Tag Archives: law

Daily Discussion with BQB – Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Rock Band “The Slants”

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

Interesting story on FOX news today – there’s an all Asian-American rock band calling themselves “The Slants.”  They attempted to trademark their name but were denied by the government on a claim that the term was offensive, racially insensitive etc.

They took their case to the Supreme Court and won.  SCOTUS struck down “the disparagement clause” which keeps offensive terms from being trademarked.

(Sidenote: I’m not here to debate whether or not the term “slant” when used in reference to an Asian is offensive.  A) it is but B) the issue isn’t whether or not the term is or isn’t but whether or not the government can tell a band they aren’t allowed to name themselves that.)

I’m a free speech purist, so I side with “The Slants” on this.  In theory, it may sound great to give the government the power to censor “offensive speech” but offense is in the eye of the offended and once you give the government an inch of power they’ll take a mile of it. Today they’re censoring inappropriate rock band names, tomorrow they will censor political speech as offensive – i.e. “I think Candidate X is wrong on such and such issue” might be deemed offensive and you’d be tossed in the hoosegow for voicing your political beliefs.

Thus, when it comes to free speech purism, you have to rely on the “marketplace of ideas” to sort things out.  “The Slants” may have come up with a clever marketing gimmick to get themselves some play in the short term.  Hell, even I’m not really a fan of using the term “slant” – maybe I’ll have to start calling them “That Asian-American Rock Band” or something.  At any rate, if they want any long lasting staying power, they will have to churn out some super catchy tunes or else the people will vote with their ears.

That’s how this all works, people.  That dude on the street corner wearing a sandwich board that reads “Hitler is My BFF” and ringing a bell gets to do that under the law and that’s the price we all pay to be able to speak our own minds.

Don’t worry about that hypothetical guy with the sandwich board.  The free marketplace of ideas will be regulate him.  He won’t be invited to any fancy dinner parties or getting any positions of power anytime soon.  Let the people decide what speech gets you where, but don’t let the government start picking and choosing who gets to say what.  In the short term, it may spare your ears from having to hear things you don’t want to hear but in the long run, it will eventually lead to you not being able to say what you want to say.

Sidenote – I’d be curious if “NWA” ever had any trademark issues or did they solve the issue by just calling themselves “NWA” and leaving it to the public to figure out what that stood for?  (FYI millenials, I’m not telling you what it stands for.)

Discuss.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Man Sues Date for Texting During Movie

Hey 3.5 readers.

Please put down all 3.5 of your phones.  No, seriously!  This is a very important post and yes, you!  Even you, .5th reader with your half a phone, stop texting!

Have you ever had a rude date?  Perhaps a date who texted a little too much?

Well, one guy isn’t taking it lying down.  According to CNN (and many other news outlets) a dude by the name of Brandon Vezmar has sued his date for $17.31, claiming that she texted too much on her phone during a showing of Guardians of the Galaxy, thus ruining the experience.

Do have questions?  I do.  Here’s mine:

#1 – Is this real?  Is this some kind of publicity stunt?

#2 – Did he get rejected?  Is this like a dude sticking up for every man who had to shell out money on a date only to get nowhere?  (If so, God bless you sir.  I’ve always felt there should be a law that if a woman rejects you, she should be required to refund all the money you spent on her during any and all dates within 30 days of the rejection or else be sentenced to life in solitary confinement.  Come to think of it, I’m going to start working with President Trump to turn this into a Federal law.)

#3 – Is it me or does $17.31 seem steep for a film?  Was it in IMAX?  Was it for both tickets?  Was popcorn involved?  If it’s for both tickets, is he claiming that her texting ruined even his movie watching experience?  Can he recover the cost of her ticket if she doesn’t feel her texting ruined her movie watching experience?

#4 – Is it rude to text during a date?  I read that the woman claims she was texting a friend who needed her.

#5 – Do you think this guy is a hero to every man who was ever disrespected by a date?  Or, should he have just sucked it up and realized that part of dating means eating the costs of dates that go nowhere?

Discuss, 3.5 readers.

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TV Review – Better Call Saul (2015 – Present)

Drugs!  Crooked lawyers!  Cinnabon!

BQB here with a review of the Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul.

Once upon a time, Bob Odenkirk brought the comic relief to Breaking Bad as notorious ambulance chaser, Saul Goodman.  On that series, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) informs meth cook partner Walter White (Bryan Cranston) that they need a “criminal” lawyer, emphasis on the criminal – not just a lawyer who specializes in criminal law but one who engages in criminal activities to get his clients off.

