. . . . five years and holding . . .
Time flies (and flees) for the f/k/a Gang, even when we’re not having fun. At the end of this month, this weblog will stumble upon its 5th anniversary. As seems to happen this time every year, all my alter egos — from Prof. Yabut to haikuEsq — are debating the future of this site:
Do we want to continue? And, if so, how often will we be posting and what will the content be (especially now that the Editor says he’s sworn off producing judgmental material in the realms of lawyer ethics and politics)?
Genuine haiku will always be a part of this weblog but, frankly, haiku alone is not enough to keep my interest — I need to be thinking and writing about matters of substance that have value as entertainment or commentary for myself and others.
So, as we “celebrate” producing thousands of substantive posts over five years, I urge our regular readers (and those who might become regulars) to let us know what we’ve been doing — or could be doing — that will keep them coming.
in our mittens
she says she’ll have . . .
Meanwhile, the amount of traffic f/k/a gets from Google and Yahoo searches (a couple thousand visits a day) continues to amaze me. It’s good to know that a topic that seems important or interesting (or just enjoyable) to the Editor is liable to be stumbled upon by folks far outside this joint’s circle of denizens, long after the pixels were originally posted. As much as we enjoy the searcher who arrives at f/k/a inadvertently, the purposeful search engine arrival is especially appreciated. They make our frequently laborious attention to detail worth the effort — and, indeed, help explain why we so often include links to our prior (and subsequent) pieces in our posting: to make research and follow-up easier for our valued SEVs (Search Engine Visitors), especially those who might have disagreed with our analysis and conclusions when they first arrived but are willing to dig deeper.
Why am I not surprised? Our April 27th posting “at least they’re upscale nudists” — a tongue-in-cheek response to an NYT article about the new trend in so-called “nakations” — has caused a constant spike of two to three hundred added visitors a day. Our Google placement when “nudists” is searched is amazing and inexplicable. No wonder there is so much sexual innuendo and content during Sweeps Weeks in our media.
Some of our old posts are read virtually every day thanks to pointers from Messrs. Google, Yahoo and Jeeves, and some are read many times a day month after month. The fact that so many people are continually searching a particular topic surely tells us something interesting about what is on/in the mind of the American or global public. But, I’m going to let you draw your own conclusions about the significance of the most frequent search engine queries.
half a glass of wine –
Google keeps asking
“did you mean . . . . .?”
In no particular order, here are some of the queries that bring SEVs to f/k/a every single day of the year. Those related to “culture” (or Americana) are listed first, and then lawyer-oriented searches. Classic haiku poet Kobayashi Issa, and his translator Prof. David G. Lanoue, assist our presentation.
The meaning of gumbah/goombah.
This question has lured SEVs to us again and again since we referred to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as a “tasteless gumbah” (after his crude chin-flip gesture in March 2006) and Evan Schaeffer asked just what a goombah is. Our response “goomba-goombah-gumba-gumbah” keeps ‘em coming, as does a follow-up relating goombas to gossips. So, whether they’ve just been called one, wonder how to spell it, or are still exploring Soprano lore, goombah seekers end up here, with our post being Google’s first result, and Yahoo!’s, too.
making a face
he turns down the pufferfish soup…
teaching the children
And, don’t forget the “agita.” Whether they’re looking for the song by the fictional Nick Apollo Forte (from Broadway Danny Rose), or the definition of the Italiante term, our “what is agita?” has been soothing the tummies and curiosity of Google querists several times a day for the past two years. You can blame Ed at Blawg Review for instigating our lengthy discourse on literal and metaphoric acid indigestion.
in winter wind
a churning, churning
in my belly
yet still singing…
a bellyful of rice cakes…
a cold night
Gossip is also on the minds of many Googlers. Questions like “Is gossip good or bad” or “why is gossip bad?” bring SEVs here day and night — with search engines pointing to our posting “good gossip, bad gossip” (Nov. 7, 2007). The post delves into the amazing history of the word gossip. [Psst: It’s another topic where f/k/a comes in 1st with both Google and Yahoo! out of millions and millions of results.]
is someone gossiping about me?
Prof. Lanoue tells us: “Shinji Ogawa explains that there is a belief in Japan that when a person sneezes, this indicates that someone is talking about him or her.”
her yard fills
Brain-Heart-Over-30: A constant favorite at f/k/a is our posting “did Churchill coin that over-30 maxim?” (June 21, 2005). Are conservatives looking to diss liberals, or liberals wondering who started the slur?
a chestnut hit
an old man…
so the legend says
putting his whole body
into his yowl
“Mosquitoes have come!”
