Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/8/18: Breaking Radio Silence

Good Morning!

Adventures in Woburn, Mass.:

1. The Event. I guess I should have assumed that some commenting here would go on yesterday about the unpleasantness involving an ex-participant here, while that dispute was causing me to lose all of yesterday between travel and court. (I alomot tried to put up a post late last night, but was too fried.) I have little to say on the matter, which is still being considered, except that I did learn some surprising things, such as that

  • …the weakness of the concept of “lawyer-in-all-but-degree” tends to be exposed in court;
  • …being banned from an ethics website is an existential catastrophe, and actionable, according to “lawyers-in-all-but degree”;
  • …having a great poker face is an essential talent for a judge:
  • ….in  lawyer-in-all-but-degree schools, they apparently teach that the position that “judicial misconduct” and “judicial ethics” are essentially the same topic is ridiculous and libelous, and
  • ….playing the part of Van Johnson in “The Caine Mutiny” just isn’t as much fun in real life as it seems to be in the movie, if you get my drift. It’s kind of embarrassing and sad.

2. A airport encounter:  In the airport on the way to Boston and waiting for my flight in an early morning mob, I was anxiously wandering through the crowd when I heard a quiet male vice say, “Nice tie!” It was not obvious who had spoken, but I decided it had to be a young African American airport employee who was helping a traveler in a wheel chair. “Did you just say ‘nice tie’?” I asked him, though he was not looking at me. Then he lit up, said that he had, and got into a long conversation with me about ties. He is a tie aficionado. He has photos of his ties on his cell phone! He loves talking about ties! And thus I connected with a fellow human being in a chance encounter, when he took the step of breaking through the silence and mutual disinterest that increasingly marks the daily interactions of Americans, even neighbors. I also ensured that he would not feel like I was ignoring his existence when he had taken the risk of an unsolicited overture to interact. [Unlike the female jogger I write about here.] Contrary to some of the comments that I received then, I don’t think anything about the chance encounter yesterday should have been different if the participants had been different ages, races, ages, or stations in life.

3. Why Avis is still #2, I guess..I had to rent a car from Avis to get to my hearing. New car, prestigious rental company…and one of my tires started going flat almost immediately. After my business was completed, I called Avis roadside assistance. I gave my address and my plight, and told them where I, and my useless car, could be found. “We’ll take care of it, sir!” the Avis employee said cheerily. They would contact a local contractor in Woburn who would tow my car while delivering me to a new one in plenty of time to make my flight home from Boston’s Logan airport. Ten minutes later I received a text message confirming that a wrecker was coming to deal with my car to an address in Bedford, Mass. that had no resemblance to the one I had given Avis. Later, after I called Avis back and pointed out that this solution would not work, they apologized and assured me that the error would be corrected. Then I got a text message informing me that my car would be picked up at the correct address, and that I and the car would be delivered…. to Bedford airport. I called the local wrecker whose number was provided. Yes, he said, he had been given the wrong information, twice. “Look, my friend, they screw everything up all the time. I’ll take care of you.”

Then he came, put my car in his flat-bed, and along with his cousin, drove me  directly to my gate at Logan—about 45 minutes in rush hour– barely in time to make my flight. He and I (and his cousin, Ralph) were crowded in that front seat, but we exchanged stories, laughed a lot, and had a great time.

I found myself thinking: this is why  putting large government agencies and bureaucracies in control of our lives is madness. Systems break down, reliably and inevitably. People, in genuine, face-to-face, voice-to-voice relationships based on respect, caring and the realization that we’re all in it together, get things done.

They are also a lot more fun.

4. Make way for goslings. While waiting for Bob (that was his name), I settled in at an Applebees. As I was looking out the window and noticing that my right front tire was losing air, a family of Canadian geese marched onto the property, two adults and about ten fuzzy, adorable goslings with huge feet.  I was the only one who noticed them, so I went over to two tables that contained families with children and alerted then to the wildlife moment taking place outside. Soon the whole restaurant, including staff, was on my side, happily watching the geese and talking with each other, but, amazingly, not arguing about Donald Trump.

64 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/8/18: Breaking Radio Silence

  1. I’m glad for your human contact yesterday. I hope it did you good under the circumstances. Sorry about your Avis experience, though. We’ve rarely had problems with them, even the time we were on the interstate in Boston headed to Quincy in rush hour and our rental car….died.

  2. Jack I wish the best of luck to you on the case but despite the unpleasantness of it think of the gifts you recieved yesterday.

    The country is in turmoil, negativity is everywhere, any media you choose to ingest will tell you so but the reality is the average citizen is just doing their thing. Many of our fellow citizens have given up on each other, the progressive storm tends to drive people to close down, to not open themselves up to being judged. The people you interacted with yesterday are the exception and will ultimately be the people who are responsible, if possible, for keeping our society healthy.

    Your positive interaction with them, your acceptance, reinforces to them that they are behaving as a good citizen should. Kudos

  3. Glad you got some joy out of the crap burger you have been forced to deal with.

    People are not the caricatures the liberal press would have us believe. Most just don’t care about you, being wrapped up in their own lives, but they do not harbor animosity to just about anyone, and are willing to be kind more often than not. This is human nature, absent outside agitation.

