This page includes posts from
August 14-27, 2005 in the usual reverse
order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these
August 25, 2005
About a dozen years ago, Sting went on a road tour to help sell his then-newest album, Ten Summoner's Tales. My wife and I bought tickets to go see the show in Philadelphia. Our seats were in the middle of the row, in the middle of an upper level section.
At one point during the concert, I took a look up and down our row, and then at the rows of music lovers in front and behind us.
Everyone was wearing jeans--except for me. I stood out in my standard pair of khakis, sartorially speaking.
This long-ago episode is just one more example of the fact that my own sense of what is appropriate casual clothing is in stark contrast to many other folks. I was reminded of this incident when I read Ann Althouse’s semi-screed about whether men should wear shorts.
You can kind of tell how she really feels:
I can certainly understand Professor Althouse’s aversion to men in shorts. Most men can’t carry off the look very well, especially the mail carriers who seem to really upset her.
Here in Rehoboth, we see more than our share of shorts that frankly shouldn’t be worn, both in the male and female variety. In fact, thanks to the hot summer weather and a generally relaxed approach to appearance while on vacation, we frankly have far too many chances to endure abominable fashion statements by men and women, well beyond the simple matter of wearing shorts.
I blame the self-esteem movement.
People who have always been told how great they are and how great they look, despite all evidence to the contrary, will inevitably go through life clueless as to how they really appear to others. Unfortunately, there are thousands of emperors and empresses walking about nowadays, far too proud to notice what they actually look like.
I wear shorts during summer rounds of golf and while out on the boat. But if I’m going out to dinner or a movie or pretty much any other activity, I don’t usually wear them. It’s only been in the last few years that my wife has talked me into wearing jeans on occasions other than house-painting or yard work, and I can’t say I’m always completely comfortable with the choice.
Wearing khakis or linen or similar long-leg wear just happens to be my own fashion preference—not that there’s anything wrong with that. Is there?
August 23, 2005
While driving to work this morning, I was startled to hear my name and the name of this blog announced by the talk show host.
For those who came here after listening to Gaffney's show, welcome. Take a look around.
And to Gaffney, thanks for the unexpected plug!
August 22, 2005
Hunting is an extremely popular sport in southern Delaware, and many folks are keenly aware of the risks involved when hunters fail to follow the rules.
Late last week Delaware Superior Court Judge Joseph Slights III issued a 40-page decision in a personal injury case involving hunters, in which the fact pattern reads like a law school torts examination.
It’s also an infuriating example of how thoughtless some fools can be.
One day Benjamin Walls bought a hunting license from Messick Supply in southern Delaware. The store offered plumbing supplies and general conveniences, and also sold fishing and hunting licenses as an approved outlet for such purposes by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).
Not long thereafter, in January 2003, Walls joined up with several buddies to go on a deer hunt, on a property owned by Elsie Mitchell. Mitchell lived in a nursing home, and a man named George Marvel was the caretaker of the property. He was in Wilmington at the time of the incident. Other members of the group had previously obtained permission to hunt on the parcel.
Two members of the group, including Walls, decided to leave the property and enter a neighbor’s adjoining acreage to continue the hunt. Melvin Joseph, the neighbor, had sometimes been on the 156-acre spread for various reasons, but wasn’t around at the time. Once before Joseph gave permission to a local state trooper to hunt on his property, but he’d never given anyone else approval to try their luck on his land.
While standing on Joseph’s land, Walls took a shot at a deer and missed the animal.
That in itself is not unusual. Hunters miss their targets every day.
Unfortunately, matters didn’t end there:
After the driver and his wife sued them, Mitchell, Messick Supply, and Joseph filed motions to be dismissed from the lawsuit.
The opinion is a good primer on several aspects of personal injury law in Delaware. Judge Slights discusses a wide variety of tort issues relating to the duties that property owners owe to others, as well as the use of collateral estoppel concerning Walls’ eventual criminal conviction for Trespass to Hunt. The opinion also deals with several relevant statutory provisions, including the Public Recreation Act (7 Del.C. Section 5901-5907), the Premises Guest Statute (25 Del.C. Section 2501 et seq.), and a new 2004 law granting immunity to authorized sellers of state fishing and hunting licenses (7 Del.C. Section 511(f)).
In fact, this lawsuit is the reason for the new immunity law’s enactment. The judge noted the parties’ agreement at oral argument that Section 511(f) was adopted with this case in mind. Nonetheless, as explained in footnote 45, it was also obvious that no such immunity was intended to be extended to Messick Supply:
The final decision as to these defendants is practical and fair, all things considered.
The judge held that no reasonable jury could find under these circumstances that Melvin Joseph
Elsie Mitchell was also dismissed from the suit:
On the other hand, Messick Supply is still in the case. It attempted to bar recovery under the Public Duty Doctrine, which shields public employees from tort liability when their discretionary duties to act apply to the public at large, as opposed to a particular person. However, Messick Supply was an independent contractor for the State, and couldn’t use this doctrine for itself. In addition,
I don’t know how deep Messick Supply’s pockets are for this case, but they have to be deeper than the convicted felon who stupidly shot a .30/.30 rifle while trespassing near a major southern Delaware highway. In any event, the net effect of this decision should be to encourage a decent settlement, before a hunting-savvy Sussex County jury panel is asked for its opinion.
