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Folklaw: 1 December 2006

Folklaw: 1 December 2006

Why it is soIn a shining explanation of why things are the way they are, the Hon Justice George Palmer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, borrowed a parable from the present Chief…

Why it is so

In a shining explanation of why things are the way they are, the Hon Justice George Palmer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, borrowed a parable from the present Chief Justice. Here, Folklaw offers the explanation in full.

“Let me give you an example of how and why practices become embedded ... Did you know that the booster rockets on the side of the United States space shuttle are strictly limited to a certain size? That is because they must be transported by train from the factory to the launch site and they have to fit through a single track railway tunnel in the Rocky Mountains. The United States railway gauge, which is four feet eight and a half inches was adopted because that was the gauge in the pioneer industrial economy, England. The first railway lines in England had been built by the same engineers who built the pre-railway tramways and that was the gauge that they had used. The reason they adopted that gauge was because they used the same jigs, tools and equipment that had long been used to build wagons and carriages, drawn by horses. The wagons and carriages were built with four feet eight and a half inches between the wheels because that was the space between the ruts in the road for many of the long distance roads in England. By continued use over the centuries, those ruts had become fixed by the passage of countless wagons and carriages and the most efficient way to traverse the road was to stay in the ruts.

“Many of the long distance roads in England had been laid down by the Romans and the ruts had been formed by the wheels of Roman chariots during the period of Roman occupation. All chariots throughout the Roman Empire were built, in the interests of standardisation, with a distance between the wheels of four feet eight and a half inches. That distance was originally chosen because it was the approximate width of the backsides of two horses.

“Accordingly, the reason why the space shuttle is, and will remain, of limited capacity, is because its booster rockets cannot be much bigger than the width of two horses' behinds.”

Justice Palmer used the example to illustrate how a section of the legal profession continues to espouse a culture of aggression and self-interest, noting that some teachers of legal institutions think it is so firmly embedded in the culture that it is impossible to change.

Pimp the firm website, Willie Gary style

“Attorney Willie E Gary is living the American dream,” or so he tells us, via his website.

The enormously successful Gary has made a killing as a US attorney and he’s not afraid to show it.

A quick glance at his website, www.williegary.com, reveals a ridiculously sized mansion, his and hers Bentleys and a new corporate custom 32-passenger Boeing 737, appropriately named “Wings of Justice II”. Yes, this is the second plane to be dubbed that name, the first being a more modest Gulfstream II Jet.

Formerly a poor boy from the Deep South, Gary won a college scholarship and then took on the law like a man possessed. “Gary keeps rising out of the shack he and his ten sisters and brothers shared,” we are informed.

He tells the reader that his firm has won over 150 cases, each valued at more than $1 million ($1,290,411).

This includes taking down Disney in 2000 to the tune of $240 million ($309,639,086) over a sporting complex design, and bagging $139 million ($179,332,637) against Anheuser-Busch for the family of baseball player, Roger Maris, in 2001.

But that was chicken feed compared to “his $500 million ($645,303,374) verdict against a Canadian Funeral Home company, [which] still ranks among the highest jury verdicts ever awarded,” the website said.

Gary’s modest biography doesn’t stop there. As the website tells us, Ebony magazine named him one of a hundred ‘most influential black Americans’, while Forbes magazine picked him amongst the ‘Top 50 attorneys in the US’.

Girl, 7, stages Lego theft with knife

Police in Florida have executed a statewide manhunt to find a 7-year-old girl who tried to steal Lego at knifepoint.

The girl had allegedly secreted two packets of Lego under her jacket, and tried to escape from a Wal-Mart store without being detected, according to US news website Tampabays10.com.

However, a savvy employee was wise to the crime and demanded she hand the goods over. Not to be perturbed, the child then produced a 10-inch carving knife and a standoff ensued.

The employee was eventually able to convince the girl to hand over the Lego and the weapon, before she ran from the store and made off on her bicycle. Nobody was hurt in the incident, but the Lego-lover is still at large.

Idiot nuts out a kidnapping

An unidentified man cocked up a kidnapping when he mistakenly shot himself twice.

Attempting to abduct a teenager in Wichita, Kansas, the 23-year-old man first shot at the victim before ramming the gun in his waistband, causing it to discharge and blow off his testicle. As he was crippled with pain, the gun discharged a second time, hitting him in the left calf.

The kidnapping had been attempted following a dispute involving stereo speakers, the Wichita Eagle said. The man was in the company of two others, aged 18 and 20 at the time. But he was forced to limp his way to a medical centre alone, where he was arrested following treatment.

The sharpshooter has been accused of aggravated assault and aggravated attempted kidnapping, while his friends were later captured and had conspiracy to obstruct justice added to their charges.

EMI tangles with Aussie cricket fanatics

British music giant EMI tried to hit the Australian cricket Fanatics song preparations out of the ground by asserting its ownership over comically altered songs.

However, now it seems that EMI has taken a more sporting approach, and the songs might be released after all.

The Fanatics put together 100,000 songbooks, at a cost of $20,000, to distribute free at the Brisbane test, the Courier Mail said. Containing 16 pages under the title of ‘Six, Jugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll’, the book originally angered EMI because it contains altered versions of old favourites by The Monkees, Robbie Williams, The Kinks and The Village People.

“I’m flabbergasted they would quash the fun of Australian sports fans trying to have a bit of tongue-in cheek fun,” Fanatics organiser Warren Livingstone told the paper.

One such song, to the tune of The Monkees’ ‘Daydream Believer’ contains the following lyrics:

Cheer up Michael Vaughan

How bad must it be?

To be a poor Pommy person

Now youre watching on TV

“It appears that we’re going to get the green light, which I guess is a win for both common sense and Aussie cricket fans,” Livingstone said.

How to toilet train your staff

The following email was sent by the managing partner of SA Law at St Albans to all staff in an effort to preserve the cleanliness of upgraded toilet facilities, as published by website RollOnFriday. The ‘etc’ category at point number 5 is left up to your imagination — but to all those people who commit the other 4 cardinal sins, hang your heads in shame.

From: Stephen Ryan

Sent: 10 November 2006

To: Entire Staff

Subject: New Bathrooms

You will have noticed the recent refurbishment of the toilets in our building. The cost of this refurbishment to date is over £30,000 ($74,128). There are still some finishing touches to be applied which will be completed over the coming weeks.

Now that we have toilets to be proud of could I please ask that each and every member of the office respects the new facilities.

I appreciate the old toilets were in a very poor state and this may have contributed to the general indifference to the facilities historically.

However even since the refurbishment there are still some of the old habitswhich sometimes are merely matters of common courtesy and at other times are actually nothing short of disgusting.

I thought about sharing with you all a list of some of the common problems such as:

1. Males doing their best to pee on to the floor and walls rather than into the urinals/toilet pan.

2. The practice, in the male toilets upstairs, (you know who you are) of sitting on the toilet picking your nose and flicking it onto the opposite wall.

3. Doing an impression of an Aylesbury duck in regard to wash basins, ie more water outside of the basin than inside it!

4. Putting a new toilet roll on when you finish the previous roll and disposing of the cardboard roll (bins are being provided shortly for this purpose within the toilets).

5. Etc ..

Then I thought better of it !!!!

Simply I would ask you to respect the new facilities and leave them as you would like to find them.

Thank you.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Folklaw: 1 December 2006
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