And the rest is history.

Better Call Saul is a prequel of the life perpetually down on his luck attorney, Jimmy McGill, led, long before he took the name Saul Goodman or became Walter White’s lawyer.

You’ve probably seen shows that paint the law as a fantastic profession to be in.  TV lawyers are often portrayed as wealthy, fast talking beautiful people who drive fancy cars, eat at the best restaurants and make out with other beautiful people.

This show gives us a look at the grimier side of the legal profession.  Jimmy McGill practices out of a literal closet in a nail salon, drives a car with mismatched doors and barely makes ends meet.

He has a love/hate relationship with his brother Chuck (Michael McKeen), one of New Mexico’s most respected lawyers.  Chuck is a rabid electro-phone, meaning that he is convinced that anything that uses electricity is sending electric waves into his body that could kill him.

Michael McKean displays some of the best acting of his career as he sits in a dark house, eats food out of a cooler full of ice instead of a fridge, forces visitors to leave their cell phones in his mail box, and covers his home and his body with tin foil space blankets.

Meanwhile, there’s an on-again/off-again romance between Jimmy and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), an attorney that actually strives to do honest work.  Sometimes she serves as Jimmy’s conscience.  Other times, she gets dragged down into Jimmy’s world of crap.

Rounding out the cast is grizzly ex-cop Mike Ehrmantraut, the fan favorite of many a Breaking Bad viewer.  We find Mike in a lowly state at the beginning of the series, working as a parking lot booth operator who regularly feuds with Jimmy over his inability to remember to obtain the required parking validation stickers.

From there, the two start going down the rabbit hole of the Mexican drug cartel world, that same world that Walter White gives a big giant enema to in Breaking Bad.

To be clear, the show is nowhere near as good as Breaking Bad.  That’s not an insult to Better Call Saul but rather, a compliment to Breaking Bad, as that show captured lightning in a bottle and is a rare commodity.

However, just as its predecessor took an unlikely concept, i.e. a terminally ill chemistry teacher who stops giving a shit and rises through the drug underworld to become a kingpin, and spin it into gold, this show does the same with an unequally unlikely idea, namely, that the comic relief of the previous show should get a show that’s all about him.

The show has heart.  Jimmy has a dream to become a great, powerful lawyer, yet there are so many obstacles in the way.  Maybe you, the viewer, never tried to become a lawyer, but you probably had some dream.  Maybe you achieved it, maybe you didn’t but either way, most people can relate to obstacles getting in the way of their dreams.

The show features Vince Gilligan’s signature storytelling style.  It’s “show, don’t tell” to the max.  The viewer is presented with a lot of mysterious, ominous stuff.  None of it is clear at first but if you keep paying attention, the mental energy you expend will not be wasted.  Everything that happens in the show means something.  There’s very little filler or fluff that can be cast aside.

I admit when I heard this show was in the works, I had my doubts.  Breaking Bad could never be topped and perhaps if this show sucked, it would taint the legacy.  But somehow, the show, while not surpassing the first show, still holds its own and is a boon to fans who still want to see that Gilligan style on the screen again.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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RIP Judge Joe Wapner

Hey 3.5 readers.  What a sad day.  First Bill Paxton and now the news is reporting that Judge Joe Wapner has died at 97.  Millennials, Judge Joe Wapner was the first TV judge and the People’s Court was the first TV court show.  You wouldn’t have all of these TV court shows without Judge Joe Wapner, his trusty bailiff Rusty and his announcer Doug Llewelyn who would interview people on their way out of the court to see if they were happy or sad about the Judge’s decision.

Yes, I know.  It sounds like I know a lot about this topic.  That’s because when I was a kid there were like three channels and so you had to watch a certain amount of People’s Court just to get through the afternoon.

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Bookshelf Battle Blog Under New Management

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Good Day, 3.5 readers.

Lead Counsel for Mr. Battler, Delilah K. Donnelly here.

It is my unfortunate duty to inform all 3.5 of you that Mr. Battler and his longtime girlfriend, one Miss Video Game Rack Fighter, have split up over irreconcilable differences.

Although terrible news, this normally would not be a matter of legal concern.  However, as it turns out, Ms. Fighter was an incredible legal researcher and was able to convince a court of law that by virtue of East Randomtownian Law, she and Mr. Battler had established a common law marriage by living together in sin for so long.

