Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Judge John Griffin on judicial elections

Judge John Griffin Explains Judicial Elections from Alan Cottrell on Vimeo.

My thanks to Mr. Cottrell for permission to post the video -- and to Judge Griffin for the plug he gave this blog in the course of his talk.

For more on Cook County judicial races, see page one of this blog.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yehuda P. Lebovits appearance on NTNM

Yehuda P. Lebovits' appearance on North Town News Magazine is provided courtesy of Avy Meyers. Lebovitz is a candidate for the Otaka vacancy in Cook County's Ninth Judicial Subcircuit.

For more on Cook County judicial races, turn to Page One of this blog.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You'd better watch out....

(From the comic Bizarro. This image obtained from
the Houston
Chronicle website, but Bizarro also appears
in the Chicago

Santa Claus has gone high-tech.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Abbey Fishman Romanek appearance on NTNM

Abbey Fishman Romanek's appearance on North Town News Magazine is provided courtesy of Avy Meyers. Romanek is a candidate for the Otaka vacancy in Cook County's Ninth Judicial Subcircuit.

Judge Thomas V. Lyons appearance on NTNM

Judge Thomas V. Lyons' appearance on North Town News Magazine is provided courtesy of Avy Meyers. Judge Lyons is the only remaining candidate for the countywide O'Malley vacancy on the Cook County Circuit Court.

Friday, December 18, 2009

PCC NET TV interview of Wilson, Hooks & Gray

From PCC NET TV. I've figured out how to size YouTube videos to fit this page (mainly because it's not hard), but I'm afraid I was not able to figure out how to size this one.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Edmund Paul Michalowski appearance on NTNM

Edmund Paul Michalowski's appearance on North Town News Magazine is provided courtesy of Avy Meyers. Micahlowski is a candidate for the countywide Riley vacancy on the Cook County Circuit Court.

Diann K. Marsalek appearance on NTNM

Diann K. Marsalek's appearance on North Town News Magazine is provided courtesy of Avy Meyers. Marsalek is a candidate for the countywide Bronstein vacancy on the Cook County Circuit Court.

Judge James R. Epstein appearance on NTNM

Judge James R. Epstein's appearance on North Town News Magazine is provided courtesy of Avy Meyers. Judge Epstein is a candidate for the McNulty vacancy on the Illinois Appellate Court, First District.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Seattle divorce lawyer's holiday commercial?

I saw this online this afternoon and I'm really, really hoping that this is a comedy bit. IF that's what it is, it's kind of funny... assuming that, like me, you don't take reflexive umbrage at lawyer jokes.

On the site where I saw it, however, this was presented as an actual lawyer's TV ad.

This one, if it really is a commercial, would make the "Life's too short - get a divorce" billboard campaign of a couple years back look all warm and fuzzy by comparison.

Remember that one?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tribute to recovering lawyer on comics page

(FoxTrot comic obtained from Yahoo! News. Click to enlarge.)

Bill Armend's FoxTrot strip today was a groan-inducing valentine to Stephan Pastis, the creator of "Pearls Before Swine." Pearls Sunday strips are often elaborate set-ups with painful pun payoffs. Today's strip is no exception:

(Pearls Before Swine comic also obtained
from Yahoo! News. Click to enlarge.)

Oh... the reference to the "recovering lawyer" in the title of this post? According to Wikipedia, Stephan Pastis was "a litigation attorney in the San Francisco Bay area" from 1993 until August 2002. "Pearls Before Swine" launched in syndication at the end of 2001, "and is still one of the fastest growing comic strips, appearing in more than 450 newspapers worldwide and counting."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Overheard in Cook County

At the suggestion of Kulmeet Galhotra, I've become a "fan" of a Facebook page, Overheard in Cook County. It turns out there's a Blogger version, too, called On the Record in Cook County. I've added a link to that site on Page One, in the Sidebar, under "Just for Fun/ Recommended Reading."

What will you find if you visit either of these sites? Well, put it this way: If Art Linkletter had named these pages, he might have called them, "Witnesses say the Darndest Things."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TomTom, Garmin or Magellan -- preserving the tradition?

