Hurt Me, Baby

March 21st, 2011
Intern Rebecca here with thoughts on Kathryn Bigelow…
While I do not know the writer/director/producer personally, I must admit, in the last year I have felt a deep range of emotions for Kathryn Bigelow.
I cried for her when she became the first female ever to win an Academy Award for directing. I laughed for her when her ex‐husband, James Cameron, made a fool of himself at the Golden Globes by speaking in his own made‐up Avatar language. I feared for her when I realized that at the spry age of 60 she can never slack off again, because if she does she will forever set an example of not only why women really shouldn’t direct, but also why they shouldn’t be given Oscars for it. I felt even more anxiety for her when I realized she’s 60 and that she can never look any less hot than she does now, for it would only be another reason why women should never direct.
But now, I just feel sorry for K‐Big. Can’t a director get some peace and quiet after
their passion project goes all the way and wins the Oscar? Apparently not. Seems the Bigster is being SUED for her film The Hurt Locker by some man who claims the movie is about him. The lawsuit, filed by Sergeant Jeffery Sarver, started way back on the eve of last year’s Academy Awards, but it’s back this year, in full force as Sarver claims the film has done irreversible damage to his character since it took home the golden statue last March. According to the claim, Sarver’s fellow troopsters in Afghanistan are teasing him hard core, saying he clearly doesn’t know how to follow correct procedure because they character who is maybe him in The Hurt Locker doesn’t follow correct procedure.
Um, guys, it’s called a movie…?
From what I can scrounge up via The Internets, here are the facts of the case:
Sarver’s Side:
1. He wants money. More specifically, he wants compensation for the big bucks the film eventually grossed. (I guess big is relative when you’ve been frequenting Friday double features in Afghanistan.)
2. He claims he used to go around saying, “The hurt locker,” as well as the film’s famous line, “War is a drug.”
3. The character whom he believes to be himself in the movie takes improper action. This has led his real life buddies to tease him, as if the improper actions taken in the movie were really taken by him in real life.
Bigelow’s Side:
1. Free speech. If she says a procedure happens one way in her movie, it happens that way!
2. Free speech! She can write whatever characters she wants.
3. On the characters, she and screenwriter Mark Boal interviewed over 100 soldiers in the course of writing the script. They all informed the creation of the characters. I repeat, no one person was used as a model for the protag.
4. Again, free speech. Also, it’s a movie.
The lawsuit has sparked some hefty debate in cyber world over the past few weeks. I’ve even read blog posts left by parents of Sarver’s fellow soldiers saying it is true, their sons are teasing him! Therefore, K‐Big should pay up! She did this!
Um, side note to the parents: why don’t you tell your sons to lay off the nice Sergeant instead of spending your time blogging?
Naturally, Bigelow hopes the case will soon be dismissed, and Server says he’ll keep holding out for ever for the mullah, whether he’s in Afghanistan or Los Angelistan. Given the number of folks interviewed for the pick, and that, again, it is a movie, I say the guy has no case. Who knows, though, I’m not a lawyer. So what do you think?

Warning: May Cause Intense Urges…

February 2nd, 2011

Intern Rebecca here, with thoughts on drugs…

No matter what the kids on the street may say, drugs can mess you up. Don’t worry, this isn’t another Charlie Sheen blog – he’s already got press enough for three men, at least. Instead, let’s delve into the story of another kind of addict: the prescription drug addict. What could be more devastating than addiction handed directly to you by a doctor (other than the bill)?

Meet Didier Jambart, a 50-something father of two, and former employee of the French Defense Ministry. Jambart started taking a drug way back in the Paris-Hilton’s-sex-tape days of 2003 called REQUIP. The drug is used to treat Parkinson’s disease via dopamine agonists, which are common in all leading prescription drugs for Parkinson’s.

Unfortunately for Jambart, as his Parkinson’s cleared up, his life crumbled. Within the first year, he gambled his family’s savings away by placing bets on horses online. Once he burned through that stack of cash, Jambart spent his income, then even sold his children’s toys, to support his new hobby. The next year, the very straight and once happily married husband grew addicted to gay porn, and even took gay lovers, whom he also found online.  By 2005, Jambart had already attempted suicide three times.

And he blames? The drug, of course.

The first time I read through Jambart’s story, I thought, “There’s no way. This man is obviously disturbed.” But once I read the warning labels issued with REQUIP, I changed my tune. They include:

Tell your doctor if you have ever had an urge to gamble that was difficult to control … You should know that some people who took medications such as ropinirole (REQUIP) developed gambling problems or other intense urges or behaviors that were compulsive or unusual for them, such as increased sexual urges or behaviors. There is not enough information to tell whether the people developed these problems because they took the medication or for other reasons. Call your doctor if you have an urge to gamble that is difficult to control, you have intense urges, or you are unable to control your behavior.

