Blackberries ‘n’ Spam

Ross Kodner is a legal technology wizard in Milwaukee with a penchant for coming up with the best sniglets. The father of the “Oh-no-second,” that lapse between the sender’s brain and the mouse, has come up with two new sniglets:

  • Spamsturbation: receiving spam from your own e-mail address
  • Blackberridiot: otherwise rational people behaving poorly when receiving incoming messages on their Blackberries

Read on at Ross Ipsa Loquitur.



The Price of Sex

We don’t like writing, talking or even thinking about sex any more than you do, but we have to address this topic from time to time. We really didn’t come up with the idea on our own; it’s in the rules. The other mandatory topic is disaster, and while we’d frankly rather discuss sex than disaster, frequently sex and disaster are not mutually exclusive concepts. You know: the wages of sin, plagues of boils and locusts, pillars of salt, wanton lust, love and desire, Sodom and Gomorrah, that kind of thing.

But on to sex.

An article in El Universal sets forth the price of clean and safe sex:

  • A package of condoms begins at $1.50 USD.
  • A box of 25 contraceptive pills for women, to be taken daily, ranges from $2 USD to $15 USD, depending upon the brand.
  • One preventive pill, to be taken a half hour before sexual relations, costs $5 USD.
  • A box containing three portions of spermicide runs $1.80 USD.
  • The morning-after pill, $7 USD.
  • A gynecological consultation can range in cost from $40 USD to $150 USD or more.
  • A contraceptive implant for women, good for five years, runs $240 USD.
  • An encyclopedia about sexuality begins at $30 USD and costs up to $250 USD. (The more expensive versions are multi-volume editions.)

And if those measures don’t work out, the cost of childbirth begins at $150 USD at the Hospital Civil in Morelia. A fancier place, like Star Medica, will set a mother back about $1,500 USD and upwards.

And sex with strangers? Well, that’s a topic for another day. Even Morelia has its red-light zones and adult entertainment districts, although you won’t read about them in most travel guides.

Naco Knows No Borders

In the New York Times Travel Section is a video about the tacky side of New York City.

But New York doesn’t have the monopoly on naco. Mexico has its share, too, from the fun animations at Naco y Fresa, the velvet sombreros tourists love to buy, the awful glow-in-the-dark pink cake laced with florescent green sold at street fairs, and shiny polyester shirts with the image of the Virgen or fighting cocks. A mesh plastic shopping bag in the trademark Burberry plaid takes naco to even newer lows. NaCo now brings naco mainstream, in stores in the U.S. and Mexico.

Even Morelia has its own version of naco. Going to La Inmaculada for fine dining or buying your entire wardrobe at the Mercado de Dulces works, too.

Still not sure what’s naco and what’s not? See Rim Magazine’s explanation here.


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The Best President

As I slapped the Bobblehead doll of John F. Kennedy, making him utter the famous “Ask not” phrase, Julio asked me if he was the United States’ greatest president.

“Not exactly,” I replied, “but he wasn’t a bad one,” wondering how he would’ve been remembered had he lived out a second term, long enough to bore and antagonize the public. And I still bore a grudge, albeit diminished throughout the years, because his successor beat my beloved Barry Goldwater.

“So, who was the best U.S. president?” Julio asked. “Clinton? Jimmy Carter?”

“No, no, a thousand times no! Well, Jimmy Carter was a very nice man. And Clinton was smart.”

I thought for a moment. Now, my personal favorites were Calvin Coolidge and Teddy Roosevelt, but that’s not surprising, given my political leanings and adoration for their sense of style, but I knew that neither was universally appreciated. The best for everyone would have to be Harry S Truman.

I flipped the question back to Julio, asking him who the best Mexican president was, one of my favorite dinner party conversations, one which almost always elicits the same answer from all camps. Sure, there will be one or two who’ll proffer up Benito Juarez, Lazaro Cardenas or even Carlos Salinas, but the consistent winner is always Adolfo López Mateos. But then I may not be talking to the right people.

Julio insisted that the best Mexican president was Luis Donaldo Colosio.

“But he doesn’t count, since he never got to be president,” I said.

And sure enough, Julio came back with the right answer: López Mateos

An Award I’ll Never Forget

Last week, I retired from one job and took on another. In 1995, I took on the mantle as editor-in-chief of The Compleat Lawyer, which later became known as GP|SOLO Magazine, published by the American Bar Association. My last day in that role would be followed by my first as the newly-elected Secretary of the ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division.

During that final editorial board meeting in San Francisco, all of the former chairs of the Division wandered in, presenting me with a very generous gift, and, of course, I responded with my usual Bushisms.

