Category: Fun

Journal of the Great Shutdown: Day Four

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A family emergency is calling me out of town. I really hate to leave home at a time like this. I know – I just know – that the motorcycle gangs are gathering, and with Homeland Security down to a mere 86% of its strength, and with the Department of Defense no longer able to give MRAPs to local police departments and higher educational facilities because of the shutdown I can taste the chaos in the wind, like ashes and smoke from a burning once-great civilization.

Given the inevitable looting I can't help thinking that my home is a target (especially with all that gasoline and salted beef sitting in the garage).

Still, Mrs. Clark is handy with a crossbow and looks, frankly, hot as hell in white hockey armor. And I have to – I have to – go. I hope she'll be able to defend the juice, the precious juice.

I'll try to get back as soon as I can.

Stay strong, people. If you don't hear from me again, know that I had you – all of you – in my heart.

Journal of the Great Shutdown: Day Three

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Good news and bad.

Craigslist and the internet are still up (for now), and I even managed to get ahold of a blacksmith. He said he could make me a crossbow, but it would take two weeks and cost $3,000. He's busy working on a commission for a decorative railing and would charge extra if I wanted a rush job.

The fools. Decorative railing? Before this apocalypse is over, the only use that railing will be get is by savage 14 year old cannibals using it to roast the bodies of the yuppies who commissioned it over a cooking fire made of splintered remains of their tasteful Shaker furniture.

So, a bust on the leaf spring crossbow…but the blacksmith – and I hope he comes through this cataclysm all right – told me that Cabelas might have some in stock.

I drove to the nearest one, not wanting to trust that UPS will still be running by the weekend, and found a
"Barnett Recruit"
for $299. Oddly, there was no frantic mob of panic buyers.

I leaned across the counter and told the clerk that if he didn't want to accept US dollars – what with the apocalypse and all – I was willing to trade him salted beef, but he looked uncomfortable and said that his manager would prefer it if I used plastic.

I bought five crossbows – trade goods – and their entire stock of bolts. I also picked up another water filter (20% off sale!).

After that I stopped by the hardware store where I bought 10 jerry cans, and then filled them at the gas station. That should keep the generator running until I can figure out how to set up a still and find a supply of pig shit. My credit card is getting maxed out, but if this government budget impasse lasts another few days the entire financial system will be in ruins anyway, so what do I care?

Thinking of the generator made me realize that I'd need light bulbs, so I stopped at a Target on the way home.

I looked for 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, but the shelf where they used to be was bare. I found a clerk. He was just 17 or so, and too dumb to realize that he should be escaping the chaos with a boy scout troop up in the hills instead of working in the doomed wreckage of civilization.

"Can I get some 100 watt bulbs from the back? Maybe a pallet? Or two?"

He shook his head sadly. "No, there are no 100 watt incandescent bulbs."

"They're gone already?"

"Yeah, you know. Because of the government."

I clapped my hand on his pimply shoulder in silent solidarity.

It's starting, people. It's starting.

May God protect us all.

Journal of the Great Shutdown: Day Two

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My trip to Petco was uneventful. A cheerful greeter at the door handed me a coupon for Eukenuba Lamb and Rice dog food, so I bought that instead of the Dinky Dee I had set out for.

I don't know who's more foolish: the greeter standing there, cheerfully helping shoppers, or the other customers who weren't panicking and hoarding like I was. Don't these idiots realize that the government is shut down?!?!

The lack of rioting at Petco encouraged me – might there still be actual human food on the shelves at other stores? Swung by Whole Foods where I saw canned goods…and large cuts of beef and pork on sale at $1.99 / lb. Remembering a trick from Lucifer's hammer, I bought all the meat I could fit in the shopping cart, took it home, sliced it thin, and dehydrated it.

As I stayed up until 4am slicing meat I couldn't help but dwell on the fact that the customers at Whole Foods are just as deluded as those at Petco. Fools. Pathetic fools. The societal breakdown might not be that obvious yet, but by day three of the government shutdown they'll be hammering at my door, looking for salted beef.

