Blawg Review #315 - April Fools' Prequel

Trial by jury 1



Surprise! Blawg Review, the blog carnival for everyone interested in law, is ready for its comeback and its close up.

Launched originally in April 2005, and overseen by the still-anonymous Editor, Blawg Review ranged about across the legal blogging landscape, appearing each Monday in a new and different exotic locale for the next six years before seemingly going silent following its 314th edition this past August.

It has been my pleasure to host Blawg Review on my legal blog, Declarations and Exclusions, on five occasions, beginning with Blawg Review #51. Since April 1, 2006, I have also hosted, here, five April Fools' extra editions, in the same week as the Decs&Excs editions. That's ten hosting turns for me, an ample store of evidence from which our Editor was able to infer that, yes, I'm just a blogger who can't say "no" if you were, hypothetically, to float the notion of refiring the boilers under Blawg Review and ending its sabbatical on an April Fool-ish note. Thus it comes to pass that Blawg Review #315 will be up at Decs&Excs on Monday and that the sixth annual April Fools' Edition is now before your disbelieving eyes.

While the original installments of Blawg Review were simple collections of links to the prior week's best or most interesting or most curious legal blogging, it early on became common, albeit never mandatory, for each host to adopt a Theme for his or her presentation. On this day last year, Blawg Review #305 took the form of a tribute to and adaptation of "I've Got a Little List," from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado. Today, I hope I may be pardoned if I return to the same well and build this 2012 April Fools' edition around another popular G&S number, the introductory song of Major-General Stanley from The Pirates of Penzance, best known by its opening line:

"I am the very model of a modern Major-General." 


We need not go into the absurd plot of Pirates today. Suffice it to say that it involves pirates, an unfortunate young fellow apprenticed to their service until his eighteenth birthday, the difficulty posed by his having been born on the 29th of February and thereby having had only four birthdays in eighteen years, a collection of young lovelies who are wards in chancery to the aforementioned Major-General, a collection of unhappy policemen, and a joyous, nuptial ending.

Major-General Stanley himself is a figure of a kind W.S. Gilbert delighted in mocking: a man who has risen to a position of stature for which he has no practical qualifications whatever. What the Major-General does possess is a vast store of arcane and useless knowledge bearing on most every topic except those that might make him an effetive military man. He would likely have made a fine blogger, had the Victorian era offered that outlet.

Upon his arrival in Act I, Major-General Stanley demonstrates his breadth of study with this famous patter song. Here it is, as performed by John Reed, principal comedian with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in the 1950's and 1960's:

Here, George Rose performs it in the wildly successful 1980 New York Shakespeare Festival staging in Central Park, with Linda Ronstadt as Mabel and Kevin Kline in his star-making turn as the Pirate King:

Sir Arthur Sullivan's catchy tune has achieved a further measure of immortality thanks to its having been adapted by Tom Lehrer to provide the melody for his cataloging of the chemical elements, "The Elements." (Clever title, that.)

Lehrer's song drew renewed attention recently when the performing of it was revealed to be a favorite party trick of Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. Allow him to demonstrate:

And so, with that tune now well-implanted in your ears, we may turn to the matter at hand. Friends, the 2012 April Fools' Prequel to Blawg Review #315:

Henry Lytton as Major General Stanley 1919



This is the snappy patter-singing April Foolin' Blawg Review.
We're bringing back this legal blogging carnival to all of you
Who've missed it or forgotten it while it's been in absentia:
(A weekly dose of blawging is believed to slow dementia.)
There's many kinds of blawging, folks: it may be theoretical,
From time to time rhetorical, and sometimes alphabetical.
We hope you'll find this parody enlightening and risible....
Inspired by Major-General Stanley's rapid polysyllables.

    Inspired by Major-General Stanley's rapid pollysyllables,
    Inspired by Major-General Stanley's rapid polysyllables,
    Inspired by General Stanley and his rapid Polly Polly syllables! 

The Law's much more than drafting-stuff-while-sitting-at-your-

And offers opportunities for wackinessgrotesquery,
For odd quixotic ventures, and for trumpery and trickery,
And litigants possessèd by the spirit of Terpsichore.
A matter rather serious we feel we need to mention: you
Should click the links below and take the time to pay attention to
The awful depredations of a so-called blogger/journalist
The Lord High Executioner might add to his infernal list.

    The Lord High Executioner might add to his infernal list,
    Oh yes he would indeed do well to add to his infernal list
    That most eternally infernal wicked so-called blogger/journalist.