The ambush had only begun. At the Division’s Council meeting, I knew from the agenda that I was in line for one of the Division Awards, which were also given to David Lefton, Wynn Gunderson, and Betty Smith Adams, so I told myself to think of something funny so I could be sure to smile when my turn came around. Division Chair John Macy calls me to the podium, and, to my surprise, he also calls upon Lee Kolczun, who reads a resolution so full of glowing praise that I almost wondered if he was talking about the right person. This one left me totally at a loss for words. And even more so when I later read what’s inscribed on the plaque:

With grateful appreciation for and recognition of Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to the ABA GP|Solo and Small Firm Division as Editor-in-Chief of the GP|Solo Editorial Board.

It’s my turn here to thank the Division leaders and the more than 30,000 members of the Division for making all of this possible. (And lest there’s any confusion, the award went to jennifer j. rose, not her co-blogger, David Leffler, who gets some credit somewhere for doing something!)

13 Marvels of México

Don Vasco Down the road but a half hour’s drive from me is the Plaza Don Vasco, a tranquil square in Patzcuaro, a zone where I always feel just a little closer to the heavens, a soulful place and a sanctuary from the stresses of the rest of the world.

The Mexican government’s tourist board and TV Azteca are asking the public to name the 13 Marvels of Mexico, and the Plaza Don Vasco is among the contenders. Vote here. While you must for vote for thirteen sites, vote early and vote often. 

The soul of Mexico is Michoacán, and the heart of Michoacán is Patzcuaro.

Feeding the Monkey

Sheryl Sisk Schelin, a writer, lawyer and consultant in South Carolina, asked several lawyers to write about inspiration, and I was honored to be among her guests at The Inspired Solo. Read about how Sergio Bustamante’s ape feeds my spirit and keeps me going.

The Dirty Old Man Case

Since one of this blog’s categories is law, it’s required that we discuss it from time to time, preferably at great intervals. Back when I was in law school, during the last year of Nixon Administration, we would look up The Law in a quaint media called “print.” Westlaw and Lexis were barely on the horizon, and privileges to access a computer were granted only to a handful of students, selected not for their interest in legal scholarship but for their interest in playing with new toys. I was fortunate to be among them, even if we were really the law school version of the A-V squad who got to run the film projector in elementary school.

Behind the Green Door and Deep Throat may have brought adult films to the masses in 1972, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy a bored law student’s lust for dirty words. Dirty words in a legal opinion were even better.

And now Staring at Strangers brings you the best-read law case, one explored by every law student since 1943: Lason v. State, 12 So.2d 305 (Fla. 1943).

Go to any law library which still has books, and the reporter in which this case can be found will readily open to the case. Of course, lawyers don’t read cases bound in leather volumes these days.

Tell Your Tale to Sam Quinones

True Tales If you’re distant from an English-language bookstore, take warning. Do not lend out your copy of Sam Quinones’ True Tales From Another Mexico. Even if your friends are honest borrowers, you won’t see it back in your hands for a long, long time. Mine circulated among every reader of the English language between Morelia and Erongaricuaro, teaching me a valuable lesson.

I’ll write about his newest book, Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream, soon, but I’m not going to lend that one out. You’ll just have to buy your own copy.

Realizing that everyone has a story to share, Quinones has dedicated a part of his website to the public, eliciting their stories. Contribute yours at Tell Your True Tale. He’s particularly interested in themes about immigration and aspects of Mexico, but that’s broader than it might appear at first glance. We’re all immigrants on this planet. The immigrant experience extends far beyond lettuce pickers in Salinas, beyond those working in the meat plants of Storm Lake, Iowa, and those harvesting apples in Washington. It pervades every aspect of Estadounidense culture, from my blogging partner David Leffler off in New York City to the part-time resident in San Miguel de Allende. Even presidential candidates Bill Richardson and Mitt Romney have immigrant and Mexican roots. The theme touches all of us.

I’m going to tell my tale, and I’m anxiously waiting to read yours.

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Beat in Michoacán

The year was 1951, and the early Beats spent their time in Mexico, too. Lucien Carr was working for UPI, having been released from prison a few years earlier for killing a man who’d made unwelcome sexual overtures, and he and Allen Ginsburg, who hadn’t yet written Howl, went to Mexico City to visit William S. Burroughs, who had fled pending drug charges in Louisiana with his common law wife Joan Vollmer and their child. By the time they’d arrived, Burroughs was off to Guatemala in pursuit of a handsome lad, so the trio set off on a road trip which included Patzcuaro and Paracutín while Vollmer debates whether to return to New York or remain in Mexico. Opting for the path of least resistance, her choices ended when Burroughs shot her a year later during their game of “William Tell.”

Almost fifty years later, Courtney Love and Kiefer Sutherland would travel to Mexico to make “Beat,” a forgettable film about that road trip. Here are samples of the scenes from Michoacán.

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