6 Strange Hangover Cures

Last time we looked, lawyers like to drink on New Year’s Eve, and sometimes to excess—often depending on whether billable hour goals have been met for the year. Or not. For that unpleasant morning after, there are thousands of remedies to choose from, including six of the strangest.

5 Lemon Armpits. Apparently, revelers in Puerto Rico swear by this remedy: rub a sliced lemon into your armpits before you go out for a night of heavy drinking. Though there’s no science to this, it allegedly prevents dehydration. I’m no scientist, but the fact that I don’t see marathon runners lathering up in lemon slices makes me skeptical. In fact, I’m tagging this one as an urban legend. But feel free to try it.

4 The Highland Fling. For the Scot in you, heat up a pint of buttermilk and stir in a tablespoon of cornflour. Season with salt and pepper. Drink. In the morning, not as part of your New Year’s celebration.

3 Dried Bull Penis. This is a remedy from the manly folks in Sicily. Just chew on dried bull penis and your hangover abates. But, one problem for people stateside is finding dried bull penis. I Googled “Dried Bull Penis Whole Foods” and came up with plenty of listings for bull pizzle and bully sticks, none of which are apparently too healthy, even for dogs. So, no hair of the dog on this one.

2 Hangover Heaven. You have to be in Vegas for this one, but the 45-foot rolling hangover treatment clinic from Hangover Heaven can come get you and hook you up to “a small, pediatric IV.” You then have your choice of up to two liters of hydration, plus medicine for nausea, headache, or heartburn. And, if you want, you can get 30 minutes worth of oxygen as part of its “Rapture” package.

1 Prairie Oysters Rabbit Shit Tea. Take one whole raw egg, mix with Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and hot sauce, then gulp it down without breaking the yolk. If you don’t puke it up, it may do the trick, though we have our doubts. If that doesn’t work, try making tea out of rabbit shit, provided you feel well enough to go outside to collect some—Western US cowboys swore by this tea.

Our recommendation? Drink plenty of water and, in the morning, plan for a tried and true greasy morning breakfast, poutine if you speak Canadian.

Yo, Lay People: Beware of Lawyers Bearing Books

I’ve been poking around trying to find out exactly where old law books go to die. In my research, I happened to come across a resource list from a county law library in Oregon. Turns out, if you’re a lawyer considering donating old law books, make sure you are aware of the unsophisticated and unknown lay person:


Geez, I considered donating one of my used F.2nd’s to my cousin for his decorative needs, but then again he could misuse it and start mouthing off about barratry. I’ve since rethought my approach. Thanks, librarians, we love you (seriously, we do).
Source: How to Dispose of Used Law Books (Washington County, Oregon, Law Library)

Standard Legal Clauses, Rewritten with Exclamation Points

While we predict the exclamation point will fall out of favor in the general public in the coming year, that doesn’t mean lawyers should ignore it for legal clauses, pleadings, and correspondence. Go ahead, spice things up, give your writing the extra oomph it deserves. Use an exclamation point in the next year. Here are some examples to give you inspiration.

  • I have received your letter dated December 22, 2013!
  • Plaintiff is a citizen of the United States and resides in the County of Westchester, State of New York, which is in this judicial district!
  • Each term and provision of this agreement shall be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by law!
  • The geographic scope of this Agreement shall be Planet Earth! Provided, however, if a court determines such a geographic scope is unenforceable, it shall be the United States! Provided, however, if a court determines such a geographic scope is unenforceable, it shall be the City of Des Moines!
  • Plaintiff incorporates and restates each of the above paragraphs as if fully set forth herein!
  • Enclosed and served upon you please find defendant’s Answer!
  • Being authorized to prosecute the offenses charged, I approve this Complaint!
  • This matter came before the Honorable David R. Cruxton on March 3, 2013, upon defendant’s Motion to Compel!
  • WHEREFORE, this Plaintiff claims TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($2,500,000.00) in damages!
  • Respectfully submitted!

The Social Security Spousal Benefit

Many near-retirement couples are unaware of a special Social Security spousal benefit, which can be especially helpful when one spouse retires and the other continues working.

How does it work? As an example, Dolores retired at age 62, and collects $2,000 a month. Her husband, John, the higher earner in the family, is turning 66 and is eligible for the maximum monthly benefit when he retires. John would like to continue working until he is 70, so he chooses to put off collecting his own benefits, and instead takes the spousal benefit of $1,000 a month (The spousal benefit is typically half of the lower wage earner’s benefit, but may be lower in some circumstances). By doing so and continuing to work, he will collect $12,000 a year before taxes ($48,000 total when he stops working at age 70) and at the same time, will let his own benefit grow and collect the higher amount he is entitled to upon his retirement.

