Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Harry's Law

I like Harry's Law. I ran into in last summer with reruns.

I've never been a fan of Kathy Bates, yet she's a hoot in this show. It's right up my alley, being set in Cincinnati, my home town. And that's why I watch it, for the intros & outros with commercials, where you see the local shots, otherwise known as filler.

The premise is ridiculous. I know my friend James Vogele, an Cincinnati attorney, would agree. An older female lawyer has a breakdown, leaves her established firm, and opens up an off-the-street office. It's supposed to take place in Over the Rhine, a poor and mostly black, belt-shaped area between Downtown and the University of Cincinnati/Clifton. (If you think of a hill, the University is on the crest, Over the Rhine is where the incline starts, and the city is in the lowlands on the Ohio River. From the riverfront to the University is only a few miles.)

The producers should have done some location shots there, even shot some footage. Instead, the pilot looks like the back lot of the studio (which I'm sure it was). The Rhine doesn't look like the show, and the buildings aren't that clean. It's the 'inner city' and doesn't look pristine.

Someone in Hollywood is either from my fair city, or spent a lot of time there. Over the years I've been very amused by the references to Cincy I've heard in a number of shows. Whether it was a comment about White Castle tiny steamed burgers (now called Sliders) or to the one-day-a-season break we experience because of crazy weather (yea snow days, among other things), they've all been very accurate. And now a show that is set there.

This isn't the first show, of course. We loved WKRP in Cincinnati. Those outside our city may have thought it was funny, but if you were a local the appreciation for jokes was far greater. Only we knew just how spot on those jokes were.

Cincinnati is a funny town with gorgeous architecture and lots of history. I'm glad someone is bringing attention to it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All Magic Has Its Price (or The Importance of Integrity)

There's an old saying "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

In the ABC show Once, Rumpelstiltskin says that "all magic has its price."

Yesterday, Dr. Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.

Personally, I was rather surprised by the decision. I didn't follow the trial, and I saw a few highlights here and there on the news. I knew a defense position held that Michael pushed the fatal dose himself, and I was impressed by the testimonies that patients of Dr. Murray offered on his behalf.

I was disappointed by the crowd's response outside the courthouse. "Involuntary" means it was an accident, like if a pedestrian is hit by a car and dies. The driver did not intend to hurt or kill the victim, but they did. The crowd reminded me of a lynch mob. Nothing is going to bring Jackson back, not even a guilty verdict.

One has to realize that Jackson had his weaknesses and dependencies, and searched for someone that would give him what he wanted. Several turned him down. For $150,000.00 a month, Dr. Murray accepted.

And in one moment, although it played out over a long period, he lost his income, his medical license (and career), and his freedom. How very, very sad. At $150k a month he would have a massive impact on his life. There were personal costs involved, like being up all night (interrupting your natural sleep cycle for a long period is very difficult). And just like that, it's all gone.

"All magic has its price."

Today, the Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno/Tim Curley/Gary Schultz/Graham Spanier/Penn State scandal broke. No details yet, just the accusations and the initial response.


Here's a group of men, who have worked closely together to build a legacy for 50 years, ready for retirement and passing the torch. At the end of his race, there are accusations that there has been sexual abuse against children, that's right child molestation, that was known and ignored.

That, in and of itself, is unbelievable. How do you see a crime, especially a crime against a child, and not report it?

The response of the accused was equally unbelievable. What arrogance to see themselves as untouchable and above the law!

Several heads are definitely going to roll. People will be fired, probably tomorrow.

Was excelling at your interest (college football), worth breaking the law? Ignoring crimes against another? College football at Penn State is very lucrative. Millions of dollars are made per game for the school. Was the magic lure of the money worth the cost of their moral compass?

If there is something you are doing or considering, count the cost before it's too late. Read the fine print. Money is not evil. The love of it is. Money is like air - life is better with it than without it.

In both of these situations you had careers built on an objective. And then came really big money, and compromise. And when the truth comes out (and it always does) individuals are harmed or killed, careers are destroyed, legacies are shattered and reversed, and the money lure evaporates like a vapor, all in an instant. It's very sad.

Count the cost of what you do before you do it. It's the importance of Integrity.

"All magic has its price." "There's no free lunch."