Skinny Puppy bills the government

•February 3, 2014 • 3 Comments

 Skinny Puppy recently invoiced the US government after learning that their music had been used as a “torture device” at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, reports NME.

While collections work is not usually an area of the law that is a lot of fun, this case would be fantastic.  

Better yet, someone should submit a FOIA request for all the music used at Guantanamo on prisoners.  Then, get all the bands together and create a class action.

Coincidentally, Skinny Puppy is currently touring.

The case of the disappearing hearse

•January 30, 2014 • 1 Comment

“I bet Mom had someone come and take it, because she doesn’t want to leave. She was a prankster.” That was the reaction of the son of the deceased after it was discovered that his mother’s hearse had been stolen during her funeral.  

Apparently no one noticed that the hearse had been stolen until the procession carried the coffin out of church and towards the spot where the hearse had been parked.

It is not clear whether any supernatural powers were involved, but the Tampa Tribune reports that a San Antonian man has been charged with the theft.

And where was the San-Antonian hearse found?  Not in the basement of the Alamo.

The hearse thief drove more than 100 miles to Junction, Texas where he was caught committing a dine-and-dash for a burger.

 

Mötley Crüe Is Legally Dead (But I’m Not)

•January 29, 2014 • 8 Comments

Mötley Crüe made it official.  On Monday, they  announced at a press conference in Hollywood that they are calling it quits.  This is their last tour ever.

“[T]he band members – drummer Tommy Lee, guitarist Mick Mars, frontman Vince Neil, and bassist/songwriter Nikki Sixx – arrived in a hearse and sat behind personalized “R.I.P.” tombstones as they spoke and answered questions.”  The band also took the additional step of legally ending their band —  they signed a “cessation of touring” agreement.  The agreement goes into effect after this last tour.

Supposedly, the band and their attorneys worked really hard on the legal document:

We’ve been working on it for a month. We’ve had the idea for years. It just got more real. There are no loopholes and no grey areas. It’s an agreement between us. It feels really good to have people, when they’re interviewing us, going wow — this is no joke. I’ve talked to people over the years that have mentioned, oh yeah me and the guys have talked about maybe wrapping it up in a few years and they go, ‘yeah, for now.’

While I admire the steps the Crüe have taken to end their band, I don’t exactly get it.  The four of them could just decide to rip up their agreement at any time and start touring again. It’s like four college girls agreeing to go on a diet together and putting it in writing.  You know eventually one of them is going to bring ice cream back to the sorority house.  And then after consuming the ice cream, they will collectively wipe their mouths with their binding agreement.  

In any event, I expect to see the Crüe  touring (or litigating over the right to tour) at some point in the next five years.

Oh, and I’m blogging again.

Manchester now treats attacks on goths and other alternative subcultures as hate crimes

•April 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“Police in Manchester have said they will begin recording offen[s]es against members of alternative subcultures in the same way they do attacks based on race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity,” reports The Guardian.

The Manchester police made its decision in response to the fatal attack five-years ago on Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend.

“Even though Manchester police are recording the attacks at hate crimes, England’s courts cannot acknowledge the special designation. The country’s [statutes] say crimes can be motivated by hate only when they’re committed due to a victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity,” notes the International Business Times.

This decision by the Manchester Police may not impact the prosecution of crimes against goths, but it makes it seem more likely that goths eventually will be given protected status in England.   In any event, it is a good policy — if you are going to have hate-crime laws, then you should have to include goths as a protected group.

“‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Is A Major Step Back For Witches and Women”

•March 12, 2013 • 7 Comments
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The movie was not made for me. However, Mila Kunis has never looked better.

Says Elizabeth Rappe in an article published on Jezebel.

The new Disney movie, Oz: The Great and Powerful is not on my must-see list.  The movie has been plagued by legal issues, bad reviews and too much testosterone.  I set out to blog about the intellectual property issues in Oz.  L. Frank Baum’s books were written over one hundred years ago and are now part of the public domain.  Warner Brothers holds the copyright to the 1939 film, Wizard of Oz.  Here is the TL:DR…  Anyone can use the plot from these books to make new films, but cannot use the visuals (e.g., ruby slippers, the shade of green for the wicked witch) from the Judy Garland movie.

