Showing posts with label what I'm reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label what I'm reading. Show all posts

Friday, December 9, 2022

WIRTW #653: the “playlist” edition

Last Friday, after sharing the Old 97's new holiday classic from the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, I asked LinkedIn for their favorite holiday songs. My LinkedIn community delivered in a major way. So today, I am thrilled to be able to share with you Jon Hyman's LinkedIn Crowdsourced Holiday Music Playlist Extravaganza

It's 42 songs spread over 2 hour, 27 minutes of eclectic rock, punk, country, pop, rap, and classical holiday standards and songs that will now be standards for your holidays. 

It's available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify. Shuffle, repeat, and jingle all the way through the holiday season.

If you haven't already voted for The Worst Employer of 2022, what are you waiting for? Polls remain open until 14-Dec. 

Here's what I read and listened to this past week that you should also read and listen to.

Friday, December 2, 2022

WIRTW #652: the “caroling” edition

I love a good Christmas song. The problem is that too many of them are just not very good. Today, I'm adding one to your holiday music playlist that is sure to stick with you like the best kind of earworm.

I Don't Know What Christmas Is (But Christmastime Is Here) is from The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (streaming on Disney+). The fact that it's performed by my friends and favorite band, Old 97's, is irrelevant to just how much a banger of Christmas tune this is. If you've seen the special, you've also seen the band; they're the alien band performing their songs on screen.

Here's guitarist Ken Bethea reflecting to D Magazine about the coolest part of the experience of filming the special at Marvel's studios outside of Atlanta:

The coolest part was at the end, when the props designer led us into his office and showed us Captain America's shield, Thor's hammer, Doctor Strange's necklace, and Black Widow's batons. I asked if I could hold them and he said, "Absolutely." So I picked up—dare I say wielded—the shield and hammer, which together weighed about 80 pounds. For one shining moment, I could feel the envy of a billion Marvel fans. 

And here's what Director James Gunn told The Hollywood Reporter about working with his favorite band:

These guys are the greatest guys in the world, but they had to be in hell because people complain so much about that makeup when they're in it. But they never once complained. They were singing and playing their instruments for eight hours, and they just kept going and going and going, cut after cut. So they were amazing. They're just the greatest guys, not to mention the greatest music. So I hope this turns a lot more people on to the Old 97's.

I couldn't agree with James Gunn more.

Here's what I read this past week that you should be reading, too.

Friday, November 18, 2022

WIRTW #651: the “thankful” edition

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I'd take a moment to say a few thank-yous, as I have a lot for which to be thankful.

🙏 Thank you to all of my readers, followers, and commenters, here and on LinkedIn and Twitter (for as long as Twitter remains a thing). We might not always agree, but if we did it would be crazy boring. 

🙏 Thank you to all of the bad employers, who continue to act before they think (or don't think at all) and provide me content for all of my posts.

🙏 Thank you to my law firm, which supports my online fancies. They hired me to run our labor and employment practice, and didn't bat an eye when I expressed an intent to spread my wings into craft beer law

🙏 Thank you to all of the organizations that invited me to speak in 2022, and a special shoutout to Business Management Daily, which hosts my monthly column and for which I'll be speaking monthly next year. Also, if you want to toast a beer with me, look for me at the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference in Cleveland from 1/30 – 2/1, and at the national Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville from 5/7 – 5/10.

🙏 Thank you to my family, who continue to support my career.

🙏 Thank you to my daughter, Norah, who still wants to create a podcast with her dad. As for our podcast, our newest episode addresses all things Thanksgiving, or at least all things Thanksgiving that matter, including food, food, food, parades, football, family, and food. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Overcast, Stitcher, our website, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

Here's what I read this past week that you should be reading, too.

Friday, November 11, 2022

WIRTW #650: the “Mastodon” edition

Call me a Twitter Armageddon Prepper. I'm not ready to abandon Twitter … yet. Even with Elon Musk in charge, I have 14 years and way too much human capital invested to jump ship even I think the Chief Twitterer is a twit.

