First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

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Tracee Hamilton
Tuesday, January 25, 2011; 9:30 AM

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

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Kansas Day Week: Ugly win for the 'Cats last night - but I'll take it. I'm not looking forward to Saturday at all - I think KU will win by at least 25.OK - the answer to yesterday's trivia question: Which Harlem Globetrotter played for the Jayhawks while you went to school there? Why, Lynnette Woodard, of course! One of the most dominant players I've ever seen in any sport at any level. I'm a litte surprised you didn't get that - i guess you were a little tired from the weekend travelling.OK - here's an easy one: Which Montgomery County High School is named after a native Kansan?Happy sesquicentennial! - K-Stater

Tracee Hamilton: Oh, that's a gimme putt, but I'll take it: Walter Johnson High. KU friend Darren emailed me after the chat to tell me it was Lynette. Should have gotten that. Lynette was something else.And good morning, everyone! I've got to run to Kettler this morning so let's get started!

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Caleb Hanie: We were at a preseason Bears game a couple of years ago, and Hanie came in for the end of the game and threw a touchdown pass. An elderly lady tapped me on the shoulder and said "The quarterback that just threw the touchdown pass? That's my grandson." She was so incredibly proud of him, and I've been rooting for him ever since. That said, it was a very sad walk home yesterday....

Tracee Hamilton: Seems like a nice kid. Spiky hair and big dimples. Looked like he knew what he was doing on the field and handled things well off the field.

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Should I call him "your excellency?": Hi Tracee! I'm a provider in a hospital, and there's hushed talk of the hospital administrator possibly coming by to say hello to everyone today. There seems to be disoproportionate anticipation, but the anticipation is kind of laced with fear at the propect of this event. Should the administrator grace us with his presence, should I say, "Hi, your excellency!"? This could break the tension. Or it could potentially backfire. What's your take?

Tracee Hamilton: Greet him with a huge "Duuuuuuude!"I don't know, is that really such a rare event? What a shame. I don't know what our equivalent would be, but Don Graham is all over the building all the time and knows the name of every employee -- not in the newsroom, in all departments. It's amazing. We're very lucky, I believe.

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5 hour energy drink: Who drinks this, you or Boz?

Tracee Hamilton: Oh, Boz. He pulled one out at the luggage carousel upon our arrival in Beijing and I thought, "this is going to be a long month!" We still tease him about it.

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Cutler: I was pretty sure he was injured or would not be standing on the sidelines. He must have an amazing personality, as reports all say his teammates back him completely even though when they win, they usually do so despite him rather than because of him.

Tracee Hamilton: If he were dogging it, Urlacher would have said so after the game. He had a head of steam and he's Urlacher -- he pretty much says what he thinks. He was vociferous in his defense of Cutler. Not one Bear has shoved him under the bus, and this, as you said, is despite the fact that he's not apparently very likeable. That says something...

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Cornelison: He's been the Hawks singer for several years now, and he is awesome. The cheering through the anthem is a Hawks thing - started at the old Chicago Stadium. Never heard it there (but understand it was something to behold), but at the UC, it is quite loud, bordering on deafening. The serviceman who won the Medal of Honor recently was honored one night, and pronounced it "great" and "truly incredible." It really is something special in the worlds of sports and country.PS - Can I be Hawks/Bears Fan from now on?

Tracee Hamilton: You can be a fan of whoever you want! No matter anyone's feelings about Cutler, no one denies that that's a great sports town. And a great town in general.

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Cat greetings: Like your cats, my cats also have always greeted me when I come in the door, and most have followed me around like a shadow while I'm home. As for being aloof, the big orange tabby I have now wants to cuddle every human who comes near him. Love your comment that your cats are like dogs you don't have to let out 10 times a day. What I say is that I truly love both cats and dogs, but when it's 35 degrees outside and raining, the litterbox looks a lot better than the leash.

Tracee Hamilton: Exactly. Someday I will have a dog, in a place where I can have a doggie door and have time to clean up after him. But I'll still have cats as well.

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Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl: Who would watch? The Pro Bowl would be "deleted scenes". Also, quarterbacks should be untouchable. Losing a quarterback is losing your general - you might as well fold up your tent and head home. However, I was secretly hoping that Rex Ryan would put a $1000 bounty on Roethlisberger's name tag for any player who brought it back to the bench.

