Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Maisonette partner sings for supper




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        Sometimes you just gotta ask: What the heck was Maisonette managing partner Nat Comisar doing in Dallas last weekend, singing and playing guitar with the likes of Stevie Winwood (Spencer Davis Group, Traffic), and Richie Furay (Poco)?

        Working the benefit circuit, that's what.

        Turns out they have this gala similar to Cincinnati's Gourmet Sensation, where star chefs whip up their specialties for a giant graze-a-thon.

        The difference in Dallas is that the chefs are also musicians, so when they aren't whisking, they're playing in a band they call The Barbwires. The band is led by a couple of pros, Winwood and Furay, to keep the chefs in line.

        Comisar's participation came about because of his friendship with gala chair Dean Fearing. Fearing is the chef who replaced Comisar when he left the Maisonette kitchen in 1978. Nowadays, Fearing is the chef at Dallas' Mansion on Turtle Creek, site of said gala.

        “He heard me on Thursdays on Gary Burbank's show when I do Stump the Band with the Goshorn Brothers. I sing, but the Goshorns do the music.

        “Anyway, Dean called and said Richie needed someone to play guitar and sing the high end. I can sing like nobody's business, but I laid the guitar down 19 years ago. Of course I didn't tell him that, or that it's the Goshorns playing on the show.”

        So Comisar rushed out and learned the music, then flew out last Thursday for two nights of rehearsal and the Saturday performance with the band — 10 players, but only five or six playing together at a time.

        Reviews? The jury's out but Scottish Rite Children's Hospital, the gala beneficiary, didn't complain.

        Gibberish police: Well here's a new idea: Lawyers writing in English. So the rest of us can understand what on earth they're talking about.

        Indeed, says Ohio First District Court of Appeals Judge Mark Painter, who sat himself down and wrote The Legal Writer (Jarndyce & Jarndyce Press; $19.95) as a way of dealing with the problem.

        “My job is to read what lawyers write, and I can tell you, most are terrible writers. It's a self-perpetuating problem — in law school they read cases by old dead judges who weren't very good writers, and it goes on and on.”

        Legal Writer is subtitled “30 Rules for the Art of Legal Writing,” but most of them aren't all that specific to law. Most work for anyone trying to spiff up their style.

        Rules like Chapter 4, “State the Facts Succinctly;” “Chapter 8, Write Short Paragraphs;” Chapter 15, “Edit, Edit, Edit.”

        And our favorite, Chapter 16, Write Short Sentences, where he goes on to quote a few whoppers, including a 288-word job that rambles over two pages. Fun, if you don't have to try to follow it.

        This is Painter's second book. His first, Ohio Driving Under the Influence Law is in its 11th edition.

        Oh yeah, he'll be meeting, greeting and signing the book at 7 p.m. Thursday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Rookwood Pavilion, Norwood.

        E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/knip

       



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