Sadly, I've realized that my preparations aren't as far along as they should be. Ammunition will soon grow scarce, and I'll need other weapons to defend myself from bikers and feral children once the government shutdown really hits. I recall from Dies the Fire that crossbows can be made from truck leaf springs. I'm going to go onto Craigslist to try to find a blacksmith or craftsman I can barter with, but I fear it may already be too late – has Craigslist survived this long?

For that matter, will this missive ever reach you, dear readers?

The FCC has furloughed 98% of its employees, so I worry that without thousands of government heroes to keep the internet from collapsing, when I click "post" this message will go nowhere. I may have to find an alternative way to get this note to you.

If this message takes days, weeks, or even months to reach you, please understand – that's the best we can hope for with no government.

Why Won't Nice Girls Ever Write Me Back? :(

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I am a writer looking for good blogs like yours where I can contribute professionally written and proofread articles. I'm just wondering if you accept guest posts?

If you do currently accept contributions, do you allow links inside the main article? Also, are there any fees I might need to pay?

Looking forward to hearing from you soon. :)



Dear Victoria,

Thank you for your inquiry.

What kinds of subjects do your articles address? Would it be possible to suggest a topic suited for my blog?



Thanks for your reply.

Generally I prefer to be guided by the publisher in terms of what they would like covered. This way you get an article that fits in with the overall voice of your blog. Do you have any strong preferences in terms of what should or shouldn't be covered?



Dear Victoria,

Thank you for your response.

I appreciate your offer to craft an article that fits with the voice of our blog. The term I hear most often to describe our voice is "shouty," but that's mostly from people who are frankly very judgmental. I prefer the term "mellifluous" to describe our voice. I previously preferred "jumentous" because it sounds nice, like a combination of momentous and jubilant, but then I looked it up and no.

Right now, Victoria, we're particularly interested in the equine risks to our children — or, as we prefer to say to convey the fulsome nature and extent of the threat, Our Children. I don't know about Australia, but in America right now pony rides are very popular. You see pony rides at the birthday parties of imminently bankrupt social climbing parents, at open-air farmer's markets in the suburbs, at at fairs, carnivals, and other community events operated by persons susceptible to being depicted in HBO series. The sight of the ponies fills children with delight, Victoria. But too seldom is the question asked — are they SAFE?

Please let me know if you would like for me to elaborate.

Also, what type of links would you like to put in the articles? May I hope they would add value and provide information likely to be of interest to our readers?

Very truly yours,


[no response]





RMZ Fire Safety: The Investigation Continues

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Last week I launched a new mail fraud investigation of an entity calling itself RMZ Fire Safety. I outlined the reasons I suspected that the outfit was bogus — chief of which was they sent an invoice for services they didn't render, and I could find no trace of their existence.

One of my purposes was to create a presence for RMZ Fire Safety on Google so that when other businesses received their invoice they would find my post, and hopefully send tips about further invoices.

It's working.

A tipster received an RMZ invoice at her business, Googled it, found my post, and sent me this invoice.

The second invoice strongly corroborates the fraud. First, it's yet another business that got the invoice despite never having heard of RMZ Fire Safety or receiving services from it. Second, the "Account #" — which for a legitimate business would reflect each customer's individual number — is identical to the "Account #" on the first invoice I received. That's typical of mail fraud schemes.

I've given the invoices to a Postal Inspector I happened to meet on some other matter. Never mind which one that was.

Keep sending in the invoices, and I will keep forwarding them to the Postal Inspectors. In addition, if anyone has any ideas on getting information on the persons associated with the phone number — (626) 373-8717, using Google Voice — let me know.

A New Mail Fraud Investigation: "RMZ Fire Safety"

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Long-time readers may remember my Anatomy of a Scam Investigation series, in which I documented my investigation of apparent mail fraud by a company called UST Development and its principal David Bell. UST's gambit, as you may recall, was sending misleading solicitations crafted to look like invoices.

