Quote of the Day - I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.
Durango Duo Delivered Dough; Dealt Dollar Deficiency
or, Will The Real Cookie Monster Stand Up?OK, I'll bite.
Two Durango, Colorado teenagers elected to stay home one summer evening instead of attending a dance. Not big news.
They decided to bake cookies and deliver them to their neighbors, complete with construction paper cut-out hearts that said, "Have a great night." Still not big news.
Until they got sued.
For delivering cookies to their neighbors at 10:30 at night.
Go ahead. Read that last sentence again. Try to figure out what tort they committed. What did they do wrong?
According to a small claims judge, they did $900 worth of wrong. A neighbor who received the cookies got frightened when the girls delivered the cookies by "banging and banging" on the door, and when the neighbor answered it and asked who was there, no one answered. She saw figures running off.
She thought the "figures" were burglars. With a call to the sheriff, she determined nothing was wrong, and that the cookie delivery was alright. But she was still shaken up. She left home, shaking and with an upset stomach, to stay at a friend's house. Not better by the next morning, she went to the hospital with what she thought might be a heart attack.
Some $900 later, she went home. She raised a ruckus about it, and the teenager's families apologized and offered to pay her medical expenses. She declined, saying that the apologies "rang false," according to the February 6, 2005 Denver Post article.
Then, the neighbor sued. For $3,000. She criticized the girls and said they "showed very poor judgment." The Judge awarded $1.00 plus the neighbor's expenses. He didn't award punitive damages, or the neighbor's request for motion-sensitive lights for her front porch.
So, who's the cookie monster here?
Judge, neighbor or teenage girls?
Who Cares If You Can't Pronounce It, We Don't Want ItIf you live in or around Berkeley (some refer to the city as "Bezerkely"), you know you can't bring any nuclear weapons into town.
No matter how you pronounce "nuclear."
What started in Kaleforniya twenty some years ago has leapt across the country to Washington, D.C. They have - yep, you guessed it - banned hazardous material shipments through the City.
They think the decision is something new. Guess again. It's not.
Even so, it remains to be seen whether the trend will continue.
The railroad industry isn't happy. A press release on that site noted: "Rerouting does not eliminate the overall risk, but merely shifts it to other communities." Statistics cited by the Association of American Railroads point to a 0.003 accident rate.
The AP quoted Representative Edward Markey, D-Mass., "who said other cities will follow Washington's lead if the federal government doesn't order hazardous shipments rerouted from crowded neighborhoods," wrote reporter Leslie Miller this past Friday, February 6, 2005, on FindLaw.
So, if we can't ship hazardous materials in, around or through cities, where does that leave us? At a minimum, it's likely costs of transport will increase. Otherwise, the materials may just stay where they are.
What if we take the argument to its logical extreme and protect everyone from nearby shipments of hazardous materials? Would the economy grind to a halt because we can't manufacture goods that require hazardous materials? What about hazardous materials that result from manufacturing?
Even if we develop onsite hazardous materials programs, they typically require other hazardous materials for the treatment process.
What's our solution? Oh, I forgot.
But first make sure I can watch the Super Bowl today on my television. Never mind that it required hazardous materials to make, I want to see who wins.
C'est la vie: They Vacation And We WorkThank God It's Saturday. It's been a long week, in excess of 60 hours at work, and countless others at home. It's the cost of running a law firm.
Maybe I should move to France. The workers there are protesting a proposed increase to their 35-hour work week.
Did I forget to mention that European workers get an average of six weeks off each year?
Reminds me of a license plate I spotted yesterday: "SAYLAWV."
Can You Copyright Your Letter To The Editor?There's been somewhat of a running conversation about the use of copyrights in RSS feeds and blogs.
Here's a new one for you: a copyright asserted by a reader who commented on one of MIPTC's posts on drunk driving. Yep, right there in the comment section.
Bruce Alm, the commenter, had also posted his thoughts earlier, and perhaps both of his comments qualify as spam, but the new copyright claim is unique nonetheless. My first question was whether his copyright is registered, but even if it is (it's not), MIPTC has an implied license to use it.
If it had in fact been registered, then not for commercial use, but fair use. Without a copyright, it's open season.
Even so, since Mr. Alm put it here (as opposed to there, where it likely originally came from), for now here it will stay, copyright claim and all.
Besides, the message is a good one. No more "one for the road."
MIPTC's Friday Series: Grape Radio's Wine MythsAs a companion service to MIPTC's Friday At The Movie series, my other buddies want to encourage you to drink some wine with that popcorn. So, give a listen to their podcast on Wine Myths. Here's what the guys have to say:
Grape Radio #4: Unicorns, the Greek gods, and leprechauns are just a few examples of myths that have endured through the ages. Even those in the wine community have their own myths that have endured. These wine myths are not limited to those that are just beginning to learn about wine. Unfortunately, these myths have caused many people to base their wine-drinking choices on unfounded beliefs. Old wine is better, only the French make good wine, and “Merlot stinks” are just a few examples. We are going to dispel some of these myths in this show.
MIPTC's Friday At The Movies: Repo ManIt's Friday again, and time for another installment in the Friday At The Movies series, brought to you by my friend Michael Geoghegan. Here it is:
Reel Review #24: “The life of a Repo Man is always intense.” This cult classic came out in 1984. It was brought to us by Alex Cox who would later hit another home run with Sid and Nancy. Punk Rock, Aliens and Repo Men - what more could you ask for? These movies are always the most difficult: what makes a cult classic great? That question is a tough one, but here we are twenty plus years later, and people are still talking about this small film that has had a large impact! “Let’s go do some crimes.” Better yet, “let’s go get sushi and not pay.”
Repo Man DVD at Amazon
Breakfast with Hunter
Arrival Of The Ten-dollar Beer?In the middle of my first Iowa winter in nearly twenty years, I was reminiscing that there are few things I enjoy more in life than heading to the ballpark on a warm summer evening (or in San Francisco a chilly summer evening) and catching a ballgame while enjoying a hotdog and a beer.
Even so, it pains me every time I have to pony up $8 for some flat, insipid, lukewarm suds. But the $8 beer may be a thing of the past in light of the recent decision holding Aramark liable to the tune of $100+ million as a result of over-serving a drunken patron. I have a feeling that my next trip to the park may see my plastic cupful of beer pass the $10 threshold.
Although the NY Giants settled their portion of the case, John Mara, the president of the team testified he had no knowledge of drunks at games. Apparently, there's quite a distance between luxury boxes and endzone bleachers. I don’t mean to imply that the team was liable, but the relationship between professional sports and alcohol in this country runs deep.
After all, whose Super Bowl commercials will you be talking about on Monday morning? In the end, however, the fans ultimately have to be the ones to know when to call it quits. Like the Guinness ad says, “Don’t drink six beers at the same time. Brilliant!!!"
$93 Million Sounds Good, But Is It?Insurers have agreed to pay some $93 million to cleanup the Stringfellow Acid Pits in Riverside, California.
Bill Lockyer appears happy with the settlement.
It's difficult to tell whether it's a good deal, though. I tried to find the bottom-line dollar amount of the projected cleanup for the site, but after a reasonable amount of searching and reading, I couldn't. One estimate puts the cost at almost $400 million.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?