Saturday, October 22, 2011

That's the Last Time I Listen to Ken Jennings

I recently finished reading Maphead by Ken Jennings, which is an excellent book if you are a nerd for maps. I'm sort of a map nerd (I passed many hours on long car rides looking at the Rand McNally atlas, which Ken Jennings said he also did as a kid - however, I think our similarities end there), but I'm not truly a map nerd.

But in the book, Jennings has a chapter about how he briefly got addicted to geocaching, so I thought I should give it a try. Well, that try was this morning, and I was terrible. I logged a total of zero geocaches, although I was close to about 10 different ones. I liked following the coordinates and hiking to different spots, but I'm helpless at finding things. Kat regularly calls me "the worst looker ever," and I probably should have known geocaching was not for me when I couldn't find the GPS in Kat's car (which is not large) prior to going geocaching. In the end, I'm going to stick with hiking but leave out the part where I try to find a film canister in a tree. I think it works just as well.

Ada did look cute in her geocaching outfit, but that was about the only good thing about it.

Now it's time for a new segment on the blog called: Funny Things in Old Arizona Case Law. Before you skip down to the rest (trust me, there isn't going to be anything better, I'm afraid) you should give this a chance. I've got two really funny cases I've run across as a result of my day job, and I think you'll enjoy them.***

The first is Fought v. Fought, 94 Ariz. 187, 382 P.2d 667 (1963). This is an Arizona Supreme Court case, and the names alone are funny, and it's funny that the Foughts got divorced. But the best part is the first sentence where it explains that the wife received a default divorce because while Mrs. Fought fought, Mr. Fought didn't fight. Mr. Fought's failure to fight forced default, and Mrs. Fought got a lot.

The second is better than the first (how could it not be?) and involves a situation where the Arizona Court of Appeals missed an absolutely golden opportunity to put in a funny footnote. The case is State v. Hansen, 117 Ariz. 496, 573 P.2d 896 (App. 1977). In the case, Hansen was sitting next to a man who was smoking a "marijuana cigarette." A police officer came up to the men, arrested them both, and then searched Hansen and found a baggie of marijuana. Hansen moved to suppress the marijuana for lack of probable cause to arrest because the officer never saw him smoking anything. While explaining the law regarding these types of situations, the Court writes: "As is well illustrated in a line of California cases, there must be some indication of 'joint activity,' or 'joint participation." Here is where the footnote should be. You have to acknowledge the humor, but the Court chooses not to. The Court reversed the trial court and held the marijuana had to be suppressed. The final sentence of the opinion -- offered entirely without irony states: "There was not, in this case, any showing of 'joint activity' on the part of appellant." Yes, there was plenty of "joint activity," it just was not by Hansen.

If I ever become a judge who actually writes opinions (and that is extremely unlikely) I would dd funny footnotes as often as possible. I think judges owe it to the people who actually slog through what they write.

***Note: You won't enjoy them and they aren't funny. What is funny to lawyers is so far removed from actual humor that it's not even the same thing. I've long been working on a word for stories and jokes that lawyers think are funny that really aren't, but I haven't been able to come up with it.

Kat and I have been talking a lot about food we used to enjoy that we can't get anymore. The list includes things like Bojangles chicken, the potato oles bravo at Taco John's, Runzas, the food at Mina's Thai, and Century Sundae, a limited Blue Bell ice cream flavor sold to celebrate 100 years of Blue Bell ice cream (the problem is that its centennial was in 2007, I think, and we have not had it since). We call this noshtalgia. It's been pretty strong lately, but I keep hoping to find new foods to look back on fondly.

I've been reading the new Neal Stephenson tome, Reamde, but I took a break to read Maphead and Moonwalking with Einstein, a book about people who are able to remember just about everything. The memory book is great, but I keep forgetting which chapter I'm on.

It's beautiful in Prescott today, which is, of course, why I'm in the house blogging. I'm thinking of hiking Granite Mountain tomorrow. I have not done it before, and it looks like a pretty good workout.

Kat and I have been enjoying a new television show called Up All Night, which is about hip people whose lives are changed by having a baby. Other than being hip, we are right in the demographic. It was, at times, bad in the beginning, but the last few episodes have been pretty funny. It's on Hulu, so you might want to give it a shot.

Ada remains very cute, but she doesn't seem to want to sleep very much. I still like her quite a bit, though.

I've written a decidedly terrible legal annotation to The Cat in the Hat that explains all of the torts committed by the Cat. I started just doing this for fun when I would read to Ada, and she seemed to really enjoy it. However, what might have been a fun novelty while reading to a baby doesn't really hold up at full book length. If anyone is seeking some punishment and would like all of the footnotes I wrote, let me know. You'll have to find your own copy of The Cat in the Hat (it's kind of like a Rifftrax in that respect) but I'll gladly show you what I've got.

Well, that's all I've got. I hope this satiates GpaG.