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Folklaw 21 April 2006

Folklaw 21 April 2006

Thefts ‘a bit on the nose’Stealing from charities stinks at the best of times, but Folklaw was outraged on reading the news that thieves purloined a hundred bags of horse manure from New…

Thefts a bit on the nose

Stealing from charities stinks at the best of times, but Folklaw was outraged on reading the news that thieves purloined a hundred bags of horse manure from New Zealand’s Nelson-based charity Richmond Riding for the Disabled. The thieves, said charity vice-president George Campbell, could have had the manure for nothing, if they had been prepared to shovel it themselves from the stable floor.

This was no spur-of-the-moment theft, mind you, but an ongoing problem, with dastardly gardeners (Folklaw can only imagine…) stealing one or two heavily loaded bags at a time. However, the thefts have escalated alarmingly since January, and last Monday Campbell arrived at the organisation’s property to find that another 27 bags had disappeared and the honesty box — shudder — was empty!

The eighteen horses are kept to provide therapy for New Zealanders suffering anything from amputation and muscular dystrophy to intellectual disabilities and hearing impairments. The good people at Richmond had been bagging the, er, produce of the stables to raise funds. At only $1.50 a bag, they needed to sell two hundred bags to feed the hard-working steeds for a month.

Despite the disappointment in human nature, the good folk at Riding for the Disabled won’t be permanently set back: “We’ve got an ongoing supply,” Campbell said.

Taking it a bit too far

As a ‘news’ item on would have it, American lawyer Geoffrey Fieger was invited onto a radio show to talk about a case he had just lost on appeal. Holding nothing back, he railed against the “three jackass court of appeal judges“, which seems to have caused more offence than his second insult, which was to liken the judges to Nazis. The “jackasses” reported him tout de suite to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. According to the Grievance Commission, lawyers have a right to criticise judges: “They just have to do it in a professional way”. But Fieger doesn’t see the problem, countering that his right to insult anyone he chooses is enshrined in the US First Amendment.

What is this “jackass” term anyway? Folklaw remembers a scene from MTV’s 2000-2006 series Jackass, in which ‘actor’ Steve O visits a body piercing parlour, and has his buttocks pierced together. No wonder the judges preferred to be Nazis.

Oh, to be a trainee again! also reports that trainee solicitors at Jones Day’s London office have just had their salaries increased, with those at the end of their second year earning a whopping $120,000. Salaries start at $93,000, which is a whole twenty grand more than the Magic Circle. This goes up to $98,000 after six months, $108,000 after a year and a tidy $120,000 after 18 months. This could make Jones Day trainees the highest paid in London. Taken together with $19,000 a year maintenance at law school, it’s a pretty deal. A spokeswoman for the firm, quoted on Rollonfriday, commented: “We have always valued the contribution of our lawyers and this is just a recognition of their importance in our success”.

Starbucks v Doubleshot Coffee

Seems purveyor of all things coffee-related, Starbucks, has been pushing its mighty weight around. Brian Franklin is owner of a boutique coffee shop and coffee distribution business in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a small cult following. According to news sources, Franklin has been sent a letter informing him that Starbucks is about to sue him over the name of his company and shop, Doubleshot Coffee.

Now, Starbucks Doubleshot is an espresso and milk canned product on sale in supermarkets and convenience stores. But a doubleshot, says Franklin, is what every coffee aficionado knows as another term for an espresso. If the ‘coffee’ in ‘Starbucks Coffee’ can’t be trademarked, neither can ‘doubleshot,’ he argues. On the other hand, our MBAs would no doubt point out, when a commercial giant like Starbucks spends millions developing name recognition for a product, they don’t want some upstart detracting from it.

Be that as it may, Franklin is incensed and ready to fight back against the corporate tough guy. As he wrote to a supporter in an email published on

”So today, as a legal clarification, I would like everyone to know that we are not Starbuck’s Doubleshot. If we tricked you into coming in here, thinking you could get a can of Starbuck’s DoubleShot here, please let me know. And if you thought that $2 Tuesday was a sale on Starbuck’s Doubleshot, I vehemently apologize for the confusion and ask you to please not come in here anymore because stupid people annoy me.”

All of which goes to show, as Folklaw always suspected, too much coffee can make you irritable.

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