Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wordle...You've got to try it.

Every once in a while, something that Abraham posts opens up a whole new world:

WI Examination

I like Wisconsin about as much as I like Ohio. I like Wisconsin better.

Well, let me get the apologies out of the way before I begin. Sorry, Bob and Debbie, and anyone else from Ohio. Sorry, Pete and Jen, and anyone else from Wisconsin.

OK. Take two.

I like Wisconsin about as much as I like Ohio. I like Wisconsin better.
Both have beautiful scenery. I've seen some while in Wisconsin; I've heard there is some in Ohio.

I've run some incredibly beautiful trails in Wisconsin. I tried to run along the Erie Canal in central Ohio; the smell and mosquitoes encouraged me to keep to the less smelly and less mosquito-ey pavement.

So, when I heard about the chance to spend a little bit of time, and money, in Wisconsin, I jumped at it. The essay portion of the WI Bar exam is this Tuesday. I was able to waive out of the more onerous multiple choice second-day of the exam after submitting an epic poem to the WI Supreme Court about why I should only have to spend one day in Madison versus two. They approved the essay; probably because it was longer than the stimulus bill. Homer and Longfellow would be proud.

It could have been longer but at 40,000 words, I broke off three keys on my keyboard; n, d, and p.
I was forced to stop; some words were indispensable: " ismal," backwar ," and " epressi g."

When I return to Minnesota, I will revel in a safe return. Then, who knows. Maybe I'll fix the keyboard and start on an essay for Ohio.

Friday, February 20, 2009


It's late. Maybe that's why. It could be the soccer buzz. I did go out with a few soccer buddies it could be a soccer buzz minus the soccer.

Anyway, it's late. 1:22am late. No new emails. So, I googled my name.

1. Facebook. Seems reasonable. I'm not a Facebook-aholic, but I try to keep up.
2. Cornell LII Law Directory. Hmm. Someone other than my landlord knows I'm in business.
3. Stackoverflow. Evidently, at some point in my sober life, I created a web site entitled I clicked on it. It's a waste of 3 seconds.
4. Justia Lawyer Directory. Another lawyer directory for which I paid nothing! Life is sweet!
5. reddit buttons. Huh? It looks something a Korean teenager made.
6. I Love Joel Button. Cafe Press. An easy click took me to buttons that have a serious message: "I love (Heart) Joel." At $4.73 a piece, how could I go wrong? I bought 8.
7. I registered. I never knew that
Ben Judd's avatarNakai is deadly serious about the fans!
8. (After 8 click on the backward arrow...) Classmates. Really? Who has actually paid Classmates any money in order to "make connections" with highschool friends or sweethearts?
9. OK. I registered here a long time ago. I thought it was a trail running site. It's a place to pay for downloadable maps of national, state, county and local park trails. Duh, that's what the government is for.
10. I never knew how many buttons with my name there are. I bought 8 more.
18. I just found out that I'm an executive!
17. Oh no. I'm unemployable.

I just googled Joel Button Stillwater. This is better:
1. Stillwater Gazette article about our Ethiopian kids
2. Stillwater Gazetter interview when I ran for school board
then it goes downhill from there.

I googled Joel Button MN. My home phone comes up as #1. That's not so bad until you have clients calling every hour, leaving no message, and they come up on caller ID as "BLOCKED CALLER." Yeah, I've had some good clients!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Running & Soccer - Oil & Water

I ran to our soccer game last night. The goal was to run there, play two hours of soccer, and run home. 13.4 miles + 45 miles of sprinting on fake grass.

The run in to town was glorious. Most night runs are glorious. I've also been working on running all the hills. "Trailrunner" magazine had a recent article about improving one's hill running, and I've been trying the advice. So, by keeping the heart rate down, small, fast strides, and running on the toes, I was able to run the hills.

During the second half of the first game, trouble reared its ugly head in the form of intense cramps in both calves. "OK. No problem. Just take a few salt tablets. Get the electrolytes back up." But, after each sprint to get to the ball, the cramps were bad enough to stop me in my tracks. I yelled, "Sub!" a lot.

The second game was not much better. In fact, is was not better. Ten minutes before the end, I sprained the always-getting-sprained left ankle (the one that took a beating at Leadville).

Needless to say, I'm very thankful to have gotten a ride home.

Soccer: cramps, sprains, hamstring injury, broken toenails, rug burns from the fake grass...
Running: starlit nights, peace like a river, second wind, third wind, runner's high...

In order to have a good 2009 racing season, I fear that I will soon have to make a choice between soccer & running.

Adoption Needed

Good friends of ours are in great trouble. They felt called to adopt. They have 5 biological children. Some more would be great. They traveled to South America and returned with a sibling group of 4.

Imagine all the horror stories that you've heard about adopting children from Eastern Europe, attachment disorder, sibling rivalry, and it might be possible to understand what this family has been through for the past two years.

They have tried everything to keep these children. It is not working in their family. Please consider telling anyone who might consider adopting the two older girls. Please read the description below.

A family made up of a dad, mom and 5 biological children, adopted a sibling group of 4 children from a country in South America in June 2007. The adopted children are now 13—girl, 9—girl, 6—boy and 3—boy. The children came to the family with no English. The 13 yr. old had been in the orphanage since she was 8 yrs. old. The 9 yr. old girl had been in the orphanage since she was 4. The 6 yr. old boy was in the orphanage since he was 1 ½ yrs. old., and the 3 yr. old boy was brought to the orphanage one day after his birth.