To qualify, you must be at least 62 years of age and your spouse must have already filed for his or her Social Security benefits. For more details and to run the Social Security numbers yourself, visit the Social Security Administration website.

The spousal benefit is often overlooked because many people think of it as the monthly payment a non-working spouse gets when his or her spouse retires. What people don’t realize is that you can collect a spousal benefit if you still work and have the larger salary.

This spousal benefit also applies to divorced couples who had been married at least 10 years. In fact, an ex-wife who didn’t remarry can claim a benefit on her former husband’s record and get 35% of his benefit at 62 or 50% at 66. The spousal benefit also applies to same-sex marriages.

To confirm your eligibility and the amount of the benefit you are entitled to, check with the Social Security Administration.

Even with the spousal benefit, if you or a loved one becomes incapacitated, the costs for long-term care can be catastrophic to your family. If you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care or if you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), now is a good time to plan. Learn more at The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Medicaid Asset Protection Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. website, or call us at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

What If My Dog Attacks a Drone?

resident-futurist-smallI get a lot of questions about drones, from lawyers, readers, and my kids. Most people want to know where they can buy one. But a lot of questions relate to drones and the law. As a practical futurist, I typically ignore theoretical questions, such as Federal Aviation Administration regulation of drones or drone immigration policy. But here are answers to some of the more common practical questions I’m receiving.

Q What happens if a drone slips and falls on my property? Could I be liable?
Well, yes and no. First, you should know that most drones fly, though in the near future “drone” will come to mean any robotic unmanned semi-intelligent chunk of metal and plastic, including your alarm clock. Hell, remote controlled helicopters from Toys “R” Us are drones, at least for now. But I digress. As an aerial vehicle, the likelihood of a drone slipping and falling on your property is fairly small. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about what you have lying about your curtilage. Shovels sticking up, trip wire, sharpened sticks, trap guns, that kind of thing. Be careful what you install as protection against drone deliveries or incursions. You may end up buying yourself a personal injury lawsuit or, worse, on the short end of the stick of a drone’s programmed anger.

Q If my dog attacks a drone while making a delivery or conducting its business, what are the legal issues I should worry about?
You should worry about your dog. As you are probably aware, all commercial drones come with a weaponized payload courtesy of the second amendment. If a drone detects a “hostile” it deals with it quickly, sometimes through chemical agents like ricin or, if local law allows, semi-automatic firepower. So, to be honest, your dog will be worse for the wear. That said, if your dog happened to be successful in attacking a drone, you may be liable for the damage. Check your homeowner’s policy for “damage to drone” coverage. If it’s not there, consider adding it to the policy through riders available from State Farm and American Family Insurance. Also, review your local “dangerous dog” ordinance to see if an attack on a drone would categorize your dog as “dangerous.” Most drones, when attacked, are programmed to report animal-related incidents directly to authorities, including zoos, local animal control agencies, and other drones. You don’t want to be blacklisted from the coming drone benefits because of an allegedly dangerous dog.

Q How do I keep drones off of my property? Will a “no drone” or “no solicitation” sign work?
It depends, but probably not. While technically this is a state by state question, even governed by local ordinance, well-financed drone interests will likely prevail and any so-called “no drone zones” will be a quaint reaction to the inevitable singularity, sort of like building a post-apocalyptic shelter and filling it with cans of pork and beans. If you fear drones or want to shoot one down if it comes on your property, you should probably move to Texas, a rural part of Colorado or Wyoming, or to Greenland. Even that, however, may not work. Just saying.

Q If a drone operates a driverless Google car, is it driverless?
Wow. That’s pretty deep. I’m going to pass on this purely philosophical question for now and wait until a drone carjacks a driverless Google car. That will put the issue into a more focused and practical perspective.

Q Will I be able to operate a drone while I’m drunk?
If you mean physically, yes. Drunks can drive or “operate” drones. In case you hadn’t already realized it, you can pretty much do anything drunk. Or at least try. But is it legal? It all depends on your jurisdiction. Currently, though, most drones are not considered motor vehicles and therefore are not regulated by various state motor vehicle laws. I think the FAA, however, may be involved. In any event, consult a DUI attorney for more guidance. They will be happy to oblige.

