Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last night I saw a few things that made me reflect on the reputation a lawyer is expected to have, or anyone for that matter.  I saw images reflecting a lack of self-esteem, self respect and unsteady gaze that I would shock the foundations of Rome herself.  In our professionalism class, we learn that your reputation is everything you have.  As an attorney you will be tested and your personal morality and sense of ethics, ideally, will not waiver.  However, what you do outside of law is just as important as what you do in the courtroom.  Would you trust a lawyer who the night prior to representing you posts images of drunken debauchery?  Likewise, would you want a mentor whose personal life is spread across the world?  If you would not want that for your key business contacts, then what do you want for yourself? Are you that person who displays their life so as to blur the private and the public?  Why?  I think that to a degree all of us have allowed the narcissist we carry to take over, but at what point is you’re displaying your life merely a reflection of what you are missing in it?  Many times those things we show and display to the world are actually are merely fishing lines seeking approval and ego inflation.  Are we so unhappy or in denial to the point that we have attempt to convince ourselves we are fine?  A friend of mine whose comments have always been illuminating stated that the reason some people always seem to have a chip on their shoulder and lead perennially average lives is because they never give themselves enough time.  If you notice that is every unaccomplished soul’s excuse, not enough time; probably because they were busy wasting it away when it mattered.  They simply move to the next thing and in moments of difficulty which will inevitably show up the pit that was only patched up opens and the fall after the fall is so much worse; they should have been patient and let it seal instead of patching.  Be wary there is a fine line between confidence and self adulation; where do you stand?  There is a line in Gladiator I always remember.  Maximus tells the emperor - the time for honoring yourself will come to an end.  Love that line.  There is another old saying; tell me what you have, and I will tell you what you are missing.  I think the key to answer that riddle comes from the Tao Te Ching which says “the superior virtue seems inactive, and yet there is nothing that it does not do.  The inferior virtue acts and yet in the end leaves things undone.”

I have not reviewed the health care bill yet; but I will definitely be commenting on it.  I do however want to write about the waves shocking the Catholic Church.  There are many misrepresentation of doctrine in the media for example the doctrine of infallibility being linked to church public statements.  The doctrine states the Church is infallible with regards to faith or morals; not public statements to the media.  I in no way condone, agree, or support any of the actions by the priests who molested the innocent.  I think they will have a very special escalator downwards on judgment day.  I have met people who have had traumas happen in their lives.  Those whom I have met have had to triumph over that burden that they should not have had in the first place.  If one thing sets me off, it’s that.  However, hindsight is 20-20.  I think that the public is taking the Catholic Church and really throwing it under the bus.  Of course the decisions they made 50 years ago may not have been the best.  But let’s look at other decisions; what about the Japanese Camps during WWII? What about the Bay of Pigs? Heck, if Benedict Arnold would have succeeded he would have been a hero and we would be singing God save the Queen; If Charles Martel would have failed - Europe would be the capital of the Muslim world, or if the world would have recognized the terror of the Nazi’s maybe we would have stepped up and entered WWII sooner and saved a lot of Jews from the concentration camps.  I do not write this to excuse what the Church did.  I write it to remind religious people of any creed; is your faith based on one man? Or does it have its roots in the Divine?  Does it take someone’s exposed sins for you to doubt 2,000 years of knowledge?  Does it take a few losers to remove all the good a religion has done around the world?  Is Mother Teresa any less great or her moral code less because of some pedophiles?  Or Gandhi? It is easy to take shots at the Church because it is slow to respond, and patient with its answers.  My personal opinion is a touch faster.  I was speaking with a friend of mine about the subject and I told him, just like I would tell any Catholic; you don’t like it…leave.  If all it takes is some idiots in Ireland or anywhere else to make you doubt truths that you hold and sacraments that you vowed too then leave; why would you stay?  Do you really think religion is about adding an adjective to your description?  Is it a drop down on facebook?     The Catholic Church has its failings and has its troubles but it aims for each member to be more than himself/herself.  The Church lays an idiots guide to being a good person; do unto others as you want them to do unto you…follow the 10 commandments and you are set.  It is idiot proof; the testimony is that even I get it.  I am not the best catholic, but the same goes for all religions.  The purpose of religion is for you to become better, to be a better member of humanity.  If you are somewhere where that is not happening, check yourself.  Don’t carry religion like a Boy Scout badge.  You live it, be better, help others or move aside and finish up your mediocre life and let the rest of us through.    