After an intense, seventy-eight hour negotiation session, a divorce agreement was reached and the property of the Bookshelf Battle Blog shall be divided as follows:

  • BQB HQ – Goes entirely to Ms. Fighter in recognition of the two years she lived there, even though Mr. Battler lived his entire life there and it was gifted to him by his beloved Aunt Gertie.
  • The Magic Bookshelf – Goes to Mr. Battler as Ms. Fighter views it and the characters who live it as little more than a nuisance.
  • Ms. Fighter’s Video Game Rack – Entirely to Ms. Fighter, though Mr. Battler may borrow her copy of Car Thief Mayhem once a month but only if she is not playing it.
  • Mr. Battler’s Action Figure Collection – Entirely to Ms. Fighter, not because it has any monetary value but because Mr. Battler believes that he will not be able to attract anyone with a vagina if he retains it.
  • Mr. Battler’s Collection of Used Whoopie Cushions and Rubber Chickens – To Mr. Battler in an effort by Ms. Fighter to show that she is not a total monster.
  • Mr. Battler’s Vintage 1990s Pornographic Magazine Collection – Sold at public auction and distributed evenly between the parties.  Now the property of ex-mayoral candidate Leo McKoy, who has been known to enjoy photos of half-naked women wearing nothing but flannel lumberjack shirts and hair-dos reminiscent of Rachel from Friends.  Mr. McKoy’s only public comment on the matter was, “I’ll be there for you…ugh.”
  • Alimony – Ms. Fighter retains the right to garnish 99.99% of Mr. Battler’s earnings as an assistant to the assistant of the vice-president for corporate assistance at Beige Corp., the world’s premiere producer of beige products and accessories.
  • Bookshelf Q. Battledog – Full legal custody with Ms. Fighter.  Court supervised visits for Mr. Battler every third leap year.
  • The Yeti – Full legal and physical custody to Mr. Battler.  Ms. Fighter will be within her rights to sue for mental pain and suffering if Yeti visitations are attempted.
  • Alien Jones – Retains his position as Mr. Battler’s intergalactic advisor.  Will continue to nag Mr. Battler until he writes a novel that inspires the masses to abandon reality television so that the Mighty Potentate will not conquer the planet.
  • Dr. Hugo Von Science, Uncle Hardass, Vinny Baggadouchio, Search Engine Optimized Poet, Nerdstradamus and Other Assorted Bookshelf Battle Blog Columnists – Will now be employees of Ms. Fighter.
  • The Bookshelf Battle Blog – Full ownership goes to Ms. Fighter.  Mr. Battler will no longer be allowed to post on penalty of being shot into the sun via a high velocity cannon.  Ms. Fighter will be able to post whatever she wants.
  • Mr. Battler’s 3.5 Readers – Now the property of Ms. Fighter.  They are not allowed to read anything written by Mr. Battler under court order.

LEGAL CONCLUSIONS

This is indeed a horrendous development, 3.5 readers.  Mr. Battler did so enjoy posting for your enjoyment, and even when you did not enjoy it, which by my understanding was most of the time.

I understand that you know me as one of the finest attorneys in the land and therefore you may wonder how Ms. Fighter was able to reach such a one-sided settlement.  All I can say is, she started high and sold low.  The alternative to this agreement was that Mr. Battler would have been required to slam his genitalia in a steel loading dock door from now until the end of his life and record every slam and post the footage on YouTube.

All things considered, I’d say Mr. Battler got off easy.

As for Detective Dashing and myself, Ms. Battler has issued no decrees as to whether or not she will utilize our services at this time.  As far as I am concerned, I shall remain Mr. Battler’s attorney until further notice and will continue to advise him as he begins his new life in the roach infested Random Motel, East Randomtown’s premiere pay-by-the-hour lodging resort.

Mr. Battler thanks you for being his 3.5 readers and asks that you do not weep for him, for, as he bravely put it, “It was better to have had 3.5 readers and lost them than to never have had 3.5 readers at all.  Also, Video Game Rack Fighter Sucks Yeti Butt.”

His words, not mine.  I do not say such vulgarities.

Enjoy the rest of your day, 3.5 readers.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Should Amazon’s Alexa Be Forced to Help with a Murder Case?

“Alexa, can you under me new socks?  Alexa, can you order me more toilet paper?  Alexa…can you help solve a murder case….DUN DUN DUN.”

Yes, 3.5 readers, Amazon’s Alexa, the little voice on an Echo Dot that you can put in your home and ask to order you shit and do stuff for you has become the focus of a murder case in Arkansas, where authorities believe Alexa may have heard (i.e. recorded) incriminating evidence or may have been used to order something incriminating.

