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April Fool's Blawg Review Appendix 2009

Koyaanisqatsi moon by Torley

Regular readers know that it was inevitable.  If this is April 1st -- and it is! -- then it follows as the night the day that it must be time, for the fourth consecutive year, for a fool in the forest to host an April Fool's "extra" edition of Blawg Review, the weekly blog carnival for everyone interested in the law.  I will get to a selection of the past week's more eccentric or amusing legal blog posts below.  First, however, in an admittedly self-indulgent spirit, I need to announce and over-illustrate the ostensible theme for this year's April Fool's Day appendix.

Blawg Review #205 made its appearance on Monday of this week at my more purely legal blog, Declarations & Exclusions, and was constructed around the themes and music of Gustav Holst's orchestral suite, The Planets.  Having paid tribute to the Sun's satellites, it seems only proper to theme this Appendix around we Earthlings' very own satellite, the heavenly body most associated with folly: The Moon.

For the sake of convenience, and because the two are sometimes difficult to distinguish in practice, I am conflating foolishness to some extent with moon-induced madness or, literally, lunacy.  Moon imagery abounds in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which Robin Goodfellow (doing business as "Puck") famously defines all human existence as the stuff of folly:

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

Here is an early educational film depicting the folly, or lunacy, of traveling to the Moon:

The Fool most associated with the Moon is Pierrot, the sad and lovelorn clown of the commedia dell'arte.  Pierrot is much smitten with the Moon, and is often depicted serenading it, as in this 19th Century French automaton:

Pierrot serenading the moon

Pierrot's particular moon madness was made the subject of a series of poems by Albert Giraud published in 1884 under the title Pierrot Lunaire (Moonstruck Pierrot).  In 1912, those poems were set to scrupulously atonal music by Arnold Schoenberg.  Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire is generally acknowledged to be, and is either loved or loathed as, a seminal work of 20th Century music, and continues to receive regular revivals.  Here are excerpts from a semi-staged version by the new music ensemble eighth blackbird, which is scheduled to be performed in June as part of southern California's Ojai Music Festival:

It's got no beat and you cannot dance to it.  Bug or feature?  You decide.  

But enough of these dilatory niceties: let's get to some more legal blog posts, shall we?  Indeed, we shall.

From the "If you can't say anything nice . . ." Dept.: Jodie Hill reports on a federal judge disqualified after cussing a blue streak at the litigants.

Speaking of bad language, Matthew Heller of On.Point has the scoop on a tale of fashion, celebrity and litigation sparked by vile and defamatory Twitter posts.  [Caution: contains naughty words.]

Robert "the Punisher" Ambrogi provides this piquant headline: "Lawyers, Dominatrix Whip Up Mortgage Scam."  Made even better by the first comment, which raises some delicate points of terminology.  Scott Greenfield of Simple Justice also flogged flagged this story, adding on a less lighthearted note that "it's disturbing that it takes a dominatrix before anyone shows serious interest in what went so very wrong in the real estate market, and the role played by attorneys."

Are you perhaps a law student who has lost out on a lucrative summer BigLaw clerkship in these difficult economic times?  No need to worry, reports Above the Law: Hef's still hiring.  And here's the best part: after Playboy hires you (as Walter Olson points out at Overlawyered), you can try for the real money by quitting and suing.  

Geeklawyer, after setting new standards for controversy with his distinctly prurient rendition of Blawg Review #203, offers a tawdry tale of bawdry among the barrister classes, compounded by heavy-handed self-important nincompoopery.  "Memo to idiot barristers: When you’re in a hole stop digging …"  [Caution: contains even naughtier words of such profusion and variety that it ought not to be countenanced by polite company.]

Alice in Wonderland features gardeners who are painting the roses red.  May It Please the Court, host of next week's Blawg Review #206, features the city fathers of Perris, California, who propose to spray paint the brown lawns green.  Don't it make your brown eyes blue?

Those of us as has 'em simply love our Trader Joe's Markets, but the chain is diligent in the defense of its trademarks.  Ron Coleman's Likelihood of Confusion provides the latest update as TJ's treats its opponent to the generic agony of defeat.  Oh, the ignominy of it all.

Via Overlawyerednow on display in the Sean Penn Wing of the Museum of Repeated Redundancy Museum.  

Lowering the Bar notes that the Tennessee House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings today all about saggy baggy pants.

