“You Can’t Make This Stuff Up”

Fiction versus reality. I have written occasionally, and contemplated more often, the profound wisdom behind the old saying that truth is stranger than fiction. The laws governing the real world are, in fundamental ways, different than the laws governing the world of fiction. Coincidence is a fact of life--right out there ...

Was Yogi a Yogi?

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We in St. Louis joined Baseball Nation in mourning the recent death of baseball legend Yogi Berra, a beloved son of our town who grew up on the Italian Hill. As might be expected, the obituaries celebrated not only his remarkable baseball career but his equally remarkable quotations--sayings that might ...

A Fun Conversation with Author Jonathan Watkins

We authors are accustomed to being the interviewees, i.e., the ones giving the answers to the questions. Thus it was a pleasure to settle down with fellow attorney-author Jonathan Watkins and finally get to ask some of the questions I've often wished an interviewer would ask me. And it was even ...

More Monkey Business: Copyright and the World’s Most Famous Monkey Selfie

In my other life as an intellectual property lawyer, I receive almost weekly proof that copyright law is the gift that goes on giving. This time it's in the form of the world's most famous monkey selfie, which first surfaced, in this blog and others, last year when an earlier copyright ...

The Donald, the Orangutan and Me: A Little Monkey Business

As a lawyer by day and an author at night, I've had times when the realm of fiction intersects with the realm of reality. One example, gleaned from my years representing newspapers and publishers, is the law of libel, where the jury must decide whether the allegedly defamatory statement is ...

The Big Lebowski Meets The Big Sleep

The other night I settled down to watch "The Big Lebowski," a terrific Coen brothers film that features three of my favorite actors (Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi) playing three of my favorite characters (the Dude, Walter Sobchek, and Donny Kerabatsos). The Dude, Donny, and Walter I'd last watched ...

Trollope versus Hawthorne: Where’s the “Beef”?

Anthony TrollopeThere are many reasons to admire the 19th-century British novelist Anthony Trollope, beginning with his sparkling prose and vivid characters. And for those of us who write novels but haven't been able to quit our day job, here's another reason: during much of his writing career, the remarkably ...