After taking virtually all of December off I thought I’d put in at least an appearance to show I’m still around. This past month has been consumed by work, primarily two divorce cases I’ve taken on a contingency basis (which in these cases pretty well means pro bono) – one getting close to the end, and the other most unfortunately just beginning. Both are incredibly vicious, cut-throat battles where the men, both marked as multimillionaires, are arguing they’re effectively bankrupt and challenging their ex-spouses to prove otherwise: a difficult and costly challenge in their particular cases. The first is getting quite famous, at least in local legal circles. It’s been going on since 1999, when the Respondent claimed he couldn’t afford the less than $1,000/month in child support for his three young children anymore and simply stopped paying. Going into its ninth year (thankfully I only became involved in 2003) the case is still before the court, with combined legal expenses of both parties which (if I extrapolate the other side's litigation costs on the basis of our own billable hours and disbursements) must be getting close to a million dollars. The Defendant is on his third set of lawyers and the case itself is now being tried by our second judge. All over a few tens of thousand dollars in missed child support because of the Respondent’s claim of insolvency! Frankly everyone associated with this case is desperately searching for someway out of this mess. Such is the absurdity of our court system and human irrationality.
Enough of my whining. I have a lot of articles either in various stages of completion or planned for the coming year, and here I’m referring to my opinion pieces rather than the various and sundry posts I also write marking my efforts to establish myself as a ‘serious’ competitive swimmer. It’s a fairly easy process to dash off some commentary concerning a particular workout, or write about the myriads of problems presented by my poor swimming technique or about race results, but much more difficult and time consuming to write opinions on what are often controversial subjects. Regardless I believe these opinions are the heart of my blog, and have been rewarded in turn by learning a great deal in writing them. For example I’ve had an article on trans fats sitting around for some time, my problem getting it into print is a desire to change it’s emphasis from merely disclosing the undeniable hazards of trans fats into a critique of the food industry’s trans fats disclosure rules, something which is being manipulated and exploited to an outrageous degree. Of course I haven't forgotten about Dara Torres, having several works-in-progress concerned with or related to her. In a piece with the rather long title, “Viva La Différence: The Impact of Aging on Female Athletes (Or Why Medical Science Says Dara Torres Can’t Be for Real) I go about showing why the rule-of-thumb decline for female performance of 3% per decade applies even to Ms. Torres. In another post titled, “Dara Torres v. The IOC”, an article not particularly flattering to the IOC either, I discuss the devastation Dara Torres would bring to the Olympic movement and amateur sport in general should she actually individually medal at Beijing and consequently the IOC’s obvious but belated desperation to stop her and her ilk. In a similar bit of writing with the title, “Dara Torres: All Alone and Leading the Way” I draw comparisons between Torres and other ‘great’ athletes who were subsequently found to have cheated, placing particular emphasis on baseball icon Roger Clemens, whom Americans have often held up as an example of why Torres is for real. I find the irony I can now also use Mr. Clemens as one of my own examples to be absolutely delicious. I'd roll in it if I could. Other posts concerning her have titles such as “Money, Money, Money”, “The Ethics of Cheating”, and “A Woman’s Prerogative: Dara Torres and Her Ever Changing Training Regime”. Self explanatory no? But there are many more subjects I’d like to cover, especially since this is an Olympic year. With titles ranging from “Competitive Swimming: The Best Sport on Earth for Children”, through “A Case in Point: Britain’s Search for Olympic Swimming Success”, and “An Open Letter About the Unfairness in the Way Canada Goes About Selecting It’s Olympic Athletes”, to “In Praise of ‘Doc’ Councilman”, “The Great Arthur Lydiard”, and “The Psychology of Sprinters” I have a plethora of topics to choose from. Hopefully 2008 will allow me to tackle at least these and some of the many, many others I've jotted down over the past year. I hope you’ll stick around to read them. Happy New Year!