Most of my speaking art has been in forensics (argumentation and debate). I was a very successful competitive debater in high school and college. After high school, I also served as a paid volunteer judge at numerous high school and college (NCAA) tournaments. When it was time for law school, I decided it was time to win what they called the Moot Court Competition. Other examples of speaking art include my work as an Internet Developer at Wave Technologies, where my duties included a lot of classroom teaching, and at SLUCare where I was invited to teach a few CME (Continuing Medical Education) courses. My teaching roles at Wave and SLUCare are presented in the Work Section of my portfolio. I’ve also represented a legal client as 3d-yr law student under special court rules which permitted it (New Hampshire county superior courts) and also once represented a client in IRS proceedings (district office in Maine) under similar federal law provisions. What else? Oh, yeah. I was invited (1996) by Symantec Corp. to speak at their Annual Sales Conference (Scottsdale, AZ), so I prepared a talk about I.T. negotiation experiences I’d had while working as a technology contracts negotiator with Anheuser-Busch.
High School & College Debating
In my first year of high school debating, my teammate and I won several Idaho/Utah tournaments. In my senior year, my team (dif. partner) was even more successful (we took Second Place at the Idaho State Championships). Photos from Idaho Falls High School Student Newspaper in 1978. (click for larger images)
note: “Budweiser” teeshirt = potential foreshadowing prop but I cannot take credit for writing those jazzy headlines ... P.S. I won 2d place at State in Radio Speaking (Junior yr.)
« Deville AM radio, mfd. circa 1964
Devilles were nice radios back in the day.
Some models were installed in Cadillacs.
I continued with competitive debate throughout my years at Whitman College (’79-’81) and Idaho State University (’83-’87), and competed at various NCAA tournaments in the Pacific Northwest. Caused a chuckler at Whitman when I called bullshit on a budding politician (dormitory roommate), who was smack dab in the process of lying (during a live radio interview) to the entire student body. How I wrote the incident up in Chapter 2, vol. 1 of my memoirs (using pseudonyms):
When I first met Keith we shook hands and I learned that he was majoring in Political Science, “Poli Sci,” and in that first encounter I decided that I liked him. He said he hoped to go on to graduate studies at a place called the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and then go into politics. He said he was a Jewish student from Marblehead, Massachusetts and a Russian Jew; evidently his last name was originally “Lepperevetski” which had been shortened to “Lepper” when his parents emigrated to America. Keith was quite proud of his heritage and told me that his father had once flown in the same fighter squadron as Moshe Dayan. I also learned that Keith was into the Martial Arts, and he showed me some of his trophies – evidently he had won third prize in a national knife-fighting competition of some sort
We had adjoining rooms on the first floor of Lyman, which were arranged in such a way that you had to enter through the hall door into Keith’s room, and walk through his room, in order to get to mine. As I had arrived first, I chose the room further from the hall, and it seemed a good choice – better that I disturb him in getting to my room, I felt, than he me en route to his; but on the other hand, the inner room was smaller-sized.
Keith and I enjoyed many a good conversation at first and it turned out we had a Poli Sci course together that term, called American Foreign Policy. He was very studious, which I liked, but also seemed a bit off – as if he always had something to prove to the world, a chip-on-the-shoulder kind of aura.
Later that Spring we had our Student Body Elections, and Keith, being a politico type, decided to run for Student Body President. I thought of him thinking it would look good on his application to the Kennedy school. So, as I say, I was faced with the difficult task of deciding whether to support my new roommate Keith, or my old friend Dave North, in the upcoming election; and several students who realized the position I was in became seriously interested in this role of seeming Kingmaker of sorts, into which I had found myself thrust.
One day Keith and I went for a leisurely walk.
Coming back from the town of Walla Walla, a fervent Keith explained to me how he hated Rebecca Oreo who was one of the Vice Presidential candidates – evidently she had originally agreed to support his candidacy, but then changed her mind and decided to remain neutral, not supporting any of the presidential contenders. Keith thought she did this because she felt Dave North might win the election, and was now conveniently hedging her political bets.