Monday, March 29, 2010

I played a little bit of golf this weekend.  I think that the running almost barefoot has helps my golf swing a ton.  Not going to lie, I totally look like a golfer.  I no longer feel that I am swinging out of control.  The tempo of my swing was relatively the same.  I was losing it on the back nine with my driver because my wrists were not rolling as they should…I would roll them too late causing a fade.  I stuck some insane flop shots and bunker sots, Philly Mick status. They landed soft little spin; one was 6- inches from the hole when it landed.  Besides that it was a good day to play.  My lag putting was a little lack luster.  I mis-judged downhill greens and did not read enough break when I went soft on the putts.   I may actually have to modify this paragraph because I am discovering my dormant love for pain.  Earlier this year was very difficult for me.  I thought I suffered from Winston Churchill’s “black dog” (Google it).  The reality is that we all go through spats with life.  For me it’s been a blessing in disguise because although I do not know what the future holds or “what’s going to happen.”  I really do not care.  I am so blessed, it’s ridiculous.  I will not go through a list because that’s boring, but I can say this - I feel the exact same way I did in the beginning of the year, but with a better perspective.   Robert Frost once said that the road less traveled made all the difference.  I know that road; I was just too much of a wimp to blaze through it.     I will add jogging and anything else I do to this paragraph.  FYI - training for a 10k, I am pretty psyched and I am figuring some stuff out, so the LA Marathon next year is looking like a possibility, but I want to hook up with a charitable organization, hopefully to raise awareness or money…recession and Bernie Madoff hit charities hard.

In the last few weeks I have been tested in different ways.  I started running almost barefoot -Vibram 5 Finger Shoes-, I tried to make peace with someone and had that thrown in my face, I had to live up to the adjectives that I use to describe myself and on top of that I only have baby steps to show for it.  I offered an olive branch to someone, because I genuinely was concerned for their well-being and I think my offer was received as a veiled threat instead.  Also most recently I had to act in accordance with the words I use to describe myself.  I did well actually.  I made sure to be myself the whole way through, which is a blessing.  Years ago I would have opted for a different route in both cases.  I would have thrown harsh commentary back at my spurned olive branch or chosen the easy route of blaming someone else for my mistakes or conduct, but that did not happen.  Everything I have ever done I take responsibility for; both good and bad.  I think the bad that I have done has helped me make better decisions and really focus on what is going to be better for me tomorrow, next week and in twenty years.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I can tap-dance my way out of many situations including liability for my errors, but at the end of the day I admit them, mea culpa.  This year I have had to back my word with action more than the last decade; I say something and when I say it I mean it and I have had to act according to it, even if it kills me.  I think it shows character; in the long run I think it will make me a better member of society and people will be able to trust my opinion and know that although I am not Santa Claus or your favorite uncle; if I say I am coming through for you I will.  Now, getting me to say it, “ah there is the rub” as my boy Billy Shakes. put it.   

LAW SCHOOL - spring break, so here is a thought…

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pike

Monday, March 22, 2010

Played golf this weekend.  I shot a 95 at the local course.  I am pretty excited about that score because the fairways get very narrow on this course so the fact I kept it playable was a good thing.  My 60 degree wedge and putter was saving my first 5 to 9 holes.  The first hole I hit driver, hybrid and wedge that should have been on, but ended up on the fringe.  I was 10 feet away from the pin, but the fringe was shaggy and could not be chipped easily.  So I said, screw it, flop shot time. I took a full swing and it tricked a few feet past the hole, it was awesome.  I had a few shots like that and some puts that lagged beautifully.  I pretty much aligned myself based on a twigg or blade of grass a few inches ahead of the ball for all my shots and made sure to stay down through the swing.  Who knew I could actually hit some pars and have decent looks at birdies.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog commented about the “Democracy restoration Act.”  Apparently some states deny former felons the right to vote, even after they get out of jail and are active members of society. The government act would allow them to vote, but there are specific state guidelines stating otherwise.  It seems irrational to me to take away a constitutional right, because you break the law.  More than anything it seems to shoot the prison system in the heart.  Prison is supposed to be a blend of rehabilitation for criminals in order for them to join society and not just retribution for crimes committed.  It seems that not allowing “rehabilitated” persons to vote means the prison system of the state either did not do its job, or did it so poorly that ex-convicts become second rate citizens.  What happened to America?
Law school is going well.  We finished the 2nd round of moot court this past weekend.  I think I enjoyed it a lot more because I was not shocked at the procedure and the case was fresh in my mind.  Because we all had to argue off brief, i.e. switch sides, it was tough for me to explain the facts on the other side because I had been so used to looking at the facts only one way.  It was a really good exercise regardless and the judges were great, good advice from them about public speaking in a legal setting. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am getting excited about golf again.  Tiger Woods has announced his return will be the Masters. I do not agree with the issues that have come to light from his personal life; I think every fan’s perspective changed.  I understand that they are public figures and in many ways we hold them to a different standard that we hold ourselves, because they are in the limelight most of the time.  Why do have a different set of morals for public figures that is contingent upon what purpose they serve?   I feel that as a society we seek to present the best we have to offer to ourselves, and in that way seek inspiration from these great person’s achievements.  What keeps us from going after our own goals and aspirations? 
What is the greater evil… knowing that you can achieve more and not doing it…or settling into your comfortable life and convincing yourself you really cannot achieve more i.e. that you have done enough?  I think that both extremes are bad.  If you simply seek to achieve all the time, you are condemning yourself to “keep happiness hostage” (I read that somewhere can’t remember, it was a law blog; but I do not want to plagiarize).  Your happiness will depend on the next goal that you set out to accomplish, once accomplished you will be done; happiness will not be in the object but the journey.  Similarly if you only focus on the object and miss the journey you then become stale.  Your life reaches its apex before it has even begun.  You simply seek “happiness” or “to be loved” “success” or any of the other cliché things that people say with no substance behind it.  It bothers me so much when someone asks - what do you want from life?  And the answer is, to be happy, or to be -blank- …it makes me frustrated.  I feel that answer leans too much to the complacent mediocre side.  People who give that answer apparently have everything else squared away and just need one element to be complete as people.  It is so underachiever status.  I want to throw cold water on them and tell them to wake up.  That life is about more than just one element.  Yet, I am equally frustrated when people answer, “well, I have never really thought about it.”  That leans too much to the living the journey without enjoying what you have when you have it; it is very “living the dream status.”  I also want to throw cold water at them (in a non-tortuous way so I don’t get sued).  Because they are missing out on all the good they have done.  They do not take a breather to enjoy their achievements and really understand how they are helping.  Sad thing is I am both of these people.  Fortunately for me at least I vary among both, there are those who stay on one side never recognizing the greatness of another perspective.
School is going well.  The briefs that we had to submit for laws are turned in.  I am so excited about that fact because that paper was stressing me out.  I do like that our teacher has been so helpful to us.  I really feel like she cares that we become better legal writers.  The first semester of our legal writing course the class had a different style of teacher, to put it lightly.  Our current professor is great, she really does want us to succeed and you can feel that in the room, it’s a good feeling because Law school is a tad intimidating, not gonna lie.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

