For my money, this is the best lawyer-to-lawyer letter of all time, involving, as it does, a millionaire throwing a porn star off a balcony into a swimming pool by – and I quote – "her vagina".
The issue apparently begins when the porn star grabbed the millionaire's shirt and alters her trajectory (something I'm pretty sure all the tutorials for Kerbal Space Program tell you not to do), thus breaking her foot during reentry.
The letter is from the lawyer of the tosser to the letter of the tossee.
I represent Dan Bilzerian and received your letter on behalf of Janice Griffith.
Like your client, the facts of the claim won't, quite, fly.
Maybe your client's theory is that Mr. Bilzerian negligently violated the established standard of reasonable care for one who throws a porn actor off a roof and into a pool during a photo shoot for an adult magazine.
I'll let that one sink in for a moment.
Far be it for me to cast aspersions on the editorial standards of Hustler magazine and "totalfratmove.com", but I'd say that there's a reasonable chance that the entire event (including the allegation of a broken foot, the initial demand letter, and the response letter) was staged.
Even if it's performance art instead of cinema verite, it made me laugh. Go read the whole thing.
Today's guest author, Jim Ardis, is the Mayor of Peoria, Illinois.
Ladies and gentlemen, the rule of law is what separates us from animals and barbarians and people from Joliet. It is that rule of law that I now invoke to prevent so-called "satire" from being used to abuse my person and position.
By now you have heard that someone pretending to be me on Twitter has breached the peace by suggesting that I am some sort of corrupt, disturbed drug fiend. The statements attributed to me have been scandalous, personally hurtful, and textually ambiguous.
Let me clear some things up right now:
- I am devoted to my loving family and have not "shacked up" in a motel with a so-called "notorious furry." I do not visit motels because their low thread-count sheets make my skin chafe. I have not been observed at any motels and if I had been it would have been to visit with community leaders about growing jobs in Peoria's business climate. I had a soiled fox costume in my car because I was going to participate in a pantomime for children at a local cancer hospital. My staff's nickname for me is "Swift," not "Yiff."
- I have not hired any sex workers. I have nothing against them, and feel our system should do a better job protecting them from harm and providing them with opportunities to better themselves and stop being such fucking liars about important people.
- I do not have a "drug problem." Drugs are a scourge of impoverished, powerless, and dark people everywhere. I am fortunate to be affluent, to have friends, and to know many people in the criminal justice system. Throughout my career I have strongly advocated that people, including myself, avoid the ruinous consequences of drugs.
- Interns hallucinate and are prone to sudden unconsciousness. It's a thing. You can Google it.
- I have not accepted cash in low denominations for political favors, as has been claimed. That's ridiculous. I am reliable and honest. Look — I have a lapel pin!
People may believe that they can get away with mocking me or saying unpleasant things about me because of the "First Amendment." They are mistaken. Here in Peoria we have a system that respects the law — and respecting the law means respecting the Office of Mayor. When I was victimized by satire — abused by someone with no regard to my right to self-esteem and dignity — my good friend Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard sprang into action. Could you get the police to devote substantial resources to investigating someone being making fun of you on the internet? Probably not — but frankly you don't carry the burdens of state that I do. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, and all that.
With the help of Steve, your tax dollars, scores of police hours, and other resources, we were able to present search warrant applications. First we got a warrant for Twitter from Judge Kirk D. Schoenbein. Good old Kirk understood that "satire" is no excuse for disrespect here in Peoria. Then we went to Judge Lisa Wilson to force Comcast to cough up the subscriber information associated with the Twitter account. Lisa gets it too: who does this punk think he is, making fun of the mayor? Finally we went to Judge Kim Kelley with an application for a warrant to search this asshole's home, and to toss it for drugs while we were at it. And what do you know? They found drugs! Time for this little shit to face some real consequences.