I had high hopes for Oz: The Great and Powerful.  I am a fan of L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the creator of the the world of Oz.  I loved the film the Wizard of Oz and its portrayal of Dorothy.  I even liked the Wiz.  Of course, I loved Wicked.

But Metacritic gives the movie an overall 45 out of 100.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 61 percent fresh rating.  Eek.  Those are not good scores.

And then there is the fascinating article by Elizabeth Rappe about Disney’s prequel to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Ms. Rappe explains why it was such a huge misstep for the new film to make the Wizard the hero rather than  one of the female characters.  As article explains, the male characters in the Oz series were almost always the sidekicks whereas “the feisty, heroic characters of Oz are all young women.”  And here is where the context in which Baum created the world of Oz gets really interesting -

Baum was a feminist. He was an avid supporter of women’s suffrage, and was happily married to the outspoken, intelligent, and energetic Maud Gage Baum, who had gone to Cornell, and sacrificed dreams of degrees to marry him. Their marriage was an unusual one for the time, as Frank happily let her wear the pants, assert her authority, and rule the house.

Baum’s mother-in-law was none other than famous activist and suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage. She was a frequent visitor at their house, as were many other suffragettes of the time, including Susan B. Anthony. Baum was not only sympathetic to their cause, but active towards it, serving as the secretary for Aberdeen Women’s Suffrage Club, and writing editorials for the “Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer,” urging citizens to vote for women’s suffrage. 

What is more, it turns out that Baum’s mother-in-law had some pretty open-minded views on witches.    “In particular, she was obsessed with witches and witchcraft, whose demonization she saw as irrational and devaluing of women long before 1990s-style Wiccans took up the call of recharacterizing witches as ‘wise women.'”  Glynda, the Good Witch is supposed to be modeled after Ms. Gage.

I find this stuff fascinating.   So, I am going to skip the new movie and go back and read these books.

Quarter-million dollar judgment awarded against the most hated man on the internet.

•March 11, 2013 • 1 Comment

Marc Randazza just pwned Hunter Moore aka  “The Most Hated Man on the Internet.”

Hunter Moore is a notorious cyber-bully and the founder of IsAnyoneUp.com, a revenge-porn website.   (Revenge-porn  sites, for those unfamiliar, are sites that allow slighted lovers to submit and upload naked photos of their exes to humiliate them).   IsAnyoneUp.com is now defunct, but according to recent interviews, Moore plans to start a new site that takes revenge-porn to a new and “scary as shit” level — a site that not only posts naked photos of people without their permission but also posts their addresses.   As Moore recently explained to BetaBeat“We’re gonna introduce the mapping stuff so you can stalk people.”  Terrific.

Outside of his revenge-porn business, Mr. Moore also takes time to defame individuals, like James McGibney, the founder of Bullyville.com.  McGibney is the one who convinced Moore to shut down his now infamous “Isanyoneup.com” revenge porn website for a nominal fee.   But Moore then  turned his attention to McGibney, going on an online rampage and falsely accusing McGibney of  possessing child pornography and engaging in child abuse.  

A defamation suit is really the only recourse for the victim of this kind of attack.  In an effort to take down Moore,  Marc Randazza –who typically defends defamation cases — took on McGibney’s defamation claim.

Randazza proved Moore’s statements about McGibney were false, and also showed that his client had suffered $250,000 in damages.  Mr. McGibney may never really be able to undo the damage to his reputation by Mr. Moore’s statements, but this judgment should make it less likely that the statements will be repeated.

“Awkward or eerily practical? The 65th Lincoln (Wis.) High School reunion will be held at a funeral home’s gathering center in Manitowoc, Wis.”

•March 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“I’m familiar with funeral homes at this age so it doesn’t seem weird at all,” Baryenbruch, 82, said. “As long as I can have an Old Fashioned, it doesn’t matter where the reunion is. I’m looking forward to the door prizes.”

This is a brilliant idea.  It sure beats depressing banquet halls.  I hope this catches on.  If so, I might actually go to my next high school reunion.

P.S. And I agree — door prizes are awesome.

 
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