There was a preschool study in 1960 now known as the Marshmallow Test.  Four year olds were left in a room, unmonitored.  There are marshmallows and the children are told that if they didn’t eat the marshmallows until the monitor returned they could have two.  The children resisted in all kinds of ways from games to staring.  Some of the children could not resist.  The two groups were tracked over the years and those who waited achieved more success; ranging from test performance to popularity.  I know that my biggest flaw is patience.  I lose it very quickly and achieve magnificent tunnel vision.  Often times the tunnel is focused on an object that may not be the most beneficial at the time, but sometimes it is.  I would have expected the results of the test to show leadership at an early age or initiative.  Many times capitalistic values are so ingrained in us that we forget the great capitalist of the 19th and 20th centuries had to take steps toward greatness and did not simply arrive at it or grab it from the marshmallow bag.  Similarly we also forget that to every story there is an opposing side.  If we are to blind to see the opposing side we may lose out on the truth.  I think the children who were patient had the ability to see both sides of the story.  Either the story would end here with one marshmallow, or it would end later with two.  Often we prefer the story to end now, for immediacy element; yet when we see others obtain their two marshmallows our story becomes what "could have been" instead of "what is." I pray my story is never the former and that life continues its pace towards my two marshmallows.

Golf was great this weekend.  I went out and hit a few on the range yesterday.  When i relax and focus on tempo the ball flies off the face of the club.  I am going to probably get out and play next weekend. 

Had my first moot court presentation.  It was scary, but the judges were very kind and gave very good feedback.  I hope that we get the same judges, that way they can see how I incorporate their suggestions.  But driving up to LA to talk for 9 minutes then fighting traffic to OC was rather annoying.  Well off to work on my Laws Paper, its due Monday.  cheers

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Many times the acts of an individual or individuals in a community or group are taken to be reflective of the total group. It is so difficult to distinguish these from the beliefs of the whole because that individual may be so entrenched and/or associated with said group that distinction becomes impossible. Take for example the notion that the Catholic Church is against homosexuality. For decades in America the Church has been viewed as the antithesis of homosexuality. Yet, it is not against it, it is however against the act because it produces no fruit. Reason I bring this distinction up is because earlier today there was a dispute in court regarding the “don’t ask don’t tell” rule in the military. The president has insisted that he wants to repeal that law that requires lesbian and gay service members to remain silent about their orientation on pain of discharge. The government attorney’s job is to defend the law on the books, so the case is going to be delayed. There may be some kind of resolution until the second half of 2011; maybe. Although what a public figure says should be seen as reflective of the group he represents, i.e. the president represents the people. We must not forget that he is only one man. It is necessary that more people take action if anything is to be changed and not sit on our laurels and wait for solutions to fall from the sky. As anyone who knows me understands; I do not take sides in politics, I find them offensive and sometimes downright ridiculous. My view is simple; what makes people better and serves justice is the way to go.

Golf game was nil this weekend. I have hit a few times, but I think I overextended my knee on Saturday so I was unable to do anything really worth mentioning. I am probably going to take it easy on the golf for a week or so while this thing gets cleared up. I am going to pick up the putting practice. I think I am going to start going to different putting greens in the county to find the one that works best for me.

Law school is difficult for me now. I feel like I have aged way too much in the last few months. I see things differently; it’s a touch scary, not going to lie. In the last few months I have become a lot quieter. It is probably because I have to read things ten times before they sink in, but it has been a good transition.