Jeff Danziger cartoon obtained from Yahoo! News

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The real reason why the Mayan calendar ends in 2012?

I can not vouch for the origin of this cartoon or identify

the artist, but I can tell you that I found it at this site.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Garlic: It's not just for vampires any more

Cloves of garlic worn 'round the neck are supposed to ward off vampires (as well as, presumably, prospective dates).

Vampires are very fashionable at present. But in the Republic of Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe bordered by Ukraine and Romania, the local army has found another equally trendy use for garlic.

According to an article I saw this morning in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Moldavian army will be adding about .5 ounces of garlic and .9 ounces of onions to each soldier's daily diet... to protect against the swine flu. Says the article, "Onion and garlic are traditional remedies in Moldova, where they are widely thought to boost the immune system."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicago surgeon aboard Atlantis

Dr. Robert "Bobby" Satcher, of Oak Park and Northwestern University is now, officially, the first orthopedic surgeon in space, having lifted off yesterday as a mission specialist on STS-129 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on a mission to the International Space Station.

He's not going to be setting up a Sick Bay on the ISS; rather, as explained in this article on the WGN9 website, Satcher "will use his surgical training in joint replacements to help repair two robotic arms on the station's exterior."

And, of course, in keeping with the times, Dr. Satcher is supposed to be providing updates via Twitter. Dr. Satcher 'tweets' as "Astro_Bones." I assume this is an homage to a certain fictional space-going doctor, pictured at right. If it isn't, please don't tell me. I don't want to be disillusioned.

For more on Dr. Satcher's flight, see the official NASA site or any of these articles:

Update 11/23/09: Apparently Dr. Satcher tweets (or twitters, or whatever) as both Astro_Bones and ZeroG_MD. I'm not sure whether you have to subscribe to both... but then I'm no rocket scientist.

Other Chicago area astronauts

Dr. Robert "Bobby" Satcher, now en route to the International Space Station aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis, has strong Chicago roots.

But he is not the first or only astronaut that has ties to this area.

John Mace Grunsfeld is a 1976 graduate of Highland Park High School. He went out of town (MIT) for his undergraduate work, but has MS and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. Grunsfeld is a former NASA Chief Scientist and, according to Wikipedia, a veteran of five shuttle flights, including the Hubble repair mission this past May. Grunsfeld's father still lives in the Chicago area, according to Wikipedia.

Daniel M. Tani is a 1979 graduate of Glenbard East High School in Lombard. He is a veteran of three shuttle flights and served a hitch as flight engineer aboard the International Space Station. He was supposed to be on the station from late October to mid-December 2008 but, according to Wikipedia, the shuttle flight that was to relieve him was "delayed due to engine cutoff sensor issues during countdown." You may recall that Tani's mother died on December, 19 2008 a traffic accident at a Lombard railroad crossing -- and astronaut Tani was obliged to mourn his mother from space.

Joan Higginbotham is a 1982 graduate of Whitney Young High School in Chicago. She flew as a mission specialist on board Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-116, in December 2006.

Dr. Satcher isn't even the first Chicago doctor to go into space. That honor belongs to Dr. Mae Jemison. Jemison is a 1973 graduate of Morgan Park High School. Jemison flew on Space Shuttle Endeavour with STS-47 in 1992. According to Wikipedia article Dr. Jemison said, "The first thing I saw from space was Chicago, my hometown.... I was working on the middeck where there aren't many windows, and as we passed over Chicago, the commander called me up to the flight deck.... Looking out the window of that space shuttle, I thought if that little girl growing up in Chicago could see her older self now, she would have a huge grin on her face."

Jemison said her inspiration to join NASA was African-American actress Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek. After Jemison's historic flight, she also became the first real astronaut to appear in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The last man to walk on the Moon, Eugene Cernan, was born in Chicago and graduated from Proviso Township High School in Maywood.