Tracee Hamilton: I never watched when it was after and I won't watch now. Sunday night -- SAG awards. :)

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Chat Prowess: I participate in a number of different WaPo chats and Q&A events and you are, by far, the most responsive host. You need to give a class to your fellow journalists on how to run an effective and efficient chat. Some take FOREVER to answer questions and at the end of an hour there are only a handful of responses. Others don't start on time and yet others leave without a proper close out. So please coach 'em up over there at the Post!

Tracee Hamilton: Well, thanks! I appreciate that. There are so few chats now that it wouldn't take me long to "coach 'em up!"

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Jay Cutler: There seems to be some controversy out there about Cutler leaving the game on Sunday and the comments about his departure. It could be that Cutler was hurt - I assuming he was. But perception is everything. And Cutler has come across many times as a self-absorbed cry baby so people are probably less inclined to feel sorry for him. If Brady or P. Manning had been taken out of the game, people would not question their ability. Why? Think about it. What have we seen from those two? Maybe it's unfair that Cutler is getting the raw end of the deal here. Life is unfair. Deal.

Tracee Hamilton: He had a torn MCL. Not as severe as a torn ACL but no picnic. As I said before, when a guy as unpopular as that is defended by everyone one of his teammates, then you know who to believe. Diagnosing injuries from the press box or the living room is a bad, bad idea.The thing is, he has a reputation for whining, but not about injuries. People extrapolated a lot; we don't like him, he's out of the game, therefore he's a crybaby. But as you rightly point out, life's not fair.

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Montgomery Village, MD: Tracee Boz's column this AM about the super Bowl QB's included another subtle message or two besides touting the success and skills of QB's like Ben and Aaron. Boz notes that 3 of the 4 teams that played for teh Conference titles last weekend employed the 3-4 defense with multiple looks and schemes run off of that . Two of those teams are making travel plans for Dallas. Any implications there for a certain local team which has just really begun to implement a similar scheme? Or for one very large, slow , fat defensive player who might have seen that a 337 pound nose tackle can run more that 10 yards without a potty break ?

Tracee Hamilton: I wouldn't hold my breath. If Haslett is staying, the defense won't change. And I'd be real surprised if AH changed, either. He's already made it clear he won't.

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Oops!: Pittsburgh husband must have accidentally flipped the channel to the Pitt game yesterday. Now if we only had someone local we could ban from watching when the Caps and Wizards play. Although in the Wizards case, it may be that we would have to force someone to watch every game since not watching doesn't seem like a huge punishment. Local Pats Fan

Tracee Hamilton: LPF, if not watching would help the Wizards, they'd be atop the standings right now. Oy. And yes, Pittsburgh Husband may be in the Pittsburgh Doghouse. But they had no shot of going unbeaten through the conference season and I'm sure PW knows that.

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Pittsburgh Wife: B-b-b-but he DIDN'T watch last night (sobs into hanky!).

Tracee Hamilton: Well, you had a pretty good weekend; you can't expect to win everything, all the time! Join the rest of us here in Loserville!

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Les Bullets: So they're never going to win a road game all season are they? I'm not a big NBA fan but from what I've seen I'd suspect that the top college teams would be competitive with the Wizards. That is so sad.

Tracee Hamilton: They play in Cleveland on Feb. 13 (I think that's the date). That's their next best chance.

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As a lady, would you appreciate this? Or would it be just, well, silly?: Tracee, I want to do something nice for my wife. So, I'm thinking that the next time we're out walking in a rain storm, I just might hurl my jacket into a mud puddle, and will say, "I shan't allow you besoil yourself, my lady! Cross upon my garment lain before you!" And the would either laugh hysterically, questioning my sanity, or will positively SWOON! Or she could go all Donovan McNabb on me, and take the high road. As a lady, would YOU appreciate such a gesture?

Tracee Hamilton: Not if I had to wash said jacket, or take it to the cleaners. You could go all Officer and a Gentleman on her and carry her over the puddle. Less cleanup. Unless you drop her. If so ... RUN!

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Well, I guess you all feel pretty sheepish now, huh?: What's that? Drew Brees played all season with the same injury? Oh, never mind then.

