Archive for the ‘Shoulda Read Our Book’ Category

The Life Lessons Of Sleeping With an Underling

Friday, October 23rd, 2009
An interesting twist on the bunny boiling theme...

An interesting twist on the bunny boiling theme...

If you Google the words “affair with an intern” you will come up with more than 692,000 hits in a nanosecond, including the recent inclusions of David Letterman and Tennessee State Senator Paul Stanley (who may be rethinking his pro-abstinence platform right about now). So when news broke that ESPN anchor Steve Phillips had sex with a production assistant (and who had previously admitted to numerous extramarital affairs and had already faced one claim of sexual harassment in the 1990s), there was some thought that perhaps this should not come as news to anyone–particularly not to the soon-to-be-ex-Mrs. Phillips.

The fact that a 22-year-old aggrandized the affair with a married father of four into a life long love affair worthy of a letter to the wife explaining why “we” don’t want to hide this anymore, makes the whole thing more salacious (and pathetic, given that the 22 year old’s 15 minutes of fame have mostly been spent on media discussions of how chubby and unattractive she is.)

While the 22-year-old’s fake facebook friending of Phillip’s teenager is a twist which Glenn Close could only dream of back in the day when, if you wanted to go full on crazy, you had to boil the rabbit yourself, the real lesson here ISN’T that you should stop sleeping with P.A.’s and interns (since, as the pro-abstinence former Senator from Tennessee would tell you, that’s not so easy to follow.) The real lesson is one that is simpler: if you are going to screw bat-shit crazy 22-year-olds, DON’T DO IT WITH THOSE IN YOUR OFFICE since that elevates the whole mess from “big problem in my marriage” to “the biggest mistake I ever made.”

Perhaps after Steve Phillip’s last run-in with the sexual harassment officer didn’t end in death or dismemberment, he forgot how horrible an allegation like that can be to a career. But if you’re the average Joe Workerbee, the first office affair that ends badly will likely be the last in the dead-end now known as your former career.

Here’s the thing that most people forget when they sling around the words “sexual harassment”: sex with a coworker is NOT illegal—not even if a subordinate sleeps with a supervisor. It may be against company policy (more on that later), but it’s not illegal.

There are two types of sexual harassment: hostile work environment sexual harassment where the workplace is so permeated with sexual jokes, gestures, innuendos, etc. that it becomes a hostile and abusive work environment (even if there is no propositioning of any one individual) and quid pro quo sexual harassment where a supervisor premises job action on whether or not the target of his or her affection engages in a romantic relationship.

There are, in fact, many defenses to a claim of illegal quid pro quo sexual harassment, the most important being that it’s not harassment if it’s not unwelcome. (This poor deluded 22-year-old was so off her rocker it’s not a stretch to say that she actually WANTED to have sex with him.) Without the element that the romantic interest is unwelcome, it is virtually impossible to prove this claim. And a crazy-ass letter to a wife explaining why the intern should get to take her deserved place as the next Mrs. Phillips will likely end the discussion of whether or not she actually wanted “it.”

But here’s where your job ends if your affair ends badly: once an affair (not a sexually harassing affair, just your garden variety sex with a 22-year-old production assistant kind of affair) ends—and let’s face it, when she packs on 20 pounds and turns into the shrew who reminds you of your first wife, it will end—if you are the supervisor who gives her performance evaluations, your choice is either to give her the highest rankings of any underling who’s ever seen the inside of your offices, or else you risk the one claim she hasn’t forgone by sending you texts telling you she wants to get into your pants: RETALIATION.

That is, not only is it illegal to premise job action like a promotion or a demotion on acquiescence to sexual relations, it is also illegal to premise job action AFTER THE FACT on that basis. And retaliation is a claim that can be caused by either the actions of the supervisor-turned-former-lover OR by the company who looks into the matter and determines that they have a hound dog on one side and a bucket of crazy on the other and that they should fire both. Yes, Virginia, this is why most companies have a policy prohibiting romantic relationships.

Right now, Steve Phillips is sitting home wondering how he lost his marriage and his job over what amounted to probably no more than 30 minutes of pleasure in total, and this 22-year-old is STILL RIGHT THIS MINUTE at the same job she’s held all along in the offices of ESPN. Why? Because if she loses her job over this, there will be retaliation claims to follow.

While one has to wonder how many people are sitting at her lunch table at ESPN headquarters pretending they don’t want to find out more about Phillip’s birthmarks or pretending they don’t fear that the P.A. will be writing letters to THEIR wives spilling all of their own dastardly deeds, she does still get to come to work, a privilege that Steve Phillips lost when the whole thing imploded.

Is Shaving a Criminal Activity?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Shave me, Johnny!

Shave me, Johnny!

Anyone who has suffered at the hands of a scissor-happy stylist–a person who doesn’t quite understand that the phrase “just an inch off the bottom” means just ONE inch off and not “Make me look like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, please!”–will, perhaps, better understand the pain of a 29 year-old Los Angeles man whose body hair (yep, all of it) was shorn off without his consent.