Yesterday a fan of that series sent me a tip about a new subject for investigation: an invoice for a company called "RMZ Fire Safety." The tipster — let's call him G — works for a business in Los Angeles County that received an invoice from RMZ Fire Safety. G reports that RMZ Fire Safety did not do the work reflected in the invoice for the business and that the business had never heard of RMZ Fire Safety, and suggested the invoice might be worth an inquiry.

The game's afoot! You know my methods.

The Invoice: The invoice is here. I've redacted identifying information about G's business. The invoice is extremely cursory. Note that it states a charge of $413.11, including tax, for "Annual State Required Fire Safety Equipment Inspection, Test, and Certification." The invoice comes from "RMZ Fire Safety" with an address of 1407 Foothill Blvd., #614, La Verne, California 91750, and a phone number of (626) 373-8717.1 There is no indication whatsoever that the document is a solicitation rather than an invoice for services rendered. Again, G reports the services were never rendered and that his company has had no contact with "RMZ Fire Safety."

Company Search Techniques: The California Secretary of State's Business Search website reveals no corporation, LLC, or LLP called "RMZ Fire Safety," and no companies with "RMZ" in the title with matching addresses. Could "RMZ Fire Safety" be a fictitious business name — a d.b.a.? Perhaps, but even though both G's business and "RMZ Fire Safety" are in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk website reveals no fictitious business name statement filed for "RMZ Fire Safety." I like to emphasize resources anyone can use in these posts, but I also searched public records databases on Westlaw, including "Combined Corporate Records & Business Registration Records" for all states, and found no record of a "RMZ Fire Safety."

License Search: If RMZ Fire Safety is performing "Annual State Required Fire Safety Equipment Inspection, Test, and Certification" at G's business, like the invoice suggests, then it would require licenses, unless that description is quite misleading and is only intended to refer to portable items like fire extinguishers and not to equipment like sprinklers. California requires fire protection contractor's license in some circumstances and a State Fire Marshal's license in others. The website for California's Contractors State License Board reveals no license in the name of "RMZ Fire Safety." I inquired with the California Fire Marshal and found no record of a license with them.

Google Search: A Google search for "RMZ Fire Safety" (with quotation marks) reveals one false hit on a spreadsheet uploaded by a user "rmz" but no hits about the business. A broader search for RMZ Fire Safety (without quotation marks) reveals nothing about the business. Google does reveal an Indian real estate developer called "RMZ Corp" with no apparent presence in the United States. For what it is worth, it is not unusual for scammers to use business names similar to those of established businesses, as my investigation of David Bell and UST Development discussed.

Contact Information Search: A Google search of 1407 Foothill Boulevard in La Verne reveals it to be a commercial mailbox establishment. There are no apparent Google hits for that address with box #614. I find no useful Google hits for phone number (626) 373-8717. This is unusual for a genuine business.

Better Business Bureau: Searching the Better Business Bureau's database reveals no hits for "RMZ Fire Safety" or the phone number it lists on its invoice.

Shoe Leather: Some investigations require a direct approach. I called (626) 373-8717. I got a series of recordings, one saying that it was trying to reach the Google Voice customer. Eventually I got a voice-mail box for RMZ Fire Safety. I left a message identifying myself and leaving a phone number, explaining that I write about fraud investigations, had reviewed an invoice from RMZ Fire Safety for services the recipient says were not rendered, and could find no record of RMZ Fire Safety existing. I asked for a return call. I haven't gotten one.