With cigarettes and chocolates, we try to be responsible.
These clever cartoons educate the criminal and constable
If you work at McDonald's, all your problems may be supersized.
(These blawgs are all original, there's nothing here
    that's plagiarized.)

From blawgs you'll learn a thing or three about judicial etiquette
And dangerous misguided legislators in Connecticut.

Perhaps with an analogy we'll find that a solution'll
Present itself to when a health care mandate's Constitutional. 

    We do not understand it, all this complicated push 'n' pull!
    To find it inter-esting you would have to be delusional!
    We like a nice long walk, yes that's a proper daily

You, too, could be an expert
, so be sure to trim your cuticles

And brighten your appearance through the use of cosmeceuticals.
Now take the time to listen to a podcast full of Georgery
Or head out to a gallery where ev'ry work's a forgery.
Our time here it is fleeting and I fear I hear it flittering
Or fluttering or flattering or maybe even Twittering 
This Prequel's the embodiment of ev'rything that's ex- cell- ent....

   And now that Blawg Review is back, 
  You'll wonder why it ever went!

The Major General - theatre poster 1880


Here are gathered stand-alone links to all of the blawgs embedded in the lyric above. Where multiple entries originate from the same source, I have kept them together, so the order of links below does not necessarily follow the order of links above. 

Above the Law -
"Nanny State Ban on Words Is Lazy Educating By New York State"

The Criminal Lawyer [Nathaniel Burney] -
"Better Criminal Lawyering through Smart Risk-Taking"
Also by Mr. Burney, the ongoing and highly commendable
Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law.

An Associate's Mind [Keith Lee] -
"Churchill's 5 Elements for Persuasive Speaking"

Koehler Law Blog [Jamison Koehler] -
"Cross Examinations. Directs, too." -
"Guide to Rhetorical Fallacies" [Michael Lines]; 
"The Friday Fillip: The Military of Silly Walks" [Simon Fodden] [Kyle Graham] - 
"The Affordable Care Act Oral Argument, If Hollywood Had Scripted It";
"The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Indexed to Franklin, Rabin & Green’s Tort Law and Alternatives" (via Overlawyered); 
Just the Facts, Ma’am: Daily Training Bulletins of the Los Angeles Police Department, in Cartoons (1954)

New York Personal Injury Law Blog [Eric Turkewitz] - 
"A New Personal Injury Waiver (Updated)"

D.A. Confidential - 
"A word in your ear"

 Technology & Marketing Law Blog [Eric Goldman] - 
"What Do Soymilk and Nutella Have to Do With an Online Harassment Case?--Taylor v. Texas"

California Appellate Report
"Brantley v. NBC Universal (9th Cir. - March 30, 2012)"
["It basically depends on if you know you're Don Quixote or if, instead, you're actually Don Quixote."] 

"The RNC shoots itself in the mouth

WSJ Law Blog - 
"Witches’ Brew! NY Suit Over Court Victory Dance Continues

The Legal Satyricon [Marc Randazza] -
"Judge rules, again, that blogger Crystal Cox is not a journalist. You know why? Because she ISN’T a journalist"; 
"How Crystal Cox is helping to prove the strength of the First Amendment"

Simple Justice [Scott Greenfield] -
"A Blogger Not Like Us"

Popehat [Ken-at-Popehat] -
"'Investigative Journalist' Crystal Cox's Latest Target: An Enemy's Three-Year-Old Daughter"; 
"For Plagiarists, The Internet Is A Double-Edged Sword";
"In Which I Dare Connecticut To Come Get Me. COME AT ME, BRO."

Philly Law Blog [Jordan Rushie] -
"Crystal Cox – Investigative Blogger? No, More Like A Scammer and Extortionist"

Defending People [Mark Bennett] -
"Crystal Cox"

Abnormal Use [Nick Farr] -
"Philip Morris Not Liable for Fire Started by Cigarette"

Jonathan Turley -
"Pinch Me: First Truck Spills Millions of Coins All Over Highway, Second Truck Covers The Money In Candy . . . Men Wait Anxiously For Moosehead Beer Truck"

Overlawyered [Walter Olson] - 
"Woman Blames McDonald's for Prostitution"

The Trial Warrior Blog [Antonin Pribetic] -
"Supreme Court of Canada: Canadian lawyers must turn the other cheek when bench slapped"

Concurring Opinions [Nathan Cortez] - 
"Why Can’t We Analogize the Mandate?"