This seemed to make the case cut and dry, until I learned that these warnings were not added to the REQUIP label until 2006, after Jambart had stopped REQUIP and started his lawsuit. As of today, only a handful of other cases have been filed against REQUIP for similar side effects, so it is hard to say if Jambart himself affected the addition of this label.

Jambart is seeking $610,000 in damages (he’ll need half that just to cover his gambling debts) from both REQUIP and his neurologist, whom he claims mislead him regarding the drug’s potential side effects. His current crummy situation aside, does Jambart stand a chance in court?

What I’d Do with $380,000,000…

January 18th, 2011

Intern Rebecca here with questions about ex-con lotto winners…

If you’ve been playing the Mega Millions jackpot, you’ve probably heard that the second largest lotto prize in US history – $380,000,000 – was claimed by two folks last week: Jim McCullar, 68, of Washington, and Holly Lahti, 29, of Idaho. Lahti is the kind of* single mother of two.

*Kind of, because although Lahti is several years separated from her husband, Joshua Lahti, the two are not officially divorced, a technicality which is now haunting Holly like, well, the relentless memories of her horrible marriage…

While the papers were never served or filed, the evidence of their residency in Splitsville is plenty: Holly’s been living with her mother and children in the small town of Post Falls, Idaho, and has been so out of touch with Joshua that the Mr. heard of his sort-of-ex-wife’s winnings from a news reporter, not family or friends. He of course resurfaced in Holly’s life to claim his share of her winnings, but she’d already quit her job and ran the heck out of Dodge, asking the Mega Millions to give her a chance to get her life in order before she’s put on the daytime talk and late night interview circuit.

Unfortunately, Holly might also be using the time to seek serious legal advice. Idaho is a common property state, meaning all material wealth acquired during marriage is split 50/50. After taxes, Holly will be left with $80,000,000. Should she be forced to give her estranged husband $40,000,000?

But wait – this case is slightly more complicated that a mom and dad who forgot to make their separation legal. Turns out a big reason Holly left Joshua is because he’s not such a nice guy. The bumbling Neanderthal of a man, who looks like he could have been busted with Brett Favre’s sister at the meth lab last week, has 20 legal charges filed against him. He’s collected such gems as second-degree kidnapping, battery, a DUI, and violating a no contact order. Add stalking and burglary to the list and he’s well on his way to the Idaho Crime Hall of Fame, and perhaps a special appearance on America’s Most Wanted.

Here’s my big question: can a man who’s spent most of his life disobeying the law really use the law to gain $40,000,000 that’s not his? I hope the answer is no, for the sake of abused single moms everywhere.

When Is Your Home Not You Castle?

December 9th, 2010

Intern Rebecca here, with thoughts on greenery.

They say no news is good news when it’s New Jersey news, and that’s mainly because folks are sick and tired of Snookie, but it’s also partly because folks are sick and tired of Jersey’s other pesky resident – the multi-millionaire.

Take, for example, Dr. Oz. The Cliffside Park homeowner has had a hell of a time trying to shade his pool. He first attempted to use bamboo, much to the chagrin of his neighbors, who complained the bamboo noisily whipped against their house. And by house I mean castle.

Instead of flying in pandas to control the problem, Dr. Oz removed the bamboo and replaced it with three 30-foot cedars. Unfortunately for Oz, the nitpicky neighbors are back, and this time THEY’RE SUING.

Turns out the large cedars are much worse, as they obstruct the neighbors’ view of the Manhattan skyline. The Empire State Building was once visible from their house, but now the neighbors are forced to check secondhand sources to insure King Kong isn’t back for attack.

Being rich is such a burden.

The neighbors say Oz’s trees have lowered their property value by $500,000, and they want the trees gone, or want compensation. Do these folks have a case – a half a million dollars for trees? And, more importantly, can the common man sue anyone with ties to Oprah?

Bitter Sweets

November 30th, 2010

Intern Rebecca here, with news in from Candy Land…

Corporate chocolate giant Hershey’s is suing rival corporate chocolate giant Mars for use of the color orange. Last time I checked, neither of their products are rich in Vitamin C, so what’s this about?

Hershey’s says Mars’ new product, Peanut Butter Chocolate Dove Promise Squares, is piggybacking off of Hershey’s Reese’s well known advertising campaign by using the color orange, plus a splash of brown, in their packaging.

Mars’ says the lawsuit is bogus, as it’s nearly impossible to depict a chocolate peanut butter product without using orange and brown in the packaging, and I have to agree. I’m not going to eat anything called “peanut butter” that’s the color purple, and neither would Oprah. Unless it’s Acia peanut butter, in which case I will follow Oprah and buy at all costs.