Conclusion: This evidence, taken together, strongly suggests that the "RMZ Fire Safety" invoice is fraudulent. It's not conclusive. It's possible that RMZ Fire Safety is just a name that a real business is using, and it hasn't registered it as a fictitious business name for some reason, and it's brand new and that's why it has left no web traces, and that the invoice was sent to G's business by accident. It's possible that RMZ Fire Safety did perform services at G's business and G just doesn't know about it and RMZ Fire Safety just coincidentally has left no trace of its existence online. RMZ Fire Safety might (as UST Development did) fall back on the "this is a solicitation, not an invoice" defense, though that defense would be unconvincing given the text of the invoice and would also be invalid under federal law, which requires clear disclaimers on solicitations designed to look like invoices.

I will try calling "RMZ Fire Safety" again. Meanwhile, this post will establish a presence for "RMZ Fire Safety" on the web, so others receiving invoices and Googling it (or its phone number or address) will see this post and perhaps send me tips or other invoices. If you want to help with this investigation, I welcome your insight, and particularly welcome you posting something elsewhere about RMZ Fire Safety with a link here to increase the chances that business owners who receive invoices and Google RMZ Fire Safety will find this post.

Meanwhile, I am reporting RMZ Fire Safety to appropriate authorities by methods explained in this post.

To be continued . . .

The Tesla, Or The Pony?

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Hello editor/admin,

I love your site and think it may be a fit for my marketing campaign. What kind of advertising options do you offer?

How much do you charge for a one very relevant, do-follow, in-copy text link to a non-spammy website?

I will give you great content. I just need to know the cheapest rate you can offer for a link inside the article I will give you.

If your rates meet my budget, I will get back with relevant stories.


Dear Susan,

Thank you for your inquiry.

I am very happy to hear that may be a fit for your marketing campaign.

I am intrigued by your offer for an article containing a link. Can you give me a sense of the likely subject matter of the article you would offer?




Thanks for responding. I was actually interested in sponsored post opportunities such as something similar to this article. The link below is an example to show the type of post. I can write content relevant to any niche.

Please let me know if you would be able to offer this and what your rate would be.


Your linked post demonstrates exactly the sort of incisive analysis we aspire to on Popehat,and echoes some of our deepest and most ill-concealed fears and anxieties. We, too, feel like minnows amongst big blog fish. Although Patrick says that I am more of a grouper, and Clark wrote a 4,000 word essay about how he is the Megaladon. I had to set that post as private because there was too many capitalized swears. Some of them weren't even real words.

I think that it is possible that we could reach some sort of accommodation, Susan. I propose that you consider one of the following:

1. WE: accept your guest post with its embedded sponsored link. YOU: Buy us a red Model X Tesla, with a custom-installed electrical element in the seat that will give me a cautionary shock if I stare at the gigantic dash touchscreen too long, endangering pedestrians. The gazing, I mean, not the shocking; ideally the shocking would help pedestrians by preventing the gazing, which endangers them. Though I suppose technically the shocking shouldn't be set so high that it makes me flinch and swerve into pedestrians either because I think that would defeat the purpose, don't you? So: mild shock reasonably far from the genitals, please. I'm thinking about mid-thigh. In connection with the cautionary shock-device on my new Tesla, I mean, not in connection with anything else. THIS IS NOT AN OBSCENE EMAIL; THIS IS A BUSINESS EMAIL.

2. WE: accept your guest post with its embedded sponsored link, for FREE. YOU: ensure that the guest post includes a cautionary artistic rendering of a pony. This option is only acceptable if you can provide an artistic depiction that captures, to the satisfaction of an artistic panel consisting of us, the terrifying duality of a pony. The pony can't be rending flesh or breathing fire or sucking the soul out of a baby or anything like that. That's the subtext, Susan. No, the pony has to be doing pony things, like amusing children or capering or being photogenic even whilst shitting indiscriminately. It has to be pretty, Susan. It has to be — and I beg you to forgive my roughness here — one extremely Goddamned pretty pony. But it has to simultaneously convey the dark promises of every pony, the bleak and fell possibilities raised by every juvenilequine encounter. The pony has to exist in a visible dual-state of pretty and horrific. You're going to need quite an artist for that, Susan. You can't just hire anyone off the street. Street people are okay at caricatures and the artwork at the New Yorker and stuff but they don't get ponies. If they got ponies they would live off the street, in houses, because ponies are more likely to be on streets. See?