But I'm also not convinced that Musk won't burn the whole platform to the ground. He's laid off half of the company's employees, some of whom are warning that the website is "built on sticks, and might … fall apart." Advertisers (along with their crucial revenue) are fleeing it in droves. Musk is banning users in a manner that is antithetical to his "free speech" ethos. The company's cybersecurity chief quit, along with its head of trust and safety, chief privacy officer, and chief compliance officer. Heck, even the Muppets quit. And in news that should surprise no one, Musk's paid account verification system is an absolute mess. We're all aboard the digital Titanic.

The Bird is a hot mess, and not in a "rising phoenix" kind of way. It's more of a "deep-fried turkey that boils over and burns the house down" kind of way. Or a "Twitter will soon be bankrupt" kind of way.

Thus, I've been looking for an alternative … just in case. Like many, I've landed on Mastodon as a potential Twitter replacement.

Mastodon is a microblogging platform similar to Twitter in many ways. 
  • Mastodon has toots (compared to Twitter's tweets).
  • Toots are limited to 500 characters (compared to Twitter's 280).
  • You can favorite and boost other user's posts (as compared to liking and retweeting), but you can't quote.
  • Hashtags are still hashtags.
  • Mastodon's layout, look, and feel will appear very familiar on the web and on its mobile app to anyone who's ever used Twitter. Updates, however, are sorted chronologically instead of algorithmically 
The key difference, however, exists on Mastodon's backend. Mastodon isn't its own standalone website. Instead, it's a series of connected private servers that communicate with each other. When you sign up for a Mastodon account, you sign up to become a member of a particular server, privately hosted and moderated, and not part of Mastodon as a social media platform. Because all of the servers communicate with each other and you see posts from any server, as best as I can tell it doesn't necessarily matter the server to which you belong, and you're always free to switch servers at any time. 

And that's all I know. My account is parked at If you decide to give Mastodon a try, let me know by following me, and I'll be sure to follow you back.

Here's what I read this past week that you should read, too.

Friday, November 4, 2022

WIRTW #649: the “Ye” edition

We need to talk about Kanye. 

In the wake of his rampant and unapologetic antisemitism, people are hanging antisemitic banners on highway overpasses and projecting antisemitic slogans on the side of college football stadiums, others are dressing up like Hitler and other Nazis for Halloween, and famed Covid-denier and flat-earther Kyrie Irving is sharing a movie full of antisemitic tropes. 

Employers need to take a firm stand against hatred. Now is not the time to stand idly by. 

Anti-Semitism is wrong. 

White supremacy is wrong. 

Racism is wrong. 

Xenophobia is wrong. 

Homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia and transphobia are wrong. 

Hard stop. 

Anyone displaying this hate, whether inside or outside of work, should be fired. 

Any idiot is free to say whatever he or she wants. But as an employer, I am free to hold that idiot accountable for his or her ignorant hatred. Actions have consequences, and until we start holding people accountable for theirs, we are signaling that this is okay, that this is normal. It's far from okay or normal. It's disgusting and deplorable. 

Silence in the wake of hate at best condones the hate, and at worst participates in it. If it's my business, I choose not to stay silent.

Here's what I read/listened to this past week that you should also read/listen to:

Friday, October 28, 2022

WIRTW #648: the “Red October” edition

All of my earliest sports memories involve the 1980 Phillies. 

Mike Schmidt's towering home runs. 

Steve Carlton's unhittable sliders. 

Bake McBride's hair. Pete Rose taking out Bruce Bochy at home plate. 

Tug McGraw leaping off the mound after striking out Willie Wilson and sealing the Game 6 victory against the Royals. (It was the first World Series win for one of baseball's oldest franchises, ending its 97-year title drought, and is the defining sports moment of my childhood).

I'll be the first to admit that I've fallen off the Phillies train since their last playoff run ended in 2011. It's a combination of living in Cleveland for nearly 30 years combined with a decade of mediocrity. 

Well, I'm back, baby! I've had an eye on the Phillies all season long, but with this month's dominant playoff run, capped off by Bryce's Bedlam at the Bank, I am all in for the Fightin' Phils!!!