    Of course, I cannot speak to the progressive blue coasts, where this may not hold as true. So your mileage may vary. But I suspect that human nature holds true there as well: you just run into more assholes when there are more people to run in to.

    • As a native Texan (Paris, Texas), I’d say from experience that your assumptions are totally correct. I’ve lived on Richmond, Va. and Pullman, Wash. among other places, Texans just treat other people NICER! Until it’s time not to. And, as a general rule, we don’t make assumptions about other people based on race, gender, religion, sexual preference or any other irrelevant property.

    • ”you just run into more assholes when there are more people to run in to.”

      Bingo! Fellas; I’ve been all over the Lone Star State, and I mean ALL OVER.

      I lived in Houston for a spell; but I’ve been from Texarkana to Nacodoches to Sulphur Springs to Amarillo to San Angelo to Pecos to El Paso to Eagle Pass to Laredo to Brownsville to Freer to Corpus to Victoria to Pasadena to Orange (and New Braunfels & Paris) and a whole lot of other towns in between.

      @$$holes tend to congregate in population centers, but that wasn’t my experience in Texas.

      All y’all (that right?) oughta head up to WESconsin sometime, where the further you get away from the Big City (we ain’t got but two), the nicer (read: less presumptuous/lower @$$hole concentration) folks are.

      • Paul, there are several people I hope to meet in person someday from this blog…slickwilly, of course and Jack, equally, of course but you are on the list as well. Unfortunately, you are the least likely, as, at my age, I’m VERY unlikely to travel to WESconsin. Suffice it to say, however, that I would acceot the invitation, if it were possible.

  4. It is amazing what so many miss by constantly looking at smart phones (misnomer) instead of engaging each other and the world around us. I, also, comment on people’s clothing to begin human interaction, most still take at least a moment to converse without fearing some sort of malice.

    All is not lost. Thanks for reminding us, as we wrestle too often with heavier topics.

  5. Your comment reminded me of a line from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,” wherein the judge in Atticus’ examination of the supposed rape victim’s father — ‘looked at him throughout like he was a ‘chicken with three legs.’ Clearly, the judge let the plaintiff rant on and on to demonstrate that he was a nut and that the suit was frivolous.

    Love the tie and geese stories and tow truck stories.

  6. #1 Doesn’t using the phrase “lawyer-in-all-but-degree” literally mean that the person is claiming to be a lawyer, as in passing the Bar Exam and being licensed to practice law, but they just didn’t go to a law school to get the knowledge (earn a degree) to pass the Bar?

    • Nah. “Lawyer-in-all-but Degree” refers to my clients, most of them who “know their rights” (which usually means they just KNOW they’re right!), the local guy at the restaurant telling you exactly why Trump (or insert least favorite politician) should go to jail, and the pro se guy/lady at the clerk’s counter filing 45 page, single-spaced, 10-psi-typed pleading alerting the court that they are being persecuted by the IRS.


      • I did say “literally mean” in my comment not figuratively means. 😉

        That said…

        That’s a pretty reasonable description of how you understand the phrase but that doesn’t appear to be the way Mr. Tuvell is using it…

        Mr. Tuvell wrote using his pseudonym ImJust Saying, “As for “lawyer-in-all-but-degree” (even though I didn’t write that) [LIAR!], it’s obviously a play on the well-known phrase “A.B.D. (All But Dissertation),” describing PhD students (though sometimes also applied to lesser degrees) in all graduate schools (in all fields) around the world who have finished all requirements for their doctorate except the dissertation.”

        The boldly inserted [LIAR!] is my addition to that comment.

  7. Jack, this is going around twitter. You might find it interesting since it references Masterpiece.*

    *First reference on page 8

  8. Maybe your Avis story will help some people get a better understanding of what the “rank and file” do as a regular thing. They drive people to airports and they reattach auto parts with zip-ties in the middle of the night (as documented in a post either here or elsewhere), all for strangers who they might never see again. I can think of many people who would benefit greatly from a ride anywhere for 45 minutes with a tow truck driver.

    We learned a couple years back that there are those who want us to believe that people like your knight in a shining tow rig is a “deplorable”.

    And I hope those goslings make it…. My geese moved out a few months back. The mallards had a brood, but the hawks and bobcats got every one of them, leaving only the Grebes with their 3 (as of last night). Nature is tough, but very inspiring to observe.

  9. 1. I’ve tried to comment on your case as little as possible, mostly because I have the impression you want to comment on it as little as possible before it concludes, but I’ve started to read documents from court cases I find interesting, and I have to admit a strange fascination with Walt’s…. work. It’s… You know that feeling you sometimes get, when watching a disaster video on YouTube… It’s horrifying, but “bittersweet symphony is playing in the background” and you just can’t look away. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s kinda like that.

