That Claim Won't Fly

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.

http://totalfratmove.com

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.

Guest Post: Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis On The Rule of Law

  • BOWYOURHEAD

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?

Also, The Pony Will Need Three References

Hi Ken,

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.

Thanks,
Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,

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.

Ken
www.popehat.com

Hi Ken,

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.

Best,
Rebecca

Rebecca:

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,

Ken
www.popehat.com

Journal of the Great Shutdown, Day Eight

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.

For now.

You know what to do.

A Hot Tip on Cue from the Swabbie Hobby Lobby

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…."

This claim surprised me, so I poked around for other posts by Will Nobilis, and, behold!, appended to Ken's variant of "The Nymph's Reply" there was the following humblebrag from 2011:

"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:

As 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——-
(I have truncated names to protect the privateeracy of the parties embroiled.)
Thanks to Mr. G——- for providing this info and a link to what seems to be the earliest extant occurrence of the PRL. If anyone can show just cause why this resignation letter and this author cannot lawfully be joined together, let him parley now or forever walk the plank.

This Is The Most Wonderful Legal Threat EVER

Various journalists are claiming they have seen a video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack.

This led to the most darling legal threat ever from a lawyer named Dennis Morris — who has represented Ford for some time — to Gawker:

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.

Dennis Morris.

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.

Origin of the Pirate Resignation Letter

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:

Original Pirate Resignation Letter 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!