If you're still on the fence of who to root for in the World Series, here are 8 reasons the Phillies should (must) be your pick over the Astros (one for each of the Phillies' 8 NL pennants).

  1. Philly is the underdog. 87 wins and the last team in vs. 106 wins and the best team in the American League. We're Rocky against Houston's Apollo Creed. Who roots for Creed to win?!

  2. No Philly = no baseball. Philadelphia is the cradle of our nation. Without Philly, there's no America. And if there's no America there's no need for America's pastime. 

  3. The Philly Phanatic is the best mascot in all of sports. No debate. Case closed. (Sorry, Gritty.)

  4. The Astros win too much. This is their 4th World Series in the past 6 years. It's time for someone (anyone) new. Why not us?

  5. The Astros are a bunch of stinkin' cheaters. They cheated their way into winning the 2017 World Series and suffered no real consequences. Their bill is way past due, and the Phillies have come to collect.

  6. This Phillies team is what sports is all about. No prima donnas, just blue-collar attitudes and hard work until the last out. This team never quits and is crazy fun to watch.

  7. Cheesesteaks > tamales.

  8. Ted Cruz is an Astros fan. 'Nuff said.
Go Phillies!!!

Here's what I read this past week that you should read, too.

Friday, October 21, 2022

WIRTW #647: the “paying my debts” edition

You'd think I'd know better. 
  • A payroll $182 million higher.
  • 7 more regular season wins with run differential 176 points higher. 
  • An MLB-leading 254 home runs vs. a near worst 127.
  • Home field advantage in short five-game series.
  • Aaron Judge.
Yet, I couldn't resist the allure of an ALDS bet with my friend (and dyed in the wool Yankees fan) Dan Schwartz on the outcome of the Guardians/Yankees ALDS series. The stakes? The loser must write a blog post heaping praise upon on the other team.

I lost, so here it goes.

Experience matters. This holds true in sports as it does in litigation. 

The average age of the Yankees rosters is 30.12 years, the oldest in the American League. The Guardians? 26.42 years, the youngest in all of baseball. This is the Yankees sixth consecutive year in the playoffs. The last time the Guardians made the playoffs they were called the Indians. They haven't won a playoff series since 2016, and the only person on their current roster to play in that World Series was Jose Ramirez. The Guardians young nucleus will continue to win for a few more years until such time as they cannot afford to resign their very young and exciting nucleus of Steven Kwan (25), Andres Gimenez (24), Oscar Gonzalez (24), Triston McKenzie (25), or Emmanuel Clase (24). Heck, even former Cy Young winner Shane Bieber is only 27.

Litigation is no different. Yes, the lawyers with less experience can win a case. In fact, they often do. They can work harder and smarter. Facts are facts and law is law, and no matter how seasoned you are, it's hard to escape bad facts and contrary law. Heck, in the first case I ever tried (and won) to a jury I was a fifth-year lawyer who never had done an opening or closing in a courtroom, and my opposing counsel was a member of the 50-year club. Having more experience doesn't equate to win rate. But it also doesn't hurt. And sometimes, the side with "more" wins. Experience matters. In a close enough case, it can be the difference. 

So, congrats to the Yankees (and, by extension, Dan). We'll see you again next season, where a healthy Jose Ramirez and a team with a year of postseason experience under its belt will bring about a very different result.

Here's what I read and listened to this past week that I think you should also be reading and listening to.

Friday, October 14, 2022

WIRTW #646: the “conceptualized” edition

A "concept album" is an album that tells a story through a single instrumental, compositional, or lyrical narrative or theme. The songs bind together through that theme and hold a larger purpose or meaning collectively than individually.

Debates rage over what album qualifies as the "first" concept album. You can make an argument for Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small HoursPet Sounds by the Beach Boys, or The Mothers of Invention's Freak Out!. Conventional wisdom, however, gives that title to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the 1967 masterwork by The Beatles, in which the band assumed the alter ego of the titular band.