Criminal Defense [Brian Tannebaum] -
"Wanna Get Famous Off Trayvon Martin?"

A Georgia Lawyer -
"A New One: 'Cosmeceuticals'"

Infamy or Praise [Colin Samuels] -
"George Rises (and Falls)"

The Art Law Blog [Donn Zaretsky] -
"Remember when I asked how long it would be before a gallery signed him up?"

Charon QC -

The Modern Major General by Bab (aka WS Gilbert)
Tomorrow [April 2, 2012] BLAWG REVIEW #315 will be hosted at my law and insurance blog, Declarations and Exclusions. Please drop in and sample the wares on offer.

[Update 4/2/12: Blawg Review #315 is up and readable here.]

Blawg Review has information about next week's host, future hosts, how you too can become a host, and instructions on how to get your own blawg posts considered in upcoming editions.


Alas, I am Undone

Unfinished Inscription

Composer-critic Kyle Gann, early on in a long and technical post on the process of music composition and whether it is ever a matter of just writing down what the composer "hears in his head", connects the dots between crafting a sonata, say, and crafting a blog:

Take this blog entry, for instance.  I've started it because I've got a bug up my ass, as happens, about some mistaken notion I see myself in a position to correct.  It's been running through my mind for a few days, and the mental form it always takes is that the initial, central idea always comes first, and other related ideas, or apropos phrases, group themselves around it in no particular order, like spokes around the hub of a wheel.  Now I've sat down to write, and all those disconnected ideas must arrange themselves in series, into coherent paragraphs.  Some of them don't link logically.  Transitional ideas must be grabbed out of the air.  I struggle with introspection, because at this exact point in writing my initial idea has been stated, but the other eloquent phrases I'm eager to use don't fit in yet.  Very, very often I find, as I think any serious essayist must, that what I end up meaning as the essay takes shape is not exactly what I expected to say.  I might possibly find myself contradicting the gist of this blog entry and not finishing it. What's given, though, is that the linear format of these paragraphs is not isomorphic to my obsessive musings of the past few days, and that I cannot possibly simply throw the latter down on paper (or screen) as they exist in my head. The impetus is transformed by the process.  In a sense I had something to say and I will have said it, but more accurately, I will have found out by the end of this essay what I think. Which is the value, for me personally, of writing a blog - and would continue to be even were no one reading it.

Yes, it is exactly like that, especially the posts that never quite get finished to satisfaction or that draw near to completion too late to any longer be thought of as "timely."  I suspect many bloggers have, as I do, a collection of incomplete items in draft to which they promise themselves they may someday return, sad little lamps flickering 'neath dusty bushels for years or perhaps for always.  Best put this one up before it shares their melancholy fate.


Photo:  Unfinished Inscription, Kilmuir cemetery, near Hungladder, Scotland:

The stone marks the burial place of Charles MacArthur, one of the pipers to Clan MacDonald.  According to tradition, the piper's son, who had commissioned a sculptor to letter the stone, was drowned while crossing the Minch.  As the sculptor considered he was unlikely therefore to be paid, he abandoned his work, never to return.

Image Copyright Richard Dorrell, reused under Creative Commons license, via geograph.


Sacre Bleu! Invaders!

I know, I know: on Life's List of Petty Annoyances there is surely a place for weblog posts on the lines of "those big-time bloggers have linked to this cool thing, but I told you about it way back when and I should get some kind of credit for that."  Prepare to be pettily annoyed.

Those big-time, high-traffic bloggers Instapundit and Althouse have linked to the "Human TETRIS" video.  My regular readers, if I had any, would know full well that I posted that same clip some three months ago.  With a better joke!  There ain't no justice when hifalutin blogging law professors can keep the little guy down like this.

Oh well: here's the same merry band in their performance of the immortal "Space Invaders."

All of these human/game videos are product of the "GAME OVER Project" of Guillaume Reymond .   Bip!


Incidental Intelligence:  "Space Invaders" inspired an instrumental ("Space Invader") on the original Pretenders album, which will always be for me the First Great Record of the 1980's.  Per a 1995 Entertainment Weekly interview, that track turns out to have been an expression of technophobia:

Don't look for Chrissie Hynde lurking online.  'I've resisted the Internet and all that,' says the lead Pretender, a technophobe and proud of it.  'We named a song on our first album "Space Invader," because the guys were always on those machines at the studio, but I just noodled around the pool table and secretly regretted that the pinball machine had gone.  That's when old age started for me.  I even bought a little pocket computer to put my addresses in, but tossed it out and went back to the Filofax.  I know how to turn pages; I do it every day.''