3. We: accept your guest post with its embedded sponsored link, but edit it to our personal satisfaction, potentially including but not limited to altering it until it addresses the Pony Menace to our satisfaction. YOU: help me get my left arm out of this vending machine. Long story. All I can say is: thank God for iPads.

I remain faithfully yours,


Extended! (Final performances this Sunday!)

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Kill A Better Mousetrap, a one-act play recently featured at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, has been extended as part of the "Best of Fringe"!

Additional performances will occur on Sunday, 28 July, at 1pm and again at 5:30pm.

Miles Edward Merbinau has somehow inherited the film rights to the world’s longest running play, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Unfortunately, due to a legal technicality, he can’t do anything with them until the original London production of the play (now in its 60th year!) closes… which hardly seems imminent. Several “peaceable” efforts to shut down The Mousetrap having backfired on him, Merbinau is now determined to borrow a leaf from Dame Agatha’s own works… murder!

The people have raved, of course, but the author and lead actor, Scott Ratner, felt that some celebrity endorsements would also be fitting. Having failed to secure them, he had to roll his own:

Tickets here

(Edit: bumped for great justice!)

A Blogger's Dialogue With A Critic

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The blogger in question is not me. (I wish it were.) But it is someone you have heard of, if you read me. The precipitating event was a post about the Zimmerman trial.

From: Very Upset Person []
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 11:46 AM
To: Blogger
Cc: some wanker
Subject: Your asshole speaks.

You’re a prick, low life in a profession I see lower than whores. The real problem with the law it has nothing to do with truth and justice. It’s about manipulating true and justice. So tell everyone who’s pissed of about a punk with a gun killing someone for walking home they are wrong. No, you penis drip, your whole life is a dishonor to truth. You and your whore, friends of fucked up laws, along with the pimp judges and less than crap polictians [sic] (mostly Republican, what the fuck are you?) are responsible for passing “stand your ground” laws to protect punks like you and your friend ,George Zimmermans. When the shit hits the fan (and it will) , lawers [sic] will be eaten first then punks second.

Mr. Very Upset Person,

Thank you for your email. I always appreciate people taking the time to provide feedback on my writing, whether it’s a lawyer, school teacher, poet, pizza delivery boy, or an employee of the [agency facility] in [location] since 2004.

I was wondering if you would be so kind to let me know whether your boss, either Director [Name], or Chief of Staff [Name], suggest that when penning a profanity laced personal screed like yours, that it come from your official email address?

Actually, never mind, I’ll ask them myself.

Have a great day!

[full and really rather too long signature block]

One takes fun where one finds it.

Me Write Pony One Day

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David Williamson

Jul 2, 2013

Hi Ken,

My name is David and I was just checking out your blog Popehat. I have seen that you have published guest posts from different authors in your niche. I am fully interested in witting about law and legal topics.

Here is couple of post that I have written in the past.




Please let me Know how it sounds like so I will start putting a piece together or drop me an email if you have any question/ideas.

Kind Regards,

David Williamson

Hi David,

My name is Ken and I was checking out your email. I have seen that you have written guest posts for various blogs.

David, I am excited to Know that you are open to my questions/ideas about possible guest posts about law and legal topics.

Here's a topic that interests us at Popehat: how does the law classify ponies vis a vis horses?

David, until recently we were under the impression that ponies were simply teenaged horses. That would explain their impetuous and dangerous behavior. Everyone knows that teenagers act badly. Time Magazine has been warning us about teenaged super-predators for decades. That was supposed to be because of crack cocaine and fetal alcohol system and possibly cable television, which I'm pretty sure aren't problems for ponies, but I think my point is still clear, isn't it?