Rolling Stone just released its list of the 50 greatest concept albums of all time. I've always loved concept albums. The storytelling. The themes. The idea of the sum of the whole being greater that its individual parts. I have great memories of sneaking off to the woods during my summer at overnight camp to listen to a bootleg cassette of The Wall front to back, over and over and over. The Who's Tommy and Quadrophenia were my entrée into my lifelong love of that band. I would spend hours reading the liner notes of my Lamb Lies Down on Broadway CD to try to understand Peter Gabriel's bizarre story. 

Anyhow, borrowing Rolling Stone's idea, here's my list of my top 11 concept albums, ranked not by greatness, impact, or importance (they all fit that bill), but in order of which I'd choose to listen to, front to back, over and over and over.
  1. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  2. Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  3. Curtis Mayfield – Super Fly
  4. The Who — Quadrophenia and Tommy (I couldn't pick just one)
  5. The Kinks – The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  6. Pink Floyd – The Wall
  7. Green Day – American Idiot
  8. Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville
  9. Marvin Gaye – What's Going On
  10. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should read, too.

Friday, October 7, 2022

WIRTW #645: the “coach” edition

Do you have a side hustle? I now do, albeit an unpaid one. I just started my gig as a volunteer legal advisor for my daughter's high school mock trial team.

This year's case is fascinating. It's a suppression hearing over the issue of whether a student should have been Mirandized prior to being questioned by a school administration and a school resource officer. For the record, the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education's production values are off the chain.

I'm not a criminal attorney, and I've handled exactly one criminal case in my career (which I won at trial). In fact, nearly everything I know about criminal procedure I learned from a law school class I took 27 years ago plus my Law & Order addiction. That said, trial skills are trial skills, and I'm looking forward to using mine to help Lake Ridge Academy's team return to states for the 2nd consecutive year (and the 17th time overall).

While I'm on the topic of my daughter, please do she and I a solid and check out the latest episode of The Norah and Dad Show, now streaming everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon, Overcast, Stitcher, and on the web.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should read, too.

Friday, September 30, 2022

WIRTW #644: the “whitewater” edition

"What's the first film you remember seeing?"

That’s the lead off question on each episode of Films to be Buried With — Brett Goldstein's (aka Ted Lasso's Roy Kent) podcast. Each episode is a long form interview of a celebrity in which they their life story through films. It's a podcast worth celebrating this International Podcast Day and all other 364 days of the year.

The first movie I remember seeing is Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, a 1977 Peanuts film in which the gang goes to summer camp and takes on a group of bullies in the annual river raft race.

I saw this film at the Woodhaven Mall with Uncle Ron and Aunt Rita … who were most definitely not my uncle and aunt. In fact, I had never met them before that day. I was four years old, and they ran a bus that took groups of kids to the movies during the summer. My parents paid to put their terrified four-year-old on a bus with two strangers to see a movie. I don't remember a thing about that film other than being completely freaked out on that bus and by the entire experience. In fact, it's the scariest movie I've ever seen about a river rafting trip. Thanks, Mom and Dad. 😞

What's the first film you remember seeing? Did it involve two strange adults picking you up at your house on a bus? Or was it an experience as memorable yet less creepy?

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, September 23, 2022

WIRTW #643: the “til I hear it from you” edition

It's been a busy week, both in the practice of law and in the recording of some podcasts for your listening pleasure.

As for the other half of The Norah and Dad Show, you can see her perform tonight at Baxter's Speakeasy in Akron and next Friday, Sept. 30, at The Olde Wine Cellar in Olmsted Falls. Both shows are free, although Baxter's has a one-drink minimum, and The Olde Wine Cellar would prefer if you buy a bottle of wine and a flatbread to consume while you enjoy the music.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, September 16, 2022

WIRTW #642: the “get off our backs” edition

Can you please get off our backs? By "our," I mean management-side labor lawyers. 

Let me explain.

I just finished listening to the latest episode of the 43-15 Podcast discussing the first group of Petco employees to attempt to organize into a labor union. The hosts were all over the "union busting lawyer" Petco hired to represent it and challenge the employees' organizing. His major sin: "Counseling many companies on labor strategy, union avoidance, and responding to union backed corporate campaigns." Heavens to Betsy, a lawyer doing … wait for it … his job.