I don’t know.  On the one hand, Amazon can be a big help.  You can order things as you realize you need them and if you have Prime, they’ll come in a day or two.  Otherwise, if you are busy, you might have to suck it up and go without it until you can get to the store, and then what if you go to the store with your shopping list and you forget?  Plus, you have to drive to the store, walk around all the aisles, carry all the shit into your house…bleh.

I can see why prosecutors might want the information in order to help put a murderer away.  As a conspiracy theorist though, I wonder if there’s a slippery slope where government agents in black helicopters might start collecting info on when I order new underpants or whatever.

I don’t have an Echo Dot.  I have mixed feelings on Amazon.  The ease of ordering is good.  Sometimes it is too good and then you end up ordering crap you don’t need.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Who Wants to Explain Authors Guild vs. Google to Me?

Hey 3.5 Readers,

Just came across this article in PC World  about a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to not hear an appeal regarding a case Author’s Guild brought against Google regarding their book scanning project.

Here’s more about that from the Author’s Guild website.

Anyone want to try to explain it to me?

Off the top of my head, the idea that a for profit company would be able to scan books not in the public domain and then make them publicly available seems troubling.  But I have no clue what is happening here other than it seems like something book nerds such as the 3.5 readers of this website would be interested.

So discuss away, book nerds, and tell me what the heck this is all about. Should I be mad as hell, mildly chagrined, or not give a crap?

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Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker

e59d1b66c3aa6c9bc9e4613b3fde1414d00e6da18c099b3bf5d3d9f8eaa4d26dHey 3.5 brothers.

BQB here.  Have you read the news that Hulk Hogan won $115 million dollars in his lawsuit against Gawker?

Here’s a CNN article about it if you want to catch up.

The brief rundown – Hulk Hogan was caught on tape having sex with a friend’s wife. Gawker somehow (I haven’t cared enough to find out how) got ahold of it and put a clip on their site.

We could probably debate all day long about whether or not the Hulkster is a good guy or an a-hole.  If you’re an 80’s kid, chances are you spent a fair amount of time watching him go toe to toe against the Iron Sheik and you probably have some fond memories of that nonsense.

But then again, he’s had his share of scandals and inappropriate behaviors.

Let’s not get into that.

Instead, let’s get into what this suit means…we are bloggers after all…not at the level that Gawker is at but still, we have to remember to watch our P’s and Q’s lest we end up with a lawsuit of our own.

I’ll bring it down to a debate question – Do you 3.5 readers think a sex tape is newsworthy or does it qualify as something private and not necessary for the public to see?

Personally, I fall on the latter side of this question.  No one needs to see the Hulkomaniac go at it, brother.

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How the West Was Zombed – Part 3 – The Trial

A day of reckoning comes for the Buchanan Boys.  Judge Sampson comes to town and is hankering to pass out some hangings.

But “simple country lawyer” Henry Allan Blythe and his werewolf lackeys have other plans in mind.

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Chapter 21         Chapter 22      Chapter 23

Chapter 24        Chapter 25      Chapter 26

Chapter 27        Chapter 28

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 23

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Judge Sampson was not a man to be trifled with.

“The Legion Corporation? This case has nothing to do with your company!”

Blythe had a prominent Southern accent.  So flamboyant was his drawl that it was almost as if he spent a lot of time working on it. The only thing he was missing was the mint julep.

“Your honor, may it please the court…”

“It does not please the court!” the Judge shouted. “The court is very displeased!”

The doors opened again and two men entered.

“Now who are these two peckerwoods?” the Judge so astutely inquired.

“Apologies,” Blythe said. “Where are my manners?”

The counselor pointed to his left, toward a man with a high widow’s peak, a square jaw and a stern face.

“This is Mr. Dalton Hewett.”

Blythe shifted his attention to his right, toward a man with short brown hair and a handlebar mustache.  This man looked as though he might have been handsome once, until his nose was broken and reset one too many times.

“And this is Mr. Travis Becker. They’re my security agents, your honor. Professionals trained in the art of gunslinging and paid to safeguard my person from all the dangers the world has to offer.  Coincidentally, Judge, security is what I’ve come to talk to you about today.”

“How’s that?” Sampson asked.

“This is all just a big misunderstanding, your honor,” Blythe said. “Mr. Buchanan and his bundle of hayseeds have recently been hired as security agents of the Legion Corporation”

“We have?!” Jack asked.

