned out to be with the Alzheimer's Association in Rochester.  I asked her about it and tried not to be too nosy about the progress in the ensuing weeks, but as of last time we discussed it, they'd told her things were moving along with the application, but that some organizational changes meant they might move a little more slowly.  Until today- when they made her the offer and she accepted it to begin probably mid-May.

We haven't gone into the specifics of responsibilities or pay, but it's bound to be an improvement. My coworker helped get her the current gig right after she graduated from RIT three years ago, and for various reasons it wound up being more stressful and less remunerative than she would have liked. It will also likely get the kids moving a little closer to us when their current lease is up over the summer.

It's a good day and everyone who's encountered the organization has had good things to say about it. Her nana on my side of the family suffered from dementia in her final years, which may give her some extra empathy in dealing with what the situation presents.

I will see her after work tomorrow- another day in Rochester with back-to-back-to-backs after an early appointment here- and will be bringing her Eleanor's good printer while we try to fix its predecessor, which we donated to her sometime last year.  We will also pick up her unneeded DVD copy of Rogue One when I go out there.

The Force does, indeed, appear to be with us:)

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I knew yesterday was going to be a long one.  What began with a single afternoon commitment (an early afternoon real estate closing in Rochester) started gathering additional appointments round it like darts thrown at a board, and when I left yesterday morning I had a total of six scheduled gigs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Also, when I left yesterday morning, I'd been up since 3 a.m.  You can thank the dog and my brain for that; Ebony needed to go out, and that's about the worst possible time in terms of sleep cycle. Earlier, and it's much easier to beat down the wakeys and get back to sleep; later, and it's easier to just say fuggedabutit and stay up.  But the wheels on the brain turned for a good two-plus hours before I finally surrendered, fed everybody early, and left earlier than I needed to so I'd get an early start.

I may also have sensed a disturbance in the Force.  For 70 miles away at 5 a.m., one of my Rochester co-workers was reading an email which hurt him and impugned me, and he was livid about it, even when I finally caught up with him hours later.  They clearly have my back in the dispute, and it's going to come to a head Monday. I will not be there for it, but there will be further reports one way or the other.

Other than that, though? Not all that bad.  The earliest of the six rescheduled (to Tuesday, which is similarly starting to grow appointments like topsy), the people I saw were all nice, largely complimentary of how I worked with them and explained things, and all of it was in one place except the closing.  That was the usual hour of frustration for me, as banks continue to expand their piles of crap they expect people to sign in order to get a loan. Also, the figures were wrong, and the client overpaid- by the exact amount of their previous deposit. THAT was because banks also consider their customers to be lying criminals, and they did not credit the deposit even though the contract, the closing communications between buyer and seller, and the realtor had already confirmed it. No, they needed to see a bank statement PROVING the deposit had been deposited.  They're refunding it by early next week. No harm, no foul.

The final appointment started on time and finished right after 6, and after grabbing dinner and gas (at different establishments;), I rolled in right around 8 last night.  Eleanor had also had a tiring day, including plenty of amateur psychotherapy of her own customers, but it was finally the weekend! We could sleep in!

About that....


Ebony went outside at an earlier hour, and other than those few minutes I got a full night's uninterrupted sleep before making it until my usual target feeding time of 6 a.m.  The drill for that goes like this: older cat gets fed on kitchen counter, younger gets fed in Ebony's old training crate (otherwise she raids everybody else), the dog's bowl gets filled with kibble and meds and is placed on the floor.  Munching ensues, and Ebony needs to go out again roughly half the time. When everyone's finished, Zoey is released from her captivity, the dog comes down to this end of the house- and these days, we put up a baby gate to keep her AT this end of the house. She'd picked up an annoying trick where she'd bark at the back door, only to turn when the tired doorman/woman appeared and head for the kitchen where her treats are.  No more of that.  Usually, she falls asleep with one or the other of us, the cats annoy to varying but acceptable extents, and we can catch an hour or so of additional zed's.