Like any other attorney, management-side labor lawyers have a job to do and an ethical obligation to represent their clients zealously. Union organizing and recognition is a decided in an election, in which a majority of employees need to choose to unionize. What are employers supposed to do, roll over and let the union walk in unimpeded? As their lawyers we are simply playing our roll in this process. That's all. Is it adversarial? Sure. Does it sometimes get heated? Of course. But management is entitled to be represented just as do the employees seeking to unionize.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. That's all I'm saying.

Here's what I read and listened to this past week that I think you should be reading and listening to, too.

Friday, September 9, 2022

WIRTW #641: the “slim shady” edition

Guess who's back, back again…

After a semi-intentional summer break, The Norah and Dad Show — the podcast I host and produce along with my 16-year-old daughter — is back for Season 2. You find us everywhere podcasts are available, including Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, AmazonStitcher, and via our website. If you're new to the show, please make sure you go back and check out all of Season 1.

While I'm talking about Norah, she has some gigs coming up over the next several weeks: this Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Berea Arts Festival (from 2–3p); Sept. 23 at Baxter's Speakeasy in Akron supporting Chanilla and Sad Harris (8p); and September 30 at The Olde Wine Cellar (starting at 6p). All shows are free, although Baxter's does have a one-drink minimum. Please stop and say hello. 

Here's what I read and listened to this past week that I think you should be reading and hearing, too.

Friday, September 2, 2022

WIRTW #640: the “Wickens Workshop” edition

When you take over a practice group and are tasked with building it, you naturally have to think of ways to market and grow it. Presenting semi-regular seminars for clients, prospective clients, and referral sources was low hanging fruit. I can talk about employment law all day long. Just give me a topic, a microphone, and an audience, wind me up, and let me go to work. Thankfully, my cohorts in our Employment & Labor Practice Group feel the same way. 

Thus, Wickens Workshops were born. (Full credit to Matt Danese for the alliterative branding.) Our next event, discussing employee leave of absence issues, will take place on Oct. 20 from 8–10 am.

While imitation is always the sincerest form of flattery, sharing this idea with my co-workers is hardly imitation. It's just smart business. Thus, the Wickens Workshops branding has expanded to include our Business Restructuring & Bankruptcy and Intellectual Property practice groups, which will hold events on the mornings of Nov. 15 and Jan. 18, 2023, respectively. We now have a full-blown series of panel discussions covering a variety of legal areas and topics. 

I hope you can join us. Stay tuned for registration information for each of these events.

Also, if you'd like to hear me speak before our Oct. 20th Workshop, tune in to Lunch Conversations with Randy & Teddy on Wednesday, Sept. 7, from noon to 1 pm, when I'll be discussing all things labor and employment law.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, August 26, 2022

WIRTW #639: the “Gr8” edition

How does your organization help build collegiality among employees?

At my kids' school they do it in the Lower and Middle School with Family Groups, and in the Upper School with Houses (just like in Harry Potter, complete with a year-long House Cup competition). 

Each Family Group or House is comprised of a cross-grade mix of students. The goal is to build school spirit, classmate and faculty camaraderie, and student leadership skills.

One of the Middle School's best traditions is Community Building Days, two days of non-academic activities shortly after the start of the school year to help everyone get to know one another better. It always takes place on the Thursday and Friday of the second week of school (yesterday and today), and the entire Middle School sleeps over at school on Thursday night.

One additional rite of passage for the middle schoolers is what's known as "Gr8 Night." They sleep over at school for one additional night, the Wednesday night leading into Community Building Days, to further build their leadership skills and to decorate the Middle School in preparation for the arrival of the 6th and 7th graders the next day.

Yesterday morning, the 8th graders welcomed everyone driving onto campus (that's Donovan, in yellow on the left). He looked excited and happy, (relatively) well rested, and ready to tackle what the faculty has to throw at him over the next two days. I can't wait to hear all about it.