Q I keep seeing the phrase “unmanned drones.” Does that mean there are manned drones?
Great question, though I guess it’s not technically a legal question. Yes, there are “manned” drones, just not the type that you would expect. Scientists at the University of California in Santa Clara have successfully bred a “genius” group of mice to operate drones for limited periods of time, up to twenty or thirty minutes. Unfortunately, the mice became so adept at flying the drones that they liberated other mice and are thought to have since formed hundreds of secretive “mouse cells” across the Southwest United States, with the sole purpose of liberating lab mice from research institutions. It’s too early to tell if it will be successful, though I imagine with drones at their disposal, it will be a difficult next few years, if not decades.

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I Want a Child But I’m Worried About My Job

Q I’m in my second year as a large firm associate. My husband and I want to have a baby but I’m worried about how much it will affect my work, status, and promotion within the firm. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be something talked about among other associates and partners, though I’ve only just recently tried to keep my ears open for clues about the firm’s general attitude. One female associate said it’s a “partner killer” while a male associate said, in somewhat vague terms, that I could have it all—part-time work, stay on partner track, lots of sympathy from everyone.

Basically, I’m wondering if there is a good time to get pregnant and have a baby while working in a big firm. I am 28 and want to have a baby before I’m in my early thirties. My husband is not a lawyer. Any thoughts?

A Sure. Get started. Trust your gut and do it. But, some serious caveats about me and my advice.

I’m not what you should consider in any way an expert on birthing a baby while holding down a big firm job. During my days in BigLaw, most if not all of my male lawyer colleagues resented women who went on maternity leave. Just being honest here. We were, for the most part, young, brash, and entitled, and believed it was possible to become partner so long as you worked long hours, did solid work, took small vacations, and didn’t complain. Kids were not in our sphere, and successful male senior partners took the attitude that any brood that you managed was to be enjoyed on “free weekends.” Kids were to be unseen, except for the obligatory family photos in the office.

That was my reality. Now let’s see if I can provide my inexperienced take on yours, though I’ve supplemented my knowledge by asking around, consulting with working law firm moms, and doing a bit of reading.

First, for what it’s worth, here’s what a study among academics found for having a child while also trying to get tenure:

Our most important finding is that family formation negatively affects women’s—but not men’s—academic careers. For men, having children can be a slight career advantage and, for women, it is often a career killer. Women who do advance through the faculty ranks do so at a high personal price: They are far less likely to be married with children than are their male colleagues.

Substitute academic careers for big firm careers and faculty ranks to the firm and I have a hunch it’s the same. A hunch, mind you, but why would a law practice geared toward partnership be much different than an academic track geared toward tenure?

The fact that babyhood “doesn’t seem to be something talked about” isn’t exactly a great sign for your future, but then again I’m not aware of many—if any—large law firms in which baby talk is a regaled topic among its lawyers. At least not openly. From my days in BigLaw, the typical talk related to what our wives (or, more accurately, the partners’ wives) were doing at home with the kids.

Times, I hope, have changed.

Getting pregnant and having the baby isn’t really a big issue in a lot of law firms these days. After all, most everyone will be happy for you, at least initially happy and supportive. It’s what happens when and how you return that counts. How accommodating will the firm be? Is there on-site daycare? Can you breastfeed or pump without feeling like you have to hide? What’s the attitude of taking time off when you need it? How realistic is the firm in your leaving by 5:30 everyday, or earlier? Can you advance if you are 40 or 50 percent time? These are considerations and things to look at in your firm before you make a final decision. But the ultimate findings to consider, at least from my asking around, are these:

  • There is no perfect or preferred time to have a child in BigLaw.
  • Having a child will generally—though not always–negatively affect a women’s career. Just being honest;
  • Raising a child and working full time in a law firm is crazy hard, but doable, especially if you have the financial wherewithal and a supportive flexible partner/spouse to boot);
  • Your happiness is what counts. Trite but true, and that should be your focus. Regrets later will make you crazy, if not undeniably sad.
  • Trust your gut. Remember, your law firm isn’t in line to provide you with company and comfort when you get old.
  • Be emotionally prepared—you and your husband.

In the end, it’s what you want to do, not so much what everyone else thinks you should do. If you and your husband want to have a kid before you are in your mid-thirties and considered “geriatric,” then have one soon. Get started. Good luck.

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