But now I learn that I was wrong, that ponies are different — that they are Other, not merely teenaged or otherwise stunted horses. My question: does this Otherness have any standing at law? Are ponies, as an Other, somehow privileged to wreck the dank and copper-scented havoc they lust for? Do ponies have rights superior to horses, or superior to we foolish men who allow ourselves to believe we are their masters?

I would be very interested in discussing a guest post about that, David.

Very truly yours,


Easing Back In, With Ponies

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Ahem. Where was I?

Oh yes. The mailbag.

I received two identical emails from this gentleman inside a week:


I hope this message finds you well. My name is Austin Staubus and I am with Lanista Concepts, a premium boutique ad-agency located in Dallas, TX. I recently discovered your website and wanted to inquire about potential advertising opportunities.

Lanista Concepts specializes in increasing ad revenue through both manual and programmatic efforts and offers the most competitive and complete monetization solution on the market. As such, we are confident we can outperform your existing solution.

Further, we specialize in certain verticals and feel this could become a mutually beneficial partnership. If you would, please put me in touch with the person or department that deals with your business development so we can discuss further.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Austin Staubus
Lanista Concepts Ad Agency
[address and phone number ommitted]

Today I responded:

Dear Mr. Staubus,

Thank you for your inquiry. I am happy to hear from a reputable agency, particularly a premium boutique.

We at Popehat are definitely interested in increasing our revenue, owing to certain recent expenses that prudence and confidentiality agreements prevent me from explaining in detail. To date our ad revenue has been disappointing. Perhaps that's because we've been focusing on manual methodologies of paradigm interstice optimization. It never even occurred to us to take a programmatic approach to monetization! That's why you're the professional and we aren't.

Though I am eager to hear more, I am concerned at your reference to "certain verticals." Which verticals are these? If our website has a horizontally-focused design, will they still work? Or does verticals refer to things that are very tall?

Also, I assume that we would have some ability to veto certain types of advertising on our own site. We are all men of the world here, Mr. Staubus, and not prudes. But there are some things that our good consciences will not permit to be advertised on our web site. We would have to have a careful conversation about certain juvenequinallian issues.

Very truly yours,


Austin was cautious, but optimistic, in response:

Hey Ken,

Thank you for your quick response. That was, hands down, the best first response I've ever received. Your website analytics look great, and we feel confident we can increase your revenue. Your reputation for quality content online is nothing short of impressive.

Here are a few facts about Lanista Concepts and how we differentiate ourselves.

A. We're a 100% fill remnant solution.
B. We focus on specific verticals.
C. Every website we work with receives a custom set up to ensure optimization (we're not a "plug and play" solution).
D. We put your inventory in front to approximately 3,000 buyers.

E. We provide seven-day-a-week ad and technical assistance.

All of the ads we run are brand-safe. You won't experience and pop-ups, pop-unders, or ads that would be intrusive. In fact, we have the ability to filter the units so our publishers don't receive ads that are contrary, or questionable, to the aim of their site.

Further, I apologize if my mention of certain verticals was unclear. By verticals, I simply mean the type of website. Our main verticals are politics and news. You would not need to change the design of your site. In fact, the layout looks great.

Finally, Lanista Concepts works with a limited number of sites. We only work with publishers we know, for a fact, we can help. We feel confident Pope Hat is one of those websites. Please let us know we can earn your business.


Austin Staubus

Bored now.


Thanks for your response! We at Pope Hat are heartened. We didn't know it was possible for someone to focus on our specific verticals. We assumed our specific verticals would go neglected. Especially Clark's.

But I have more questions.

1. You say you have the ability to filter units. Is your filter pony-compliant? Can you assure no pony content? I need assurance with Level 4 safety here. I can't and won't have it, Austin, for a pony ad to slip through and have you telling me you thought it was a stunted donkey or something.