You hear all the time about judges getting all bent out of shape about the First Amendment. So why did three judges issue warrants here? Well first of all, they all understood that as the Mayor of Peoria I am an important man, and my reputation is something that should be protected under the law. Second, I made it clear in the warrant application how just plain mean some of those "satirical" tweets were. Now, some eggheads out there might say that the warrant suggested, on its face, that the tweets were not meant to be taken seriously, and that there's no articulated basis to search for drugs in the warrant. You just remind those eggheads that a Mayor in a town like Peoria can get things done. I know people, and people know me, and when I want a warrant, then by God I get a warrant. I know all of these judges. This is exactly why you cultivate relationships, my friends. That kid in your fourth grade class eating paste and wetting himself during story time may seem worthless to you now, but you never know when he's going to wind up having the power of life and death over people because he's got an inoffensive name and photographs well.
In conclusion: this is a case of the system working the way it ought to. Someone disrespected me, a man of respect. The system turned around and bit him in the ass. That will teach you to think twice about mouthing off about people like me, won't it?
I’m Rebecca Gray from Backgroundchecks.org. I love writing guest posts for blogs that interest me. It's a great way to expand one's portfolio, network with other bloggers, and learn new things.
That being said, I was wondering if I could write a guest post for you. The article will be unique and specifically tailored as per the theme of your blog. I’ll just include a reference to my site in the author byline at the end of the article.
Please let me know if you are interested.
Happy New Year! I'm pleased that we can provide an opportunity to expand someone's portfolio.
We're excited to hear that you can offer specifically tailored guest posts per the theme of our blog. Most people don't get the theme of our blog quite frankly.
So: I see you are from Backgroundchecks.org. Can you provide a specifically tailored guest post about background checks? If so I have a few specifications and questions for such a post.
Thanks for the response. Well, I would love to write an article related to background checks. Please let me know if you have any specific topic in mind.
Well, here's the thing. Most available articles about background checks involve people.
Now I grant you that in many ways this is sensible. Man, we are told, is the most dangerous game. Also not an island, and the bastard, and to the extent he is good, hard to find. Man is also a battlefield, if I recall correctly.
But what about other threats?
Is it possible to run a background check on a pony?
Now, wait. I recognize you will see this as immediately preposterous. "What kind of idiot has to run a background check on a pony," you might be thinking. "A pony is overtly hazardous, a patent threat by definition. You might as well run a background check on a puddle of acid or a board with a rusty nail or R. Kelly."
But there are gradations of risk, Rebecca. We deal with them every day. Do I speed up to make that yellow light, or slow down? Do I try skydiving, or not? Do I eat another Double-Double animal style from In-N-Out Burger even though my entire abdomen is so taut and bloated that my vision is blurred and I can feel my pulse in my scrotum?
All ponies are wicked and hazardous, but surely some ponies are more deadly than others. For instance, though all ponies would bite our precious children given a suitable opportunity, some have actually done so and developed a taste for man-flesh that torments their dreams and makes them shudder when darling little hands run over their manes. Any pony MIGHT kill a man, but some ponies HAVE killed a man, and have begun to develop . . . . skills. It's like the difference between a job applicant who has a proven record of being repeatedly fired for incompetence, and one who merely has visible barbed wire or tribal tattoos.
So: I guess what I'm looking for is an article on the extent to which modern technology and investigative methods has made it practicable to run background checks on ponies before one retains their services for one purpose or another.
Also: our readers have grown extremely wary to the point of unmedicated phobia about ponies. So the article should be ABOUT ponies but under no circumstances should the article SAY "pony" or directly mention anything clearly pony-related like "hoof" or "snort" or "rend." Kindly employ a euphemism instead, viz. "In this article I will discuss whether it is possible to run a background check on William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States of America, in order to protect your children."
Trusting that these terms will be agreeable, I remain very sincerely yours,
While off to meander
The vale of Neander
I once took a gander at some lovely gal.
She was low in the hip
And smart as a whip,
But that brow ridge! It made me her pal.
I said, "Though I'm cro-magnon,
I'll be yer companion,
If you'll join me now down in the valley."