This morning, soon after the raising of the Wall, I heard a thud down kitchen way.  I stumbled out to the gate and saw and heard nothing further from the other side. Figured it was nothing major and headed back to bed. Ebony, on our side of the gate, would not settle down; pawing back and forth, from room to room to hall, with the occasional bark and whine.  We resisted, told her to settle down, to no avail.  Finally, I took the gate down and found the cause of it all:

The thud (or was it a thunk? It could be important!) was the dog food bucket, which the inattentive waitstaff (me) had left on the kitchen counter instead of returning it to the safety of its cabinet.  Zoey, especially, was practically in orgasm over it. I picked up as much as could be cleanly returned, swept out the rest that I could see or reach, especially under the hutch in the kitchen, that was covered in dust bunnies, and tried to get back to sleep. No luck: Ebony was still pissed despite getting treats from both of us, and the cats were basically fat tubs of goo who, even now 20 minutes before their evening feeding, are showing no interest in being fed again- other than Zoey making a game out of getting the last crumb of kibble from under the hutch.

I also knocked over at least two things in my travels before finally getting out of here later in the morning- but I've mostly recovered from the day and the disaster.  I took the vacuum in for servicing, did a killer workout, and visited my local office for the first time in 48 hours.  Eleanor biked some, bought some things for her bike in thoughts of starting to ride it to and from work, and she's been drawing. Plants, not kibble.

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I have nothing major on my work schedule this week, but there have been daily commitments I've had and will continue to deal with, plus more than the average amount of aggravations.

Monday was pre-Tax Day; we filed ours weeks ago, getting a small surprise refund from the state for once, but it's also that wonderful time of year when I have to corral copies of tax returns from newly-filing bankruptcy clients and from certain old ones who have to produce them annually. I spent much of Monday trying to run the last of those down- when I wasn't being run down myself.

There's nasty looking construction on my main route from home to work, so I've been doing the route by a slightly longer, clockwise set of streets.  One of them has always had a dangerous spot: Park Club Lane, which is a commuter-traveled road for most of its northerly trail from Main Street, but which bends to the east just before the edge of our subdivision where a differently-named street begins.  Cars coming from the small stretch beyond the bend have a stop sign, and it is the only one of the three directions that does have one.  A year or so ago, after doubtless many bad assumptions about it being an all-way stop, the one and only stop sign got capped with one of these:

You think that stops people? Of course not. It certainly had no effect on the woman who saw me coming, and not stopping, and decided to plow into the intersection anyway, missing me by no more than twenty feet.  I greeted her with a honk and the Brooklyn dialect of American Sign Language, but only then did I catch that her license plate was KARMA B.

Yeah it is, lady. As you'll find next time you try that and the other guy DOESN'T stop.


Tuesday morning was just feisty.  I got into arguments with at least two friends over a seemingly joyous moment at the previous day's Boston Marathon:

It came from a Facebook page called Marathon Investigation, which routinely rats out runners for taking shortcuts, or for going bandit and running without a proper signup and bib, or, here, for blocking the finish line and ruining the finish photos of the people behind them.  My initial reaction was that anybody who runs that far can celebrate their finish any way they want as long as it's not in the competitive stage of the race.  When questioned on who I was to say whether this was a competitive stage or not, I cited the time shown on the clock above the finish, checked where it put this stage relative to other finishers (well into the 4,800th-placers) and concluded that it was okay at that point.  That only got stronger reactions, much about how this is the one race not to be taken trivially.   (At least I didn't say anything as dumb as Adidas did.)

They're right. I've never come within a fifth of this distance and my best 5-mile time would've had me a good hour behind these finishers if I'd even somehow managed to maintain it for a full 26.  And most of my running experience involves dodging drunks in dinosaur costumes on a routine basis.  I've only shot through maybe six chutes in my life (four more if the 20-mile March of Dimes walks in the 70s had them), and I can't remember paying attention to anyone ahead or behind me when I saw the F(inish) word- just exhiliration at having finished.

I stand corrected.  Unfortunately, a few hours later, I had someone else in need of correcting, and it wasn't something I could do.  I took a client to a routine bankruptcy hearing; by all accounts, she had nothing to be concerned about, but her trustee took a gratuituous opportunity to slam her, suggesting that someone in her line of work should've known better about getting into so much debt.  I didn't catch the tears until we were through, and I tried reassuring her about what the guy was probably frustrated about but I wished that hadn't happened, either.

