Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some people who are having a worse day than I am

1. The Long Island Railroad workers who were out on the tracks in the nasty rain this morning wearing slickers and monster galoshes and still piecing together (no pun intended) Sunday's derailment. (There was even a small tent over one part of the track where they were working.)

2. Everyone at Guantanamo.

OK, then, I believe I've put things in proper perspective now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chew on this

I have not done nearly enough this semester to share with you the entertaining cases in my classes! Of which there are many! (Many entertaining cases, and many classes.)

Tonight I read for Trademarks the case of Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Haute Diggity Dog. It seems the latter company made a parody line of cheap dog toys and dog beds and other dog accessories called "Chewy Vuiton." This did not sit well with the fancy-schmancy handbag manufacturer, who sued for trademark infringement.

Well, in short they lost. But that's not the fun part. The case is hilarious because the court throws around a lot of cheesy plays on words, such as saying they have to sniff out the applicable law. I personally liked when one of the customers swore in a deposition, "If I really thought a $10 toy made out of fluff and stuff was an actual Louis Vuitton product, I would be stupid." Indeed.

The high-end plaintiffs try to argue that "Chewy Vuiton" will "dilute" their trademark. Now, dilution is an actual doctrine of trademark law, but it doesn't apply here, because far from lessening the strength of Louis Vuitton's mark, this parody actually depends on people recognizing what Louis Vuitton is and that this ain't it. Chewy Vuiton wouldn't be funny and it wouldn't succeed if it DID dilute, you see.

Nonetheless, Louis Vuitton argues that there is confusion because they make a few ultra high-end pet products, namely leather collars and leashes that range in price from $215 to $1600. However, as the court points out, the Chewy Vuiton products aren't fancy leashes but rather toys to chew that are around $20 and beds made to sleep on or "find other, more creative ways to desecrate." Basically, even with the few pet products Louis Vuitton makes, there is no overlap and no likelihood of confusion.

So, Louis Vuitton loses, and I support that outcome. But this begs one more very important question:

Who the hell would spend $1000 on a freakin' dog leash?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!

And can I please meet that person -- I have some high-end student loans I'd like to discuss.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In which Linda tries to distract you from her stance of not being an Obama fan...

Since I have so many people still badgering me about B.O., I thought maybe I'd remind you of some of the other controversial views I hold, in the hopes you will forget all about this whole come-around-to-Obama thing.

  • I totally agree with Tom Cruise about the meds. Anti-depressants are a bunch of crap.
  • I don't believe in sex change operations. You are male or female, and I perceive all this "transgender" and "transsexual" behavior as actually intolerant of the idea that a male/female can be whatever s/he is without someone saying, "Oh, no, that's wrong, you must be the wrong sex." Sex "change" and this "transgender" nonsense are a bunch of crap, too.
  • I don't really care for The Princess Bride. Not a bunch of crap - just totally overrated.
There. Rage on!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Rules

1. If you choose to go to law school, you should not get upset when someone argues with you.

2. If you post things on your Facebook page, change your Facebook status, or otherwise signal to your hundreds of closest Facebook friends what you think/feel about some issue, you don't get to say, "I didn't want to talk about that issue."

3. If you're Condoleezza Rice, you have forfeited your chance to talk about how proud or inspired you feel about Obama's victory. I mean forfeited, completely lost, done, get the hell out of here. Your only roles in life now are to spend the next four decades repenting for the monstrosities in which you have participated by being in the Bush administration and to SHUT UP, unless you are publicly apologizing for said monstrosities.

That's all for today. We'll start slow. But those are the rules.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Calling all undecided voters

If you truly don't know, today, for whom to cast that vote, I submit to you that you could abide by the Brady Bunch test. Of course everything in life hearkens back to an episode of The Brady Bunch. In this case we consider Marcia and Greg, who both had a claim to the attic bedroom. The fight over it pitted the two factions (boys and girls) against each other and, yes, they did resort to some underhanded trickery trying to get their candidate to win. In the end, of course wise Mike Brady had the answer (duh, as he always does!) and the bedroom went to Greg because he was a year older and -- this is key -- Marcia could have the bedroom when Greg goes off to college.

This clearly applies to our current situation. McCain should have become the president in 2000. Now, he will not get another chance. Whereas Obama, who should have waited until 2012, WILL in fact have another chance. So, McCain should get the White House first, and then Obama can have it later.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Talking the talk

A former relative of mine once told me this story. There was an indigenous person in South America (um, I forget which country) talking to a visiting, well-meaning person from North America. My ex-aunt was big into languages - Spanish things, French things, Portuguese things plus her travels in Brazil - and had studied them forever and got her PhD and whatnot. I think the well-meaning visitor to South America was some language academia friend/colleague of hers. I'm not exactly sure who the indigenous person was. I clearly don't remember all the specifics but you don't need them to get the point.

Anyhow, so the well-meaning person whose native language was English and also spoke Spanish was conversing in English with the indigenous person whose native language was whatever that indigenous people's language is. And the English-speaking, well-meaning visitor asked if the indigenous person wanted them to switch to Spanish, this being (I forget which country) in South American and all. And the indigenous person's reply was that it didn't matter because speaking English or Spanish, it was all the same to him, because those languages were so similar compared to his original language.

This at first seems strange, maybe, but is so linguistically interesting (and sensible). I love language things so I am fascinated by different language families and the similarities in language families, even the entire Indo-European family, let alone the many common words and structures shared by English and the romance languages. And this leads to him saying well, once I'm not speaking my language, your English might as well be Spanish, and vice-versa.

Ready for the point? It's an allegory, of course.

John McCain and Barack Obama are English and Spanish. The indigenous language represents a true peaceful candidate, not B.O., whose claim to anti-war fame is that he opposed the stupidest, most lied-about war ever. Duh, so did any of us who, in fact, have the sense god gave a goose. And yes, I mean I opposed it from the beginning. Before the beginning in fact. I warned you all then that you were a damn fool if you believed Dubya had any possible legitimate reason to invade Iraq.

And now B.O. is all proud of himself for also seeing that. Unfortunately, the dude is not against war. He has said so. And as far as I can tell from listening to him in the debates, one of his first priorities right now is to get his war on in Afghanistan.

Imagine what a truly anti-war candidate might look like...no all-or-nothing talk, no god-guns-and-glory platitudes. Instead of shooting and explosions, how about sending 100,000 able-bodied young men and women to Iraq as teachers, construction workers, civil engineers? How about a mandatory draft/year of service in the Peace Corps? (Or some other volunteer organization?) How about laying down your weapons, and beating them into plowshares?

Wouldn't that be a nice, uh, change?

Meanwhile, though, the military-industrial complex rolls merrily on, the Democrats and Republicans are essentially indistinguishable, and any candidate from -- gasp -- a third party is shunned, mocked, and discouraged. Even in those rare times when everybody is talking about the war, nobody does anything about it. You just keep on living as if war is an inevitable part of life. The only thing inevitable about war is that it brings a lot of death.

You can have your culture wars, your lies about book-banning, your so-called rage. You can have your cries of "elitist" and your suspicions and your pretense that we all suddenly care about universal health care as much as Hillary has for twenty years. (Find some coverage for a 30-year-old grad-student in either candidate's plan, would you?) The closest thing to a wedge issue for me would be torture, which McCain tried to stop before stopping torture was cool. The most important thing we could do in the world would be to stop the violence. Good luck finding someone in the establishment who wants to do that.

I look at my so-called choice between John McCain and Barack Obama and say "What's the difference?" So go ahead, keep speaking in McCain, or switch to Obama. I don't really care: you still haven't spoken to me.