With a come-hither look,
My comparatively frail hand she took,
And we down toward the river did sally.
With no hint of neurosis,
We danced the meiosis,
And maybe a tango or two.
And that's why knuckle-dragger
Snips, like a stone dagger
Enhancing your swagger,
Now make you a bragger
'bout the chromosomes that she left to you.
My credit card was declined when I tried to buy ammunition this morning. At first I thought the financial system had finally crashed, but my bank told me that the actual problem was the six pallets of Vienna Sausages I special ordered at Costco.
The first rule of post apocalypse club is to adapt, and I've adapted. I've emptied out Mrs. Clark's IRA – it's not like any of us is going to retire anyway.
I invited the Craigslist blacksmith over (his hourly rate is high, but it's surprisingly affordable when you realize that dollars are going to be worthless by this time next week). Turns out he's pretty handy at welding and is teaching me to "stick weld". The family minivan should be supercharged and up-armored by the time dinner (spam, tang, and matzo) is on the table. That project means that I have little time for further blogging, but in the mean time Nick Gillespie & Meredith Bragg have stepped up to fill the void.
If you haven't already stocked up on food, it's probably too late…but I suspect that the animal shelters still have cats.
You know what to do.
An update about the True Authorship of the Pirate Resignation Letter– now with 100% more Angus scrotum:
Back in April, in the comment thread of a post about our recondite plans for global dominion, a Popehat visitor using the nick "Will Nobilis" seemed to claim authorship of the well-known Pirate Resignation Letter. In one comment, Will Nobilis wrote,
"…a random web search led me to find out Ken and Patrick (and someone named Mike) wrote about my pirate resignation letter…."
"I am glad to see it has made it to a site I frequently enjoy reading and I hope it brought you as much amusement as it did for me to write it and send it to my bosses back then."
In Will's claim I detected a whiff of Alvarez. So I asked him to clarify. I haven't bothered to grep the logs for a visit from him to that page since then, but we haven't noticed his nick or IP since. Whatevs….
This little episode is what prompted my recent post on The Origin of the Pirate Resignation Letter. A few years ago, by the usual means, I had traced the PRL back as far as the early aughties–specifically, to the third of May
18082001–and had come up with a tentative attribution: "As far as I've been able to tell through clever googling in my favorite search engine, the renowned and much beloved Pirate Resignation Letter was written by Chris Castle…." This Castle chap had posted in a forum, now defunct, under the nick "The Bartender" and had stated that
"In the interest of disclosure I should note …[that t]he entirety of the letter was not drafted by solely myself[.] I prefer to think of myself as the 'Producer' of the document".
As if summoned by low-tier conjuration, a Popehat commenter named "The Bartender" bearing email and IP affinity to Castle turned up to comment on the thread (without disclaiming credit): "Thank you for finding this!…" In neither case did the drinkslinger cited a source.
Anyhow, I don't mean to get exercised, but the pilates thickens: there's new evidence that may set the record straight. For comes now a future reader of Popehat, the humble, scoundrel-hatin' Rob G——-, who intimates that all the preceding claimants, real or imagined, are right bastards, and who adduces credible evidence to support his own authorship. He confirms that he was not posting as "Will Nobilis" and that he ain't "The Bartender". By email, RG explains:
A friend of mine sent me a link to a recent post you guys made about the supposed "original" author of the pirate resignation letter. (To wit: http://www.popehat.com/
2013/04/24/origin-of-the- pirate-resignation-letter/) She suggested I send you a note and square the issue – because I indeed wrote the pirate resignation letter in the winter of 2000.I've been gratified for over a decade that it's been re-posted and reused more than a few times, but I don't believe I've ever before seen someone attempt to claim authorship, until now. As such, I direct your attention to the following link on the Internet Wayback Machine:http://web.archive.org/web/ 20010408002129/http://www.i- resign.com/uk/letters/ ViewLetter.asp?ResignationID= 91As a bit of background, I was a miserable IT guy at Merrill Lynch back in the 1990's, and during the waning moments of my career I took to writing resignation letters as a bit of a hobby. Two of the ones I wrote I later forwarded on to i-resign.com, and the pirate letter was the one I actually did use as my resignation letter from Merrill in December of 2000. The "Chris" mentioned in the letter was my boss at the time, a guy named Chris O——-, and the word "porcine" was actually "bovine" in the original letter. (When you work for a company with a large, scrotum-displaying bull as its logo, it's obvious to see the reasons for my use of the term.) The eventual recipient of my actual resignation letter was a gentleman named John F——-, who had, at time of receipt, long been convinced of my eccentric incompatibility with Merrill.Someone sent me a link years ago to a reply I suppose you guys did – it was droll and appreciated. I don't really want any notoriety or "credit," but I wanted to set the record straight – I don't like liars.Best,Rob G——-
Various journalists are claiming they have seen a video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack.
