Thursday, January 04, 2007


Last night we had our quarterly review with the head of SF WILLIE’S BLOG’s legal department. Actually my old friend, Bill, IS our legal department. He assures me, however, that he has access to an “A-Team” of negotiators and litigators ready to pounce at any hint of trouble.

Bill isn’t licensed to practice law in California (or anywhere else for that matter) so he’s asked that I not use his last name. This conspicuous prudence is wasted on me.

“Don’t worry,” I tell him, “with a retainer from SF WILLIE’S BLOG that consists of four meals a year in a moderately priced (but clean) Chinese restaurant, no one’s going to accuse you of ‘practicing law’.”

Because he’s big, with a big voice, and a hearty laugh, which contrasts with his staunch anti-heroic lifestyle, you could call him Falstaffian. (I can’t call him Falstaffian because I’ve never read or seen a play in which Falstaff was a character. Shakespeare could certainly turn a phrase, but, let’s face it, his plays are boring. The plots are so swaddled, so buried, in verbiage, that after a couple of acts it’s like, ok, run on your sword already, or like, take the poison now!)

What qualifies a person to be the legal department for SF WILLIE’S BLOG? A rare combination of erudition and dissolution. Bill is perhaps the most erudite and dissolute person I know.

Growing up non-Mormon in Utah, Bill got his B.A. at Amherst College. Then he studied law at the University of Chicago, where he was articles editor of their law review, earning a J.D.

From there he went to Wall Street where he worked for a big firm specializing in anti-trust law (“actually pro-trust” he quips). Bill was saying last night that while on Wall Street he discovered an inability to dissimulate. He couldn’t keep a straight face while grossly misleading people.

So he went to the University of Virginia law school to be a full professor. This worked well for a while, then it gradually became clear that he preferred the company of beautiful male students to that, say, of his fellow faculty. In those primitive days, mid-1960s, this would have been a tenure issue.

So he chucked it all and drove cross county to San Francisco, where he devoted himself to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Actually, it was sex, a few drugs, and classical music.

For the following twenty-five years he worked out of his home editing law books, classifying and synopsizing new cases. This gave him a very broad view of developments in many areas of the law.

Bill is retired and lives in a Buddhist Dharma Center, located on the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park, about as close as you can get to the site of hippiedom’s big bang. I kid him unmercifully about the religious thing. The term “rice-bowl Buddhist” comes up.

Gee, when you put together Bill’s resume with Pud’s, then you look at our fact-checkers and the rest of our crack staff, a theme starts to emerge, “abject.”

It’s a good thing we’re so darn insouciant.

[They video below is dedicated to Bill and all the wonderful people who make SF WILLIE’S BLOG possible.]

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