No taxes filed or received.


That gets us to today: Eleanor and I switched cars, since she had a doctor's appointment Up The Transit and Ziggy doesn't go that far and back on a full charge.  Since we'd both be leaving early, I did everything I could think of to be ready for the switch in the morning.  But after she left first and I finally backed out, the staccato of rain on the sunroof reminded me of the one thing I'd indeed left in JARVIS's hindquarters: my umbrella.

Fortunately, Karma was less bitchy this time. I was annoyed already since I was only going downtown, in full lawyer clothes, to adjourn something I got (what else?) a last-minute call about yesterday, after the court didn't answer or return several calls I made trying to do it late yesterday afternoon.  But despite the rain coming down in buckets on the 33 inbound (and eventually outbound), I not only found a close-in parking place near court, but the rain let up for the whole 20 minutes there, in, out and back.  That got me home, back into casualer clothes and a hoodie, and then I didn't give a shit about the rain any more.

If I got two more things accomplished all afternoon, it was a lot.  We did confirm that we will have a new tenant joining us when the current two lawyers end their leases at the end of the month (one of whom I've been subletting from), and we took the new lease as an opportunity to request some repairs in the small bathroom we use in our office kitchen.  A gaggle of workers came, saw and apparently stripped up some ratty old tiles they will be replacing- but left the Liquid Nails-ish adhesive on the floor where they'd been.  I was almost trapped in the amber in a position where anthropologists wouldn't appreciate seeing me in 5 million years, so I escaped and put an OUT OF ORDER sign on the thing.

Maybe we'll catch someone in there who hasn't brought me their tax returns yet.

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Higgeldy piggeldy,
Peter Capaldi- he's
Back with a brand-new
Companion named Bill

She's black and she's gay
But it's way more important
She's brilliant and gets more
Than most humans will

About Twelve, she does, anyway.  That's what we found in our first dose of Doctor when it finally arrived on Saturday night.  Despite her not officially being a student at Unnamed University, she's clearly brighter than the firstest of the Firsts- at least in a brain processing sense.  In a "let's go unaccompanied into peril and hope we come out alive and/or get rescued" sense of Not So Bright? Not so much.

I liked the episode.  Lots of throwbacks to prior incarnations and performers, a decent standalone of a story, and lots of potential for good adventures in time and space to follow.


Jiggery pokery,
Coal Hill Academy's
Hiding two aliens
Right in plain sight

Figures the Doctor's
The one who transplanted
Them into the heart
Of a Shadowkin fight

When BBCA endlessly pushes a premiere during its return-series premieres (Doctor Who, Orphan Black), I'm mostly annoyed and tend not to want to watch. Yet Class had the promise of another spot of Twelve in it, so although we hadn't DVR'd it, I found it on-demand and we watched it during dinner last night.

Another grade of "well done."  They did a nice job of establishing the premise and the characters, who stood on their own for more than half the episode before Doctor ex Machina came along to save the day.  Still, any remaining signs of Capaldi on the BBC boards are fine with me.  Apparently this series already had its first run on Auntie's home turf, and the decision's been made not to renew it; how closely tied that is to the imminent cast change on the main show, I've yet to hear.  Maybe Netflix or Amazon can boldly go to carry it forward if it does well in the US.

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Why, yes, it IS pretty windy out there today.  Maybe from hell freezing over on account of neither of us having a thing to do with the holiday du jour.

The Buddhist Center had their regularly scheduled chanting events today. Eleanor wound up not going, but I was glad they offered the option.  I maintained my own weekly "service" with friends of the four-paw persuasion, this time back at the mostly-dried-out local state park. (The official Bark Park reopens next weekend.)  As I waited for the gang to arrive (and while watching Ebony sniffing every tree trunk in sight), I looked at this tall guy in front of me and realized, Wow, I look pretty impressive on stilts:


Lots of new friends for the grrl to sniff until Jazz and Ursula got there- English setters, a couple of doodles, plenty of pitties and, soon after our friends arrived, a fox went sailing by- and Ursula took off in hot pursuit. We just laughed; she's 11 and not catching that varmint in this lifetime.