Nor am I going to confuse Dove Promises with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Dove Promises offer a heartfelt message with every serving, such as, “You deserve this chocolate,” or, “You look amazing, eat ten more!” Reese’s just display the depressing nutritional facts, which are defiantly not guilt free. Once Reese’s start telling me to forego the gym because I’m above it, I’ll agree there’s something fishy happening.

This could all be nasty courtroom backlash from a case last winter when Mars sued Hershey’s because Mars felt their rival’s new Bliss Chocolates were too similar to the Dove Promises. If that’s the case, maybe both chocolatiers should take a break and enjoy some of their own products, which might remind them, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

And the color Orange is certainly small stuff. This can’t really be a case, can it?

Welcome to Portland!

November 10th, 2010

Intern Rebecca here, with embarrassing news from my hometown…

oregongThis case reads a bit like a bad episode of any daytime soap, so I’ll try to break it down for you.

Way out West in Portland, OR, a twenty-year-old man-child by the name of Zachary Driver was caught pimping out girls via the Internet – a business venture made possible by sites such as MySpace and Craigslist. One of Zachary’s “employees” was a fifteen-year-old girl, and Zachary was soon exposed for selling underage girls as prostitutes and was sent to prison.

Distraught by the idea that her son would be returning (that’s right, returning) to prison, Shelia Montgomery, Zachary’s mother, decided to show the world that this particular fifteen-year-old was already a slut before dear Zachary turned her into an underage prostitute. How did Ms. Montgomery do this? She posted naked pictures of the fifteen-year-old on her own MySpace page – ostensibly taken before the girl met her son – to prove the girl lacked a moral code. Because posting naked photos of minors is child pornography, Shelia was charged with assisting in human trafficking over the Internet and is now serving time herself.

A little research unfortunately shows that human trafficking via sites like MySpace and Craigslist is apparently the hip new thing in Portland, along with avoiding gluten and wearing unnecessary glasses.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, an average of five cases of human trafficking via the Internet occur each week in my fair city, with an average of two cases a week being juveniles.

Portland police estimate a pimp earns $800 to $1,000 a day from each juvenile victim.

Really, Portland? Is this what it’s come to? I know we’re known for harboring insane amounts of pot, and more recently meth, and I know our only professional sports team is nicknamed the “Jail-Blazers,” and I also recognize the unemployment rate is uncomfortably high, but using MySpace to pimp out children? Or try to defend your child after they’ve used the Internet to pimp out even younger children?

As an Oregonian, I’m embarrassed. As a US citizen, I’m in shock. Human trafficking is clearly illegal. How can it happen via a forum as public as the Internet?? And we’re not even talking hidden black market websites here. We’re talking MySpace, Facebook’s ever publically embarrassing unwanted uncle.

Human trafficking is happening through the exact same medium you’re using to read this article. Are you disgusted yet?

Why hasn’t MySpace been shut down? Or Craigslist? How can this go on, legally, in a country that prides itself on being safer and all around better than the rest?

AMY RESPONDS…

I had no idea that Oregonians had such strong feelings. Or so many problems, really.  But I’ll be sure to keep my meth lab out of your state.  I think you correctly point out the horror of human trafficking, but I have to take issue with your solution here. First, there’s actually a law that protects websites from liability based on the third party content posted on them. In other words, if I have a website that carries content written and posted by outsiders (MySpace, for example), and someone posts something really stupid or criminal on it, by law as the website owner or internet service provider I can’t be held liable.

Secondly, I think we’ve got a public policy issue if we shut down sites that host content that we think is horrific (even where, as here, it really truly is).  The first amendment guarantees that the government shall not abridge the freedom of the press and while internet laws are still somewhat up for grabs, I think it strikes fear into the hearts of federalists everywhere that the police would be able to just shut down sites that post content that they hate.

Finally, I think that we misuse the justice system when we create a nanny state that, rather than punishing the scum-sucking slime that commit crimes like human trafficking, we simply shut down any possible sites that might allow them to do so.  Instead of shutting down Myspace, I propose instead that we snap pictures as these two idiots are doing the perp walk to the courthouse in handcuffs, and post those on myspace for the world to see.

Forget J, What Would YOU Do?

November 3rd, 2010

Today, Intern Rebecca poses these questions:

Last week in Tennesse, Jessie Wright noticed his wife exhibiting possible signs of stroke. Wright hopped in his car, turned on his emergency lights, and liberally used his horn to race his wife to the hospital.