………………. by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue
We don’t know their motives, but we’re happy to set the SEV’s straight, while also offering our up-dated, pictoral 21st Century Version in “political maturation after age 30” (June 22, 2005):
over 50 + + + thoughtful liberal
my nights of pleasure
are ancient history…
new summer robe
when my heart’s had its fill
I’m the scarecrow’s
. . . Parking Tickets and their avoidance are apparently troubling many Americans. Some are wondering (or complaining) about ParkingTicket.com, and find their way to our 2004 post “a better fix than parkingticket.com.” In addition, those irked by parking meters can soak up the information in our post “Parking Meters 101.”
in the parking lot
……. by Tom Clausen
Blue Code: Many Americans are interested in the /blue code of silence/ that often keeps police from reporting the transgressions of fellow officers. Google sends them to our “good cops and the blue code of silence” (Dec. 3, 2007). Are they muck-raking journalists, discouraged civilians, or potential whistleblowers?
the samurai street
spring’s first dawn
everyone crowds around
……….. by ed markowski
Scarlet Pimpernels: People looking for the words “they seek him here, they seek him there” — which is a verse from the movie The Scarlet Pimpernel — are also stopping by f/k/a every day, as our 2005 posting “they seek him there” is often the #1 Google result for that query. I’m sure at least some of the seekers are surprised at finding the inspiration for their quest.
in the grass…
with a sigh of relief?
Treading on thin ice? A lot of folks apparently are, and the #1 result for an MSN, Google or Yahoo! search for /if we’re treading on thin ice/ is our posting “dancin’ on thin ice” (April 22, 2007), where we try to pin down the source of the notion that dancing makes sense, if you’re walking on thin ice. My introduction to the concept was the 1972 song “Do It” by Jesse Winchester, from the LP album “Third Down, 110 to Go.” The line inspired the following haiga (which, in color, adorns the December page of our 2008 Giacalone Haiga Calendar):
round and round with you
on thin ice
…. haiga (full size in full color): poem by David Giacalone
photo by Arthur Giacalone (Central Park, NYC, ice rink, “The Gates”, March, 2005)
Speed and Fuel Efficiency: Sometimes, it is very rewarding to see a topic hit the news or prick or national consciousness. We’re especially glad to see how often the issue of fuel efficiency and driving speed is being Googled recently, and that so many SEVs are on clicking on our recent viewpoint positng “speed limits and efficient driving.” Let’s hope opinion leaders and responsible politicians are among those who want to learn more about this topic.
Earth Day –
in a three-car garage
… by dagosan [April 24, 2005]
Toilet Paper Checks is another relatively recent but popular topic here at f/k/a, thanks to excellent search engine placement (viz., the 1st result in a Yahoo! search, and second with Google). Granted, this is not our most weighty issue, but our posting on the “toilet paper check story” was a timely and much-needed effort to make up for the blawgisphere’s failure to deal with a topic that is clearly on a lot of minds.
spring equinox –
the toilet paper roll
Baseball Haiku are sought every day by fans of baseball and of haiku. Thanks to our f/k/a baseball haiku page, and our frequent discussion and sharing of the book Baseball Haiku (Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura, eds., W.W. Norton Press, April 2007), many of the searchers end up at this website — and, we must confess, find much to enjoy.
runs to third base
a full moon clears
the right field fence
. . . by Tom Painting from his chapbook Piano Practice
Sex offender residency issues bring many SEVs to this weblog everyday, making our efforts — we’ve written over 20 posts on the topic — seem worthwhile. That’s especially true because many members of the public and their “leaders” are looking to run SOs out of town on a rail, or ban them from even entering, and we’re happy to give them a little food for thought before they do.
Ill-conceived sex-offender laws make a good transition to the law-and-lawyer-related posts that are most popular with SEVs. Because so much of our analysis of lawyer ethics and professional responsibility issues (especially concerning fees) falls on deaf ears within the legal community, we’re pleased to be here to offer guidance and opinion (or maybe a little hope) for general members of the public interested in related topics — and to an occasional open-minded law student or member of the bar. As we recently noted in another context, Upton Sinclair helps explain much of the deafness of the Bar when it comes to issues of legal ethics:
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job [or income] depends on not understanding it.” . . . Upton Sinclair, US novelist, investigative journalist & socialist politician (1878 – 1968)
unaware of the thief’s
cooling in water
is just as he is…
[Lawyer-felon] Andrew J. Capoccia: brings a lot of attention to f/k/a, after we gave a lot of attention to him. I don’t know whether our SEVs are seeking debt-reduction relief or were victims of Capoccia’s fraud and avarice, but people querying “Andrew Capoccia” bring a lot of hits to our posting “blame bar counsel for the Capoccia Scandal” (March 8, 2005), and related pieces.
