Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Federal judge nixes lawyer's plan to be the next Ernest Hemingway

TAMPA — A lawyer soon to begin a federal trial in Tampa hoped to get a certain Friday in July off from court.

His request — evoking stocky, high-spirited men in silvery beards besting each other over beers — was not likely one the judge had heard before:

"Undersigned counsel, a perennial contestant in the Ernest Hemingway Look-alike Contest, is scheduled to appear … at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West, Florida, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 20, 2012," wrote St. Petersburg lawyer Frank Louderback, who sports the necessary facial hair and has thrice competed for the title.

In his response, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday did not lack for literary chops — invoking Dorothy Parker, a highbrow adjective that sent everyone scrambling for dictionaries, and the prose of Papa himself:

"Between a murder-for hire trial and an annual look-alike contest, surely Hemingway, a perfervid admirer of 'grace under pressure' would choose the trial," wrote the judge. (From Merriam-Webster: perfervid: marked by overwrought or exaggerated emotion; excessively fervent.)

The judge pointedly quoted legendary literary wit Parker, who once wrote that Hemingway "works like hell, and through it."

"Perhaps a lawyer who evokes Hemingway can resist relaxing frolic in favor of solemn duty," Merryday wrote. "Or at least, 'Isn't it pretty to think so?' "

Hemingway fans will recognize the last line of The Sun Also Rises, and Jake's cynical response after Brett tells him how they could have been happy together.

"Best of luck to counsel in next year's contest," concluded the judge. "The motion … is DENIED."

Louderback, who represents a man accused of arranging a murder, said he respects the ruling and will abide by it.

Because of reserved rooms and nonrefundable deposits, and an expected cheering section of family and friends, he said he asked "in an abundance of caution, because I needed to know if I was going to be able to go or not." During lengthy trials, judges have been known to not hold court on Fridays.

Three times, Louderback has competed in the Hemingway Days festivities, when about 125 similarly bearded, stocky men of a certain age hit the streets of Key West. Proceeds go to scholarships for Florida Keys kids.

"It'll give me another year to get older, fatter and grayer," Louderback said philosophically. But on that Friday in a few weeks, he'll have his son who flies private planes ready just in case he's out early enough.

Told of the situation, Matt Gineo, a semiretired biomedical engineer from Jensen Beach and last year's official Hemingway doppelganger, opined, "I don't think that's justice. (The judge) should let him go."

Devotees of the event speak of brotherhood, friendship and even good-natured "bribes" of booze, cigars or pineapples that are part of the contest.

"If the judge maybe had a beard and came down for the festival," Gineo said, "he'd maybe have a change of heart."

Federal judge nixes lawyer's plan to be the next Ernest Hemingway 06/27/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Times journalists wins 17 Green Eyeshade Awards

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay Times journalists placed first in seven categories of the prestigious Green Eyeshade awards, which honors outstanding journalism in the Southeast.

  2. A manatee swims near the entrance to Three Sisters Springs on Kings Bay, some of many springs that feed the Crystal River in Citrus County. The Southwest Florida Water Management District is considering a proposal that would allow a decrease to the amount of fresh water flowing in the Crystal River so that water can be diverted to fuel development. Critics say similar proposals around the state could threaten Florida's environmental health. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2014]
  3. Ailing Florida springs could be tapped further to fuel development

    Water

    BROOKSVILLE — Efforts by state officials to set a minimum flow for its iconic springs have stirred up a wave of public opposition. Opponents contend the state is willing to destroy its springs in order to justify continuing to provide water for new development.

    A manatee swims near the entrance to Three Sisters Springs on Kings Bay, one of many springs that feeds the Crystal River in Citrus County. The Southwest Florida Water Management District is considering a proposal to decrease the amount of fresh water flowing in Crystal River so that water can be diverted to fuel development. Critics say similar proposals around the state could threaten Florida's environmental health. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2014
  4. Canned by lawmakers, PTC staff say they are now forgotten

    Transportation

    TAMPA — After roughly 20 years in the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Mike Gonzalez got another job with a uniform and badge when he was hired in 2015 as an inspector for the Public Transportation Commission.

    The badge that PTC inspectors carry while on duty. State lawmakers voted to abolish the agency this year leaving its remaining employees fearing for their future.
  5. Ferries from Florida not a priority for Cuban government

    Tourism

    Cruises and commercial flights now link Tampa and Havana, but before the U.S. government approved either for such journeys, ferries had the nod.

    Baja Ferries was among a handful of companies the U.S. government approved to service Cuba two years ago.
But Cuba's ambassador to the United States recently said the wait may be long. Ferries are not a high priority for Cuba.
This is an example of one of the overnight passenger ferries the  Baja Ferries wanted  to use to reach Cuba from Florida.


Photo Credit: Baja Ferries USA LLC