A Great Dane Explains the Blogosphere For You

Holbeinerasmusfollymarginalia_detai Almost four years ago, I noted that the Wonderful World of Weblogs had been foreseen by Desiderius Erasmus in his Praise of Folly way back in 1509.  There must be something in the philosophical water in northern Europe, because Erasmus was not alone in his prescience.  Some 300 years later, speaking through at least two layers of pseudonymity, Søren Kierkegaard captured the workings of the political blogosphere with remarkable precision:

It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public.  They thought it was a jest and applauded.  He repeated his warning, they shouted even louder.  So I think the world will come to an end amid general applause from all the wits, who believe that it is a joke.

A few pages later, SK adds this sound advice, sadly never to be embraced in American public discourse:

In itself, salmon is a great delicacy: but too much of it is harmful since it taxes the digestion.  At one time when a very large catch of salmon had been brought to Hamburg, the police ordered that a householder should give his servants only one meal a week of salmon.  One could wish for a similar police order against sentimentality.

Mmmmm: salmon.

Quotations from S. Kierkegaard, aka Viktor Eremita, aka "A", Either/Or, Vol. 1, "Diapsalmata" (1843).  Marginal drawing of Folly by Hans Holbein (detail) from Erasmus' personal copy of Praise of Folly, 1515 (Basel), via Wikimedia Commons.

Why I Will Never Again Speak Ill of Harvard

One never knows what will turn up in the referrer logs, and this afternoon delivers a real treat.

Professor Harry S. [Terry] Martin III, who teaches the Art Law Seminar at, ahem, the Harvard Law School, maintains a list of Art/Law links and has graciously included this weblog among them.  (It is an interesting list for anyone interested in the interaction of art and law.  There are a number of sites linked that I have not previously encountered, and at which I will certainly be taking a look in short order.)

The link is certainly welcome, but I must confess that Professor Martin has given this Fool rather more credit than is strictly deserved.  Share my blushes at his description (emphasis added):

A fool in the forest - Influential blog among lawyers and cultural enthusiasts emphasizing art and culture with occasional law notes


Of course, the professor doesn't specify that I'm a good influence . . . .

It's an Honor Just to Be Nominated

Many thanks to Michael Blowhard who, in the last item in this "Elsewhere" compilation, links to two of my recent posts before adding:

George earns himself this week's 'Mr. Eclectic' award.

Sure, "eclectic" is just the word that polite people use when referring to my being easily distracted by shiny objects, but an award is an award.  Hence my thanks, and welcome to anyone who may have been directed here for the first time by Michael B's kind linkage.

Answer the Door, It's Blawg Review #89

The anonymous editor of Blawg Review has taken the reins of this week's Blawg Review #89 to produce a survey of the legal weblog world that is international in scope and optimistic at heart as we embark on 2007.  This edition boasts the added virtue of a truly inspired theme, that of "the Lone Mummer" traveling through the winter dark to call on these many distant points of legal light.  The accompanying illustrations, from the work of Newfoundland artist David Blackwood, are a pleasure in themselves.

Altogether, a particularly fine Blawg Review and well worth the time involved in reading it and in following through its numerous links.

The intrepid Editor is also granting a boon of sorts to the many law-related weblogs that are included in this edition: the proprietor(s) of each such site will be permitted, with limitations, to pose three yes-or-no questions that may lead to said editor's identity.  Since both of my own sites are linked, I suppose I might assert a right to ask as many as six questions, but I will not presume to do so.  In fact, I am quite content with the editor's air of mystery, and will likely pose no questions at all rather than break the spell.

Over There, Over There

While posts have been slow here the past few days, I have been more active than usual on my legal weblog, Declarations and Exclusions.  Two recent posts on that site could just as well have been posted here.  (Like Hamlet, I am a man who cannot make up his mind.) 

Please click yourself in that direction if I might interest you in

  • An architectural consideration of the new federal courthouse in Eugene, Oregon.  The courthouse was designed by award-winning bad-boy Thomas Mayne, and my post comes equipped with a title invoking both Joni Mitchell and Pink Floyd.

Actual legal and public policy topics have also been on my mind at Decs&Excs lately, if you are inclined to that sort of thing.  More foolishness here anon.