Thursday, April 17, 2014

A nice return on an investment.

In 1985, former Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl purchased the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team for $18 million. According to ESPN, Senator Kohl is now selling a majority interest in the team for $550 million. The Bucks had a record of 15-67 this year, which is the worst record of any team in the NBA. I know the value of an NBA franchise is not based entirely on the team's record but one wonders what price Senator Kohl could have gotten for the team if it had been good.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Being the champion and the nature of reality.

Given his love of basketball, I am a little surprised that Mr. Torvik has not already pointed out that our joint alma mater, the University of Minnesota, won the NIT men's basketball championship last night. Some might say that the Golden Gophers are one of two national champions in men's college basketball. Given that the other tournament, run by NCAA, contains 68 teams, others might say this means the Gophers are the 69th best team in the country. It's all a matter of perspective.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How is this possible?

Today is the 244th birthday of the tenth president of the United States, John Tyler. If he is remembered at all, President Tyler remembered for being the first Vice-President to become President upon the death of the President. President Tyler might also be remembered for being the back half of the political slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler too."

But what I find most incredible about President Tyler is that two of his grandsons, Lyon Tyler and Harrison Tyler, are still alive. Amazing when one considers that President Tyler died 152 years ago.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Winter is starting to get to at least one police officer.

This is from February, but if the weather in Madison, Wisconsin is the anything like it has been in Minneapolis this week, I suspect the police offer is still writing this sort of incident report.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Major League Baseball and the nature of reality (part two)

Jack Moore at Sports on Earth has a post about how the Detroit Tigers have reached an impasse in talks to extend their contract with pitcher Max Scherzer. Mr. Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award last season and is a big part of the Tigers' hopes on winning the American League Central Division and more this season.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Are retirement ages for Minnesota Supreme Court justices constitutional?

I recently attended a fundraising party at a downtown Minneapolis law firm. As you probably know fundraisers are sort of like rent parties in college. The host provides some alcohol and snacks and the guests provide some cash for the person or organization seeking the funds. In college one would then try to drink enough alcohol to make attending the rent party a good investment of scarce funds. That sort of behavior is frowned on at fundraisers held at law firms.  So that is one difference between a rent party and a fundraiser.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

For some people, Christmas means dressing up like a Nazi.

OK, I have not blogged in a long time. There are a number of reasons for this but they are mostly not worthy of discussion. Suffice to say that if Judge Kopf can post while undergoing cancer treatment, I can be better about posting while eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and thinking about March Madness.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Grudge Match: Basketball Edition

You may be forgiven, dear Reader(s)™, for thinking this blog was dead. But it isn't! It was just, well, frozen. I, for one, am currently obsessed with: (1) pursuing justice on behalf of my saintly clients; and (2) blogging about college basketball.

On the latter point, tomorrow is the rematch of the Iowa – Wisconsin basketball game. Wisconsin is going for the sweep, hoping that Iowa's coach once again blows his top.

Mr. Gillette's birth-state honor is on the line, as the football team also lost to the mighty Badgers in the fall.

May the best state school (that is, Wisconsin) win.

"I answer yes, though I’m a cat person and consider his dog hideous."

Says Judge Posner, expounding on his prodigious ability to tell spontaneous lies.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Santa Claus is just pretend, but he's real.

I am generally opposed to telling lies, even trivial ones. Partly for this reason, I did not intentionally set out to sell the myth of Santa Claus to my children. When my older daughter was younger, I explained to her that Santa was "just pretend." She nodded knowingly, because this was something she had always known. Only, for her, "just pretend" meant something a little different. There was a "pretend land" where the pretend things actually existed, and sometimes they came to our "real land." So "just pretend" didn't mean "not real," it meant, essentially, "supernatural." She had no problem saying something like, "Santa is just pretend, but he's real."

I suppose that I could have rigorously disabused her of this false notion. But the benefits of her misimpression soon became clear. There was, of course, the behavior modification. She didn't really care about disappointing or annoying me, but the thought of getting on Santa's bad side—the dreaded "naughty list"—could move her to immediate tears. In a pinch, this comes in really handy.

More importantly, this idea of Santa brought her palpable joy. Her fascination with Santa, the North Pole, the Elves, the Workshop, etc., was very endearing, and the visible thrill she got from thinking about getting presents from Santa was just adorable. Eventually she knew that what Santa was purported to be capable of was impossible without magic. So she believed in magic.

It came to seem cruel to disabuse her of this notion. So I let it slide, and her belief has intensified over the years. Big Time.

This might be a big mistake. Maybe when she learns the truth about Santa, and about magic, she'll infer some unflattering truths about me as well—for one, that I'm a liar. I will, it must be said, have some plausible deniability. (I'm a lawyer, after all.) I will be able to say that I told her the truth from the start, and she just misunderstood. But this probably won't convince her.

Just the other day she asked, "You  believe in Santa, right daddy?" And I said, "In spirit, yes." (Lawyer'd.) "But Santa is real, " she said. This was not a question. "Well, in spirit." "No, really real," she insisted. Her grasp of the real/pretend distinction is more sophisticated nowadays, and only magic bridges the gap. She was staring at me, somehow looking down her nose from below. So I relented and agreed.

Then this morning I told an outright lie, and it was awesome. We will be in Madison for Christmas, with the grandparents, but we're going to give our presents to the kids tomorrow. Today I just blurted out, "I got an email from Santa, and he said he's going to drop off presents here tonight."

"Really?" Ivy looked like she was going to cry, and I realized my mistake: (1) this was counter-myth; (2) more importantly, she gets a lot more presents at the grandparents than she gets at our house, so she was worried about an inferior haul. (This is a practical magic she believes in.)

"He's still going to Gaga's house, too, he's just dropping some of the presents here tonight."

"Really?" Now she was very serious, sensing one of my little jokes. "No, daddy: really? This is serious. I need to know the truth."

Now Laura chimed in to back me up, which is important because she can be counted on to dispel my little jokes.

Convinced at last, Ivy jumped up and down and began making plans to leave cookies and milk. It really made my day.

Lesson: the more brazen the lie, the better the results. There's going to be a lot more lying to the younger one.

Merry Christmas, Reader(s)™.