Update: We've received an email from Dennis Morris, a gentleman with a hotmail.com email address purporting to be Ford's attorney. Here is the message. We haven't corrected its formatting.
Greetings;I am a lawyer,and have been contacted by Mayor Ford's office in reference to your indicating you will post a photo of Mayor Ford smoking crack cocaine. Mayor Ford denies such took place,and if such posting occurs,it is false and defamatory,and you will be held legally accountable.In reference to the photo,you wish to publish, Mayor Ford has his photo taken daily,sometimes with others.
If the person you mention is now deceased,it is sad,regardless of his alleged background.
Please govern yourself accordingly.
This is delightful, like that video of the kitten freaking out when it sees a lizard.
First, nobody ever governed themselves accordingly based on a threat from a hotmail account. Second, are you using some sort of comma-based operating system? Third, what the fuck are you talking about?
This sets a high bar.
As far as I've been able to tell through clever googling in my favorite search engine, the renowned and much beloved Pirate Resignation Letter was written by Chris Castle and delivered to James Bear (deceased), former managing partner of Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP.
After using the letter, Castle shared it with his friend, user "Otter Von Pop" of the (now defunct) BirdSunEye.com forum, and that user posted it on 17 October 2003 both as a forum post and as a Word doc attachment.
Later that morning, Chris Castle, posting as "The Bartender" confirmed the story and reported on the (first ever!) recipient's humorless (or brilliantly funny!) reply.
Harvested from the past and hosted right here on Popehat is that original forum thread:
Enjoy this bit of net.history! And if you have anything to add about the people or circumstances, please share what you know in the comments.
UPDATE: There's a new pretender to the helm!
I'm not participating in any elaborate April Fool's joke this year. But if you are in the mood, have a flashback instead.
Yesterday I discussed the strange case of "On Press, Inc.", a name used to make feckless and frequently incoherent threats against people who quoted "poet" "Shaun Shane."
Investigation results to date suggest that the "On Press, Inc." staffed by illiterates and making stupid threats is not — repeat not — the California corporation of that name. Moreover, though evidence suggests that the people using that name are in Texas, there is no record of such a corporation in Texas. Doing business under a false representation of corporate status is illegal in almost every jurisdiction.
On Twitter, I have repeatedly asked the threat accounts of "On Press, Inc." to identify the state in which they are incorporated, or identify the attorney representing them. I've received only misspelled abuse in response.
Yesterday I wrote an email address an apparent representative of "On Press, Inc." had used to leave a comment elsewhere. I've received no response. Here's the email:
Dear "On Press, Inc.":
I am a former federal prosecutor, a member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association, and a blogger at www.Popehat.com on issues including free speech, bogus legal threats, and online fraud.
I have been following your legal threats and insults regarding poems by "Shaun Shane." I have written about your threats already, and will be writing more. I have some questions.