After all that excitement, she went down the crick.  Here she is after her swim, doing what she does:

 Ebony didn't follow, but she did drink out of it for the first time I can remember.

We came home, I took in a workout, did a quick Wegmans run (much quieter than the pre-Easter crazy of yesterday, but did encounter a woman trapsing her tiny poodle all around with her- too small to tell if it even had one of those fake "therapy dog" stickers on it).  This afternoon is for paying bills, watching last night's Doctor Who series 10 premiere, laundry- and not much else.
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Trying to post my first new entry to Dreamwidth. These will cross-post to the old place for as long as the Evil Empire doesn't ban me. Already they've seemingly seen and been pissed at my post, because I did not get the #LJ18 congratulations link on my profile banner that lots of other people did.

Many of you who hadn't already subscribed/granted access in previous days have done so- including some who have just been lurking, which is great. Oh hai:)  I generally friend anybody back who's not a bot or a Trumpernutter.

We're two days into the four-day extravaganza holiday weekend caused by Zombie Jesus. Yesterday, I worked from 8:30 until just before 3, with plenty of stress to go around since both of my offices were officially closed and I had no support staff to help with anything.  Much of the day involved translating, cutting and pasting from paper copies of bills to file a claim on the last possible day- which I always hate when people do it to me, but in which I had no choice.  At least I got the thing in before 2 p.m. on the last damn day.

I don't remember Good Friday being such a shutdown holiday in the past, but the courts all observed it, at least unofficially, and I took very few calls all day other than those involving the two appointments I'd scheduled.  Today was my Sleep-in Saturday, with an afternoon Wegmans run finding the place busy as hell (fitting for Descent Day) and me otherwise mostly home, sending out copies of filings from recent days and getting my bills and billing records caught up.

Tomorrow's the Big Kahuna of Khristendom. If I'm going to be within 100 feet of any church, it will be Dog Church, with the usual friends at the usual time; then we will catch the Doctor Who S10 premiere that will begin recording in a few minutes tonight.  No hams; no chocolate overdose; I might even go to a Buddhist ceremony if Ursula and Jazz are too Eastery to come play in the morning.

That leaves Monday- back to work, my only day of the week with no commitments, but round Buffalo the Monday after Easter is a uniquely local piece of Polish heritage called Dyngus Day. I first heard of it while living on Long Island but listening to a faroff Buffalo AM station in the 70s; the tradition was much more muted when I got here for law school, and was not all that big a deal for our first decade back. But in recent years, it's become a Thing here, largely outshining Easter itself on the local calendar. Go into a local Wegmans for the past month and you'll find a decent display of candies and bunnies, but the vestibule is much fuller of DD merch:

In a sentence: the girls chase the guys and whip them with pussy willows, and the guys chase them back and shoot water pistols at them. Far more plausible than a crucifixion myth, and a lot more fun.


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Just a heads-up: Soon it will be The End of This Blog As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)....

No, it won't be the end of me, or of me blogging. There's a Why and a Where to be explained. This will explain the first; suggestions on the second are under advisement.

I began this journal on this site almost exactly 13 years ago, when it was still invite-only. Not long after, it was acquired by a US-based service called Six Apart, and it came at a time when blogs were moving into the worlds of venture capital and major Internet Player Branding.  But the marriage was not good- Six Apart was focused more on their paid service TypePad, and LJ soon wound up in the hands of a Russian company named SUP. We all made moose-and-squirrel jokes and kept on blogging.  Other social media forms and formats came along, and some of us kept on blogging.  Then Russia lost its fucking Soviet mind over things like LGBTQ equality, and a lot of us started getting nervous about blogging on servers located behind a Bigoted Curtain.

Now, though, finally it's gotten personal.  In order to log in and post here as of last week, you had to agree to new Terms of Service.  They were kind enough to post the new terms in English, but with a disclaimer that the Cryllic terms are the controlling ones.

You like to read, maybe? In Soviet Russia, Terms Service YOU!

Much of it is standard TOSsity BSity, except: The User may not...post advertising and/or political solicitation materials...[or] perform any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation and/or any other applicable laws, including those applicable in the jurisdiction of User’s residence.