Tracee Hamilton:

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Kitties: I'm so glad you have them to come home to. I'm retired now, but mine unfailingly met me at the door after work. She's a huge "people cat," which is rare, who thinks everyone who comes to visit has come to see her. Some years ago I was laid up for several weeks and had an unending stream of visitors: the mailman brought my mail inside every day, also wound nurses, IV speciaists, physical therapistskl and of course friends. It was the happiest time of her life as she had no idea of the gravity of the situation. She's geting up there now and I hate the thought of losing her. I know we always feel this way, but based on my pretty strong knowledge of cats, it's going to be almost impossible to replace her. On the other hand, she hates other cats -- will hiss at them thrugh the window. They're all unique and I love them all.

Tracee Hamilton: You said it: They have personalities and quirks just like humans. I hope you have yours for a long time to come.

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Pullen for K-State: You have to be both impressed and disgusted by his refusing to play if they go to the NIT...Isn't a leader supposed to will his team to success, not threaten them?

Tracee Hamilton: Frank Martin has his hands full with this bunch, I'll say that. If I were Pullen, I'd try to make sure the NIT was not a possibility and keep my mouth shut. He may have meant it as a motivator but it comes off wrong.

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Synder getting ready to win the offseason title again: It's almost his time to shine. So do the Skins go for Cutler, Palmer, or a QB in the draft to go along with Asomugha and other valuable free agents?

Tracee Hamilton: I sure hope they don't go for Cutler or Palmer. They'll draft a QB. Beyond that, who can say? The Kremlin was more chatty.

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If you weren't from Kansas. . .: Where would like to be from? I'm from here but think it would be cool to be from NYC or somewhere down south. Both are unique and quirky.

Tracee Hamilton: I could be from Detroit. I really like it there. They are like Kansans who build cars instead of farm.

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Wall/Ovechkin: Switching between the Caps and Wiz Kids last night, I noticed that John Wall and Alex Ovechkin have the same problem. Both get the puck/ball and (charge up ice/court full blast without any regard for what the defense is doing. Both end up committing unnecessary turnovers because of it. I think the two of them need to get together and work this out!

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, although I think Wall is the worse offender of the two. He's 20 and he doesn't have full control of all four limbs simultaneously yet. He's got to learn when to drive and when to pull up.

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Caps and OT: So if the Caps are tied at the end of regulation, they should just forfeit right?

Tracee Hamilton: It sometimes seems that way.

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ROOTING FOR THE STEELERS WITHOUT ROOTING FOR ROETHLISBERGER: I am responding to yesterday's chatter who said he can't stand Roethlisberger. As a lifelong female Steelers fan, I say: I'm with you! I was never crazy about him, and the rape allegation put it over the top for me. But I can still root for the Steelers because 1) I love the Rooneys more than I dislike Roethlisberger; 2) his teammates did not vote him as a captain this year; 3) the team pulled together and went 3-1 without him when there was lots of gloom and doom about the suspension; and 4) there are some exceptional men (Troy Polamalu, Aaron Smith and Charlie Batch to name a few) on that team that are fantastic examples of ability and charitable involvement. Roethlisberger will get a lot of attention since he's the QB, but I want the TEAM to win. The TEAM deserves it.

Tracee Hamilton: I can understand, if you're a Steelers fan, how you have to think of the other 52 guys. It's acceptable, I think.

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Publishers Clearing House: I'm sure we've all seen these adds, win $1 million/year for life. So, having a few extra minutes, I decided to go to www.pch.com and register. It turns out "a few extra minutes" is not nearly enough. While it continually assures you no purchase is needed, you have to scroll through dozens and dozens of pages of special offers. After you've rejected them all, they offer you $5 off all of them, so you have to scroll through and reject them again. Then they say, own't you please reconsider? I'm not sure how many screens in all; I lost count in the 70 's. Then you get daily emails asking you to "reconfirm" your entry, which requires more pages of offers. Then I got one saying, if you don't respond, your entry will be forfeited -- only to learn, many screens later, that I had already entered as many times as possible (one). This morning I gor another "reconfirmation" email that assures me this one will only take 5 minutes to complete. I'm starting to think my chances of winning might be pretty good as I can't imagine too many other idiots are willing to go through this. So now you know.

Tracee Hamilton: I had NO idea. This confirms my decision to ignore these things, at least.

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Cutler getting sacked against the Giants: When I saw Cutler just getting pummeled by the Giants (9 sacks in the first half), all I could think of was Burgess Meredith telling Rocky, "stay down, stay down." Cutler kept getting back up and asking for more. Maybe that's why his teammates support him now.