1. Is "On Press, Inc." actually a corporation? If so in what state is it incorporated?
2. Is "On Press, Inc." represented by an attorney in connection with your threats, or in connection with your claims to the copyright in the work of "Shaun Shane"? If so, who is that lawyer?
3. Will you share any documentation showing that "On Press, Inc." is the holder of the "Shaun Shane" copyright?
4. Who — that is, what human being — is operating the various "On Press, Inc." twitter accounts and making these threats?
5. Did "On Press, Inc." leave the comments by "Tammy" and "Michael Bradshaw" described in this post? http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130217/18381022008/attribution-troll-press-inc-now-50-less-troll-like-also-not-yelling-people-sells-more-books.shtml
6. Did anyone from "On Press, Inc." call TechDirt pretending to be an attorney?
7. [Question redacted for strategic reasons]
8. Are you willing to discuss these issues?
Meanwhile, unless trolls are impersonating them, "On Press, Inc." continues to use Twitter to threaten and insult. It appears that someone at "On Press, Inc." is attempting — to the best of their just precious ability — to make it appear they have a robust team conversing amongst themselves. Tim Cushing has collected some of the tweets illuminating the bizarre result.
Meanwhile, check out the #ShaunShane hashtag to observe attempts to write non-copyright-violating poetry.
Edited to add: in the comments, Corporal Lint finds a way to make Shaun Shane's poetry more palatable:
Translated by computer into Italian, then into French, then back into English, then into Urdu, then back into English, then into Azerbaijani, and then back to English again, it becomes evocative almost haunting:
when it comes
to our language
if it can
be made with glass,
we know that
We don't like Jack Stuef.
Jack Stuef is a low level troll, a self-styled comic and self-styled journalist who was forced out of WONKETTE (think about that) for poor taste. Specifically, his taste in subjects for comedic journalism, such as handicapped children. Now Jack Stuef writes for Buzzfeed, which is sort of like Reddit without a downvote button.
So when Jack Stuef applied his talents, formerly devoted to mocking the disabled, to a hit-piece on Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal, we thought Inman would shrug it off. Inman, after all, is the internet equivalent of a former samurai turned buddhist monk, living on a mountaintop, a samurai who has abandoned the sword for a life of contemplation of the idea of a sword, who can now kill with a stick, or a blade of grass, or the Shao Lin Buddha Finger. Such a man does not lower himself to street brawls with thugs like Jack Stuef.
Still, even a master swordsman must defend himself from time to time: This is the result.
It's time for the Road to Popehat, the feature in which we check out the traffic logs, look at the searches that brought you here, and . . . you know what? At this point I'd normally say something snide like "wonder if Thorazine is covered under Obamacare" or "watch the Walking Dead for ideas on barricading structures to defendant against mindless zombies," but I've realized that I'm doing this all wrong. Thanks to repeated exposure to marketeers, I now realize that every search that brings someone to Popehat is a branding opportunity — a chance to alter our product to satisfy what the customers want. These people shouldn't be mocked. These people are giving us invaluable market data.
OK. Let's give this a try.
argumentative essay about some believe anti-islam film should to be free speech and others believe has to be censored: Yes! Here at Popehat, we will write your high school civics essays for you.
what family in the u.s.owns a well-known chain of discounts stores and is one of the richest families in the wirld: Sure, if you need help watching Jeopardy, we're here for you. That's the Popehat promise!
legal implecation effecting on wimpy: Yeah, okay. If you're at Yale Law and you need help, we'll see what we can do.
read gawker sites without going to them: Yes! We at Popehat are at the forefront of helping Redditors adjust to people on the internet criticizing them.
how to get rid of fucktards on facebook: Absolutely! At Popehat, we can help you find safe and legal methods, such as unfriending and closing the browser window and thus-and-such.
silenced pistol hunting: Yeah, okay, we're still going to have to recommend the unfriending instead, but we hear you and we at Popehat are all about respecting your strong feelings.
kenneth nice yelling: That you! We at Popehat are all about cultivating feedback and responding to it.