If'n you hadn't heard, the Russian Parliament has been busy in the past few years, and there are now laws on the books which ban any discussion of "sexual deviancy." You know, Adam and Steve- or Uri and Dmitri.  So any advocacy of the very things I've always advocated, or anything suggesting that Владимир Путин - оловянный диктатор с марионеткой в нашем Белом доме и крошечный член, well,....

That Would Be Wrong. And could get me banhammer-and-sickled.

So get ready for a change.  If you follow this on other media, I'll still post public entries that will be linked. At least temporarily, once you see a "last entry" entry here, they will be cross-posted to a long-dormant blogging site using the same code.  Nothing new here, yet, but there may be.

The other leader in the clubhouse is to makesomething  bigger out of this bigotry.  On May 1st, I will be becoming a real tenant of my primary law office, no longer subletting. With that comes signage, and with signs come the need to put websites on them. I've never had one- although I've owned my own domain for years (mainly to keep other Rays with the same name from grabbing it).  Coincidentally, I'm also awaiting word on whether my email address of the past eleven-plus years will be changing, since Time Warner Cable has now morphed into something called Spectrum and probably won't be paying a now-unaffiliated media conglomerate potentially millions a year to name its email service after a coyote-taunting bird.  If that changes, I will almost  certainly change my email address to ray@mydomain.com, start a website at the same domain for both work and personal things, and this journal would become the center of the personal side.

Lots to plan, lots to back up- so just keep in touch through all the usual media channels while we still have them. My personal email will not be changing, and you can always contact me through that.
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I had a semi-localized political post locked and loaded for today. It'll have to wait, thanks to the S-C-H-A-D-E-N-F-R-E-U-D-E of a corporation and a dictator going bad on us during the day.

You've likely heard of the United business.  To save themselves from paying four customers more than $1,000 or so apiece to volunteer to travel on a later flight, alert UA rent-a-cops seized a physician and wrestled him to the ground- and at last check their smartphoned thuggery has cost the airline's parent corporation more than a billion dollars in share value.

They've also been shamed and snarked beyond even my capabilities. Just a few:

We put the hospital in hospitality.

No volunteers? Unseat -> Beat -> Repeat

Even the competition has gotten in on the snark:

Also, plenty of references to Airplane!, Fight Club and Walking Dead. Surely they can't have been serious.


Leave it to Cheeeto to take the spotlight off the airline. Or maybe it was Johnny:

At an afternoon presser, designated stooge Sean Spicer tried to defend last week's Tomahawk orgasm on Syria by telling the assembled reporters what a bad guy Assad was. Why, he was worse than Hitler, who NEVER used chemical weapons.

Godwin 1, Cheeto nil. The Internet exploded with ridicule, especially with this gaffe coming during Passover, even more pointedly after neither the Cheeto nor his "some of my relatives are Christ-killers" kids deigned to attend last night's official White House seder, the first time in recent memory a President had passed over it.

Spicer doubled, tripled and quadrupled down before finally apologizing for being insensitive to everyone but his boss's "88" supporters.  Later, I wondered if he would have joined with United's embattled CEO:

"Hitler didn't exterminate the Jews. He reaccommodated them."

Why is tonight different from all other nights? Because before Pesach 2017, people with brains were running our country.
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I began the most recent post here by saying my day had sucked more than a vacuum.  That was actually an overstatement, since one thing not sucking around here last week WAS our vacuum.  I'd used it, quite successfully, to get years of dirt accumulation out of our living room area rug the previous week- flipping it over, vacuuming the back and thereby pushing deep-set crud out of the top side, rolling it back, clearing the crud from the hardwood, repeating, repeating, repeating. But when I went to do just the normal rug cleaning last weekend, the machine it no suckee.

We set it aside until yesterday, when Eleanor discovered the problem:  I'd bought a washable filter for it over the summer (the paper ones get easily clogged and can't be washed), and after all that repeating, I hadn't done a good enough job of drying the thing- so it slowed to a crawl. Or whatever a vacuum does when it abhors back. Soon as I put the old paper one back in, it suckee just fine. I've rewashed, and am still redrying, the washable one, and for good measure ordered a new one.  Meanwhile, I used it to get behind and around our front hall and media setup, which draw dust and birdseed like there's no tomorrow, and it seems to be working fine.

