Archive for June, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mr. B!

Friday, June 30th, 2006

You may have seen the novelty mug/t-shirt epithet, “Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal.”

To be more accurate, the saying should read, “For some d#%$ reason, old lawyers never retire!”

I don’t expect to be one of them – I have lots of traveling and other things to do in retirement -¬†but there is a large and sizable segment of the elderly (mostly male) attorney population – in my office and in many others – who officially retire from the firm, but who never really, well, . . . leave.¬†¬†¬†

Oh sure, they get in a lot more vacation time than they used to.¬† Sometimes they’ll be away for weeks or months at a time.¬†

But larger firms have a quaint custom of keeping an office around for these elder statesmen.¬† The oldest of the old are relegated to desks distributed throughout a common work room.¬† (One retired fellow with a sense of humor, whom I met for the first time after a year and a half at the firm, informed me that his desk was in this room, which he dubbed ‘the elephants’ graveyard’).¬† They may even continue to do some client work (although I hear this is closely reviewed by more active practitioners before it goes out).¬†

At my firm, one gentleman in particular embodies this fine tradition.  He comes in most every day (at least during the morning), and walks slowly around in his suit, going from office to office to chat with his buddies.    


My Office
by Koog Family.

He has impeccable manners. 

Everyone is fond of him, and you see a smile of both bemusement and protection on people’s faces when his name comes up.¬† He was a powerhouse lawyer in his day, establishing much of the current client base of the firm.¬†¬†

This is the only firm at which he’s ever worked.¬† He joined in 1952, fresh out of law school.¬† He became a partner in 1959.¬†

Those were the days (which lasted into the mid- to late-70s, as best I can tell) during which secretaries did not refer to Attorneys by their first names.  And so he is still known as Mr. [his last name] and also, because everyone knows everyone so well by now, just as Mr. B. 

He so resembles the gentlemen in the cartoon on my office wall that when I first hung it up, I hoped that he’d never see it.¬†

I’m not at all concerned that he’ll ever read this blog.¬† I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t know what a blog is.

But he turned 80 yesterday.¬† And the firm provided him a cake and a little party in a conference room.¬† I heard his secretary (whom he hired on here in 1968) ask him if he’d like to¬†take some cake home for Mrs. B.

I already told him in person, but it certainly bears repeating – not only for him, but also for all the others like him out there:

Happy Birthday, Mr. B!  

Paul’s First Official Father’s Day Gift

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Father’s Day 2006, originally uploaded by Koog Family.

This is a picture of a frame containing a picture (well several pictures) that I “helped” Emma¬†give to Paul on Father’s Day.

Things Paul and I Have In Common

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

We grew up in the Midwest. 

Our parents worked in the healthcare industry.

We each attended “Big 10” Universities.

We each intentionally avoided the Sorority/Fraternity scene.

We each majored in Art History and originally planned to be curators and/or professors.

I studied German; Paul studied Latin.

I loved the Beatles with a rare enthusiam; for Paul, it was the Grateful Dead.

Eighties music transports us back to memories of high school days.

We each spent a great summer abroad in 1992.  I was in Germany; Paul was in Greece.

We attended (and met at) grad school at GWU in Washington, D.C.

We wooed one another with our art history knowledge; I was charmed to hear Paul speak of metopes and triglyphs. He he impressed me with the scar he got while excavating in Greece.  I wowed him with my comments in Theory and Methodology and a rousing class slide presentation on the teaching style and artistic taste of the father of American Art History, Charles Eliot Norton.

We both catalogued bronze Renaissance plaquettes as part of our internship duties at the National Gallery of Art.  

We have both waited tables (Paul much more successfully than I).

We like to plan for the future 

We would both much rather save for retirement than drive new cars. 

We enjoy traveling and look forward to doing a lot more of it in the future.

We have both known the pleasures of law school.

We love living in Milwaukee.

Our sweet daughter is our favorite little girl in the world.

We were both a little naughtier, growing up, than our parents were wise to; so watch out Emma, we’ll be on the lookout!

We both cry¬†and sniffle when we watch Little House on the Prairie episodes all the way through.¬† (It doesn’t matter which one. There’s always a tear-jerker scene built in.¬†¬† We even cried, recently, at a show directed by Michael Landon, Jr.¬† It had the same tear-jerker touch.)¬†

Now HERE’S some good Wisconsin News!

Monday, June 26th, 2006

A pair of whooping cranes has hatched two chicks in central Wisconsin, marking the first young of the species to be hatched in the wild in the eastern United States in more than 100 years.

