August 25, 2019

Archives for October 24, 2013

Curing the Collywobbles — Part 1: The Empire Strikes Back

rhodes“Collywobbles” is one of those delightful British words that means exactly what it sounds like it should. There are two shades to its meaning, one physiological, the other emotional:

  1. Cramps or other intestinal disturbances.
  2. A feeling of fear, apprehension, or nervousness.

The collywobbles are what we get when we decide to make big changes in our lives – especially if those changes affect the Big Three: career, relationships, and money. We do that, and suddenly 99.999999% of our normal competent functioning shuts down, and we retreat to what’s left, which is our most basic self-preservation instinct. That instinct is unimpressed with our dreams and visions and big ideas. Its only comment is usually something like, “That’s supposed to be a joke, right?”

It’s no joke, and neither are the collywobbles. Gastro-intestinal distress, heart palpitations, waking up at 3:00 a.m. in a panic… the mere thought of large scale change gets us into trouble. New initiatives trigger reserves of raw fear we didn’t know we had in us. We should know better. Rocking the boat can’t end well. It feels good and freeing and powerful for a moment, but then look out: we just woke up the Be Reasonable Gods, and The Empire of Status Quo is about to strike back.

Status quo is the combined force of everything we’re used to thinking, believing, doing, and being. It’s everything solid and reliable, lawful and decent and in order about our lives. Status quo makes sense of things, keeps us safe, tells us what’s possible and what’s not, and makes sure we don’t get any ideas.

Until one day we dare to wonder, “What if…?” We’re okay as long as we keep our wondering to ourselves, but as soon as we wonder out loud, we wake up the slumbering giant. Uh-oh. Collywobbles Time.

Inspiration makes us bold. Status quo makes us pay. Inspiration initiates. Status quo retaliates. Back and forth the Titans strike their blows and throw their thunderbolts. Their epic struggle is for keeps: there will be real winners and real losers, and plenty of collateral damage. The center does not hold; we go spinning off axis; our lives fly out of orbit. The seas rise and the thrones shake. We stand dumbstruck, watching the tempest from afar, when suddenly the wind shifts and we’re in the middle of it, scrambling for shelter, fearing for our lives.

We’ve got a major case of the collywobbles.

You know I’m not exaggerating if you’ve ever followed your creative inspiration very far. If you haven’t done so yet, but plan to, you’ll soon become more familiar with the collywobbles than you ever wanted to be. You poor thing.

Why is change so hard on us? And how do we cure the collywobbles?

To be continued.

Kevin Rhodes is a lawyer in private practice who coaches and mentors other lawyers to love their work and their lives. He leads workshops for a variety of audiences, including the CBA’s Solo and Small Firm Section and the Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. You can email Kevin at

Tenth Circuit: Organization Lacks Standing to Object to Establishment of Wind Energy Projects

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in Northern Laramie Range Alliance v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

This action grew out of efforts by Wasatch Wind Intermountain, LLC to establish two wind energy projects. Wasatch was able to sell the wind energy by certifying both projects as qualifying facilities. These efforts drew the ire of the Northern Laramie Range Alliance, which objected to Wasatch’s certification. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected the objections, and the Alliance appeals FERC’s decision.

The Tenth Circuit could entertain the appeal only if the Alliance established standing, which required traceability and redressability. For both, the Alliance relied on increases in electricity rates. But the wind projects have not been completed, Wasatch has not found a buyer for the anticipated wind power, and the court did not know whether sales of wind energy would increase or decrease a utility’s costs. Even beyond these uncertainties, electricity rates depend on the actions of third parties, those of the utility and the state regulatory commission. With the multitude of uncertainties surrounding the effect of Wasatch’s certification or decertification on electricity rates, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the Alliance showed neither traceability or redressability.

The court therefore DISMISSED the petition for lack of standing.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 10/22/13

On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and seven unpublished opinions.

United States v. Wilson

United States v. Velasco

United States v. Martinez

United States v. Davis

Tijerina v. Patterson

Chase v. Divine

United States v. Robles

No case summaries are provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.