James A. Lovell, of Apollo 13 fame, wasn't born in Chicago -- but he's very definitely associated with the Chicago area because of a family owned restaurant, Lovells of Lake Forest. According to Wikipedia, Lovell's son Jay is the executive chef at the restaurant.

Is there anyone I've missed?

Michael Ian Bender appearance on NTNM

Courtesy Avy Meyers and North Town News Magazine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Elgin Community College beats Yale

A mock trial team from Elgin Community College held its own -- and then some -- against teams from some of America's most elite universities in a competition staged at Harvard this past weekend.

They hadn't been invited. According to the report on the NBC Chicago website, "The team from ECC wasn’t even allowed into the tourney until a regular team dropped out and they got a call to fill in."

Brought in as last-minute tomato cans for the privileged to spar with, ECC instead beat Villanova and Yale, losing narrowly to Brown (the eventual tournament winner). Kerry Lester's story for the Daily Herald (citing college paralegal coordinator Laurel Vietzen as its source) states that, "in addition to beating Villanova and Yale, ECC had a better record than Boston College's 'A' team, Wake Forest, Boston University, Dartmouth's 'A' and 'B' teams, and Wellesley's A&B teams. It also tied Penn State."

The story on the CBS2 website stresses the disparity in the tuitions charged by the various institutions: The sticker price at Yale, according to the CBS2 article, is $47,500 a year; this year at Villanova would cost $49,600. And the ECC tuition? According to the CBS2 story -- $2,740. Robert Channick's story for the Chicago Tribune notes that the ECC team members range "in age from 20 to 50 and [hold] down full-time jobs as waitresses, administrative assistants and stay-at-home moms while working toward their paralegal degrees."

That's right: Paralegal degrees.

In the fullness of time some of the members of the ECC team will become paralegals; some of these will wind up with elite, 'silk-stocking' Chicago firms -- as the law firm equivalent of hewers of wood and drawers of water.

And, in time, the members of the Yale team will recover from their loss. Most will go on to law school, probably at Yale or another Ivy League school, and then on to prestigious clerkships, law school faculties, and prestigious, silk-stocking firms all around the country... and some, perhaps, will come to Chicago -- where they will become partners and members of Chicago's elite.

And where, I hope, they will be reminded, as often as necessary, of ECC's triumph at the 2009 Harvard Crimson mock trial tournament.

Congratulations to team adviser (and Wheaton attorney) Ronald Kowalczyk (who teaches legal writing, litigation and torts at the school), team captain Jennifer Rieger, team president Asia Toufexis, and team members Rebecca Day, Jessica Bianchi, Elizabeth Martzel, Eleni Bala, Robert Dalin, Rita Russo and Mary Burke.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How not to behave in court -- two contemporary illustrations

From "Pardon My Planet." Image obtained here, but I read the
comic, in print, yesterday in the Chicago

I might add that, though a criminal court scene is imagined, "air quotes" would likely have a similar effect on the court in a civil case.

Our second illustration comes from this morning's Chicago Tribune, which relates the curious tale of one Kane Kellet, in court Saturday before McHenry County Judge G. Martin Zopp: It seems he flipped off the judge. In other words, he gave the freeway salute. He gave the judge the bird. This was, according to the Tribune story, Kellet's second in-court breach of civility: "The hearing had already gotten off to a bad start, when Zopp asked if Kellet had an attorney. Kellet uttered a four-letter response that was even less polite than the bird."

Art Golab's November 3 story for the Chicago Sun-Times provides an additional detail about the flying finger incident. It seems that Mr. Kellet's middle digit was unfurled when he was asked to raise his hand to take the oath.

The Tribune story says that Mr. Kellet was homeless at the time of his arrest. Thanks to his behavior in court, Mr. Kellet will reside at the Crossbar Motel for six months at least -- and longer, perhaps, depending on the disposition of the battery and home invasion charges that led to his being in court in the first place.

