Archive for December, 2008

Clawbies and a Happy New Year…

A most entertaining New Year’s Eve on Twitter… far better, for me, than going out to Tralfagar Square. It is cold….  and  I’d just end up talking in French to tourists…. Twitter was amusing this evening.  Happy New Year to all

I also won a Clawbie.  Canadian Law Bloggers Award – and I’m delighted because their awards are about blogs!  I usually award things to myself.  I don’t know if a sword is involved at the investiture?

“6) EuroCan Connection Awards – This award was envisioned to recognize some of our European law blog friends who frequently highlight and link to Canadian law blogs. In 2008, Charon QC reached out to many Canadian law bloggers, myself included. The work he did late in the year creating a Canadian Law Blog Pageflake just sealed the deal. Runner Up: Our 2007 winner Nick Holmes became an occasional contributor to Slaw in 2008, and earns a finalist nod this year for doing so.”

Clawbie’s Awards 2008

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At a loss as to how best I could amuse myself this eve of the New Year, I thought it may be interesting to re-take France for our Nation and report events as they unfolded on TWITTER.

The Scene. A fleet of ships of war and ships of the line, lying at Portsmouth, provisioned and victualled.  The young Captain Hornblower realises that he is the commander of the ship bearing the flag of Admiral Charon, a Vice-Admiral of the Red… naturally.  Admiral Charon is on board and despite the construction of the ship being 1802, it has wi-fi and a superfast broadband connection.  Charon has a large cigar and a glass of red to hand.  He is announcing his unsolicited and wholly unauthorised personal invasion of La France. The report includes combatants on both sides who were responding to Charon’s reports on Twitter. Occasionally, Charon would send a tweet to a friendly follower.

The story starts here…. the raportage is a transcript of events as they unfolded and reported by Charon on Twitter tonight….


Shortly before 19.00 GMT: OK… helmets on…. I have a large cigar. I am prepared. I’m a one star general now… by 12.00 I’ll make five stars. That is all.

18.55 GMT: @Infobunny Brigadier Charon here… are you ready…. bayonets… they don’t like steel up ’em.

The story unfolded as follows… it was, you understand, the heat of battle and reports are transcribed events as reported on Twitter tonight….

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc You’ve demoted yourself?

Charon: Brigadier General…. just to start proceedings…. I’ll be Lt Gen soon…. count on it.

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc Maybe you should be a rear admiral?

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc do I get a formal position? Or should I listen to Al Murray and assume I’m just a nurse or secretary as I’m female?

Charon: @Neil_MacKinnon Navy you say?…. Good plan…. a bit of rum… sodomy and the lash… just what we all need as Churchill once said.

Charon: @stupidgirl_no1 You can give yourself any rank you like… but not Admiral…. yet…. work up to Admiral like I did.

Charon At the suggestion of @Neil_MacKinnon I have changed my hat and rank … a bit of rum etc etc…. Admiral of The Red… naturally.

Charon: As my famous predecessor Admiral Lord Nelson said ” Desperate affairs require desperate measures. ” We are ready to do our duty

Neil_MacKinnon Yaaar. Beat to Arms!!!

Charon: Splice the mainbrace……. 4 minutes and counting… and we sail for FRANCE again… England expects that every man will do his duty.

Geeklawyer bloody hell. This pheasant has shotgun pellets in it dammit.

Charon: @Geeklawyer Pheasant… pellets? Not good enough, man. A bird like that needs the cannon of a ship of war. Run out the guns, Mr Hornblower


Captain’s log
19.00 hrs GMT, 2008

Charonqc: We sail…. make for Calais Bos’n…. set the mainsail and bring me a tot of rum, if you please. We’re off… !!!

Charon: I have only one eye, I have a right to be blind sometimes.. I really do not see the signal! Keep an eye on that bottle, Captain Hornblower.

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc Can I be Mr Christian?

Charonqc @Neil_MacKinnon Goddamit man…. I’m not Bligh…. You shall have to be my old mate Admiral Villeneuve

Charonqc I see a Frenchie to port…. a cross channel ferry. Sink it, if you please Master at Arms

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc Do you have a lovely eye patch like a pirate?! Very rakish!

Charonqc I see a Frenchie to port…. a cross channel ferry. Sink it, if you please Master at Arms.

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc should we not board before sinking and steal all their cheap booze? French plonk is rather drinkable

Charonqc: It is warm work; and this day may be the last to any of us at a moment. But mark you! I would not be elsewhere this night than on Twitter.