>Mrs. Wright has a history of illness, most notably losing her leg to cancer. Such a traumatic injury would of course cause the man who loves her to worry with the smallest sign of illness. As Jessie sped through yellow and red lights, he was followed by Officer James Daves, who ultimately confronted Daves as he was carrying his wife through the ER doors.

I’m pretty sure there’s a sight test involved with being a cop, so couldn’t Daves see Wrights hands were a little too tied for handcuffs at the time?

Clearly not, as Daves arrested Wright on the spot. He was also upset that no matter what he said, Wright was more concerned with his wife’s health. (So many women should be so lucky.)

After spending the night with his wife in the hospital, Wright was brought to jail, charged with seven felonies, and released on $7,500 bail – not to mention the hospital bills.

Perhaps Write broke some traffic laws, but wouldn’t the biggest crime of all be killing his wife? And isn’t Daves the one really at fault in this situation, for putting Mrs. Wright’s health in further danger?

Do Not Pass Go, Go Directly To Jail!

November 1st, 2010

Intern Rebecca weighs in LiLo:

Lindsay Lohan recently announced that she can’t afford the pricey Betty Ford Clinic, and thus won’t be able to complete her court ordered time in rehab without first taking some time off to work.

Oops, I did it again!

Oops, I did it again!

I’ve never been sentenced by court to rehab, but it seems to me that if LiLo can’t do her time in the luxurious California clinic, there is one other place she can go for free for being found in possession of illegal drugs… JAIL.

Why would Lindsay be released early from rehab back into the real world when she broke the rules of the real world? If she can’t foot the bill, shouldn’t she do the bidding of the folks who now have to financially support her (and listen to yet another trying story about her woes and hoes) – the taxpayers?

The truth of the matter is, Lindsay has done only one thing well in the last few years: destroy her career. Alec Baldwin and Mel Gibson wish they could wreck their trains as hard as LiLo. Now that Lindsay has to face her problems head on, she’s using an empowered working woman rap as an excuse – and not a very good one. No one – especially a party girl – in their inebriated mind would leave mandatory time at what is basically a resort to go back to work. Unless, of course, they can get something at work that they can’t get at the resort… like cocaine.

Can Lindsay really get away with this? And for folks who aren’t Lindsay Lohan, is work really a viable legal excuse for evading your sentence?

Oh My Blog! Intern Rebecca Takes MC Blogger To Task

October 29th, 2010

Mike & Molly

Mike & Molly

Marie Claire dating blogger Maura Kelly had a lot to say earlier this week about obese folks. Mainly that she doesn’t want to see them. Kelly stated on Monday that when she’s home alone channel surfing, she wishes to never spot the horrific image of two “fat” people getting it on, going as far as saying, “I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other, because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.”

Hey, Kelly, all that hot air in your empty stomach is rising straight to your big, fat head. Good thing your offensive comments haven’t yet made it to primetime, so I don’t have to catch a glimpse of you on my TV. In the past few days, Maura’s blog post has received an astonishing 1,800 comments from readers who call the writer a bully, evil, and bigoted. One comment even points out that if “obese person” were replaced with “black person,” Kelly would already be in line for her first unemployment check.

I’d even say that a similar blog targeting gay people would thankfully no longer be accepted by society. So why should it be okay to talk this way about obesity – another genetic condition many people simply can’t help? Marie Claire recently announced that they have no intention of firing Kelly, and even backed her up, calling her a controversial blogger. Tell me, Amy, how is this woman keeping her job?

Mommy Dearest

October 18th, 2010

Intern Rebecca here with thoughts on being fierce…

tyraJust in from the blogosphere: Tyra Banks is being sued! And no, it’s not because she’s so hot it’s criminal.

Beverly McClendon, the mother of a 15-year-old who appeared on Tyra’s show as a self-proclaimed sex addict, has filed a lawsuit against the former model, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and the executive producers of The Tyra Banks Show, get this, for NEGLECT.

McClendon claims the show did not secure the proper paperwork from her daughter – no consent from the parents – and violated Georgia state labor laws by failing to do so.

Good point, kind of. The legal paperwork conveniently forgets that McClendon’s baby girl was flown to New York and put up in a hotel by the show, and also received compensation for her time on air. I was certainly never spotted cruisin’ round Midtown sippin’ on yak as a teen, but that’s probably because my mom knew where I was at all times.

McClendon’s also adamant that her daughter is not a sex addict. Here’s a thought for the troubled parent: just because you think she isn’t, doesn’t mean she isn’t. Sounds like it’s time for a heart to heart so the real neglect in this situation can be reversed.

All that said, mommy dearest is still attempting to withdrawal a whopping three mil from the A(N)TM at T-Banks. Should the transaction go through? Does she have a case?