a reed thrush–
chasing the incompetent
those have turned pale blue…
Killing All the Lawyers is on the mind of a lot of people with internet access. Whether they are literary scholars or irked clients, the f/k/a Gang is happy to help them understand Shakespeare’s famous quote from King Henry VI, Part II — with our piece “Shakespeare and Lawyers” — especially since the organized bar has been going out of its way for over a decade now to spread misinformation about what Shakespeare meant (with their delusional propaganda insisting that Shakespeare felt lawyers were the great bulwark against anarchy and revolution).
killing a chicken–
the willow at the gate
it’s a man-killing
– Lucky Issa: Apparently he never ran across any lawyers in his lifetime of travel in 18th Century Japan. David Lanoue has translated over 8000 of Issa’s poems at his Issa website, and not one of them — we searched! — mentions a lawyer.
By the way: Looking for an image to use with this blurb, I stumbled upon the novel “Kill All the Lawyers: a Solomon vs. Lord Novel” (Bantam, 2006), from a best-selling mystery series by ex-lawyer Paul Levine. It has great reviews for wit and suspense, and for the gender battles between the two main characters, who are partners in both law and love. Two days later, I saw the book at our public Library’s 3-for-a-dollar used paperback sale and knew I was fated to read it. So far, I’m only a couple dozen pages into the book, but have a feeling that I will become a Solomon & Lord fan. For instance, you gotta like a book that, on page 3, has a 12-year-old telling the lawyer protagonist: “You’re confusing irony and coincidence, Uncle Steve.”
Which reminds me: people Googling /ironic vs. coincidental/ come to f/k/a almost every day, being brought to our irony posse discussion. It’s good to see that this issue isn’t just Prof. Yabut’s pet peeve.
Hourly Billing has been much-maligned in the legal profession during this millennium, and alternatives to it much-praised. Because much of the complaints about hourly billing is undeserved (and self-serving), and takes attention away from the general greed that would cause excessive lawyer fees under any billing system, it is rewarding to see how often SEVs are checking out our posting “broadening the houly-billing debate,” along with our many frank assessments of the value-billing and premium-pricing bandwagons.
residents of this world
a short time
going out to fart
about ten times…
a long night
the bill collector
with shoes on steps inside
to the hearth
The ethics of Contingency Fees and Lawyer Fiduciaries are also topics that are too-often ignored by lawyers, but thankfully not search engines. We are thrilled, therefore, that SEVs arrive on our shores daily to read our condemnation of the standard contingency fee — e.g., “contingency fees (part 4 of 4): ethical duties” (April 7, 2006) — and our exhortation to act as fiduciaries when setting fees. E.g, here and there.
for the fat green frog
crouched on the log
time is flies
……………………………….. by George Swede – from Almost Unseen
Bankruptcy and Bar Admission is Googled surprisingly often, and brings visitors to this weblog to read- “Bankruptcy and Bar Admission – a proposal” (Feb. 2, 2004). Let the client (and bar examiner) beware.
at his house
though he’s dirt-poor…
Unhappy Lawyers and lawyer unhappiness
People are constantly looking for Professor/Dean [now federal district] Judge Patrick J. Schiltz’s article,”On Being a Happy, Healthy, and Ethical Member of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession,” 52 Vand. L. Rev. 871 (81 pp pdf), and Google directs them first to our posting declaring it to be mandatory reading.
outside the mosquito net
she thinks of her child
Examination Prayers — are on the minds and lips of many a Googler. The quest send them morning and night to f/k/a, and our posting “wanted: a law school exam prayer” from December 2005. [Aside: my brief stint as an adjunct professor suggests that it might just be law professors in search of examination prayers.]
even the pigeon
says a prayer
Finally, in case you’re stuck, along with the f/k/a Gang, inside the “bad-memory century” — see results from Google and Yahoo! searches — we’d like to remind you that the whole Gang is hoping you’ll let us know whether we should retire from “blogging,” or what we might do that would keep you coming back to f/k/a.
Bonus: One thing I plan to do even more of here at f/k/a (if the weblog continues), is bringing you haiku by our Honored Guest poets that are not available online — poetry being published in “hard copy” journals, books and anthologies but not in cyberspace. I want to urge our poet family to continue to send me their off-line work, so we can make it available to a broader audience by posting it at f/k/a.
Oakland sojourn -
from the ground
living alone -
the unexpected familiarity of my voice
answering a call
cooking for my parents
I try to remember
what mother taught me
snowy sky -
the arched backs
of milkweed pods
street numbers climb
to the 100s
leaving him -
she takes her pebbles
and pressed flowers
on the porch steps