Stupid Tuesday questions, Stevie Wonder edition

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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26 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    I am entirely without superstition. My belief in the short direct examination is nothing more than proven scientific, legal fact.

    • Burt Likko in reply to LeeEsq says:

      It also minimizes risk. Your witness may spontaneously decide to get a few things off her chest while she has the opportunity above and beyond the scope of your questions.

      You may be without superstition, @leeesq, but that’s not the same thing as being without caution.

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        “So I tied an onion to my belt. Which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em.”

      • LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I go against government lawyers and hearings in immigartion courts are part endurance tests anyway. I don’t want to tire my client out in case the government lawyer decides to do a long cross and some of my clients have been subjected to long and pointless cross-examinations.

  2. Kazzy says:

    Now, I’m not as bad as some people (like my friend who spent half a game on a toilet because his team scored a touchdown during a bathroom break), but I did one time admonish Julie for waking up and rolling over 4 runs into a 5 run rally that subsequently fell short. And should we ever be watching a game together and you notice my hat curiously assuming different positions on my head, just know that I am trying to dial in the winning frequency.

    I realize it is all about attempting to control the uncontrollable, but what am I supposed to do? NOT try to control things?!?!

    • Russell Saunders in reply to Kazzy says:

      I am given to understand that there is a whole world of sports superstitions.

      And I can think of few things I’d enjoy more than watching a game with you.

      • Kazzy in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        I’m confident we’ll make that happen in good time.

        The athletes themselves tend to be the most superstitious. Wade Boggs supposedly ate chicken before every game. It is rumored that the Yankees shared a particular leopard print thong (I believe belonging to Jason Giambi) as a sort of slump breaker. There are elaborate choreographed routines batters take before each pitch, many of them bordering on the absurd (Nomar Garciaparra). Most basketball players have a foul shot ritual. Baseball players won’t step on the foul line, sometimes making exaggerated leaps over it just to be safe. No one will talk to a pitcher in the midst of a no hitter or perfect game, and many announcers and fans will avoid saying either term.

        I don’t really have any when it comes to my profession. I have routines, but not superstitions. We’ll joke about not calling it a good day until it’s over, but I don’t know anyone that actually abides by the practice.

      • Kim in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        Oh, god, you should have seen Wade Boggs pitching! 😉

  3. Burt Likko says:

    I will not discuss a case with my client in an elevator. Even in a tall office tower, and even when we are (apparently) all alone, from the moment we walk in to an elevator well to the moment we walk out of an elevator well, I impose a rule of incommunicado as sacred as that which prevails in a men’s room.

    • Vikram Bath in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I have to test this if/when we ever meet (presuming I remember). I apologize in advance, but the demands of curiosity require it.

      • Burt Likko in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        I relax the superstition somewhat outside of professional environments but IIRC a few participants at Leaguefest thought I grew strangely sullen in elevators until I explained my idiosyncrasy so I must have been observing it even in Las Vegas and even with a non-trivial amount of gin inside of me.

  4. Reformed Republican says:

    I do not have any superstitions. I also do not really follow any sports. Perhaps there is a connection?

    I even tend to admonish my son when he talks about someone being lucky, though that has as much with wanting to teach him to take responsibility for his own fate as it does my opinion on superstition.

    • Kazzy in reply to Reformed Republican says:

      I think it depends on how we define luck. There is only so much one can control. That which is out of our control can be described as luck, chance, randomness… a number of things. Each of those have multiple definitions depending on the context. I remember reading an intense online debate between baseball statisticians about the use of the word “random” and whether it was being applied appropriately given its mathematical definition. It very quickly went way over my head, but I imagine it is the sort of thing Mr. Schilling might have enjoyed.

  5. Glyph says:

    I am not superstitious at all*, but my wife is. In fact, one reason she’s with me, is that she claims I am “lucky” where she is not. She says I am like Seinfeld (“even Steven”) and everything just works out for me.

    *That said, I never wanted to mess around with Ouija boards and the like. Sure, it’s all BS…but if by some vanishing chance it’s not, do I really want to be drawing the attention of unknowable trans-dimensional beings that are powerful enough to broach this reality, with possibly malevolent intent? My momma didn’t raise no dummies. 😉

    • Burt Likko in reply to Glyph says:

      One-half of all people who play with a Ouija board believe that the things work as advertised.

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Is this an actual factoid, or is it the setup to a joke (“…the other half have been sucked down through a Native American burial ground and INTO THE GAPING MAW OF HELL!”)?

      • Reformed Republican in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I think the other half are the ones pushing the pointer to spell out messages.

      • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I wasn’t allowed to watch The A-Team for a month because of the episode where Murdoch was using a Ouija board.

        I’ve resented the hell out of them ever since.

        Not that that was on topic or anything.

      • NewDealer in reply to Burt Likko says:


        Stories like yours always surprise me. Are Christians so weak in their faith that they think HP and some fictional portraits of magic are going to turn people into Heathens and Pagans?

      • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

        By the time that Harry Potter came out, I was allowed to read him.

        I think it’s more just “I don’t want you emulating people like that!” The boat has to be in the water but the water shouldn’t be in the boat, etc.

        (For what it’s worth, there’s a current issue with whether you should see Orson Scott Card. I put that in the same kind of category.)

      • Cascadian in reply to Burt Likko says:

        My parents are fundies so Harry Potter, LTR, anything that even has a reference to Hades or include any kind of goblin are the direct works of the devil.

      • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Yes, certainly it is only Christianity which has sects which are so Orthodox in their belief systems as to concern themselves with trivial things that the rest of us see no issues with…

        …hang on. My BLT is ready.

  6. Cascadian says:

    I’m not superstitious. I’m a realist. Never start a climb on Friday the 13th or new moon. Never speak badly about a mountain that one is about to play on. If you want it to rain, all that is required is to go for a hike on a blue bird day without bringing a shell. If you want sun, leave your shades at home.

  7. NewDealer says:


    Many Jews no longer keep kosher.

    There is a debate that the rules for Kosher developed as healthy measures to avoid various problems associated with foods but were unknown because ancient cultures lacked the science to discover why pork sometimes made people very sick with worms:

    There are others who think it was a sign of tribal identity

    • Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

      Sure, and many Christians don’t have an issue with Harry Potter etc. Expressing disbelief that certain sects of Christianity frown upon the positive fictional portrayal of necromancy/magic (which, if I am not mistaken, is prohibited OT-style, so it wouldn’t surprise me to find that there are non-Harry-Potter-friendly Orthodox Jews too) comes across as unintentionally condescending.

      Try this on for size: “Are Jews so weak in their faith that they can’t enjoy a delicious ham sandwich?” To which you’d quite reasonably respond, many Jews don’t keep kosher – and you don’t consider those that do keep kosher, “weak in their faith” – rather, they are following the strictures of their faith as they understand it, no matter how ridiculous it seems to us.

    • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

      The Jewish rules for cleanliness were developed by the Egyptians, by and large.