    3. My experience with tow drivers has also been great, In my last adventure, not only did he get me out of an amazing mess (I’d slid off a highway at about (conversions… dammit… 100kph…. ) 60mph and landed in 4 feet of snow and ice.), but he was REALLY nice about it, gave me advice about a local shop (which also did me good), and followed me in just in case my truck gave out.

    4. I live in a city with a whole lot of rivers and wetlands surrounding it, so we have those geese everywhere. There’s an Olive Garden (an Italian restaurant chain… I’m not sure if ya’ll have it down south) that routinely has a goose nest in their greenspace, the restaurant puts up crowd control so people don’t step on it and feeds it leftover salad. I don’t know how good salad is for geese, but it’s cute.

    • One of the best part of Walt’s works are his ridiculous abbreviations. In his opposition of motion there were two beauties… He used “CTXDEFIMPL” as a stand in for “Contextualized Defamatory Implication” and “DGIMF” as a stand in for “Disputed Genuine Issues of Material Fact” “CTXDEFIMPL” amuses me because it sounds like an alien name from an old comic book, but “DGIMF” is the real winner.

      See, Walt asserts that throwing the case out as the function of a Motion to Dismiss is in essence a summary judgement in favor of the defendant, because of MRCP 12(b). I don’t know how reasonable that is. I’m not a lawyer. But why that’s important is that MRCP 12(b) says that so long as there are material differences in the accounts of the parties, summary judgements cannot be made. Again, I don’t know how reasonable it is to apply that to this case. I’m not a lawyer.

      What I understand and find hilarious are the things Walt characterises as “Genuine Issues of Material Fact”. It’s like Walt think that every time he disagrees with a characterisation, it was material to the case, and should invalidate the motion to dismiss.

      Diss 12 at “E” — Defendant writes falsely: “bitching comment,” as explained at Comp 9¶14·E. DGIMF

      Diss 13 at “I” — Defendant writes falsely: “messy post … edge of madness … opinion … not assertion of fact … lousy,” as explained at Comp 9¶14·I. DGIMF.

      Diss 15 at “L” — Defendant writes falsely: “a few cherries short of a sundae,” as explained at Comp 11¶14·L. CTXDEFIMPL

      Diss 15 at “N” — Defendant writes falsely: “… long rambling…,” as explained at Comp 11¶14·N. DGIMF. CTXDEFIMPL

      My personal favorite:
      Diss 17 at “P” — Defendant writes falselby: “… asshole …,” as explained at Comp 14¶14·P. CTXDEFIMPL.

      My (admittedly limited) understanding is that “Issues of Material Fact” are things like whether or an utterance was actually made, not whether or not an utterance is factually true. Because whether or not an utterance was made would obviously effect the outcome of a case, where as whether or not Walt is legitimately an asshole a few cherries short of a sundae who writes long, rambling, messy posts from the edge of madness will not effect the outcome of the trial because they are all subjective opinions, interpretations, or insults, and whether those opinions, interpretations, or insults are true has absolutely no bearing on a libel case.

  10. I’m glad you had a semi-good day, in spite of the unpleasantness that created it. I can particularly relate to the tow truck experience, having gone through a similar dispatch-related snafu recently, also fixed by the very polite man actually driving the truck.

  11. Humble Talent writes (in part): “My (admittedly limited) understanding is that “Issues of Material Fact” are things like whether or an utterance was actually made, not whether or not an utterance is factually true.”

    To begin with: I (sincerely) heartily commend Humble Talent, for truly reading and (trying to) understand the actual case-in-chief, and properly commenting upon it! This contrasts strong with the knee-jerk/off-the-cuff/brain-free postings of The Stupid People who’ve been brainlessly blathering-off elsewhere in this forum. PLEASE, let this post of H.T. be a model that others can/should/must emulate!

    As for H.T.’s detailed comments:

    [JAM: Never mind.]

    • ALERT: ImJustSaying is banned.

      I’m convinced. This is another banned commenter trying to sneak back, with the watermark of those who I don’t feel even slightly bad about dinging, by using a fake identity. I was skeptical that the suspicions of other commenters could possibly be true, but if this isn’t the same guy, cloning has progressed much further than I thought. If the proprietor of a blog or website tells you that you aren’t welcome there, then the ethical response is to stop commenting. Only the worst of the worst try this stunt.

      I know I gave IJS until 5 PM to tell me his real name, but he already told me with his last few comments.. And the individual with that name is no longer welcome here, as I made clear last August.

  12. 2)

    I have deep suspicions of any man who is NOT a tie aficionado.

    Any man’s wardrobe is analogous to the “Truth” in that famous Churchill quote: The Truth should be attended to by a full bodyguard of lies…

    “A man’s wardrobe should be attended to by a full bodyguard of ties.”

    Can’t afford a lot of different shirts?

    Buy ties, simple & plain to complex. Single color to multi-color.

  13. “People, in genuine, face-to-face, voice-to-voice relationships based on respect, caring and the realization that we’re all in it together, get things done.

    They are also a lot more fun.”

    You are sounding more libertarian by the minute.

    Can you just be a libertarian minus the whole drug thing and the extreme instances of isolationism thing?

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