Charonqc: Let me alone: I have yet my legs and one arm. Tell the surgeon to make haste. I must lose my right arm, so the sooner it’s off the better.

Neil_MacKinnon: Kiss me Hardy

Charonqc @Neil_MacKinnon It is a bit early for the kiss me quick hats, Villeneuve…. I see another Frenchie…. Clear the decks!!! Bring me my bow of burning gold.

Charonqc: I see Prize aboard that ship… Wine, onions, Hermes scarves and Carla Bruni videos. We shall board and take her for our Queen.

Neil_MacKinnon Changing for tonight involved taking off a shirt and putting on a bright pink polo shirt – et voila!

Charonqc @Neil_MacKinnon Trust a Frenchie to choose a pink polo shirt… but as we say in London… chacun a son gout

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc bagsy a scarf!! And if there are some pretty shoes to match

Charonqc Our enemies are resourceful. They lose no time in thinking of ways to harm our nation… and neither shall I….. Thank you, Mr Hornblower… This is good news. Signal the fleet. *There are no U-boats out tonight*.

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc I hear gun fire…oh no, its fireworks

Charonqc @stupidgirl_no1 You hear gunfire? Trouble not.. I have ordered a broadside on that ridiculous nouveau riche yacht on the starboard quarter.

Charonqc Viking, North Utsire, Humber, German Bight, Lundy and Fastnet….north veering north-east, three or less…… low Finistere

Charonqc Captain’s Log 31st December. WE sail to France to re-take it for ourselves. maybe then I’ll get a knighthood?

Neil_MacKinnon Liberté, égalité, fraternité!

erikmagraken @Charonqc How many stars does the general have now?

Charonqc @erikmagraken I am now a Vice Admiral. Do you like my hat? I am on a ship of war making for Calais. I do not have my passport.

Neil_MacKinnon Dogger bank? tee hee

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc Vous avez le cervau d’un sandwich au fromage, rosbif!

Charonqc @Neil_MacKinnon Villeneuve….  le fromage et les singes … est que ce que vous dites?

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc Les Singes?! ha ha. Oui, quoi d’autre?

Neil_MacKinnon La Nation, la Loi, le Roi!

Charonqc It seems the French want to *parler*… avec moi! C’est bon…Mr Hornblower… present my compliments to Admiral Sarkozy and tell the Frenchies… tell  ’em their Eiffel Tower fireworks must not be better than ours in London.


Charonqc I am pleased to report that the Frenchies have struck their colours and are taking me to dinner in Paris. And that is how we re-took France for our Nation.


I leave you now… to continue my raportage of New Year’s Eve, in another guise, with my favourite quote from Admiral Lord Nelson…

“I could not tread these perilous paths in safety, if I did not keep a saving sense of humor.”

[It may be, of course, that this holiday period has been rather a long one and the vino is doing the business.]

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And… Madness… takes control….

I enjoy Twitter. I appear to have done over 10600 *Tweets* and when I went on to Tweetwaster.com I discovered to my pleasure that the report on me was as follows: “316,980 Seconds or 5,283 Minutes or 88.05 Hours or 3.67 Days using Twitter! Tweetwasters rank: #663 http://tweetwasters.com

Twitter is now going the way of all things net... awards, ranking, influence, authority, popularity – the extent that some people are obsessed. Try Twitority?

In celebration of this new mania for the 21st century…. I don’t worry about these things, but I’ve decided that I need to engage more on Twitter… so I am going to have a NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (an enjoyable one… no nervous shock implications for Tort litigators to worry about)  on Twitter on New Year’s Eve… or maybe 1st Jan…  worrying about authority, influence, ranking and the new GOOG ranking system where we are all doomed to be a number in Google’s database and be RANKED!….   OK…. maybe I won’t…. maybe I have already started.

Anyway… this will give you an idea of what lies ahead… “Making Social Networks profitable.” Hat Tip to @BrettTrout on Twitter… where else?

Madness lies ahead…. and you have to ask…”For whom the bells toll…..” ?

