Blawg Review #147

Welcome to a RAGBRAI inspired Blawg Review.  What is RAGBRAI?  The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa is an annual seven-day ride across the state.  Heading into its 36th year, RAGBRAI is the longest, largest and oldest touring bicycle ride in the world.  It's not a race.  It's an experience.   And since Blawg Review is a carnival, nothing says carnival in an uniquely Iowa way like bicycles, spandex, pork chops, pie, frivolity and 10,000 of your closest friends!

The weather in Iowa is frigid this winter.  As the weekend of this Blawg Review approaches Iowans brace for another heavy snow.  Our friend Charlie Longbrief looks at the floor below his stationary bike and dreams of summer.  A person can stand only so many YMCA spinning classes.  He thinks back to his first RAGBRAI as a twenty year old when law school hadn't yet entered his mind and the biggest celebrity on the ride was Oakland Raiders great and Miller Lite spokeman Ben Davidson.  Now it's nothing to see the likes of lawyer turned politician John Edwards or the bicycling legend himself, Lance Armstrong.  Armstrong may have participated in the famous New York City Marathon but his heart will always belong with RAGBRAI.  Listen for yourself:

Day 1:  Missouri Valley to Harlan  - 58 miles

This year's ride starts in the river town of Missouri Valley.  While performing the traditional dip of his back tire in the Missouri River, Charlie sees Liz Overton of the Iowa Law Blog who warns him that because of the $350,000 settlement in a 2004 RAGBRAI death bicyclers better beware of the new proposed legislation from the Iowa State Association of Counties.

Unfazed Charlie gets on his bike and sets out on his adventure.  But as he rides off he does ask himself whether Mad Kane is right.  Is it wise to travel with friends particularly where tents are involved?

About 15 miles down the road Charlie takes a break and starts getting an earful from New Yorker Eric Turkewitz about how State Farm has been hit with a RICO lawsuit over alleged sham medical exams.  That hasn't been reported elsewhere and Charlie worries whether State Farm might be doing the same thing in Iowa.  Charlie is so interested he and Eric ride the rest of the way to Harlan together.  Although its only the first day Turkewitz remarks that he agrees with Lance Armstrong . . . RAGBRAI is a hell of lot more fun than his beloved New York City Marathon.

As he pulls into Harlan, Charlie finds himself a little short on cash and heads off to find an ATM.  There he sees John Crenshaw who starts telling him about the biggest scams banks are pulling off everyday. Charlie just shakes his head in agreement as he pays the $2.00 charge to get the money out of the ATM.  After a little angel hair pasta its time to hit the sleeping bag.  There is a big week ahead and unfortunately Charlie isn't twenty any longer.

Day 2:  Harlan to Jefferson - 83 miles

The next morning Charlie wakes up bright and early and sets off for Jefferson.  He has some clients that are buying a business nearby and that reminds him he should heed Larry Staton Jr.'s advice to know what you are getting when you buy a trademark from an existing business.

About half way to Jefferson our city boy is a little mesmerized by the miles and miles of corn.  It makes him wonder whether Farmer David will be able to pay that large patent judgment he now owes Monsanto as reported by the Patent Baristas.

In Scranton, just short of Jefferson, Charlie sees a big group of people gathered in a park off the town's main drag.  There he sees Dan Slater of the WSJ Law Blog who explains that all the hoopla is because the M & M boys have turned their attention to the RAGBRAI water slides because the Naked Cowboy drove them outta of Dodge.  The revelers love it and the log jam causes a very slow ride into Jefferson that evening.

Day 3:  Jefferson to Ames - 56 miles

It's a big day for politicians on the way to Ames, home of Iowa State University.  Barack Obama and John McCain are expected to make appearances today.  Hillary Clinton is here too and keeps talking about how the Florida and Michigan delegates must count.  Obama shrugs it off by saying even his six year old knows it wouldn't be fair to count votes where there was no campaign.  But at least Florida has made significant strides in improving its jury system according to Juries.  While Diane Levin points out voters can learn a lot from the field of negotiationEugene Volokh shares that John Mellencamp may be able to stop McCain from playing his songs after all.