2. What kind of methodology do you use to match appropriate ads to content? For instance, say you wanted to match ads to our series mocking spammers who send us solicitations for guest posts, even though we have been ridiculing that for years (see, for instance, — what would you match to that? What about our series naming and shaming web advertising spammers (like so: — what would you match to that? Would you use heuristic algorithms? Are they vertically programmatic?

Very truly yours,


Maybe you think I'm being mean to Austin, by naming him here.

I'm not. Austin, and his company, need to learn an important lesson: spamming has consequences. It should.

Spamming lets companies send vast numbers of emails cheaply and hope for a few hits. Collectively it inflicts costs — strain on the infrastructure of the internet, wasted time, spam filter expenses, annoyance. That cost isn't paid by the spammers. It's paid by you, and by me.

Spammers need an incentive not to spam. This is one such incentive. Ladies and gentlemen of the marketing profession, when you spam blogs, now and then you're going to find someone like me who is going to name, shame, and ridicule you. You deserve it. You deserve it because, like a telemarketer, you're willing to annoy thousands for a handful of bites. You especially deserve it when you offer me the disrespect of a lie — when you say "Your reputation for quality content online is nothing short of impressive," as if you had any clue who we are, other than a blog email address you've gotten off of some auto-generated list.

I hope this embarrasses you, Austin Staubus of Lanista Concepts Ad Agency. The way you elect to do business makes the world a measurably worse and more irritating place.

Edited to add:

And, as a palate cleanser, one who didn't write back:


I'm looking for a site to do a guest post on and found yours to be a fit. I have several articles on personal injury, DUI, criminal cases (and anything about law) that you might want to have on your site. I understand that you want nothing but the best pieces there so I made sure my articles are all fresh, informative, and original (absolutely free from plagiarism) . The article will have at least 300 words and will contain two links back to the site I'm developing. The piece is free!!

If you're interested, please let me know.

All the best,


You magnificent bastard, I read your guest post!

But I have concerns. 300 words? That's like half of one of my mid-paragraph parenthetical comments. Also, I appreciate that you have posts on personal injury, DUI, and criminal cases. But we have very specialized interests. So I ask you: would it be possible to get a guest post on, instead of driving under the influence, riding under the influence? Preferably the post would be about riding ponies under the influence — of drugs or alcohol, not of the ponies (Of COURSE you're under the influence of the pony when you are riding it. How could you not be? They know all. They see all. We imagine we have free will, we imagine we choose our own path, but we are fools — we merely do their bidding [Their dark, pony bidding]) — but in a pinch it could be about adult horses, I suppose. Or camels. Or dromedaries. (Dromedari?)

I look forward to hearing more.



In Which Judge Fred Biery Enjoys the Hell Out of Denying a Preliminary Injunction

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My God, but the law is dreadful most of the time. Trust me. Really. It's insufferable.

So: best to take what pleasures you can when they become available.

United States District Judge Fred Biery of the Western District of Texas understands. That's why he wrings amusement from the dirty throat of the law whenever possible. Of course, that's easier to do when you have life tenure, a bitchin' robe, and armed federal marshals at your disposal, but the point is his spirit is admirable. Judge Biery is well known for amusing himself, and many of his readers, in the course of writing orders. Yesterday, in an order denying a motion for a preliminary injunction against a broad City of San Antonio ordinance regulating strip clubs, he enjoyed himself some more. The order is right here. It begins:

An ordinance dealing with semi-nude dancers has once again fallen on the Court's lap.

. . . and so on, in that style, until:

Should the parties choose to string this case out to trial on the merits, the Court encourages reasonable discovery intercourse as they navigate the peaks and valleys of litigation, perhaps to reach a happy ending.

And in the middle, there is actual law.

I've now written myself well out of contention for any position of public authority anywhere, anywhen. But this sort of order makes me think that if I ever became a judge I could still have fun.

Enjoy. Judge Biery did.

(If you think Judge Biery's humor is adolescent, you haven't seen what judges and attorneys are like when they're being serious. Plus Footnote 5 is masterful.)