Note to journalism students: Mr. Kellet's name is spelled with one 't' in the Tribune -- but two 't's in the Sun-Times.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Potholes in the road to pundithood

I got home late last Thursday and didn't even think about my scheduled appearance on North Town News Magazine until later... after the program would have aired. I mentioned this to my wife. She was not amused. "It's not like you're on TV everyday," she pointed out, accurately.

I immediately began my motorboat imitation. "But -- but -- but you saw the interview already on YouTube...." It was a losing battle. I set the DVR to grab the Friday rebroadcast.

I got home Friday and my son said he'd looked at the show and I wasn't on. So I looked: He was right. It was the Dorothy Brown/Dennis Fleming show; that show was supposed to air on November 5.

I wrote to Avy Meyers, the host and proprietor of NTNM, to inquire. He looked into it: Apparently the show ran as scheduled in the suburbs, but CAN-TV in Chicago apparently substituted the Brown/Fleming show.

Why? My guess is that someone at CAN-TV must have seen my interview. (And so can you, if you follow this link.) Actually, this was not my worst TV appearance. The worst was the time I got picked for the tug of war on Bozo's Circus: I mumbled so badly that Ringmaster Ned thought my name was "Jeff."

Anyway, Mr. Meyers has spoken with the powers that be at CAN-TV. Inasmuch as the others on that show, Brian C. White of the Lakeside Community Development Corporation and Cliff Carlson, Editor and Publisher of the Irish American News, were fine guests, CAN-TV has decided to show the program this week (click on image to enlarge):

And as for my appearance? Well... it is close to Halloween. Viewers may take one look at me... and figure it has something to do with the holiday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Too connected? The Facebook experiment -- Day 2

From the comic Daddy's Home by Tony Rubino and Gary Markstein.
That link will take you to the source of the image, but I actually
read the comic in print in this morning's Chicago Sun-Times.

I had 21 new emails when I signed on this morning, all Facebook related. The good news? All of my kids have 'accepted me as a friend.' My daughters even 'tagged' me with family photos they'd long since posted on their own Facebooks.

The bad news? One of my nieces seems to be involved in a "flame war" with a high school classmate of hers... over a boy... and there seems to be some collateral damage on my "wall." And, also, I might add, some rather coarse language. But I'm not entirely certain what of this is visible to the world at large. For her sake, I would hope that none of it is... or that I can figure out how to delete it. I have solicited the assistance of one of my sons in this regard.

I have also learned that Facebook status updates must be no more than 420 characters -- at the current exchange rate, I believe that comes to three "tweets." Thus an old dog learns new tricks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sticking my nose in Facebook

From Real Life Adventures by Gary Wise and Lance Aldrich.
This image was obtained from UClick GoComics, but I read it
back in August -- in print -- in the Chicago Sun-Times.

It's not that I haven't been aware of Facebook. My kids have been on it for some time. Occasionally I'll find new horror story about Facebook -- or something funny about Facebook and email them or post it here. (In the latter vein, I'd suggest that this link is worth following. If you're in a more serious mood, consider this ABA Journal Law News Now story from early September, in which Martha Neil reported that the Florida Board of Bar Examiners has announced plans to search applicants' social networking sites, such as Facebook, "on a case-by-case basis, focusing on those who have demonstrated problem conduct in the past.")

My kids' involvement with Facebook has provided me with one consistent reason why I have not plunged in previously. The kids told me I'd have to apply for and be accepted by each child as their "friend" -- and I have only recently been assured that my requests would be given due consideration. (Even now, no absolute promises have been made. So I'm still worried about how I might have to cope with rejection.)

But... I've tried to keep up to date on the subject, reading and only partially understanding articles like this one, from the June 22, 2009 edition of Wired Magazine, about "Facebook's Plan to Dominate the Internet -- and Keep Google Out." In the article Fred Vogelstein reports that "the Google-Facebook rivalry isn't just going strong, it has evolved into a full-blown battle over the future of the Internet—its structure, design, and utility."

Who knew?