All the political talk has people addressing serious issues on the road today.  Riding on a three person tandum, Leon Gettler of Sox First tells Charlie that Sarbanes-Oxley not only failed to stop the subprime meltdown, it contributed by giving investors the false confidence that they could rely on the law, and not prudence to protect their market holdingsScott Greenfield shares that Congress has a pending bill that may immunize banks from paying billions in dollars to a small Plano, Texas companyPatently-O adds that although DataTreasury is not directly mentioned in the bill it is pretty clear that Section 14 is directed primarily at the company

As Charlie rides into Ames he sees Kevin O'Keefe and  Holden Oliver of What About Clients engaged in a heated discussion about whether corporate clients really want a lawyer that blogs.  O'Keefe says yes while Oliver says no.  It then gets a little personal when O'Keefe accuses Oliver of being someone else.  Charlie blames Teri Rasmussen who started the whole thing when she said every client should want a lawyer who blawgs.

Day 4:  Ames to Tama-Toledo - 75 miles

Charlie gets ready to head off to Iowa's version of the twin cities today.  In the pancake breakfast line he meets Connie Crosby who is kind enough to introduce him to David Bilinsky.  David tells Charlie all about how there is a great need for law firms to turn their senior partners into business leadersDavid Maister overhears them and chimes in that one-firm firms are often quite successful.

After an uneventful morning Charlie witnesses an accident on today's route where someone goes to the hospital.  It looks like the rider will be okay but David Harlow of HealthBlawg warns that hospital-acquired infections are a real problem.  Iowa estate lawyer Matt Gardner says that even if the rider makes it through he should still think about the disposition of his bodily remains.

 As he enters Tama (or is it Toledo), John Phillips of the Word on Employment Law almost runs smack into a little beagle that darts in front of him.  The incident causes John to conclude that beagles should no longer be excluded from the Animal Employment Protection Act (AEPA).  John is obviously a little excited about the near miss and starts rambling about how he handled the situation a whole lot better than Roger Clemens handled the accusations from Brian McNamee.

Day 5:  Tama-Toledo to North Liberty - 82 miles

Now that we have passed the mid-way point for this year's ride, everyone is a little loosey-goosey today.  Charlie's cadence starts to pick up as the wind blows with the sweet smell of pork chops.  That could only mean that Mr. Pork Chop is nearby.  As he pulls off the roadside to visit our pork chop hero, Charlie sees that Iowa legal blogger extraordinaire Brett Trout and his band of Iowa legal bloggers are engaging Mr. Pork Chop in a battle of wills to determine who has the loudest pork chop call.  Sadly, while Trout may be Iowa's toughest attorney he is no match for Mr. Pork Chop in this arena.  Hear why:


After a pork chop and a short nap Charlie rides along to catch up with Michael Moore who discusses risk management in employee terminations and explains sometimes the "How" is as important as the "Why".  Pretty soon both of them come across a big party along the roadside.  A crowd is gathered around Dennis Kennedy who apparently is still celebrating his blawgiversary and birthday.  During the party Tulane Law Professor Alan Childress wonders aloud whether any Iowa legal counselors had ever been in trouble like the lawyer that got into trouble with his state bar by trying to talk his way out of a ticket for deer hunting.

Still a little full from his banana cream pie, Charlie and his new friend Charles H. Green ride along at an easy pace discussing that as more and more banks and consumers walk away from loans--and contracts gone bad, we are reminded that legally binding contracts are often only as strong as the morality of those signing them.

That evening after dinner there is lots of entertainment in North Liberty.  At a concert Cathy Gellis proclaims, "I need a husband!"  The revelation causes Jon Hyman to explain what happens when office romances go bad.  But Cynthia Shapiro, who received her RAGBRAI pass from George's Employment Blawg, says you might be able to have that office romance if you know a few secrets.  When Jennifer Jaskolka-Brown overhears them she warns them that email has made it much easier to collect damaging evidence in divorce cases.

Day 6:  North Liberty to Tipton - 62 miles

Charlie decides to join the Lance Armstrong peloton this morning for some fun.  As you might expect with Armstrong the ride is a little faster paced today.  There are several others brave enough to join the pack this morning:


Day 7: Tipton to LeClaire - 55 miles

The last day!  On his ride to LeClaire, Charlie meets up with the anonymous Editor of Blawg Review to tell him the ride has been worth it.  Together they dip their front tires into the Mississippi River where Charlie quips that normally what happens on RAGBRAI stays on RAGRBRAI, but this year what happens on RAGBRAI ends up on Blawg Review!

 * Legal Disclaimer:  This Blawg Review is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.  My dear friend and fellow Iowa legal blogger Brett Trout takes the helm next week.  We wish him well as he tries to best the excellence of his previous effort on Blawg Review #106.