So for once, it's good when things suck.


Know what else sucks? Dogs- if you give them the right suckage:

That was the piling-on along the trail that runs behind our neighborhood, which our gleesome threesome returned to this morning.  No idea what they were all sniffing, but it must've been fascinating.

This walk also brought on the Duck Theme of the Day. When we got to our meeting point at the outdoor pool near all our homes, I saw that it was quite full, even though they drained it at the end of last season; the snow and more recent rain had come close to filling it again. And in all that water was a solitary duck, swimming round like he owned the place. Which, until Memorial Day weekend, he pretty much does.

At the end of the go-round, I saw he was not alone: I still had one of these in my car.


These are the trade show tchotchkes we passed out this year; I had one left over, and decided to gift it to my favourite Alaskan husky. Ursula ran after it and, at last sight, was proudly marching round with a mouth full of rubber duck.

Yep- he does make walk-time lots of fun:)


Less fun, with neither suck nor duck, was going shopping this afternoon. For clothes. Both of us.

::insert apocalyptic tones here::

Kohl's had given Eleanor some coupon cash to use next time she went in, and the paper had a 20 percent coupon if we broke 100 bucks.  She needed unmentionables; meanwhile, my gym sneakers had virtually no tread left.  She found several pair of what she was after; I found two pair, one running and one training, both close to 70 bucks each originally, down to 45 and 25, and then with the 20 percent off. We saved more than we spent in the end, at least according to the receipt, and there's more Kohl's Cash to use next time.

One oddity: it had been so long since I'd been in that store, I'd never noticed they'd gone to all-digital signage for their sale merch:

Logical, I thought (and posted): they'll always match the register and they can change them instantly. Only apparently not: a former Kohl-er commented that they can only be programmed at the individual sign.

Huh. That would suck, having to do that. Especially when it's vacuum cleaners on sale.
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Right. Yesterday. Couldn’t have sucked more if it had a hose and a vacuum attached to it.

When things start getting annoying just after 4 a.m., you KNOW the day ain’t going to go well. That’s when the dog barked to be let out, and that is when I broke one of my most sacred commandments: don’t check email between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. But the phone was glowing, and glowering at me with an 8 next to the mail icon, and I relented.  Most were innocuous: this one wasn’t:

Yep, the little town I was borned in

Remember That Thing I Did the day before? Successfully (“more or less,” I said here), with no appearance, objection or claim from the biggest opponent and who didn’t file by the time of the 2:00 hearing, coincidentally scheduled for the last day to file claims?  Long as they don’t do something incredibly stupid like file just before midnight on the final day, it’ll be easy, I thought (and told the court).

So of course, there it was.  Filed by a Long Island foreclosure shop at 9:25 at night on the last possible day.  Curse electronic filing; in the old days, when the clerk closed at 5, claims couldn’t be filed, but now idiots have been enabled and this one came through.

It’s not fatal, or even necessarily bad.  But it did produce a call from the court yesterday- instead of me being able to file a simple document resolving the claim the way we proposed, I now have to object to what they did file- actually a shorter document, but a longer time frame. Which sucks.

The dog eventually came in, and I eventually got back to sleep, in time for the Hoovering to continue.


The text came just as I was on the 90, heading for a 9:30 court appearance with no turning back:

Your tie is on the kitchen island.

Of course it was. Because I’d left it there to grab the coffee I desperately needed to function after the restus interruptus of the email, and I'd brought in the recycling tote with my other hand, so, yeah. Time for a bold fashion statement. 

(These days, I go tie-commando all the time unless I have court, and I’ve sailed through some quick hearings without when I’ve forgotten once. Maybe twice. Okay, I forget how many times.)

Fortunately, this inspired me to call my opponent who I’d been working on a settlement with, and he agreed to adjourn.  For most of my drive, I was stressed by (a) not knowing if he’d gotten through, (b) when it would be adjourned to, and (c)  whether it would conflict with an adjournment of something else which someone else was calling me about at that very moment.  Not until 9:28 a.m. did I get confirmation; it was postponed, to a date I could cover, and that didn't conflict.  So things started going right!