Pants are inherently funny, right?  Well, so are bananas!  For which reason I am obliged to note the California Punitive Damages blog's perfectly serious story with the perfectly silly title: Banana Litigation Losing its Appeal?  At this rate, Curt Cutting and company will soon have to change the name of their blog to California PUNitive Damages.  Thanks, folks, I'm here all week.

Crime & Federalism knows what Twittering bloggers Twitter about: they Twitter about blogging.

The Los Angeles Times continues its obsession with "celebrity justice", on which I have remarked before.

Don't be fooled!  Michael Webster's BizOp News alerts you to the short con.

Let's Dance, Part 1: There is nothing a skillful advocate cannot do, armed with the awesome power of the First Amendment. (No sarcasm there: this fool really truly fancies the First Amendment.  Really.  I mean it.)  Legal Satyricon demonstrates, as "pole dancing" becomes "tax loophole dancing".

Let's Dance, Part 2:  Radley Balko has a copy of the complaint filed against the U.S. Park Police and the Department of the Interior by Brooke Oberwetter, who found herself arrested for the crime of dancing in the Jefferson Memorial.  The Complaint [PDF] has a fine sense of tone, featuring allegations such as:

Visitors to the Jefferson Memorial talk loudly, make noise, take and pose for photographs, and otherwise behave as though the Memorial is located in a public park -- which, of course, it is.

* * *

Plaintiff and her associates celebrated and honored Thomas Jefferson by ushering in his birthday, at the Jefferson Memorial, with dance. . . .  In the individualistic spirit for which Jefferson is known, the dancers danced for the most part by themselves, in place, each listening to his or her music on headphones.

No fooling: Rather more seriously, two items that went missing from the "official" Blawg Review #205 as I put it to bed Sunday evening:

First, CharonQC looks at the state of Justice and Liberty in the UK, notes that violence is anticipated round and about today's G20 meetings, and wonders just which side of the police line is most set on planning that violence. "Cry God for Harry, St George and England (not forgetting Wales)…"

Second, more personally, this fool wishes to note the February 28, 2009, conclusion of David Giacalone's weblog, f/k/a.  David, in his prior guise of ethicalEsq and in the mixture of haiku and punditry he posted at f/k/a, was a unique adornment to the escutcheon of legal web journals, an important influence on my own approaches to blogging over these past several years, and a welcome reader and commenter here.  For reasons sound and personal, he elected to go "cold turkey" from law and punditry blogging effective March 1, leaving the f/k/a/ archives and a final massive and thoughtful post on attorneys' fees as online legacy.  (Ah, but the haiku marches on!)

Just as I was settling in to type the preceding paragraph, what should arrive but an email from none other than the aforesaid David Giacalone, alerting a handful of his blawging compatriots to the revelation that the London Times' hitherto anonymous Baby Barista has been identified as Tim Kevan who has, poor soul, been obliged to reveal himself as a condition of landing a lucrative book deal.  I am sure that this too reflects somehow on the state of Justice in our day and age.  Thanks for the tip, Dagosan.

On that uplifting note, I leave you this fine Fool's Day with one last visit from our friend Pierrot, seen here in the blue-tinged, retro-avant garde context of Kenneth Anger's Rabbit's Moon (1950, revised 1972), of which Anger scholar Bill Landis wrote

The character Pierrot was based on [English occultist Aleister] Crowley's tarot card of the Fool, which meant divine inspiration in spiritual or creative matters, but folly, mania, or death in everyday affairs.  

Pauvre Pierrot!  Learn, friends, from his sad example.

Oh.  One more thing I almost forgot.  I have said it before and I will say it again: 

  • Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Good night and thank you.


Photo Credit (top): "Koyaanisqatsi Moon" by Flickr user Torley, used under Creative Commons license.


Cyber Rainbow

ah lunacy, the original foolishness

Vickie Pynchon

I was so besotted by the moon that my proposal of marriage was misdirected to the previous post. . . . (shyly moving her toe in the sand) . . . "the unworthy Negotiation Law blog would like to take the Fool's hand in marriage!" WHAT? No marriage equality for digital beings? To the ramparts!

George Wallace

Ms. Vickie, if you keep goin' on like that you're gonna turn my head.

As the newsreel narrators always used to say about one or more of the Beatles (Paul, mostly): "Sorry, girls, he's taken."

A lovely thought, though. My thanks.


This Blawg review and your #205 DOES THE BUSINESS... I can give no higher praise.... loved both. Excellent

And thanks for mention on a serious issue. I don't often do serious on my blog but when I do, I usually mean it!

A really good BR and Appendix.

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