ai shit on the law of pope: I'm sorry if Popehat's legal suggestions have left you unsatisfied. We're committed to making you a satisfied customer.
choking on grapes statistics: Well, we're just shooting from the hip here, but we at Popehat think that maybe you shouldn't try to eat the grape statistics in the first place.
wat r da benefits of oatmeals: Yes! Popehat has a remedial language program. Thank you for asking.
popehat for pets: Oh . . . oh my God. This is the best branding idea ever. This is genius market segmentation. David, Grandy, I want "Popehat for Pets" live by next Monday. The pony stuff alone will be HUGE traffic. And "snort my taint" — it's absolute fucking synchronicity.
how to handle rude and unmanner behavior of mother in law: We at Popehat all have perfectly wonderful mothers-in-law and find your question inconceivable. However, I'm going to put you on our chat line with the Facebook guy above.
defamation for calling someone a dick: Yes! We at Popehat are . . . uh . . . okay. The customer is always right. But it's possible that the sorts of services we provide aren't ideally suited to you. Our core product is really aimed more at the free-speech-advocate. Can I offer you something in a "speech is not tyranny" post?
how to get a court order to take down a defamatory blog: Screw this. You losers are on your own.
I am a contributing writer to a website dedicated to authoritative discussion on education. I recently came across your blog post http://www.popehat.com/2011/12/01/confining-american-education-a-stem-cell/ and it got me thinking about the state of educational policy today, specifically in the United States — I would love to submit an article to your blog. As I'm sure you know, tuition costs continue to rise, yet few policymakers have done anything to actually assess whether or not this ascension corresponds to a similar rise of educational quality.
Today many students are graduating with advanced degrees and are taking on jobs that don't require such a level education, if only because the job market is stagnant. I would love to expound upon this idea and examine whether or not there needs to be policy changes that help the students who go to college and — eventually — who will shape the future of the nation.
Several universities, among them the University of Wyoming, have referenced our Internet resource as a learning portal for students. Please let me know if you'd be interested in an article, it would be great to hear from you!
I wanted to follow up with you and make sure you had received my email I sent a little bit ago regarding my blog post idea.
Let me know your thoughts, I would love to work with you. Do not hesitate to get back to me with any questions!
Dear Ms. Harris,
I had missed your email before; thank you for reminding me about it. I take it from a little Google research that you are affiliated with http://www.mastersdegreeonline.org/, a site devoted not only to rigorously substantive discussion of complex educational topics, but also to fearless explorations of the possibilities of nonstandard sentence structure.
At Popehat, our approach to guests posts is a work in progress. We require recompense for publishing guest posts. However, we have been forced to abandon our pony-based pricing system as a result of both practical and philosophical concerns. We are, however, still committed to a barter approach, especially as the campaign season draws to a climax and Patrick's views regarding the global financial system grow increasingly unconventional. We would propose to barter our respective goods with you: we provide a platform, and you provide education. Specifically:
1. In exchange for allowing you one full guest-post, we will require a half-day seminar regarding the mitigation of pony-related physical and psychological injuries, with an emphasis on pony-driven psychosis (or "ponychosis," as we have begun to call it after the recent regrettable mall food court incident involving Clark). Also hoofings.
2. If there are any misspellings or grammatical errors in the guest post, we will require liquidated damages in the form of suitable refreshments at the seminar. You may think, Ms. Harris, that it will be amusing to provide novelty pony-shaped cookies, but let me assure you very sincerely that it will not be.
3. For every additional guest post you wish to submit, we will require you to provide David with an opportunity to make an art-history-related presentation of not less than three hundred thousand (300,000) words.
4. We'll need honorary degrees of some kind. Surprise us.
Trusting that these terms will be acceptable, I remain very truly yours,
"The past several weeks have made one thing crystal-clear: our country faces unmitigated disaster if the other side wins."
H. L. Mencken knew the score: "Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule—and both commonly succeed, and are right."
(Context is, of course, l'affaire Akin.)