And, in the meantime, it isn't just Facebook that has passed me by. Something called Twitter seems to have caught on -- although more, according to this August 25, 2009 article in the New York Times, with businesspeople than college students. I might have imagined that "micro blogging" amounted to something along these lines:

From the web comic Luke

I asked my kids about Twitter and they were all nonplussed -- leading me to conclude, until I saw the New York Times article anyway, that Twitter would be just a passing fad. And then I read in Bethany Krajelis' article for the September 2, 2009 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin that the Illinois Supreme Court had "signed on to Twitter."

On Twitter, as I understand it, people -- or courts -- sign on to post and others may choose to enlist as "followers." Oprah gathered tens of thousands of followers for her "tweets" in a single day. If I sign up to tweet and somebody signs up to follow me and if I also sign up to follow that person, who's following who? Aren't we then just going in circles? I suppose I'll have to figure all this out next.

But one crisis at a time: I have now successfully signed on to Facebook. *Shudder* One thing only is certain about this brave new experiment in social networking: From tonight on, Facebook will not be as "cool" as it may once have been.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dennis Fleming NTNM interview

(Continued from page one.)

FWIW profiled on NTNM

When "Saturday Nigh Live" debuted a generation ago, Belushi, Akroyd, Radner, et al. were referred to as the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players."

I have now learned an important lesson in life: Not only am I not ready for prime time, I do not appear to be ready for cable access.

Let's put it this way: For years people wanted to find out 'who killed Vaudeville?' If cable access dies anytime soon, I know who will be blamed.

Avy Meyers, the host of North Town News Magazine did the best he could, under the circumstances.

Have I sufficiently lowered your expectations? If so, then you are free to watch the following clip from North Town News Magazine.

In Chicago, this interview will appear on CAN TV Channel 19, on Thursday, October 22 at 7:30pm and again on Friday, October 23 at 2:30pm. Evanston residents can watch on Cable Channel 6 on October 22 at 8:00pm.

NTNM also airs every Monday at 6:00pm in the following suburbs: Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Des Plaines, Glenview, Golf, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Northbrook, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling (on Channel 35) and Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Maine Township (unincorporated Des Plaines), Mission Hills (Country Club Properties), Morton Grove, Niles, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette (on Channel 19).

Other guests appearing on the October 22 show are Brian C. White of the Lakeside Community Development Corporation and Cliff Carlson, Editor and Publisher of the Irish American News. They'll be on during the first 20 minutes of the show.

Monday, September 14, 2009

An appropriate farewell to Jim Thome

From Smells Like Mascot by Carl Skanberg. (Click to enlarge.)

I seldom have a rooting interest in the National League playoffs. But I'm looking forward to watching the Dodgers this October.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ABA announces "Legal Rebels" project

The ABA sent me an email last week announcing the rollout of its "Legal Rebels" project. If you follow the link, according to the email from Edward A. Adams, Editor and Publisher of the ABA Journal, you can read about "50 of the profession's leading innovators" -- seven to start with and at least three more added each week until Thanksgiving.

The magazine site explains that these rebels are "remaking their corners of the profession. These innovators are finding new ways to practice law, represent their clients, adjudicate cases and train the next generation of lawyers. Most are leveraging the power of the Internet to help them work better, faster, different."

I went to look at the site and I could tell right away that the individuals profiled were rebels indeed: In their photos, none of the male lawyers were wearing neckties.

Note to the ABA: Lawyers make lousy rebels. There's a reason why Benjamin Franklin became one of our most beloved Founding Fathers and his son William clung to the post of Royal Governor of New Jersey until he was clapped into irons: Ben had done so well in the printing business and, later, as a lobbyist that he was able to obtain a legal education for his son while they were living in London. Ben the scientist and non-lawyer could envision a society without a King; William the London-trained barrister could not.

Well, you say, Adams and Jefferson were lawyers and they were rebels, right? Yes... but... Adams and Jefferson were educated in the Colonies. Adams was a trial lawyer involved in some of the most famous cases of the age; Jefferson didn't practice much. But, either way, their 'rebellion' can be seen as a defense of the status quo against unprecedented British intrusion into Colonial prerogatives. There's a reason why the American Revolution has been called 'conservative.'