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Blawg Review #192: A snapshot of 51 Blawg Reviews during 2008 is now up…

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Postcard from Bloomsbury, London

Well… an amusing Christmas. Santa has left British airspace for yet another year and as we career towards the start of the new year and the ascension of Obamassiah* to the presidency of the United States, the newspapers turn their cheery attention to who kicked the bucket this year and talk of the worst recession since WWII Britain in 1946.  I have a plan.  The plan is to fight the good fight…

I’m taking time away from The Boat and I’m in Bloomsbury at the moment. I pen this letter, in fact, near the very heart of legal London.  Twitter continues both to inform and amuse and a number of regulars who I follow were remarkably active over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The metaphor of the airmail is entirely appropriate.  I appear to have spent much of Christmas Day and Boxing flying, fuelled by a mix of enjoyable wines and a bit of Captain Morgan rum.  It did the business. I was able to produce a few podcasts, including one with Geeklawyer, made a couple of movies (including a short interview with H M The Queen) and went for several walks through a very quiet London; including one to Trafalgar Square where I was able to talk French to two Australian tourists.

My section on New Year resolutions is short: I don’t have any.

I returned from an enjoyable evening in Covent Garden this evening, logged on to Twitter and discovered that I was being *followed* by purveyors of products designed to stiffen one’s resolve and…  rather more interesting – a boat builder.  They may have picked up on a reference in a Tweet that I live on a boat.  I poured myself a glass of wine and had the truly appalling thought… *How am I going to Tweet when I’m dead*.  I did, naturally, have to share this with my followers.

Twitter continued…
@kevinokeefe returned to the fray this evening with an array of useful links and thoughts…. regrettably, I may have committed a Twitter solecism by responding intemperately to one of his posts… This was what is called in the business.. a ReTweet… RT… where one merely copies someone else’s post and re-publishes it to one’s own followers… the theory being a variant of *Six degrees of separation* … and eventually everyone on Twitter will know about the post….  if they actually have time to read it while they are frenetically posting their own tweets.

The post I responded to read:

Kevin OKeefe
kevinokeefe RT @wpollak: I doubt bloggers make 6 figs just from blogging–perhaps as promo for other activities (book sales, consulting, speaking fees).

My response: @kevinokeefe Are you saying, Re followers, that *I am followed, therefore I am?* Surely not? If so, how do spammers know I need Viagra?

Yet again…  I feel that I am, somehow, missing the point of Twitter.. as I keep deleting spammers and people I don’t want following me.

Bishops attack ‘immoral’ Labour…

There is something strangely pleasing to find archbishops, bishops and other assorted clerics popping up on television and the BBC website at this time of year to give us their thoughts on the economy, the state of the nation and other matters temporal. Tonight, I read an article on the BBC website ‘Bishops attack ‘immoral’ Labour.  (I have taken the picture to the right from the BBC report.)

I quote from the BBC report: “The Rt Rev Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, told the Sunday Telegraph ministers Labour had not done enough to help the poor…. Labour made a lot of promises, but a lot of them have vanished into thin air,” he said..

“We have not seen a raising of aspirations in the last 13 years, but instead there is a sense of hopelessness. While the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer”

Another man who wears a Christmas party hat all the year round, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, accused Labour “of being “beguiled by money” and “morally corrupt”.

The rather irreverent thought occurred to me… that some may take the view that The Church, founded upon a possibly/probably/almost certainly non existent entity, bears a remarkable similarity to a Ponzi scheme run by Madoff…   and while the lifestyle of clerics at the top isn’t on the scale enjoyed by bankers… it isn’t exactly life in a two up two down in a poor residential area.  Even if Lambeth Palace does decline in value, along with other housing, by 25%… it is unlikely that Lambeth Palace will be repossessed…

Well.. it has been a good day… but now it is time to hit the futon and wake, reborn, to face the run up to New Year.

Best regards, as always.


Obamassiah* : I learned of this word when Colin Samuels of the Infamy or Praise blog guested on an episode of West London Man, taking the part of a US Attorney. Episode 24 of West London Man is being written this week.  George has a good run up to New Year.

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Fantastic… lawyer advertising in The States

I am grateful to fellow  US bloggers @Gideonstrumpet (A Public Defender blog) and Brian Tannebaum / @MIAMICRIMLAW (Criminal Defense blog) for providing links to three truly astonishing tv adverts for lawyers and one *magical* lawyer website run by a Mr Speer who pulls things out of hats.  It really is worth your time looking at ALL THREE.

1.  Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley film

2. Hal Cook – Attorney at Law

3. Mr Speer…. The Magic Lawyer

The benefits of being on Twitter are many!…

AND… if you want to see some remarkable behaviour and interchanges between lawyers in Texas (And I really recommend this short film) then click here. (Hat Tip to Gideon!)


I did podcasts with Gideon and Brian Tannebaum recently on aspects of criminal defense in Connecticut and Miami.

Podcast with Gideon of a Public Defender blog | Podcast with Brian Tannebaum

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