Individual Summary
J. is a 13 yr. old girl. She is healthy, athletic and very motivated to learn in school. She was homeschooled the first year with the family and attended public school her second year. She is a star soccer player and is a natural athlete. She is a hard worker when given chores and tasks to do; these would include cleaning a bathroom or helping folding clothes.

She struggles with deeper, more personal relationships. Her English has improved tremendously but she struggles to communicate her feelings in English or Spanish. When she gets really frustrated she wants to isolate herself in her room.

E. is a 9 year old girl. She is healthy, active and more interested in dolls and crafts than sports but enjoys kicking a soccer ball too. Her English is progressing very well, and she enjoys doing her school homework. She was homeschooled her first year and attended public school (4th grade) her second year.

She was seen by a counselor and was diagnosed with reactive-attachment disorder. She is “huggy” and “smiley”, but has a history of stealing and lying. Her behaviors have caused a great deal of stress in the family. As the family increased vigilance and restrictions in her freedom, the stealing subsided.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Can't argue with Scripture," said the snake handler.

Tonight, Marty has again been asking me personal questions in order to complete an application. "These questions sound rather familiar. Haven't I already answered them?"
"Yes, you have."
"Why am I answering them again?"
"Because, I used your last answers as mine cause they were good."
"Well, why not just paste those answers into my spaces now and answer your own damn questions?"
"Cause it's easier if you answer them both."

I ended the answer to one of "my" questions with a pat answer; basically a quote from a Scripture verse. It really wasn't too pat of an answer and fit quite well. However, after it came out of my mouth, I couldn't help but follow it with the words of the title of this blog.

Sometimes I think it is best to readily admit the ways in which one's faith is misused.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lincoln, Law and My Two Cents

When I opened the law practice, one of my favorite volumes found its way into the office: Carl Sandburg's "Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years." Several weeks later, I found myself compelled to read them again. This time, looking for any references to Lincoln the Lawyer.

I was following young Lincoln through Kentucky, into Illinois and through the Black Hawk War when a trip to the library derailed me. A search of Lincoln on the computerized index revealed that there are a lot of books about Lincoln. I mean a lot.

"Honor's Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln," seemed to hold the most promise for a peek at his lawyering days. 251 pages into it, not much yet about his skills in the law. Nonetheless, this is a great book. It's not really a biography. It's more of a history of the biographies of Lincoln.

The author, Douglas Wilson, explains how different stories that we all love about Lincoln came to be part of history. For example, we all learned that Lincoln industriously split rails when young. It turns out he did swing a good ax. However, he spent most of his days reading instead of working to the point that most people in Sangamon County considered Abe lazy. Also, Abe fell in love with Ann Rutledge. Ann was engaged to a wealthy fellow who had to return back east for a short time. While gone, Abe and Ann got engaged. Ann couldn't bring herself to tell boy #1, who in the meantime had written Ann to inform her that on the way back to Illinois, he had stopped off in Cleveland to purchase new furniture for their newlywed home. Before she had to face the music, Ann died. Lincoln never quite recovered.

The ABA (American Bar Association) is putting out a lot of Lincoln stuff this month. Law Day is this month AND it's the 200th Anniversary of Lincoln's birthday. Every President, noble cause, non-profit organization, and rail splitter has at some point claimed Abraham Lincoln as their own. I guess it's time that attorneys get their fair share. Let me just say that I read Sandburg a long time ago, before Lincoln was so popular. And I started "Honor's Voice" long before I even knew there was a Law Day.

I've already found plenty about Lincoln to emulate. I'll keep searching for the lawyerly stuff. However, there are unsavory aspects of Lincoln's life - the kind that probable wouldn't even make it into the revisionist history books in most public schools. I can't mention several of them because this blog is PG-13.

My conclusion: God uses whomever he wants to accomplish his purposes and bring himself glory; including a wicked Pharoah to rescue a nation (Exodus 14:4, 17), an orphaned slave-girl to rescue a nation (Esther 4:14), and a sixteenth President concerned that he had syphilis to rescue a nation.

Monday, February 9, 2009

From Korea with Love

Check out the new blog with a real mission: LeahtoKorea.
The author was a teacher at Cono while we were there. Leah was also at Cono while we were there and is presently there.

Hello William, O'Brien that is.

This morning, I got in my first early morning trail run. While not very fun, it was glorious. While eating my bowl of Life cereal at 5:15am it dawned on me (no pun intended) that the sun might not come up before I was done. I checked my Garmin: sunrise at 7:21am. The waiting sunglasses would stay home.

Working through my running list felt foreign. It's been about 4 months since using it. I'll try to post it.

The run began at 5:50am at the visitor center at William O'Brien. The rain was freezing as it hit the trail. 34 degrees is a strange temperature. -10 to 10 is easier to deal with: wear plenty and try to stay warm. 10 to 30 is manageable: long sleeve wool, hat, and remove the running pants when warm. But 32 to 35 creates problems, especially if it's raining/sleeting and windy. Wool gets wet, then begins to shed its excess, leaving a moisture insulation approximately the temperature of the body. But the wind cuts through wool, causing the moisture in the wool to cool rather than remain at body temperature. So, on goes the wind-proof, unbreathable jacket. This causes the excess moisture in the wool to NOT shed. Now, wet from the rain and wet from the sweat.

And...because the jacket doesn't breath well, the body gets overheated. So, off with the jacket, and guess what happens to all that moisture on the inside. Yes, it gets cold. Back and forth; hot, then cold.

Nevertheless, a very nice morning trail run. Finished around 7:20am. Plenty of time to get home and to the office.