“That bitch,” Keith raged. “If I’m elected President, I’m going to ram my policies down her throat . . . she won’t be able to do a fucking thing with the goddamned Student Council. I checked the rules, and that’s all the Vice President gets to do – chairman of the, oh, excuse me, chairwoman of the fucking Student Council.”
I thought he was getting a little excited about the whole thing, so I laughed nervously in some sort of general acknowledgment. All the way back to our room he explained how he would veto every piece of legislation that came out of the Student Council, lest he were the sponsor of the bill.
That night, I made a decision that had some interesting consequences.
There was a campus radio station at Whitman, a small FM station like many colleges have, and that night it featured a widely publicized “Meet the Candidates” talk show where all of the candidates for Student Body offices had a chance to express their views on student government and various issues facing the college. Dave and Keith were both there, along with several other kids who had tossed their hats into the ring.
Someone, a female student, called in a typical question.
“I’d like to ask each of the Presidential candidates how well they think they’d work with each of candidates for the other offices,” she said.
Dave spoke first, indicating generally if blandly that he had a warm regard for each of the various hopefuls and would look forward to working with any of them. When it was Keith’s turn to respond, he said pretty much the same thing that Dave had, trying to be polite, noncommittal, brief, and generally upbeat.
“I have a good relationship with all of the Vice Presidential candidates,” Keith slithered. “I respect all of them – Ken, Scott, Reb – and I think they all respect me.”
I couldn’t believe that this was the same man who’d been ranting and raving to me just a few hours earlier, and, in a spirit of indignance, I decided it was time to burn the Keith bridge and blow away this bullshit. Trepidatiously1 dialing the number to the campus radio station, I said I had a question for the candidates and suddenly I was on the air.
“My question is for Keith Lepper,” I began. “Keith, this your roommate, Jonathan. How can you say that you’d work well with all the Vice Presidential candidates when you told me today that you thought Reb Oreo was a bitch, and that you were going to ram all your own legislation down her throat and basically prevent her from doing anything without your say-so?”
All of a sudden it felt like an electric shock had been delivered across the airwaves throughout campus.
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Intellectual Property Law Moot Court
During my third year of law school (1990), my teammate and I placed First in our law school’s moot court competition and went on to represent our school at the AIPLA Regionals Tournament (Boston, MA) where my teammate suffered an unfortunate lapse of good judgment. Turns out he had: (a) an unreciprocated crush on me; and (b) a resultant cow. Bummer.
Here’s some info on AIPLA Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court. (AIPLA = American Intellectual Property Law Association)
How I treated (with pseudonyms) the unsavory incident (in Chapter ‘A’, vol. 1) of my memoirs:
Ron Herman, a 2L, asked me quite unassumingly one foul February day if I might be interested in being his partner for the upcoming Intellectual Property Law Moot Court competition. The winning team in the school competition would advance to the Regionals in Boston, and the winner of Regionals would go on to compete in the National Tournament in Washington, DC.
It sounded like a brief return to my old glory days as a high school and college debater, only cooler, and I eagerly agreed to become his partner. Moot court always looked good on the ol’ résumé, especially if you win – here was my big chance to do something that would outweigh all my old flub-ups, and possibly even launch me into a job with an intellectual property firm despite not having an undergraduate degree in science or engineering.
This year’s contest would involve an appeal on a denial of a hypothetical patent application regarding an imaginary product, an electronic compass for off-road four-wheel drive vehicles, and seeing as how I had just purchased my new truck I really got into the subject matter of the competition. I even made a special trip to Cambridge to visit Albert Jung in his laboratory and talk to him about how such a compass might actually be constructed.
Ron and I mowed down the rest of the field in the Stanton competition and we looked forward to the regional tournament in Boston with joy, nervousness, the most eager kind of anticipation imaginable, and plenty of bong hits. Regionals was being held at Suffolk Law School, and when the great day at last arrived Ron traveled to Beantown ahead of me and secured the hotel room, which had been paid for by Stanton. I zoomed south in my long-range interceptor (the truck), along with my friend Christopher Stram who looked forward to seeing some good arguments.
Well, he certainly did.