And the worst part was, he’d just grown out his bangs!

Actually, beyond the full bodied haircut, unfortunately the man was put through quite an ordeal, allegedly at the hands of a former Redondo Beach reserve police officer. According to the LA Times blog, John Haig Marshall, 53, was arrested earlier this month when the victim reported that “Marshall had slipped him some sort of date rape drug and raped and shaved him in late September.”

Now there’s no question that the drugging and raping business is horrific and illegal, and the perpetrator should be justly punished for this offense. But as I read the story, the question that most perplexed me was this: Is shaving someone really a crime?

Fortunately I know a lawyer who could answer that question, and here’s what my big sister reports:

“As far as shaving someone goes, it’s considered battery, which is defined as, ‘an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the “person” of another.’ In other words, you don’t have to cause any actual injury; the crime of battery involves offensive touching. So someone who merely spits on another can be charged with (and convicted of) battery.”

So there you have it. And now I have to go ponder the implications of “offensive contact…” Happy hump day to you!

Amy Curses Balloon Dad on TV…

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

(And check out that Sarah Palin impression — now that’s rogue, baby!)

No fatties!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

The Today Show ran a story today about Filippa Hamilton, the 120 lb, 5’10″ Ralph Lauren model who was recently fired. Why was the beautiful Ms. Hamilton given the boot? Because, according to the R.L. statement, at five-foot-ten and one hundred and twenty pounds, girlfriend could no longer stuff her junk into Polo’s leisure wear.

The horror! Look at those fat bags dangling from her chest!

The horror! Look at those fat bags dangling from her chest!

Hamilton decided to air her grievances on national TV– at the risk of blinding normal-sized American consumers with her heft– because she wanted people to know about the prejudice fatties have to endure on a daily basis. (Take that, Tyra!)

Well guess what, cutie? Lots of people have gotten fired for being too fat and though it may seem grossly unfair (particularly because you still have a nice face… and you’re actually incredibly skinny), it’s COMPLETELY LEGAL.

Being hugenormous–or just too fat to be an anorexic model–doesn’t put you in a protected class (unless it’s a result of a medical condition or pregnancy.) So if an employer wants to fire you because you’ve put on a few ounces, that, as frequent legal system contender Bobby Brown,  might say, is his prerogative.

Check our book, we talk about this extensively!

Bad Daddy Indeed!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Ignore Request

Ignore Request

I’m not trying to brag or attain early-adopter bona fides by saying this, but I joined Facebook years before most of my friends had even heard of it. I signed up when you still needed an “edu” email address, when the majority of Facebook users were, in fact, college kids. Of course this begs the question, why would I sign up to this friendship collective when almost none of my friends were on it? One simple reason: I wanted to learn what my students were up to and interested in. For instance I thought it would be good to know what TV shows they listed as their favorites. Put less generously, I wanted to spy on the young folk.

After my coevals caught on and the median age range of Facebook friends began inching north, I often wondered what other post-college friends were doing on the service. Though I think some were trying to reconnect with their best friend from 4th grade who moved to another state and was never heard from again, I think many many many were, like me, interested in “dipping into” the lives of people we kind of knew.

Then parents got on the service and started friending their children. And, in my opinion, that’s when things started to become really bad and wrong. Take the case of John Forehand (yep, that’s his real name, though he goes by the handle, “Bad Daddy”), of Lancaster County, PA, who was arrested for allegedly propositioning his own daughter for sex on Facebook. He wrote to his daughter that he was having naughty dreams about her, and according to, “As Forehand continued to write and suggest various sex acts in graphic detail, the girl said she had to look up the meaning of some of the words.”


This whole story is so atrocious and wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin. First, bleeechhhh, she’s your daughter! Second, bleeecchhh, she’s 13. Third, have you not gotten the memo, you idiot? Stupid predators get caught, and telling your daughter you want to have sex with her on Facebook is virtually worthy of a Darwin Award because if you think what you type there is a private message that can’t be recovered once deleted, not only have you not read our book–available at!–you’ve clearly not been watching enough cop show TV that, as I’ve learned, the kids so enjoy.

And believe me, I’m not trying to blame the victim here since she’s been through a horrible ordeal at the hands of her jackass father, but kids, let this be a lesson to you, too: regardless of the relationship you have with your parents, when they try to friend you on Facebook, ask yourselves why they’re doing this and keep in mind that Ignore Request button is there for a reason.

And speaking of nuptials…

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Our fab friends at, Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey, have been kind enough to excerpt our answer to a relationship oriented question on their outstanding site,

And the question is…

What if, drunk and in Vegas, my boyfriend and I accidentally say “I do” before we come to our senses and realize what we’re doing? Shouldn’t that be counted as temporary insanity and therefore not legal?