August 21, 2005
When Charles Hill stopped by during his 2003 World Tour, I took him into Lewes for dinner at The Lighthouse Restaurant. The Lewes & Rehoboth Canal runs by the place, and the harbor area is home to several dozen fishing boats.
Charles was a bit surprised. His prior impressions about the Delaware beach area didn't include any notion that a fair amount of sportfishing might actually take place here.
While puttering about on the boat today, I took the photographs below. For those who share Charles' unfamiliarity with Delaware's Cape Region, these should help explain that there's a lot more here than sand dunes and ocean spray.
August 20, 2005
This morning I posted my latest golf book review at Hole By Hole.
The Six-Spoke Approach to Golf by Tom Patri takes golfers beyond the basic golf stroke to the game's other fundamentals.
August 17, 2005
I never used to pay much attention to what kind of stapler was used in the office—until, of course, I heard this bit by character actor Stephen Root, in Office Space, one of the all-time movie classics:
Now, that’s the kind of office diatribe that will make you sit up and pay attention.
Today brought some additional news about Swingline staplers:
Last week I took a few hours to read the over two-hundred-page information statement about this transaction, sent to all shareholders of Fortune Brands. My primary interest in owning this stock is based on the company’s golf-related businesses, including Titleist and FootJoy, so in that respect the spinoff transaction was not as compelling as it might have been otherwise.
On the other hand, I may just hold onto my shares of ACCO Brands. The more I think of it, the more I'm convinced that now would be a great time to push for the adoption of Milton Waddams as the new company spokesman.
August 16, 2005
I didn't realize that President Bush and I had such similar tastes in nonfiction:
Perhaps the President has also been reading this blog.
We traveled to Québec for a vacation while I wasn’t blogging, and had a great time.
We flew to Montreal’s Trudeau (Dorval) Airport and rented a car. We were in no hurry to reach our destination, so we left the Interstate-like Auto-Route 40 at Berthierville and took Route 138. This is a far more scenic alternative, with great views of the St. Lawrence River at many spots, and passing through several small towns. Quite of bit of the passage reminded us of driving through the farm country of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Delaware’s Sussex County.
Then we neared the city limits of Québec, where the steep inclines were in sharp contrast to the relatively flat ride from Montreal.
The staff at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, where we stayed, was remarkably helpful and courteous. In no time we became acclimated to their doubled greetings ("Bonjour!-Hello!").
The accommodations were terrific, and the river views from our suite were a constant delight. We also took the guided tour of the hotel, which I recommend especially for those interested in the railroads and their role in developing the North American tourist industry.
Once the valets took our car, it stayed parked until we left several days later. There was no need to drive anywhere, with so much to see by simply walking around.
The highlights of the trip included several museums and other treats.
My wife said that the new permanent exhibition at the Musée de la civilisation, People of Québec... Then and Now, was the most philosophical history exhibit she’d ever seen, and I agreed. It’s a fascinating look at Quebec’s past and current struggles with sovereignty, federalism, and assimilation. The film segments, directed by Benoît Pilon and produced by Canada’s National Film Board, were especially thought-provoking.
If you like sculpture, I highly recommend the special exhibit at Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Camille Claudel and Rodin - Fateful Encounter. It features wonderful examples of the work of these former lovers, with an emphasis on their artistic influences on each other.
We also visited one of the Martello Towers on the Plains of Abraham just west of the city walls, on our way to the museum. It’s a rare, restored example of 19th century military engineering, made obsolete with the invention of rifled cannon.
There weren’t many other Americans in our group when we toured the Parliament Building. Most were visitors from other Canadian provinces, along with a few folks from Europe and South America. Our hostess deflected well some fairly sharp inquiries about Québec politics.
The Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica Cathedral was beautiful, and there was a fairly steady stream of visitors quietly viewing the incredibly ornate interior.
The house enclosing the Ursuline Museum, on the other hand, featured very simple interior decoration. The real artwork was in the vestments and other religious items sewn by the nuns in centuries past, and displayed in several rooms.
We also took a 90-minute cruise on the M/V Louis Jolliet that gave us some great views of the city and the surrounding waterfront.
There were other delights, of course, including the residents’ penchant for filling the flower boxes on their stone and stucco houses.
I also made a valiant effort to sample Canada’s finer brews during our meals, most of which were in the popular outdoor cafes. I very much appreciated the craftsmanship resulting in the Alexander Keith’s IPA, Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly, McAuslan’s Griffon-Rousse, and Hoegaarden White, a good Belgian wheat beer.
I also smoked my first Cuban cigar, an inexpensive Jose L. Piedra Cremas petit corona. It was very mild, and my wife and younger daughter said they actually liked the smell.
The fine weather also brought out the street theater performers, whose audiences were always appreciative.
The buskers' presence would be a welcome addition to our own town's entertainment offerings during the summer season. I'll have to see if I can help make that happen.
This was one of our better vacations, and I'm looking forward to returning soon.
August 8, 2005
Official small print disclaimer: This is, after all, a personal web site. Any opinions or comments I express here are my own, and don't necessarily reflect the official position of my work as a government attorney or any of my clients.
That fact may become obvious later on, but it needs to be said here anyway.
© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2005