Showing posts from October, 2010

The Day Jerry Left

Jerry and I had a wonderful relationship for twelve years: full of love and adventure and a constant enjoyment in each other’s company (see “Recidivist: A Criminal Who Does It Again,” September 10, 2010). Our personalities melded well together, complementing our talents, and we had a terrific romance. But in 1997, after a series of various difficulties having nothing to do with the two of us, it became clear that Jerry needed to start a completely new life for himself in another city. As a tenured full professor at The Ohio State University College of Law, I was rooted to Columbus like a tree that had been growing there for over twenty years—going with him was not an option. His problems did not stem from a souring of our relationship in any way, and I supported him in all that was happening until the very end. We had almost a full year’s warning that his best course would be to leave Ohio, and so we approached the last day with heavy hearts, but also as much enjoyment we could manage…

Mortgage Foreclosure: The Disaster of Unintended Consequences

This blog post’s discussion of the law has been updated in a subsequent post on this blog.See “Mortgage Foreclosures, Missing Promissory Notes, and the Uniform Commercial Code: A New Article,” February 11, 2013, at


Nobody knew what the rules were, and nobody cared. So the traditional mortgage transaction (home buyer signs promissory note at closing in favor of the bank which takes a mortgage on the property, and then the buyer either pays off the debt or that same bank forecloses) became a tangled network of new players, who invented things as they went along. The note and the mortgage were bundled together with hundreds of others, sold to an investment bank which put them into a trust, which in turn sold bonds to investors, promising them a nice return. Moreover, this proved so lucrative that banks started granting loans to buyers who weren’t able to afford them, for properties that appraisers …

Football Advice for Coach Jim Tressel

I’ve always been an avid sports fan, though not much of an athlete (see “Put-Out at Home Plate,” February 14, 2010, for a sad example of me as a player). If you are employed by The Ohio State University, it’s required by contract that you root for the OSU Buckeyes in all sports endeavours. I myself needed no such urging. If I care who wins any particular game, I can cheer lustily for my team even if I don’t actually understand the rules (as happens, say, in the Olympics when the United States has an entry in some mysterious sport like “cross-country curling”).

When I was teaching a basic Contracts course in February of 2008, one of my students was the recruitment secretary for the OSU football coach, James Tressel. He’s a remarkable coach, already a legend at the school and nationwide due to his splendid record of achievement. One day, in a fit of hubris of which I’m not proud, I asked this student if she would check and see if Coach Tressel had any interest in unsolicited advice abou…

Some Cartoons I've Saved

Since I was in law school I’ve been saving cartoons into an album.There are a hundred or so of these, but I thought you might enjoy some of my favorites, which I've reprinted below.  If you left click on any one of them you can see an enlarged version. I’ve added commentary to a few of them.

The Perfect Crime:

This next one has always seemed haunting to me.

And what does this next one mean?

I have quite a history with the next one.  I was in Montreal and saw this Italian cartoon in an exhibit.  I was quite taken with it, so I wrote the artist and asked if it had been printed in a magazine or somewhere so I could have a copy.  He sent me back a letter in Italian along with an original of the cartoon.  The letter, once translated, advised me that the cartoon was mine for $100.00.  This was in 1971 when that was a great deal of money.  So I sent it back to him, with regrets, and added that I still thought it was a brilliant cartoon (just the sort of idiocy municipalities are capable o…

When Atheists Die

When people I’m talking with mention life in the “hereafter,” I usually nod my head and, as soon as is polite, switch the conversation to some safer topic.But on the rare occasion (usually occurring after a drink or two back in the days when I was drinking), I’d quiz them about what they really expected in the afterlife.This always ended badly.What I’ve done for a living for over 40 years is to conduct Socratic dialogues with law students (see the post of January 31, 2010), where cross examination in detail revealed the level of clarity of thought.I say “badly” because, of course, no one knows what to expect in life after death, so the result was always an embarrassing muddle of non-thought, and I ended up very sorry I subjected anyone to the stupidity of interrogation about their deepest desires.
To see what I mean, and assuming you yourself are a believer in God, pretend I’m quizzing you about life after death. Suppose I happen to know your favorite hobby (running marathons, playing…

Savoynet Photo Contest

Blog Readers:

This is a special post for members of Savoynet, the International Gilbert and Sullivan list-serve.  A month ago I posted a contest there for members to submit photos which would best illustrate one particular moment from any one of the fourteen G&S operas.  This post reveals the ten photo that were submitted.  Savoynetters may vote by sending me an email at, chosing their top three favorites.  Readers of the blog who are not interested Gilbert and Sullivan may allow their attention to wander, but any who want more information about Savoynet should read "A Fanatic's Tale (This Isn't Pretty)," my post of April 11, 2010.

The Savoynet Contest Photos:

The Very Young Douglas Whaley

I was born on September 25, 1943 (right in the middle of World War II), which means I’d been Christmas conceived. In truth, my parents had a story about the Christmas Eve of 1942. Robert and LeNore Whaley were at some friend’s house, and a cute little three year old girl was running around, charming everyone. On their way home (after, perhaps, an alcoholic drink or two) one of my parents said to the other, “Their daughter was so cute—how about we have a baby?” The other must have thought it was a good idea because nine months later to the day, Douglas John Whaley was born.

The place was Huntingburg, Indiana (in the southern part of the state). My parents were both from Jasper, Indiana, some four miles away, but Huntingburg had Stork Hospital where they elected to have me (Dad’s parents lived there). It was named after its founder, a Doctor Stork (I’m not making this up), and he delivered me. Yes, that’s right! I was brought into this world by a Stork.

Actually, Robert Whaley (on lea…

Explosion at Ohio Stadium

In prior posts I’ve offered snippets of my novel-in-progress “Corbin Milk” (see “The Thunderbolt,” September 3, 1010, and “How to Change Gay People Into Straight People,” September 10, 2010), and it occurred to me it might interest you see the first chapter of my published novel, “Imaginary Friend” (for a discussion of its larger plot, go to the post of that title on June 22, 2010). In the published version of “Imaginary Friend,” Chapter One, reprinted in its entirety below, has the more prosaic title of “Popcorn,” but to spice things up for readers of this blog I gave it the more startling name above, and illustrated it with photos not, alas, in the original.

                                                                   CHAPTER 1


Fourteen minutes before the explosion, Franklin Whitestone was contemplating a sin: eating a box of popcorn. Even a small box would push him close to the number of carbohydrates…