That settlement was very time-sensitive and required a client, marginally reliable on the best of days and just coming off surgery, to move his fanny and get me signatures and funds in time to overnight things.  I worked on various and sundry while waiting for my last appointment of the day to arrive in Rochester at 3:30. Still no client to sign and pay.  Also, a third client, supposedly wanting a walk-in to see me.  Hell, I juggled two at the same time on Monday, so why not a third?

He never showed.  But Sign Here Guy showed up just as Scheduled Appointment Guy was settling in.  Again, I got them where they needed to get, the overnight was supposedly delivered on time, and life was good.

As I said, briefly.


Of course I’m anal enough to have needed to come back to my Buffalo office to see what arrived in my absence.  I had the Harrison Ford bad feeling about this even before arriving, and the Force was strong with that.  For in my tray was nothing good, and one unexpected thing: a rejection of papers I filed weeks ago, on spurious grounds.  Or so I thought: turns out there was a basis for them doing it. And the client for that is the one I need to meet and shepherd through a court hearing today, with more than a little nervousness.

Somehow I got sleep despite the anxiety over it; even better, as I post this, I am almost certain that the problem’s been fixed. I  left home a little early today, leaving Eleanor to cheer me up by sending this view of the peanut gallery just after I left, with a reassuring note:

I just hope all hell didn't break loose at 9:25;)

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An odd combination of them from the past 24 hours:

1984. Because of the way Monday worked out, I did not get to see last night's worldwide screening of the John Hurt-Richard Burton adaptation of Orwell's dystopic classic in cinema; Rochester's Little was the closest venue and I wasn't going back there just for that, and nobody here was showing it.  But we own it, so after dinner I put it into the DVD drive and watched almost two hours of history preceding itself.

I think I saw it (probably in the same Rochester cinema) when it was in first release back in 1984, and although I must've acquired it on DVD at some point since, I don't recall ever managing to watch it all the way through. It's that dark- by design of the cinematography as well as the faithful text- but I felt a need to join in the Resistance at the same time, more or less, as the rest of at least this time zone.

The parallels were frightening.  Goldstein appears on screen: "Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate!"
Compare: "Lock her up!" "Lock her up!" "Build a Wall!" "Build a Wall!"

Then the fade, up comes the soothing music, and the chant: "B-B! B-B! B-B! D-T! D-T! D-T!"

You see the fake news being manufactured. You see the plutocracy wanting nothing and the proles lacking everything and yet powerless to do anything about it.  And torture is great! Doubleplusbigly!


2.04. Miles walked/run on a treadmill this morning.  I've succumbed to another monthly marathon challenge. Last year, I won my 40-and-over-male age group, which I conveniently managed to corner by being the only 40-and-over male to be in my age group.  I think there's some actual competition this year, though. Added to a shorter treadmill block from Sunday, I'm averaging just over 1.8 per session, with at least eight to go- that would put me well over the half-marathon mark and with no chance of hitting the 26.2.

All for a stinkin' medal.


12. Thirty-plus years of bankruptcy, and I've been to most of the standard places: Chapters 7, 11 and 13; even some rather obscure international proceedings now handled under something called "Chapter 15" and, when I did them, known as "section 304" cases; numerous "adversary proceedings" within cases, and more than a few appeals.  My only missing numbers were 9 (for municipalities, virtually unheard of in New York), and 12- the family farmer form of bankruptcy.  I'd briefly parked a case in one of these a few years ago, but last December was my first actual filing of a Chapter 12, and today, the first one I actually presented and got (more or less) approved.

It helped that there is an assigned trustee who is really empathetic about how hard these people work and who goes out of his way to find solutions to issues within the bounds of his obligations.  Unfortunately, these also include idiots who either waited till the penultimate day to file their claims (they had over four months notice of today's deadline for doing so) or, even dumber, didn't file them at all.  Come the stroke of midnight, if they don't completely push the envelope and file them tonight, I can file claims for a couple of them, which will solve the problem.


That's all for Count Van Count. Come back tomorrow; maybe we'll do fractions.
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