 Flickr Photo Creditsjohnedwards2008, wade, blmurch, MNgilen, IaRuth, wade and artandscience

Trackbacks (6) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
HealthBlawg - February 18, 2008 10:57 AM
I'm a cyclist, my dad's from Iowa, and my post made the cut: so what's not to like about Rush Nigut's Blawg Review #147? Check it out at Rush on Business. Great theme, great execution.And while we're on the subject
What About Clients? - February 18, 2008 12:32 PM
Rush Nigut hosts this week's Blawg Review #147 at Rush on Business....
What About Clients? - February 18, 2008 1:45 PM
What a Rush. Sorry, at least one of WAC?'s writers is an aging hippie, and we couldn't resist. Rush Nigut hosts this week's Blawg Review #147 at Rush on Business. Creative, upbeat, informative, even euphoric....
Watcher of Weasels - February 22, 2008 3:05 AM
King of Fools hasn't put together this week's Carnival of the Carnivals, and quite possibly never will again, but the show must go on: The Blawg ReviewThe Carnival of the CapitalistsThe Carnival of EducationThe Carnival of the InsanitiesThe Carnival of...
Rush on Business - February 22, 2008 11:30 PM
My reign as the host of Blawg Review is coming to an end. But never fear, Brett is here!Next week Mr. Trout keeps the Blawg Review right here in the great state of Iowa. I guess we will find out...
Chicago IP Litigation Blog - December 31, 2008 7:35 AM
It is the time of year for the Best of 2008 lists. The legal blogosphere* is no different as evidenced by Blawg Review #193 -- click here to read it -- recounting the 51 weekly Reviews from this year and soliciting nominations for the annual Review of...
Comments (9) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Steve Lombardi - February 18, 2008 7:26 AM

Rush: Wonderfully woven this blog review #147. RAGBRAI has become another spoke in Iowa's tourism wheel. It keeps spinning round and round raising the awareness of Iowa's beauty while giving rural counties a plug or two. As great as it is its too bad Crawford County had to throw cold coffee on it over a misstep in legal advice that would have protected them. But RAGBRAI's front tire won't stick in any other pot holes if they make sure to get all the waivers signed. And Crawford County would not be having a flat tire over being sued if they do what the voters pay them to do - govern appropriately.

I've blogged twice about the subject: Crawford County Settles RAGBRAI Cyclist Death Claim [ ] and Sioux City Journal Praises Crawford County Cold Coffee Poured Over RAGBRAI Widow. [ ] On March 28, 29 and 30, 2008 I'll post again on this subject. Seems to me the solution for RAGBRAI and the individual counties is as close to them as the tape on the handlebars. Nicely done.

Brett Trout - February 18, 2008 8:45 AM


Mark True - February 18, 2008 12:44 PM


Awesome story telling! Way to go.


Rush Nigut - February 18, 2008 8:33 PM

Steve: Thanks for the insight on your posts.
Brett: Was I wrong about you?
Mark: Thanks a lot. The means something coming from a story teller.


Eric Turkewitz - February 18, 2008 8:47 PM

Nicely done, even if you did go a bit over-the-top with the claim it was more fun than the NYC Marathon. I guess that's what the disclaimer was for?

Thanks for the treat...

Rush Nigut - February 18, 2008 10:12 PM

Eric: You're right. But I must say that although I have not run the NYC Marathon I did run one marathon several years ago. Based upon my experience I would say RAGBRAI is more fun than any marathon.

Just having fun with you. I thought your Blawg Review featuring the NYC Marathon was great! Thanks for being a great sport.


Dan Hull - February 20, 2008 6:02 PM

Sorry for the delay--like you we've been out protecting clients from Badness--but I was very very impressed by your BR. So was Brooke, Holden and Tom. Nicely done, Sir. And remember: "When you're out on your bike, at night, wear white." Jagger/Richards

Chuck Nigut - February 21, 2008 11:03 PM

Atta boy! I like the weave of storyline. Next a novel so you can have it made into a movie then continue to write like Grisham, Turow and etc.

Teri Rasmussen - February 22, 2008 10:25 AM

Great post! As someone who grew up in Iowa and remembers RAGBRAI fondly as part of an Iowa summer (even though I never actually did the ride),this brought it all back. As a fellow blogger, I LOVED the way you connected all the various posts together with the RAGBRAI theme. Really fun!

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