Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to take a moment from my hectic day (yes, I am at the office, even though the courts are closed today) and wish all of you, my friends, a Merry Christmas. May you get the gifts you want, give the gifts your friends and family need, and may you carry with you the spirit of Christ. After all, it is because of Him that we celebrate at this time of year.

May His love -- He who is to be called "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." -- May His love fill your heart and mind, and may you receive all the blessings you need and deserve.

I will see you on the other side.

(Where did I put the Scotch Tape?)

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Global What?!?

Walking from the bus stop to the office today I had the thought: "Boy, I would take some of that California weather right now." Then I hear from a co-worker that her family in Los Angeles is walking around in parkas. I guess that 40 degrees, to them, is cold right now.

I cannot even wish for Las Vegas weather.

My friends in Salt Lake City are reporting lows in the low teens and single digits. Blowing drifts, high winds.

We are experiencing much the same around here, including record lows for December.

All that leads me to ask . . . Where the heck is this Global Warming thing?

Sorry, should I have said "conspiracy" rather than "thing"? Or is that too politically incorrect?

Do not get me wrong, I can and will accept that climate change happens.

But I cannot and will not accept that climate change happens primarily because of mankind.

You see, there's this big nuclear reactor up in the sky that has just a little bit to do with temperature, weather patterns, etc.

Compared to that, we humans are akin to parasites living off the flaky skin and dandruff of our host creature.

Case in point: When was the last time that any three so-called meteorologists actually managed to call a seven- or ten-day forecast accurately? Honestly? And then you expect me to believe that they can predict weather patterns and climate change out for one hundred years?

Really? Do you think I am that stupid and/or gullible?

I ain't buyin' your bridge in New York, or the big green lady in the harbor.

Are we really such a self-important bunch of creatures to believe that we can really have such a massive effect on a living entity so much larger than us? This is not to say we do not have an effect, but come on, really? We are going to destroy the world? We are really that self-centered, that egotistical?

Oh wait, we have to consider Al Gore. Maybe he is.

I know I am not. I am still humbled when I look up at the multitude of stars at night. I am still humbled standing at the edge of a canyon, looking down at the majesty of God's Creation. I am still humbled when I look at my hands and consider just how complex a mechanism the hand truly is. I am still humbled when I watch a storm's fury: waves tearing homes from the earth, winds destroying anything a human can erect, snow and fire snuffing out life easier than a birthday candle.

Stand against that power, O Man!, and weep. Stand against that power, and die. The chaotic life cycle and natural rhythms of the Earth are much more than we little men could ever hope to create, not to mention the effects of the Sun.

I may not be as humble as I should be, but I am still humble enough to recognize the power of God's Hand, and the ineffectiveness of Man's will against that power. I do not choose to offend God by attributing to mankind a power that we do not have. I do not choose to worship at the Gore's altar or bow to the preachings of the Warming Religion.

I choose to worship a true God and a religion of real hope, love, and truth.

Do not tell me we are rapidly destroying the Earth. Do not tell me we're all going to roast to death in a oven of our own creation.

My toes are still frozen from my commute.

Now where's my hot chocolate?

Apparently I am not alone. Just saw this little piece--

CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers had never bought into the notion that man can alter the climate.... Myers, an American Meteorological Society certified meteorologist, explained on CNN’s Dec. 18 “Lou Dobbs Tonight” that the whole idea is arrogant and mankind was in danger of dying from other natural events more so than global warming.

“You know, to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant,” Myers said. “Mother Nature is so big, the world is so big, the oceans are so big – I think we’re going to die from a lack of fresh water or we’re going to die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure.”
Wow. I feel validated. And he is not alone either; the article says that a second CNN meteorologist has taken issue with the whole global warming conspiracy religion theory.

And I am still waiting for my hot chocolate.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why we do it

OK. I'll admit that there are a lot of things wrong with the practice of law. There are also a lot of things wrong with representing consumers in Bankruptcy practice.

(smirk)Bet you're all surprised to hear me say that.(/smirk)

No, really. It is the absolute truth!

But I got a note from my buddy in Salt Lake this morning that made me shake my head. In a good way. All I could say as I shared it with some of the other employees of the firm was, "THIS is why we do it, day in and day out."

I will not go into the full story, but suffice it to say he had a client who was about to lose her house, sending herself and her three children out onto the streets two weeks before Christmas. The only thing that would save her was to receive a discharge from her Chapter 13 case.

She had gone through the wringer in 2007 and 2008; divorced, sole support of the family, left with HIS debts to pay off, children with serious chronic illnesses -- illnesses that affected her ability to work regular full-time hours, facing shut-off of gas and other utilities. She had received periodic help from family members in Mexico, who sent her what little they could scrape together to help her survive. She, admittedly and arguably, violated a court order by sending her tax refund this year back to her family members in Mexico who were now, themselves, in serious financial trouble.