During the first round we hit a team from somewhere else in New England, and basically rolled right through them; it seemed like we might have an easier time of winning the tourney than we ever dared imagine, and that going to law school at Stanton – with it’s heavy emphasis on patents and intellectual property – was certainly going to place us at a distinct advantage.
Ron and I were announced as being among the winners of the first round, and so would be advancing to the next one, but for some reason Ron was furious.
The fucker was positively fuming.
I was standing outside in the hall, just talking to Chris and suffering my suit and tie, waiting for the next round to begin, just like the old days, as I say, when all of a sudden I find myself locked in a heated debate with Ron – it was as if no one had turned him off after the round was over, and, still needing opponents but seeing none, he launched into me and started huffing and puffing that I had almost lost the round for us, that I had been unprepared to argue, that I was going to blow it for him after all the work he had put into preparing for the argument, and so on and so forth.
I protested that we had blown the opposition away.
But it seemed like there was something else going on in the background, a wicked undercurrent that was causing the veins on Ron’s neck to bulge out.
Things took a turn for the weirder.
Ron had now collared one of the tournament officials and was arguing ex parte that he should be allowed to proceed to the next round by himself, without me, because I was not suitably prepared. I told the official that I would like to go ahead and take my rightful place in the round, thank you, but that I feared my partner was insane, we’d better keep an eye on him, and I apologize on behalf of my entire school that he freaked out on us, sir . . .
It would be hard for me to believe later that this entire incident had ever happened, but Chris Stram was there in the hallway with us and he had witnessed the entire exchange.
Well, we walked into the room and the other team knew that we were having some sort of problem. Three judges were also in there, we had been keeping them waiting, and the judges had heard tell of the skirmishing out in the hallway. It was impossible to hope that they wouldn’t be holding it against us, and although I argued valiantly enough to (if I do say so myself) make up for Ron’s lack of savoir fare, thus was defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.
I was so disappointed and pissed off at Ron that as soon as we had been announced as the losers of the round, I hopped in the truck and drove back to Concord, blowing a few bowls with Chris Stram along the way and talking about the unexpected turn things had taken.
The next day, back at school, Ron was now telling all his friends that I had screwed up our chances of winning by being unprepared for the rounds. When I suggested that perhaps he might consider being sporting enough to let us all take a look at the judging ballots, to see who the judges thought the better speaker was, he became somewhat secretive and never did show them to anyone, not even the Stanton professors who were our team coaches.4 I really would have liked to see them, as all good debaters do, but Ron continued to keep them under wraps and our profs were understandably reluctant to intercede in what had turned into something resembling an ugly, quite personal little drama.
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Here is some information on so-called “black CDs”. [PDF]
One day, my old friend Peter began recording music onto CDs with black surfaces instead of the regular (shiny) discs he normally used. I was myself in the process of attempting to somehow (I’m no audio engineer) boost the SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) for the output of the crappy, mislabeled old audio cassette tapes grudgingly sent me by the same committee (in New Hampshire, cf. hereinbelow) which had (earlier) sent me some other person’s hearing transcript and (later) was tardy in filing its appearance (in U.S. Supreme Court) in response to my Petition for Certiorari. I dug the symbolism blackballed, as it were and I designed some CD covers on my computer, based on some old woodcut illustrations of medieval scribes which I saw reproduced on a flyer advertising a European art exhibition at Princeton.
Miscellaneous Sworn Testimony:
New Hampshire Supreme Court, 1991 (Committee on Character & Fitness) (bunch of fuddy-duddies deciding to prevent me from practicing law because I’d allegedly smoked a marijuana joint) BTW, apologies for the poor audio quality, but the original cassette tapes (which were demanded by me, and furnished by them, by law) were crappy and difficult to work with.
[MP3] Side A
[MP3] Side B
[MP3] Side C
[MP3] Side D
Ohio Unemployment Commission, 2006 (testimony versus well-dressed-yet-shabby, low-I.Q. racist former employers who chickened out and didn’t show up for the hearing despite their probably having bragged to various other then-employees how they were gonna teach me a lesson, put me in my place, or whatever)
page last updated: 11-25-2018