Advertisement
  1. News

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

Published Jun. 28, 2012

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."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. AP file photo of then Gov. and now U.S. Sen. Rick Scott
    DeSantis, Rick Scott and other Republicans have taken a strong stance on Saudi Arabia in recent days. President Donald Trump?
  2. A pair of bottlenose dolphins surface off the coast off Savannah, Ga., as viewed from a vessel heading to Gray's Reef on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) ROBERT F. BUKATY  |  AP
    The dolphin was stuck in a lobster trap line. The crew’s actions likely saved the dolphin’s life.
  3. Charlie explains to his parents and sister, Beth, that the best thing about church is that there are no Herdmans there. Pictured, from left: Sarah Krug as Mother (Grace Bradley), Amber Marino as Beth, Frank Miller as Father (Bob Bradley) and Jude Mys as Charlie. Kristina Mitten
    Live Oak Theatre presents ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever'
  4. An undated photo of an inmate pod at the Falkenburg Road Jail in Hillsborough County. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office] Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Marcus Anderson, 33, collapsed Dec. 1 at the Falkenburg Road Jail. He died six days later.
  5. FILE- In this Jan. 29, 2016 file photo shows the entrance to the Naval Air Base Station in Pensacola, Fla. The US Navy is confirming that an active shooter and one other person are dead after gunfire at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Area hospital representatives tell The Associated Press that at least 11 people were hospitalized. The base remains locked down amid a huge law enforcement response. (AP Photo/Melissa Nelson, File) MELISSA NELSON  |  AP
    The Navy on Saturday identified the three victims and hailed them as heroes for trying to stop the shooter and flagging down first responders after being shot.
  6. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The intersection near the accident is a difficult one to safely navigate.
  7. Ann Corzo and her son Kristopher. .
    Parents share stories about Baker Act experiences and how they affected their families.
  8. Michael Higgins, DO Vince Vanni
    News and notes on local businesses
  9. Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point Star Award Volunteers, from left: Rev. Fred Houck, Barbara Weber and Steve Johnson. Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point
    News and notes on Pasco County businesses
  10. A Brinks security guard and a Good Samaritan who came to his aid were shot during a robbery attempt at GTE Financial credit union in Brandon on Friday. Tony Marrero, Times Staff
    The search continued into the evening Saturday for the shooter, who is believed to be a serial bank robber.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement