Richard F. Hope

For old friends: To download the 2016 Christmas Letter: click here!

For new friends: Hi! I'm glad to meet §you, and get acquainted. My various areas of interest are grouped below, so you can quickly find what is interesting to you.

Summary Interest Listing

  • Book orders (from their respective publishers)
  • History (Easton PA; Santa Claus; etc.)
  • Law and Corporate Compliance;
  • Music and Theater;
  • Space/Moon Commercialization;
  • Bibliophilia;
  • Libertarian Politics;
  • Cross-Cultural Matters: Britain, Germany and Japan;
  • Computers and InterNet;
  • Home and Garden;
  • Investment & DRIPs.

    Book orders (from their respective publishers):

    EASTON:

    Easton PA: A History

    New in 2012: Easton PA: The Lower Bushkill Mills

    New in 2011: Easton PA: A Civil War Walk

    Easton PA: Historic Tours

    For more in-depth research: Easton PA: Special Projects

    and Easton PA: Concordance of Original Town Lot Owners Sources

    SANTA CLAUS:

    Santa Claus: A Guidebook for Grown-Ups

    INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL LAW:

    Practical Principles of International/Multinational Commercial Law

    Mail to me at RHope@ptd.net.

    For snail mail:  1901 Cherry Avenue
                     Easton, PA 18040
             Phone:  +1-610-258-7417
    

    Interests -- The Details:

    History

    My interest as a student in history, has now re-emerged as a series of books.

    SANTA CLAUS: A GUIDEBOOK FOR GROWN-UPS is a compact summary includes a historical review of the Christian bishop in the time of the Roman Empire who became St. Nicholas. It follows with the Saint's tradition as it grew through the Byzantine era, was exported to Europe during the Crusades; was suppressed by the Protestant Reformation, and was finally reborn in the New World There is also an extensive review of "Santa Claus" and similar customs around the world. But perhaps most distinctively, the HANDBOOK will include a consideration of what "Santa Claus" actually is, in adult terms. NEVER tell the kids that Santa Claus doesn't exist -- because that wouldn't be true! "He" is, in fact, a franchise belonging to the entire community, complete with trademarks, business procedures, and enforcement of "quality" by the owners (that is, by the community, especially the kids!). Every year, "Santa Claus" causes a huge number of children to receive gifts at about Christmastime, and truly does accomplish it "in one night" (although that night is St. Nikolas Eve, or other days, in various places). The very practical magic of "Santa" is quite real, as any retail merchant can affirm. "He" just isn't a human person -- but any five-year-old child could tell you that!

    A series of local histories began with EASTON PA: A HISTORY, published in 2006. This readable introduction to Easton’s history draws together material from many piecemeal sources, and includes pictures of many of Easton’s historical buildings as they exist today. It also includes an Appendix listing historical sites, to assist walking or driving tours of the town. The series of Easton books has grown to include tours of downtown Easton, research projects and guides, and (most recently) EASTON PA: THE LOWER BUSHKILL MILLS. This latest book provides the historical background of the mills on Bushkill Creek from Easton to Stockertown, which were important to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in America. The Easton books (and links to their publishers) are all listed in the book ordering links on this website. A website -- www.WalkingEaston.com -- is also available with extensive historical information (with source references) on over 200 buildings in the Easton Historic District. "Drill down" through the maps and indices on the website to reach fully footnoted, MSWord-formatted documents. These are works in progress, updated periodically with additional information. Some of the more complete ones have been printed in the Easton Irregular as part of the "Walking Tour" series of articles.

    The Easton Main Street Alliance has been helpful from time to time in promoting some of these Easton history projects.

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    Law and Corporate Consulting

    I retired in 2001 from a career as a lawyer for major corporations. Since then, I have consulted consulting on issues of corporate compliance, ethics, and risk assessment and also taught college courses in business law and international business. My revised textbook, PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL/MULTINATIONAL COMMERCIAL LAW, has now been published, and is available for purchase in paperback or as a computer download. (Click Here). This text emphasizes the practical basics that business people, and their everyday corporate counsel, should know if they have international responsibilities. It it intended to help people with international business responsibilities ask the right questions to avoid making some of the costly mistakes that so often plague international deals. These mistakes can include unexpectedly binding oral or letter contracts, on unfavorable terms regarding deliveries, Customs, service, and other international issues. In practice, these mistakes can get "locked in" long before any international legal specialists ever become involved.

    Most of my work as Corporate Counsel for several years prior to retirement involved international commercial matters. When I was first assigned to that area, I searched (without success) for a basic manual outlining the laws in the area. The new text, PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL/MULTINATIONAL COMMERCIAL LAW, is specifically designed to fill that need. In additional to international law, I spent various periods as a Corporate Counsel working on general business issues, satellites, mobile phones, and telecommunications regulatory issues. Overall, I spent some 18 years working for AT&T Corp. and its spin-off corporations Lucent Technologies Inc. and Avaya Inc.

    All of this is some distance, professionally, from where I started in the law. My law degree is from the Harvard Law School, where I was elected an editor of the Harvard Law Review, but spent more time directing the Law School Show. After getting my degree, I was a Law Clerk for Alaska Supreme Court Justice Connor in Anchorage for a year, and then became a litigation associate at a large New York law firm specializing in corporate takeovers, especially tender offers and proxy fights. That was an exciting (but stressful) time! I left it for the quieter life at AT&T Corp. in 1983. I thereafter followed the AT&T spin-offs: Lucent Technologies Inc., and then Avaya Inc.

    For further details, my law resume and teaching resume are attached.

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    Music and Theater

    Trained as a classical pianist in my boyhood in the U.S., Germany and England, and in voice as an adult, my adult career started with a choice of two offers: to sing opera in California, or to practice law in New York. Although I chose the law career to make a living, I have since enjoyed occasional excursions on stage as a performer, musical director, composer, and even sometime stage carpenter. Roles have ranged from traditional "character" parts (such as "Captain Hook" and "Santa Claus"), to classical comedy (Shakespeare) and straight drama, and singing opportunities (without the "drama"). The advent of the Internet makes voice-overs an interesting option today, which I hope to investigate in the next year.

    On occasion, I have also picked up the "pencil" (usually a computer, actually) as a composer, mostly for musical theater scores, and also a book of piano music. I'd be interested in working on a score for "Heidi", if any playwrights and lyricists are similarly interested.

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    Commercializing Space

    As an member of the old L-5 Society -- later (sadly) merged into the National Space Society -- and a Senior Associate of the Space Studies Institute in Princeton (NJ), I have maintained an interest in the commercial development of low earth orbit and the moon for a considerable time. An early effort was my article proposing a Draft Model Employment Contract for Space Employees, published in 5 Northrop U.L.J. 51 (1984).

    Meanwhile, it has become increasingly clear that if we are to accomplish the dream of large numbers of people living and working in space, then the future lies with commercial development through private companies. Modern space commercialization efforts such as PERMANENT, The Artemis Project, and SpaceDev Corporation, represent some first steps, even though their proposals may still require a lot of refinement. I remain convinced that until there is an economic rationale for space, our hold upon the dream will be tenuous. To keep the dream alive -- think business and commerce!

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    Bibliophilia

    I maintain a collection of good books, especially classics, in fine bindings (preferably leather). Some are one or two centuries old, but I have not yet graduated to collecting incunabula (other than a few framed pages). I also collect books on the history of St. Nicholas, a/k/a Santa Claus: both the historical person and the "franchised" tradition, through modern times. [This aids research on one of my long-term writing projects.] I attended the July 1996 Rare Book School of the University of Virginia, and I can sincerely recommend both the courses and the contacts there. Return to Main Listing


    Politics

    Can we return to a non-socialist tradition of limited government, free citizens, and "laissez faire" marketplace capitalism in the United States? We cannot keep confiscating more and more of the wealth of productive citizens, to fund every cause that the politicians manage to log-roll a majority of fellow-"pols" into supporting.

    A truly FREE citizen should be free to support -- or reject -- whatever "worthy causes" he or she wants. Government projects always mean somebody is being coerced -- otherwise, a voluntary charity or business would fund the venture. To be truly free, our government's insatiable appetite to control every aspect of our lives and choices must not only stopped in its tracks, but severely rolled back. Americans must once again become free to pursue happiness in their own way, without requiring approval from -- or a kick-back to -- our politicians and bureaucrats.

    Pervasive governmental involvement is not only obnoxious, but it is also horribly unsuccessful. It couldn't be otherwise. The political process provides token funding to all politically important projects, without much regard to any likelihood of success. And since resources are always scarce and aportioned based on political "pull", a promising project can never be given enough funding to truly succeed, by ruthlessly killing off four or five other "pet projects".

    Of course, success or failure for most of these "pet projects" is irrelevant: they are merely spin-doctored rationales for government forcing the public to buy the project sponsors products or services. There is truly nothing "kind" or "gentle" about Washington's wild feeding frenzy, involving contractors, unions, subsidized industries, and government employees. If the proponents of these programs had truely charitable intentions, they could donate their services and goods to the cause without government coercion; instead, they merely use government to force the rest of us to pay them handsomely for all that they do, beyond the levels that we would choose voluntarily.

    In the final analysis, our forefathers came to America for a new start, to avoid the invasive government regulation, taxes, and authority that impeded them in Europe or Asia. Those governments, like our own, claimed to have good intentions, but good intentions don't guarantee freedom. Our government was to be different: limited in its powers, and republican in executing those few powers it did possess. Both of these principles are almost invisible today, as hireling politicians use mass ballots and conspicuous public pay-offs to give their clients virtually unlimited power over a public treasury confiscated from a smaller and smaller proportion of the citizenry who are truly productive. Democratic mob-rule is easily manipulated by demagogic politicians -- that is why the Founding Fathers wisely sought to avoid it!

    If the American government fails to clean up its act, there are remedies. Our forefathers voted individually -- with their feet, not with ballots -- against the governmental Leviathans of their day. We (or our children and grandchildren) will ultimately do the same. Political complaints against some current corporate practices suggest that the migration has already begun. There are other places on the planet that have begun to allow adult people more freedom from government interference and taxes. Perhaps, in time, there will be such places off-planet, as well. Atlas can shrug in may ways.

    Let me know if you have a libertarian political candidate you think I should support, whether or not they are a member of the official Libertarian Party. Or, if you care to discuss the position papers from organizations such as the Cato Institute, I'd be delighted to correspond: drop me an email! In 2002 I worked as a speech writer for Liz Macron, the New Jersey Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senator: that organization would welcome your support in future campaigns.

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    Cross-Cultural Matters

    Cross-cultural problems are of particular interest to me, on many levels. I was born in Germany to an American father and a British mother who had, originally, met in India. My schooling was in the U.S., Germany and Britain. Add to that a study of European and Japanese history; some international friendships; and "day job" work in recent years that involved international commercial problems. Accordingly, I have some views on better ways for Americans to work with citizens of other nations, especially in culturally-charged areas such as business relations, corporate ethics, legal compliance, and (yes) even "terrorism".

    Ich kann auch Deutsch schreiben, wenn Sie wollen. Ik lez ook een beetje Nederlands; leo un poquito español; je comprendre un petit peu francaise. Return to Main Listing


    Computers and InterNet

    Since the days of FORTRAN classes in college, and my old Apple IIe in the 1980s, it has been clear that computing is the technology to learn. Now the world is all Windows and HTML; tomorrow it will probably be something else. I try to stay afloat, although safely behind the cusp of the curve. What's next? Return to Main Listing


    Home and Garden

    My wife (a trained Master Gardener) and I are landscaping our new property in Easton, around a boulder wall and staircase, wraparound rear rock gardens, and landscaped paths and beds near the house for more "exotic" perrenials for our area. We always welcome conversation with people who have appealing ideas. Return to Main Listing


    Investment

    Like any good "laissez faire capitalist", I am interested in investing for retirement, etc. Despite many years working as a lawyer with Wall Street types, my real education in personal investment was obtained more recently. One good (if dry) source of such learning is the NAIC Organization, which provides education and low-cost start-up opportunities for both individual investors and investment clubs. NAIC principles show how to augment or replace mutual fund investments with DRIPs and No-Loads, that is, company stock ownership plans that usually allow you to purchase shares without paying any significant brokers' commissions, and also let you invest just a little money at a time. Through these devices, anyone in America with $25 a month to invest can have their own investment portfolio! Return to Main Listing