Insider tips


No News is Good News

Now that the election’s over (thank goodness!) I have decided to go on a news diet. I’ll leave it to the pros (public-minded citizens and the press) to keep an eye on things while I take some time off to focus on more life-affirming stuff.


I’ve been studying the work of Naval Ravikant, a Silicon Valley Sage and investor. I listened to Tim Ferris’ great podcast interview with him recently, and it changed how I look at life and success.

In particular, I’m drawn to Naval’s practice of meditation (1 hour per day). As an added bonus, the interview offers a great introduction to the economics of Bitcoin. Take a listen. Also, check out the Almanack of Naval Ravikant for an introduction to his teaching and world view.

Revisiting an Old Friend

Thumbing through some old art books recently, I stumbled across a copy of Gail Levin’s “Edward Hopper: The Art and the Artist.” I forgot how much I admired this art while studying art history. I appreciate the Zenlike depictions of loneliness and silence. “Nighthawks” is probably his most famous painting, which hangs in Chicago’s Art Institute.

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Nighthawks 1942

While “Nighthawks” is most popular, my favorites are “Summer Evening” and “Room in New York.” Both of these paintings touch on the themes of frustration and disconnectedness. “Summer Evening” reminds me of the first verse of Bruce Springsteen’s great song, Thunder Road...“The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves, like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays.” You can almost hear the cricket’s serenade, feel the humidity, and smell the sexual tension in this picture.
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Summer Evening 1947

“Room in New York,” depicts psychological isolation. It reminds me of the paintings of Degas, which portray how people “unrelate” rather than how they relate to each other. Notice how the romantic “artist” wears red (symbolizing passion) while the businessman or lawyer wears black and white (signifying pragmatism). I love the juxtaposition in the composition. The blending of these two polarities is akin to the yin and yang of the Tao.
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Room in New York 1932

Ironically (considering my profession), I am drawn to Hopper’s depictions of disconnected couples. Maybe Freud could figure out why this subject appeals to me!

What I’m Listening To

Last month I inadvertently stumbled across the brilliant work of jazz artist Essbjorn Svenson  and his trio (E.S.T.). These days, I often listen to the trio while I write––it loosens the ink in my pen. Watch this beautiful live performance of their song From Gagarin’s Point of View. Eerie and beautiful. My discovery of this band was total serendipity, and I’m charmed by their music.

I’ve also been listening to the late great Townes Van Zandt, who has always inspired me. Steve Earle said about him, “Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that!”  Irritated by this comment, Townes (who avoided fame and celebrity at all costs) responded, "I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards, and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Bob was actually a huge fan of Townes, who died in 1997. I’m listening to his song “Dead Flowers,” while I write this. Check him out.

Quote I’m Thinking About

“When power corrupts, poetry cleanses, for art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstones of our judgement. The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure.” — John F. Kennedy

So Long

As trial lawyers, our exposure to healthy diversions helps keep our balance and perspective. Take advantage of all the beauty you can, particularly during this stressful time of year. 

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving Holiday, 2021 is right around the corner. I predict it will be a great year! 

Stay in touch.