This is not to say that lawyers are, as a group, conservative. Lawyers may be found at every point along the spectrum of political opinion -- but it's not, for example, conservative lawyers who are trying to blow up the jury system.

You know, I don't always wear a necktie on days I don't have to go to court... and I use this Internet thing on a regular basis. Could it be that I too am a rebel and don't know it?

I didn't think so either.

Friday, July 31, 2009

But only if you get the magic dust past security....

From F Minus, viewed on and obtained from Yahoo! Comics.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Concordia University Chicago gets NCAA bid

Concordia University Chicago's baseball Cougars swept the Northern Athletics Conference tournament this weekend in Rockford to claim an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.

The 33-13 Cougars are headed to Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan where they will be the fifth seed in the double elimination Mideast Regional. Tournament play begins Wednesday.

The Concordia team also won the regular season NAC baseball title with an 18-4 record.

Former Notre Dame High School (Niles, Illinois) players fared prominently in the Cougars' success this weekend. Dan Linsner went 4-5 with a home run in Concordia's first tournament win, a 16-4 victory over Benedictine University of Lisle. Matt Kudlik was the starting and winning pitcher in the championship game, a 12-6 victory over Aurora Universiyy. Joe Leyhane started the second contest, also against Aurora, going 7.2 innings, collecting six strikeouts and issuing only three walks in a 3-1 victory over the Spartans.

Linsner, Kudlik and Leyhane were all on the roster of Notre Dame's 2004 state championship team.

They'll be reunited with another ex-Don at the Adrian regional: Keenan Long is leading the Fightin' Engineers of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with 10 homers to go along with his .355 batting average. Rose-Hulman has advanced to the NCAA for a second straight year and will be the number six seed.

The Cougars come into the tournament with strong senior leadership. Pictured above, from left to right, are Dan Linsner, Jack Walker, Zach Bickel, Joe Leyhane, Scott Stephens, Joe Kerke and Phil Seris.

Walker, Stephens and Seris all homered in the championship game over Aurora, Seris' blast far beyond the right field wall breaking what was then a 5-5 tie. Bickel went 5 for 5 in that game. Bickel and Stephens both had spectacular games in the field also, particularly in the Friday afternoon game.

The Cougars face the number two seed College of Wooster Fighting Scots in Game 2 on Wednesday at 3:30pm. The 35-8 Wooster team will be making its sixth consecutive NCAA Division III tournament appearance.

Thanks to Mr. Art Hantel for the top and bottom photos; his came out better than mine.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

For my children... Facebook users all... a cautionary tale

Presented just the way we watched movies in high school science classes... or driver's ed.

I first saw this at By Ken Levine, but this copy was lifted from YouTube.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kyle Orton headed to Pro Bowl... poor Mr. Cutler

My sons will disagree, but you read it here first: Kyle Orton and his neck-beard are headed to Denver and greatness; Jay Cutler has been traded to the Chicago Bears, the quarterback's graveyard.

Mr. Cutler will soon be reminded of the wisdom behind the old warning, be careful what you wish for.... Gosh, I hope I'm wrong.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Santas gift wrap speed cameras in Arizona

This You Tube video of "Santas" gift wrapping speed cameras in Arizona was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article linked in this post on Page One.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Carl Skanberg added to Big League Stew

Carl Skanberg, the creator of the Palehose saga and Smells Like Mascot, will be providing cartoons for the Yahoo! sports blog, Big League Stew. (Herewith a link to Skanberg's first post on the Yahoo! blog.) Future "Smells Like Mascot" cartoons will either run on BLS or in the Southtown Star newspaper -- but the Palehose saga resumes, on the 'net, this weekend.

Play ball.

Friday, February 6, 2009

For my daughter with the English degree -- and a Facebook account

Something called "Austenbook." A 'snapshot' excerpt from the linked site:

(Click image to enlarge.)

The site is not interactive and its creator acknowledges that the news feed should be in reverse "but this makes for easier reading." Which, of course, is true.