The one high note? She scraped together everything she could so that she could receive her United States Citizenship. That, more than anything, convinced my buddy to really, really go to the mat for her. (That's what HE says. Actually, I believe that the thought of a homeless woman and her children at Christmas was what really affected his decision. The Citizenship efforts just pushed it over the edge.)

But this poor woman caught a little break: she was eligible to receive housing assistance, but the catch? She was only eligible if her Chapter 13 bankruptcy was completed.

The only way to complete the case was to keep making payments for a few more months (with money she no longer had) and to pay in her 2007 tax refunds (with money she no longer had). The only way out was to either convert her case to a Chapter 7 case (which would cost time and money she did not have) or to attempt what is called a "hardship discharge."

Simply put, this can be granted when certain conditions are met -- notably that the Debtor can no longer continue in the case because of circumstances beyond her control BUT that she is in all other respects eligible for a discharge. It is an extreme solution and, therefore, not attempted or granted very often.

But my buddy attempted it. He admits that he was not too optimistic, but he attempted it. There was little in the way of opposition to the motion; the Judge and Trustee, however, shared one concern: The use of the 2007 tax refunds in blatant violation of a prior court order.

My buddy says that he stood right up there, took several deep breaths while looking the judge in the eyes, and admitted to the Court that yes, while there was a violated order, there were good (read: humane) reasons for the violation and that in all other respects, she qualified for a hardship discharge. And then he sat down.

The Trustee's attorney then stood and essentially agreed with him, that taken as a whole, this woman deserved to get the help she had requested.

The judge looked at them both and asked, "You mean, you want me to re-write the bankruptcy code to make it 'fair'?" My buddy just smiled at the judge and the Trustee's attorney back-pedaled. The judge smiled back and said, "Well, I've done it before; Motion granted."

My buddy tells me it felt like he had been kicked in the chest; he could hardly breathe. He says that prior to the hearing his client had asked what the magic words were; he told her "Motion granted. If we hear that, we're good." He says he heard her gasp when the judge ruled. By the time they reached the hallway, his client was sobbing in joy, grabbed him in a bear hug, and thanked him for the Christmas present. She called his office afterwards to thank him again.

The joy that woman felt? I have seen it a few times in my own clients. I know exactly what my buddy was feeling.

It is the feeling you get when an elderly woman thanks you for saving her house from foreclosure saying, "This was the first house my husband and I lived in. It's where he died, and where I want to go to sleep for the last time. You saved it for me."

It is the feeling you get when a client drops to his knees in your office and repeats "God bless you. Jesus bless you." Over and over.

It is the feeling you get when a client calls you after a hearing and says she is grateful for your help "against a corrupt society." Who assures you that you are helping people whose lives hang in the balance, and that while the services you provide are often taken for granted, she does not take you for granted.

It does not happen very often, not in Bankruptcy, not in Litigation, not even in Criminal law. Not as often as it should, in my opinion, but them I admit to a certain bias.

It does not happen very often, but it does happen, and you begin to understand a little of King Benjamin's admonition from the Book of Mormon: "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Mosiah 2:17.

Due to the nature of the Practice, it does not happen often, but when it does?

It makes a lot of the other crap seem almost worth it.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

The Kiss

All I can say is that I want to know what is involved in this guy's technique:

BEIJING (Reuters) – A young woman in southern China has partially lost her hearing after her boyfriend ruptured her eardrum during an excessively passionate kiss, local media reported Monday.

The 20-something girl from Zhuhai, in southern Guangdong province, went to hospital completely deaf in her left ear, the China Daily said, citing a report in a local newspaper.

"The kiss reduced pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear," the paper quoted a doctor surnamed Li from the hospital as saying.

The woman's hearing would likely return to normal after about two months, Li said.

"While kissing is normally very safe, doctors advise people to proceed with caution," the paper said.

Courtesy of Yahoo! news
I am sorry, but does anyone else have severe ear-pain right about now? Owwww....

Maybe my LW and I have been married too long, but I just cannot imagine the amount of "passion" required to suck someone's eardrum out with a kiss. I am no Don Juan, but I can imagine passion. This, however is I mean, there's passion and then there is passion.

Now that I think about it, the story did not specifically say he kissed her on the mouth; maybe he kissed her on the ear? I could see that.

No, said it "reduced pressure in the mouth" so there goes that theory.

I wonder.... could this be considered a sports-related injury? I mean, I have heard it said that sex could be considered a sport, after all.

Now, before I get criticized for "assuming" and just jumping to conclusions, I want a show of hands from everyone who thinks this act of otic terrorism was just a chaste kiss.

Anyone? Anyone?

That's what I thought. I am off now to go find an ice pack for my ear.

Sympathy pains, wouldn't you know?

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