I went to Madison for the weekend to visit a college friend being treated as an outpatient at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. Madison is a four-hour drive from St. Paul. I have a few personal notes on the weekend.

• Coming from the Twin Cities, I was struck by how immaculate Madison is and the how much new commercial construction is taking place in town.

• Driving to Madison brought back memories of my first and only previous trip there — on business in 1994 or 1995 to argue a case in the Wisconsin Supreme Court for one of John Hinderaker’s corporate clients. The company sought John’s help on appeal of a criminal conviction involving a construction accident in Waukesha County. The case raised an interesting issue of statutory construction. Are corporations subject to liability under Wisconsin’s homicide statutes? We argued that the language of the Wisconsin homicide statutes applied only to human beings and precluded corporate liability.

• I first argued the case before a panel of three Wisconsin Court of Appeals judges sitting at Marquette University’s law school in Milwaukee. Seeing it as an important and difficult case, the court sent it up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to wrestle with it.Like Bartleby, the Court of Appeals preferred not to — not to decide it. It could foresee the headlines: Court rules corporations can get away with murder!

• Next stop, the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Madison. Unfortunately for us, one of the seven justices I believed would be favorable to our position recused himself when our case was called. The Wisconsin Supreme Court split 3-3 on the issue after it heard the case and sent it back down to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to decide it. It ruled against us 2-1 in July 1995. The dissent had the better analysis of the statutory language. When the court could not choose the Bartleby option, it chose to avoid the headline above.

• From St. Paul it is about 20 miles to the Wisconsin border. Once in Wisconsin, continuing east on Highway 94, I could not believe how many dead deer littered the side of the road. Driving west as I headed home on Highway 94 yesterday morning, I found it it was no better on the other side of the road. Back home I found the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s note on car-killed deer: 19,000 a year. Okay, but can you clear them off the side of the road?

• I had a good time with my friend featuring two dinners at Lombardino’s. It is my idea of a great restaurant. And someone in the ownership has a good sense of humor. I snapped the photo below outside the restaurant on Saturday evening. Quotable quote: “Not to have eaten at Lombardino’s is almost saying you’ve never eaten in heaven.”

• We had a good time talking. Among other things, we talked about favorite books and movies. My friend recommends James Hornfischer’s accounts of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II. In Hornfischer’s trilogy his favorite is The Fleet At Flood Tide (the third), although he loves all three.

• Coming and going I listened to two fantastic shows on Sirius XM. On the way to Madison I happened on to Chris Jones’s Truegrass show on the Bluegrass channel. The episode was devoted to Tony Rice. On the way home I happened on to Dwight Yoakam’s Greater Bakersfield show with Jackie DeShannon on Yoakam’s Bakersfield Beat channel. Both shows made the time fly.

• I had forgotten that I bought fantastic seats to see David Sanborn at the Dakota on Saturday night. We swapped them out for two tickets to last night’s show. I have appreciated Sanborn’s work on alto sax since his days in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band on In My Own Dream and The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshow. Now he is fronting a quintet with Dean Brown on guitar, Andre Berry on bass, Billy Kilson on drums, and Andy Ezrin on keyboards. Dealing with post-polio syndrome, his beautiful wife, Alice Soyer, helped him to the stage and stuck around to contribute to the vocals on the opening number — Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star.” So, so beautiful.

• Sitting at the table next to us on the Dakota balcony, former Prince sax man Eric Leeds joined the quintet for the encore — the Marcus Miller/David Sanborn composition “Run For Cover.” A showcase for Berry, it sounded something like this. I left with the transcendent feeling that John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra used to give me.

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