Tracee Hamilton: That's exactly the case. Apparently he's unpleasant but not from whining about getting hurt. A tough quarterback will be respected by the o-line, because he's not throwing them under the bus by complaining, and by the defense as well. The fact that not one of 52 guys is willing to flame him says something about him.

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You can be a fan of whoever you want!: Several years ago I chose to be a Steelers fan but these days I have a lot of trouble clapping for them. I know that if you had to like everyone on the team you couldn't really be a fan of any team, but I just cannot stomach Big Ben. So I'm now team shopping.

Tracee Hamilton: Some people can do it, some can't. It's perfectly all right.

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More on Cutler: No apologies from any of the so-called expert players, who were obviously jealous of Cutler, about their instant tweats accusing Cutler of dogging it. None at all. I think this says a lot about society: there is no accountabilty. Anyone can say whatever negative thing he or she likes, and will never be called to task for it. So, why not create a whirlwind...and therefore bring yourself media attention...by constantly tweating inflammatory and slanderous statements. The media should be all over this, but of course ESPN doesn't bother.

Tracee Hamilton: This is why I'm leery of what I read on Twitter, and careful with what I post. It's 140 characters of blather, most of the time (including my own). I've seen so many mistakes made this way. The new media is the instant media and what is lost along the way is 1) reporting and in some cases 2) thought. I think you should always think before you type. The angry email, the mean tweet -- stop and think it over.

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I was pretty sure he was injured or would not be standing on the sidelines: He was pouting on the sidelines. That bugged me, injured or not. When I was in 5th grade I pouted on the sideline when I was taken out of a game. Had a talking to by my parents and shaped up after that. You should at least give the appearance of supporting your own team even when you can't play. And I do believe he was injured too.

Tracee Hamilton: Yeah, I'm not a big fan of pouting. My old boss George Solomon used to call it "having a puss." But Hanie said afterward that Cutler was there trying to help him after he went in. And what might look like pouting could just be a guy who was really upset that he got knocked out of the NFC title game. I didn't see it, since I didn't spend a lot of time watching TV, but trying to read someone's mind is like trying to X-ray them with your eyes.

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RE: Should I call him "your excellency?" : When the head cheese administrator of my law firm visits our branch office he expects to be treated like a rock star. It would be so annoying if he didn't also have a sense of humor.

Tracee Hamilton: Good God. I thank my lucky stars for Don Graham.

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Deion Sanders? Really?!: I thought it was quite funny to have Deion Sanders, who never put his shoulder down to tackle ANYONE, would have the nerve to question someones' toughness. How many times did we see Deion get dragged for ten yards as he grabbed a guys jersey and waited for his teammates to bail him out. Great player, but not the guy to be making "toughness" comments.

Tracee Hamilton: I wish I had heard Deion on the LaVar and Dukes show yesterday. I got in my car about the time it ended. You're right, no one ever accused Deion of toughness.

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"Unless you drop her.": If you drop her, you're a dead man. Not because you dropped her, but because she'll interpret your better-be-a-torn-MCL as a comment on her size, even if she's a size 2. Nice knowin' ya, pal.

Tracee Hamilton: Hence my advice: RUN.

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Pro Bowl Post Super Bowl Booster: I actually enjoyed and prefer the PB post SB. It was a final farewell to the NFL season. A last chance to see our favorite players. Another weekend of a sport I care about before the wait for Spring Training.

Tracee Hamilton: I know some folks who never miss it. Hats off to you!

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And the would either laugh hysterically, questioning my sanity, or will positively SWOON! : I would just roll my eyes and step around the puddle, probably.

Tracee Hamilton: I might feel that I had to walk on it after he'd ruined it. But I'd seriously be thinking, "How the hell am I going to get THAT clean? I'll have to hose it off outside to get the worst of the mud and dirt off, then run it through one cycle, then check it and maybe wash it again ..." Seriously, the gesture would be lost on him.

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My cat, as God as my Witness, seemed to say "Stay Tuned" when she meowed: Do your cats appear to make English words when they meow? As a kid, we had a cat (or, more accurately, she ALLOWED us to have her) who appeared to say "stay tuned" as her meow. Bizarre, indeed. What do your cats say?

