Saturday, December 11, 2010

Problem Solving

I have been the Legal Assistance Attorney, Officer-in-Charge, of my little kingdom for over 7 months now.  I even have business cards with gold-embosed print.  I've learned a lot (spread your hands as far apart as possible, then triple that) in the last 7 months.

Legal Assistance is the forgotten step-child of the Judge Advocate responsibilities.  Congress deemed this service important for our military, and it most definitely is.  Every knows about Prosecution and Defense, and most people know about the lawyers that provide legal guidance to decision makers (staff judge advocates),  both are absolute requirements to the functionality of the the Military and justice.  But no one really thinks about the lonely lawyers helping to prevent an eviction, stay a civil law suit, write letters for child support.  Yeah, I've got a big office, but that allows me to have my married clients talk to me about all the issues regarding their house in foreclosure, or for the going-to-get-a-divorce client with her three under-five-years-old children explain how the servicemember has not made life easy.

I like to explain my job as all the other random legal problems people run into: divorce, death, wills, child support, home-buying/selling...and my list doth go on.

As the Random Legal Problems Attorney, I'm often left to my own devices with rare supervision and plenty of legal woes.  I am the Capt Belt-Buckle of the SJA: Alone and Un-Afraid!  And I'm never at a loss of work or research gluing me to my overly large desk--my very own government constructed fighting hole.  I digress.  Research and Legal Woes: Google is the Best legal search tool I have--better than those two dominate legal search engines.  But even with Google, I do not find the Answers.  I only find law or facts or blocked websites.  That information I gather must then be translated into understandable stuff via analysis.  I have begun to MacGyver my own legal sounding board--when my supervision is too busy to answer my inquires.

In my "alone-and-unafraid" mentality in my legal kingdom, I've grown the practice of asking questions on everything, literally.  "Yes, I remember the answer the last seven times, but maybe common sense has struck in the three days since I last asked."  When I have a question that needs answering and I'm the man for the job--usually because it is my job--I've leaned on my fellow lonely legal assistance attorneys when the answer was not immediately available in my mind.  However, I had to stop that almost cold turkey when I realized I have 6 months more experience than my closest ally--Yeah, I'm his source of info now.  Wasn't method of getting answers either.

Now, to fill the knowledge and experience gap I lay everything down in an email to an attorney I trust--normally someone placed in the state of the issue.  Then I go through the facts, legal problems, and possible solutions that I've typed.  I just hammer away at the keys explaining my problem to whomever I planned to email.  At some point during the email I've found a path to follow or the answer itself .  So I print the email for my records and communicate with my client.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Travels of Book

Some time ago, for I do not have the exact date nor even a set of years, only some time before 1928 for sure, somewhere in Great Britain and probably on a wet and cold day, for it is always wet and cold in Great Britain, a book was created.  It was probably one of several thousands of books created by that factory on that day, in that month of that year.  The book is made of paper and a hard cover and a couple of color pictures.  The hard cover is a faded blue, maybe green with a picture of the Frog Prince and his princess.  It is titled Grimm's Fairy Tales, The Brothers Grimm.
The book flops open, offering no resistance because of a thoroughly broken spine, to reveal yellowing pages.  The color on the inside cover pages has spotted and faded over the passage of time.  In the upper right hand corner of the first page in careful script are owner and year: MargarET KAYLEY, XMAS 1928.
As the flattened book lays on my desk, it's stained pages scream a fascinating story.  When was the book really published?  When did the blue book of fairy tales become a gift?  Who gave it?  Who was Margaret Kayley?  How did her book travel from Great Britain to a flee market in Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, the southern part of the main island of Japan in 2010?

 Ward, Lock & Co, Limited published the book.  H.G., whoever that man is, wrote the preface detailing the task the Grimm Brothers undertook when collecting the Dutch and German fairy tales.  Butler & Tanner, Ltd, Frome and London printed the book, but in what year I do not know.
The information source (the internet) tells me that Ward, Lock & Co was swallowed by Orion Publishing or Octobus Publishing sometime ago, but Ward, Lock were publishing books back in 1854 and started on Fleet Street, London. 

How the lonely little book traveled from Great Britain to Japan is probably a good story.  Did it come immediately to some English family living in Japan to change hands during WWII and then again after the war and eventually travel the fllee market realm?  Or was it given to some family the British Isle to then travel the world at a later date?  Or was it within an American family's hands until someone brought it to Japan and left the book in a box for donations. 

Whatever the story, how a book travels around the world is always interesting.  What does this book say?