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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 27, 2006 2:51 AM. The previous post in this blog was Two guys, four faces. The next post in this blog is This time, they really mean it. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jerry and me

I moved out west from New Jersey in 1975 to attend law school at Stanford. It was a turning point in my life, and it was a fairly important time in history for the law school as well. The school's new buildings opened just as we arrived, and if I previously had any doubt that I had made it to the big time, well... the Leader of the Free World was flying in to dedicate the complex. As Stanford law students, we all were invited to attend and sit in the reserved section.

The President at the time was Gerald Ford, the former congressman from Michigan who became vice president and wound up in the White House after Nixon and Agnew were disgraced. He was a decent guy, but dull, and something of a klutz. Chevy Chase would later make a name for himself goofing on the guy. Rather than cut the ribbon on the law school, some suggested, Ford would probably cut his tie by mistake.

For a week or so leading up to the presidential visit, the school and the nearby dorms (of which I was a new resident) were crawling with Secret Service guys. The dark suits, the ear pieces, the funny-fitting jackets that concealed the guns -- there was no mistaking them. Of course, they had good reason to be concerned -- earlier that month one of the Manson harpies, Squeaky Fromme, had tried to take a shot at Ford in Sacramento; fortunately, she didn't know how to handle the handgun she was packing, and it didn't go off. Needless to say, everybody involved with the President's return to the Bay Area was more than a little uptight. The nation didn't need any more drama with White House vacancies.

Anyway, the big day arrived, and we all got there early. Ford showed, made a nice speech warning that government was encroaching on our privacy (if we had only known where that was heading), and managed to stay upright, with tie intact. Here are some of the official Stanford photos:

Now, some of my schoolmates were singled out for a private audience with the President. Here you can see my buddy Rob Biniaz, just behind Ford; Rob's the one with the glasses and the chin hair:

(Not a bad 'Fro on Keith Gorham, either. Lotta hair in '75.)

As for me, however, I was left in the cheap seats outside. Here's how it looked to my el cheapo camera. As you can see, although we students had reserved seats, we all had to squint against the late September sun, which can be pretty powerful in those parts:

It was a lovely day, and I'm sure we all adjourned to the Oasis Beer Garden for burgers and suds afterward. As for Ford, the next day, up at the St. Francis Hotel in San Fran, a gal named Sara Jane Moore tried to shoot him. Her shot was deflected, and a bystander was wounded.

After Jerry and I parted ways, I became a homesick, scared basket case in the Stanford counseling center for a while, but then I got good grades and I stabilized somewhat. Meanwhile, he struggled with runaway inflation and the bad rap he had earned by pardoning Nixon, and he lost his bid for re-election to a peanut farmer. But for 20 minutes or so on the Farm, there we were together.

The next month, I had a much better seat for a much better show.

CORRECTION, 1/3/07, 6:11 p.m.: That's not Keith Gorham in that photo -- he informs me that it's Gary Williams. To the right of Gary in the photo is Marsha Simms.

Comments (14)

That burger at the "O" in Menlo Park would have stood up to any in a "best burger" contest. Still does.

Gerald Ford, burger at the O -- both hockey pucks. pucks.

I didn't have much opinion of President Ford one way or another, until one night when I saw his press secretary Ron Nessen hosting Saturday Night Live. It included a brief clip of President Ford, looking at the camera, and delivering Chevy Chase's signature line:

"Hello. I'm Gerald Ford, and you're not."

And keep in mind, this was in 1976, while he was =in office=. A sitting president, appearing on SNL. From then on, I've had a tender place in my heart for him, even though he pardoned That Man.

"...and I stabilized somewhat."

And people say I do not restrain myself.

"And people say I do not restrain myself."

Imo, speech in Portland is over-restrained and under-candid".

Your candor is one of the reasons we love you guys.

As world-famous and as celebrated as Springsteen is, I still can't help but think of the guy as under appreciated.

I won't debate hamburgers -- too subjective. But no hockey puck would have pardoned Richard Nixon.

I love it when the news reports say Gerald Ford helped us after we were traumatized by Watergate. Traumatized? I thought losing Nixon was one of best feelings ever. The entire nation was plunged into a political action thriller and it was spectacular fun to follow. Watergate showed our system working to perfection, and that was immensely comforting. Of course, back then we had a 4th Estate that was on the case, instead of the corporate pawns we have now.

The time I helped wait on Gerald Ford in Portland he seemed to be a good guy - a bear-like presence. I do remember President Johnson's comment that he had played too much football without his helmet on. I believe that quality might have been why he was selected to be on the Warren Commission: A basically decent man who could be pushed around if need be. Let's also not forget that he gave us Rumsfeld and Cheney, promoting them from minor players to stars.

The next week will feature many gushing comments about this wonderful Republican President, so I hope we factor in Richard Nixon - the Republican crook who made Ford possible. Of course, even Nixon looks great compared to our current President. President Bush also screwed up the one distinction Gerald Ford had over every other President. Until George Bush came along, Gerald Ford was the only President who wasn't elected.

Make that the only one who served as Vice President and President without being elected. Bush served as Vice President under Dick Cheney.

I will never forget my mother jumping up and down and yelling "yippee!" when Nixon gave his resignation speech while my grandparents (Goldwater Republicans visiting from AZ) looked on dourly. I tried to make Mom take it down a notch but she wasn't having it. My next big Ford memory is seeing him at the Memorial Coliseum for that youth rally they keep mentioning on the news. I was invited by a Republican classmate in H.S. and thought what the heck, why not go. Ford was quite nice but not very memorable. I think he knew he was in trouble. Does anyone remember that 1) he was not elected (yes, like Bush the 2nd) and that his VP was Nelson Rockefeller, also not elected? And I still have my "win" button! "Whip inflation now."

So how much of the clutz thing was real vs SNL? I mean the guy was a starter on 2 National Championship football teams and reportedly was a very good golfer.

During his time in the White House, I believe he took a number of highly publicized falls.

He was also one of the few Presidential skiers. He used Burt ski bindings, which released when you fell (which he did much more than Arnold, but never as hard) and then re-attached to the skis with a couple of cables. So even though he fell often as he skied, he never had to put his skis back into the bindings.

And he also never blamed his falls on his Secret Service agents who skied near him.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Dunham, Trautina 2012
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Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
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Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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