Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

June 26, 2009 11:55 AM

This and That

All I Need To Know About David Souter

In 1990, I had the privilege of being part of the team that prepared Supreme Court Justice David Souter for his confirmation hearing.

In my view, he has been a supurb Justice, and has been surprising many with the tenor of his decisions.

At the end of the Senate hearing the entire team had dinner with Souter. Other than briefly visiting the Court one day, I did not really see the Justice again for nearly 20 years, until November, 2007.

As I sat in my living room surrounded by dear friends, either the night that Carol died or the night after, one of my friends came in to say that there was a well-dressed man in the front hall and it looked like Justice Souter.

I went out to the hall and greeted Justice Souter. He joined me for a while in the living room. I don't remember what he said, but I remember that it made me feel good.

That is all I need to know about David Souter.

This "Word Quiz" item from Al Oehrle, lawyer, pianist, bandleader, friend.

The word "startling" can be reduced, letter by letter by letter to form 8 increasingly shorter words ending with "i."

Try it. You can find the answer at the end of This and That.


I have become a daily reader of Gretchen Rubin's blog, "The Happiness Project." I recommend it to you. You can find it and sign-up for daily emails at www.happiness-project.com.

I am told (not confirmed) that Freud said,

"There are two main goals in life - To Love and To Work.

“Some who also work with the mind have added a third goal - To Play.

“Said another way -- A good life, a happy life, will happen if a person can

"Experience love, Enjoy work, and Engage in play.”

On Turning 70

As your editor turned 70, the following arrived from a "friend."

Perks of reaching 70 years of age or more

  1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you
  2. In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first
  3. No one expects you to run -- anywhere
  4. People call at 9PM and ask, did I wake you?
  5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac
  6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way
  7. Things you buy now won't wear out
  8. You can eat supper at 4 PM
  9. You can live without sex, but not your glasses.
  10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans
  11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge
  12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.
  13. You sing along with elevator music
  14. Your eyes won't get much worse
  15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off
  16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the National Weather Service
  17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either
  18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size
  19. You can't remember who sent you this list

In 1999, Peter Hart Research conducted a ground breaking survey of some 2000 adults, followed a decade later (2009), by a survey on the same subject of some 3000 adults.

The subject of the survey -- Michael S. Berman, your editor.

1999 --16% of American adults, 32,147,117 people, knew me and had an opinion about me.

  • 7,890,656 had positive feelings about me
  • 18% of respondents had negative feelings about me
2009 -- 28% of American adults, 61,082,000 people, know me and have an opinion about me.

  • 12,020,065 have positive feelings about me
  • only 5% have negative feelings about me
In both surveys, 52% of women and 48% of men had positive feelings about me.

[Note: My Google Alert has revealed that there are a number of Michael Bermans, and at least one more Michael S. Berman. So it is possible that some of those who claim to know me actually know one of the other Michael Bermans.]

Questions to be considered in quiet moments.

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby," when babies wake up every two hours?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Answer to word quiz:


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