Employers, what are you doing to help build camaraderie and collegiality among your employees? The past two and a half pandemic years have been rough on workplace morale and teamwork. I'm curious to learn what you're doing to help bring back some of the sense of "team" that the pandemic and remote work stole from us? Drop a note in the comments below and I'll share some the best or more interesting ideas in a future post.

Here's what I read and listened to this past week that I think you should be reading and hearing, too.

Friday, August 19, 2022

WIRTW #638: the “DriveThru” edition

Episode 2 of Labor Relatedly, my new podcast endeavor with Mike VanDervort is live everywhere you listen to podcasts. In this episode we discuss the controversy surrounding the Deshaun Watson arbitration ruling, Chipotle writing a $20 million dollar check to settle a wage and hour case in New York, how the Duty of Fair Representation impacts the relationship between unions and employers, and what some common-sense labor law reform might look like.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, August 12, 2022

WIRTW #637: the “down on the farm” edition

I grew up in Philadelphia and attended City of Philadelphia public schools. My high school had 4,500 students and was surrounded by barbed wire fencing. In a lot of ways, it felt more like a prison than a school.

My kids attend cushy suburban private school. It's a luxury that I'm happy to be able to provide to them. They have a wooded 93-acre campus to explore, small class sizes, a unique curriculum not tied to state-mandated requirements, and now an actual farm that doubles as an outdoor experiential classroom. As far as I know it's the only such outdoor space in NE Ohio. 

Dubbed "Aspiration Acres," Lake Ridge Academy dedicated this new addition to our campus earlier this week. It has gardens, a silo, a barn, and a chicken coop with live chickens. Later this year the school will dedicate our new outdoor woodland all-purpose trail, complete with parkour obstacles and a sugar shack that will provide a permanent home for the 2nd the 5th graders' annual maple sugaring. 

For more information, I encourage you to visit

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, August 5, 2022

WIRTW #636: the “what the heck” edition

Another week, another podcast appearance. This week you can catch me on What the Heck is Happening in HR, discussing all things employee handbooks.

Here's what I read this past week that I think you should be reading, too.

Friday, July 29, 2022

WIRTW #635: the “larp” edition

Every now and again a story is so bizarre it's worth taking a minute to pause, reflect, and marvel. 

Let me introduce you to the 4th of July Larp, a group based out of Poland that spends its free time role-playing their view of 2022 America. It's … well, it's a thing. You'll have to check it out for yourselves to fully appreciate what's going on here. I'll leave it to you to judge how accurately they peg the current state of our country.

I do, however, have one bone to pick. And it's a big one. What's with the Cleveland Browns jersey? I think the Dallas Cowboys would be a much better representation of 'Murica than my hometown Browns.

Here's what I read this week that I think you should read, too.

Friday, July 22, 2022

WIRTW #634: the “%@$&*!” edition

Vacation 💑
I love trivia, even if it doesn't always love me back.

For example, in 1993 my collegiate trivia bowl team lost in the university finals. (For the record, I've always been more than suspicious of the fact that the winning team were fraternity brothers with the quiz master and knew the answer to nearly every question almost too quickly.)

In November 1999, I lacked the fastest fingers on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. ("Where's the proof," you ask? Here you go.)

Thus, when my niece asked if we wanted to do trivia night at a local winery during our visit last week, my answer was a resounding, "Yes!" (For the record, she had me at winery; trivia just provided the exclamation point.)

What's better than trivia night at a winery? Barnstorming into town and winning trivia night at a winery … which is exactly what we did. Correctly answering 16 out of 21 questions earned us a three-way tie for first place, which we broke by naming all seven dwarfs the quickest. 

Of the five questions we answered incorrectly, one stuck with me as the most interesting and obscure. So today I'm sharing it with you.
What is the word for a string of typographical symbols (such as %@$&*!) used in place of an obscenity, especially in comic strips?

Take your best guess in comments, and I'll provide the correct answer on Monday. No Googling!

Here's what I read and listened to this week and last week that I think you should be reading and listening to, too.