Blythe slapped a hand on Jack’s shoulder, then knelt down to whisper in the defendant’s ear.

“Do you want to get off the hook and make a few bucks?” Blythe asked.

“Hell yeah!” Jack said.

“Then shut up.”

“Bullshit,” Sampson said.  “I don’t know what your angle is, counselor, but I know bullshit when I smell it and I’m fixing to pull up my boots.”

“It’s all perfectly legitimate, Judge,” Blythe said as he popped open a briefcase and handed a stack of papers to Hewett, who in turn walked them over to Sampson. “You’ll find all the necessary documentation right there.  These men were hired a month ago and were ordered to report to Highwater last week to assist in safeguarding the operations of the Legion Line.”

Sampson studied the paperwork. “Why should I give a shit?”

“Because, your honor, as you’re well aware, Highwater Station is the last stop on our transcontinental express before it crosses the Mississippi River by way of the Sturtevant Bridge.  Back East, demand is higher than ever for the minerals, resources, and raw materials that the West provides in abundance and we can’t allow this precious cargo to be shipped without protection from Injuns and bandits can we?  That’s why the board of directors of the Legion Corporation have enlisted me to oversee this important hub of activity and my very first act was to hire these upstanding citizens.”

“That’s neither here nor there,” Sampson said. “As much as you snooty city folk like to pretend like the whole world revolves around you, your employees are not afforded a free pass for criminal misconduct.”

“I should say not, your honor,” Blythe said. “Tell me, what is the immediate allegation that led to these men becoming embroiled in such hot water?”

“An attempted attack on Highwater,” Sampson said.

“Come now, Judge,” Blythe said. “Is an attempt really a crime?”

“That’s what I said!” Jack shouted.

Blythe carried on. “Was anyone hurt? Injured? Maimed? Was anything stolen? It seems to me that all that happened was that these fine, upstanding men showed up for work and were mistaken for common thugs.”

“They are common thugs!” Sampson hollered. “I could throw out the Highwater charges and there’d still be enough to hang ’em high for any one of the crimes they committed across the country!”

Jack raised his finger to make a point. “Clarification, your honor. Armadillo molestation isn’t a hanging offense in Texas. Usually, the sheriff just lets you off with a warning as long as you put the armadillo back where you found him.”

“YOU! SHUT UP!” Sampson screamed. “Counselor, these men have been accused of one long crime spree that’s gone on for years.”

“I see,” Blythe said. “And where are the witnesses?”

“The what?” Sampson asked.

“The witnesses,” Blythe said. “The people who were allegedly harmed.  Why are they not here to take the stand and profess to the injuries they claim to have suffered at the hands of the Buchanans?”

“They’re all dead,” Sampson said.

Blythe stretched his arms out and said, Rather convenient, isn’t it? Now your honor, I may be just a simple country lawyer, but during my copious study of jurisprudence, I determined that the accused has a right to face his accusers.”

Slade raised his hand and was acknowledged by the Judge. The Marshal despised public speaking as much as he did private, but he forced himself. “These boys have been attacking the Injun lands outside town for awhile now.”

“Really, your honor?” Blythe asked. “Is that where we are now? Secondhand heresay based on the word of heathen savages?”

Without a gavel, Sampson pounded his fist down on his desk. “I’ve heard enough. Counselor, your motion is denied. The verdict stands. Get the f%$k out.”

Blythe rifled through his briefcase.  “Silly me, I almost forgot I have one more thing to show you, your honor. Governor Montgomery has issued a fall pardon to every last Buchanan for these so-called crimes.”

“Bullshit,” Sampson said.

B”It took some doing,” Blythe said. “But our dear Governor was so moved by the plight of these noble, downtrodden men that he felt compelled to intervene.”

The counselor approached the bench and handed a single, blank sheet of paper to the Judge.

“Is this some kind of joke?” Sampson asked.

With his back turned to the room, Blythe’s eyes turned a dark glowing red.  Sampson couldn’t help but stare at them. He found them so…alluring.

“No your honor,” Blythe said. “As you can see, everything is in order and these men are free to go.”

Blythe’s eyes returned to their regular blue. Sampson cleared his throat.

“I can’t believe that Governor Montgomery would exercise his power in such a reckless manner,” the Judge said. “But everything is in order. These men are free to go.”

The outraged citizenry who showed up hurled every insult they could think of at the Judge.

“My hands are tied! A pardon from the Governor trumps all!  The verdict is vacated! Case dismissed!”

 

 

 

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