What's Elvis doing here?

Mmm, tastes classy!

For the answer, click on over to

Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Mmm, Canadian bacon!

Mmm, Canadian bacon!

I’ve long had a soft spot in my heart for the mighty tiger. Not only is the fierce tiger the mascot of my college, I always found Tigger to be the coolest of sidekicks. When your personal motto is “Bouncing is what Tiggers do best!” you can hang with me any time.

That said, I recognize that tigers can also be described as “dangerous carnivores.” So the idea of climbing into a tiger’s cage to say “hey, s’up?” has never been on my to-do list. This, however, was not the case for two geniuses in Canada, who were mauled, gouged and bitten by Vitali, a  150-KG Siberian tiger, after they decided to scale the wall of a Calgary zoo after hours.

Now from a legal perspective, breaking and entering and trespassing are never wise moves. But when you’re breaking and entering and trespassing in a tiger’s cage, you should consider yourself VERY lucky if your punishment solely comes at the hands of a judge.

As tiger “curator” Tim Sinclair-Smith told reporters, “A tiger is a carnivore, they are going to behave naturally, this is his natural reaction.” One of the two idiots is still in the hospital with serious injuries. But when he recovers, he can also look forward to having the book thrown at him by the judicial system, a reminder, perhaps, that laws are often put in place to protect people from themselves.

The Daily Show’s Jackass Carousel

Thursday, September 17th, 2009
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c


Fork Over the Cheese!

Friday, September 11th, 2009

pizza-wonder-woman1So who’s the biggest loser now?

An Indiana court has ruled that Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza shop must pay for an obese employee’s gastric bypass surgery because it will help him recover from an on-the-job injury he received when he was hit on the back with a freezer door. (Ed note: uh, wha?)

Adam Childers, a 25-year-old, 340 pound cook , was, according to the AP story, “accidentally struck in the back by a freezer door. Doctors said he needed surgery to ease his severe pain, but that the operation would do him no good unless he first had surgery to reduce his weight, which rose to 380 pounds after the accident.”

Now the company had agreed to pay for Childers’s back surgery, but it balked at the idea of ponying up for the lap band procedure. In a nutshell I believe their argument was this: “We hired him as a fatty, so fat he shall stay!” (I imagine they probably also thought he was a good advertisement for a very satisfied pizza-eating customer base.)

But the court ruled in favor of the pizza guy, stating, “The surgery – and disability payments while Childers was unable to work – were covered because his weight and the accident had combined to create a single injury.” They also noted that Boston’s failed to provide any evidence that Childers’s excessive poundage had presented medical problems before the accident. In other words, “just because he was ‘morbidly’ obese and probably sweat a lot, it did not an unhealthy employee make.”

What’s interesting, though, is that the consultant quoted later in the piece, Tom Lynch, CEO of Lynch, Ryan & Associates Inc., gets his employment law WRONG when explaining why he thinks this ruling is bad because employers might start finding reasons not to hire obese people:

“Legally, you cannot refuse to hire this 350-pound person because they’re 350 pounds. That’s illegal. But you might find some other reason not to hire them,” he said.”

Guess what, guy? That’s not true. An employer can absolutely refuse to hire you because you’re too fat. Why? Because being fat isn’t considered a protected class (like race, ethnicity, etc.) Guess what else? This is something we discuss in the first chapter of the book, that’s the chapter entitled, “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Sell Your Soul to the Devil You Go!”

And we’re very glad to say we’re but 2 1/2 weeks away from our pub date, but you should feel free to pre-order your copy today!

(If) I Did It: The Rod Blagojevich Story

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009


Dear Mr. Blagojevich,

Congratulations! I’ve just learned from the New York Times that you, too, have a book coming out this month. And from what I understand, your book is not so different than ours!  Interestingly enough, SO SUE ME, JACKASS! also specifically deals with the boneheaded, ill advised and mentally screwy decisions people make that fly in the face of better judgment and/or the law.

In fact, from the sound of the first two sentences in the Times story, your book makes for a perfect anecdote for ours:  “Normally, people charged with crimes wait until their cases are resolved to write memoirs — saving themselves and their lawyers legal headaches. But Rod R. Blagojevich, the ousted governor of Illinois who is under indictment, has long wandered his own course… ”

Now having worked with my sister, Amy (a lawyer), this past year, I can pretty much guarantee that she would have advised you to keep your stupid blow hole shut before it got you into any more trouble. She probably would have even called you a “fucking moron” if you decided to go through with publication of this book against her better advice. (FYI: My sister has an incredibly dirty mouth. No matter how much soap she used, our mother could never get it clean! But I digress…)

Sir, I say this with all due respect, particularly since not much respect is due: seriously, dude, what were you thinking? You have already secured a place in the pantheon of dumb and disgraced public officials, cheek by jowl with the likes of Charles Forbes, Boss Tweed and Boss Hogg. What more could you possibly want?