Operation Migration, the group coordinating the effort to establish a second migratory flock of the endangered birds in North America, posted photos on its Web site documenting the success.

Photos of the nest show two brown chicks being tended by their adult parents among thick marsh grass of the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Joe Duff, who heads Operation Migration, says the successful nesting is just the start, because the birds still face the challenge of keeping the young alive until they can fly.

Emma gets a taste. . .

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Behind Bars
Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

. . . of the gritty life behind bars.

Bars in the living room that are attached to our new baby gate.

And Mom and Dad get a break from the constant vigil of keeping her out of the catfood bowl and other nefarious places beyond the living room.

Blowing Bubbles

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Blowing Bubbles, originally uploaded by Koog Family.

Here’s just some of the fun we had on our Happy June 23 — blowing bubbles in the yard!

I hope this guy’s making a good living…

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

. . .he’s certainly providing me with some¬†entertainment.

After a long week (fun, busy last weekend, followed by stomach flu, manifested by one day flat on my back in bed longing for good health, followed by gradual return of good health focused toward catching up on urgent projects at work), I decided, this fine Friday evening, to take stock of what might be going on in the world (or at least on the Internet). 

And what to my wondering eyes should appear but (on one of Paul’s favorite surf sites, Yahoo’s most popular news items for today,) an article about this Friday – today – June 23, being the happiest day of the year.

Hmmm.  I was in a pretty good mood today.  So I read on.

Wait a minute.  The article talks about a researcher (Mr. Cliff Arnall) who has a formula to prove that today is the happiest day of the year. 

It’s as easy as “O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He” you see.¬† Well, of course!

Now, it occurred to me as I read the article that I’ve seen this kind of mood formula before.¬†

In fact, I opined about being a mere statistic after I learned that I booked a cool vacation trip on a cruddy day in January that was alleged to be both the worst¬†mood day of the year and the day on which people book “paradise” getaways more than any other day of the year! (It’s true.¬† Check out my old post right here).

So I had to look back at the old post and see the name of the researcher quoted there. 

And yes.  It was no coincidence!  (Or was it?!)  The man who made a statistic out of me in January was the very same man now being quoted about Happy June 23. 

So hat’s off to Mr. Cliff Arnall.¬† I’m going to be keeping an eye out for him.

And from now on, all January 24s and June 23s will be marked with the appropriate notations on my calendar, too!

Here’s the story:

Friday is happiest day of the year, British scholar finds


Fri Jun 23, 8:49 AM ET   

Feeling more happy than usual this particular Friday? You should be, according to a scholar in seasonal disorders at a British university.

Cliff Arnall has analysed such factors as outdoor activities, nature, social interaction, childhood memories, temperature and holidays — data gathered over a period of 15 years in interviews with 3,000 people around the world.

His conclusion: June 23 is the happiest day of the year.

“People across borders experience happiness when they meet with friends and family and establish close social relationships,” the University of Cardiff academic told AFP. “We need some close emotional ties.”

He used what he considers a “simple equation” to reach his conclusion — O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He.

O stands for outdoor activities, N for nature, S for social interaction, Cpm for childhood summers and positive memories, T for temperature and He for holidays and looking forward to time off.

Arnall has already figured out the saddest day of the year. It was January 23 — a Monday. “Surprise, surprise”, he quipped.¬†


Blogging Update

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Blogging Update, originally uploaded by Koog Family.


Wacky Wisconsin News

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

Seems like every time Wisconsin makes the national or international news, it’s for something, well, bad.¬† Or¬†odd, at least.¬†

I’m going to start posting more of our strange news stories and trying to keep tabs on if some of them are about more upbeat subjects.

This one’s about der Fuerher, and I’m not spelling the real name in English because I don’t need Google traffic from people searching that particular fellow.

Turns out that der Fuerher’s monument won’t be public, after all.¬†¬†

Wonderful Weekend

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Sisters and Cousins, originally uploaded by Koog Family.

What a weekend!

We had a very special visit from Emma’s Auntie Pam, Cousin Alex, and Grandpa S.

Collectively, we jumped on a trampoline, visited my office, went to a pig roast, rode in a paddle boat, had a cookout, went to the zoo, exchanged presents, played with toys, cried, ate custard, laughed, went to a restaurant, watched cartoons, blew bubbles, and tried to catch nightcrawlers.


Bubble Portrait   Bubble  Portrait   Playing with the new Toy!   Cousins on the Floor