Tracee Hamilton: That's adorable. My current cats are mute. Almost completely so. One of them has cried once, the night of the trip to the ER and it's how I knew something was wrong. He just SCREAMED. God, that was awful. Otherwise, they are the Harpos of the cat world.

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Now if we only had someone local we could ban from watching when the Caps and Wizards play.: I'll volunteer not to watch the Wizards.

Tracee Hamilton: You're a giver!

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"So I'm now team shopping." : Caveat Emptor. This year's final four featured three teams with alleged sexual assaulters and one who was linked to Paris Hilton (not illegal, but ewww). That's why I only root for college teams, where character matters (ahem). FH

Tracee Hamilton: FH, you had me until the kicker.

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The Puddle: In Shakespeare in Love (a movie I adore), Queen Elizabeth (the magnificent Judi Dench, who won an Oscar for the role) comes to a mud puddle and stops. After a few seconds, several of her courtiers start to unhook their cloaks. She frowns at them, says "Too late," and tramps through the puddle. I LOVED it!

Tracee Hamilton: She's the best. I just saw her in a preview for an upcoming movie; can't remember what it is. Oh, yet another remake of Jane Eyre. Why they are doing that, I don't know, but it looks very gothic and dark. She plays the housekeeper, I guess.

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Post sports live feature: Is this going to be available as a podcast on itunes?

Tracee Hamilton: Good question. I'll ask someone when I'm in tomorrow. I don't know.

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Re Wall/Ovechkin: Wall's biggest problem, actually, as that the players he passes the ball to miss wide open jump shots constantly. I have watched him all season, and that is the problem. Yes, he turns it over. But he also is deft at getting the ball to guys with no players within 5 feet of them. I think the focus needs to be getting better players around Wall than Blatche, Young, Thornton, and the rest of the loser cast. This can't happen until the offseason of course. His turnovers will go away with maturity.

Tracee Hamilton: Oh, his assists are wonderful. No question. Of course he needs a better supporting cast but as you said, that will be awhile down the road.

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Lovable Losers?: I'm finding the whole Wizards thing oddly comforting: we have little or no expectations of them and they kindly reward us for this... I'm a little worried, if they ever should win a road game, would this change? At least they are exceptional for something right now. And they provide opportunities to shine for D-leaguers! As an ex-Cub fan, I gotta say, these Wizards are growing on me!!

Tracee Hamilton: New marketing campaign: "If you like the Cubs, you'll love the Wizards!" Ted, take note.

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I'm home!: Part of Jay Mohr's stand-up routine is a bit where he announces he's home as he walks in the door. The dog runs to greet him, but the cat stays perched on the radiator and says "Yeah, so what? So am I." I thought it was funny, even though I am a cat person who has a very personable kitty at home.

Tracee Hamilton: There are anti-social cats out there. I've just never had one. But I've seen a few. My best friend really doesn't like cats. They had one once that stayed under the bed except to eat. She stayed with me for a week and now she says she doesn't like cats, but she loves MY cats. She had just never seen a friendly cat before. Makes a huge difference.

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Livan On Opening Day: I read last week that Livan is penciled in as the starter for opening day. No one loves Livan and his inning eating arm more than I but the fact that he's our number one guy is pathetic. If they have no intention of upgrading the rotation through trade or free agency and plan on waiting for Strasburg and other prospects to develop, they should tell us now. Your thoughts?

Tracee Hamilton: I wrote my thoughts last week. It wasn't their intention to go into spring training without a clear No. 1 pitcher, but it happened. They wanted the big names and made a concerted effort at Greinke but you can't force someone to sign with you. This is why they overpaid for Werth, and why Boz wrote that they are going to have to overpay for everyone -- this just isn't an attractive place for a Greinke or a Lee to come right now. I'm not trying to make excuses for Rizzo, but they idea they wanted this situation is just not accurate.

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"When the head cheese administrator of my law firm visits our branch office he expects to be treated like a rock star." : The real hassle is removing all of the brown M&M's in the lobby...plus the parade of groupies into the conference room.

Tracee Hamilton: Very funny.

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His Excellency: When rock stars visit our law firm, we treat them like lawyers--tell bad jokes, have them make the coffee, make them wear suits to sit at a desk. They hate that.

Tracee Hamilton: Ha!Good place to stop, before all the lawyer jokes pour in. I've got to run anyway. Let's talk tomorrow!


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