In case you missed this one when it first came out, listen in…
Share the joy—spread the love—it’s Christmas! But please don’t upset your neighbors in the process. Sounds like good advice right? But where do you draw the line in the snow—or in this case—the lights—the hundreds of feet of lights, oh yes and the singing Santa?
While some of us prefer to plod on quietly, gingerly displaying sparkly balls and badly wrapped presents in the hope that we can just get through the season without too much upset to our normal routines, some folks take the opposite approach—decking the halls with anything and everything that glows, winks, spins, warbles and sings— you know—Santa’s landing pad coming to a lawn near you…
Well, Jill Patella, who lives in Union Beach, NJ, is a bona fide Christmas enthusiast. And from the sounds of it, she has all the gear with which to deck those halls, and apparently the toilet (she displays three trees and a special bathroom with a decorated toilet in case Santa drank too much milk at the last place).
And, she is the proud owner of one 6 foot singing Santa who can really belt it out, according to her neighbor across the street, Mark Dittman. “It’s just all day and night,” Mark Dittman told NBC New York, which is actually running a story on the situation. Dittman, who lives across the street from Patella, says his living room feels like Santa’s workshop (obviously not a unionized workshop).
Not surprisingly, Patella thinks her neighbor is the embodiment of Scrooge. “Get in the Christmas spirit, find some Christmas spirit,” Patella told NBC New York.
To top it off, her singing Santa was given to her by her husband—the last gift he gave her before he died. So, it has special sentimental value.
“He reminds us of good memories,” Patella said. Terrific. That’ll make negotiations easier.
As you might expect, experts in these types of situations have been called in. The police. And they’ve cited Patella for her singing Santa—so it’s official, he really is too loud.
But Patella’s going to court to fight it, stating that Santa is not moving. At least until Christmas is over. “I’ll fight for my Santa. I have the right,” she said. And she’s found herself a lawyer who is looking into the matter. Umm. “I don’t know what this about. I don’t think this about a Santa Claus sitting on the front porch,” Patella said. No? Does this happen at any other time of the year?
As for Dittman, he feels badly that the situation has escalated to this level. “We’ve asked her numerous times to turn it down, so we had no choice but to call the police on the matter,” he said. And in the Christmas spirit, he has offered to pay Patella’s ticket. One condition though—Santa must be silenced.
With any luck this whole thing could be over by Easter. If all else fails, maybe Dittman could find an angel that sings “Silent Night.”
In any event, here’s to Peace on Earth and good will towards men, and neighbors.
Merry Christmas one and all!
Today, I am embarking on a career change:
I may not be around as much, as I will always be in court—and my name will be in the news a lot, so at least you’ll know what I’m up to. I won’t have to blog as frequently, to keep you apprised of life in the Hunter household.
You will salivate at the size of my bank account, even after legal fees are deducted. Of course, the strategy is to sue for legal fees, too.
What set me on this course to dramatically improve my fortune?
Look north, to Canada, and you will see what opened my eyes.
Last week, two sets of parents sued the Greater Toronto Hockey League, one of its clubs and four coaches for $25,000 each for the heinous act of cutting their sons from a midget junior ‘A’ team during tryouts in April.
“Their direct actions have caused irreparable psychological damage to [plaintiff’s] self esteem as an impressionable teenager and demoralized [plaintiff] as an athlete and team hockey player with his peers,” one claim reads. “The conduct by all defendants destroyed the dignity of my son, whom in good conscience gave his team nothing but his best efforts.”
Statement of claim 2: “When [plaintiff] was advised of his termination by my wife and I, he vowed never to play the game he loved since childhood. And, moreover, his misguided group of defendants demoralized my wife and I, whom had gone well beyond the call of duty as parents in support of the [defendant] for two seasons.”
That was the clincher, dear friends—although I’ve been giving this career change serious thought for some time…ever since I heard of the Canadian lawsuit back in the winter by a woman who is suing her mobile phone service provider for ruining her life. How? Well, due to a billing change by the service provider, the plaintiff’s husband Read the rest of this entry »
Doug Llewelyn eat your blessed heart out. The internet-age version of The People’s Court is here—well, maybe not with any real monetary awards imposed, and true, no one’s got your classic closer: “Don’t take the law into your own hands, you take ’em to court.” But now there’s a way to get an unofficial ruling on whether that gift of a used 1992 Chevy included insurance payments and registration—or not. Even if only for peace of mind or some form of bragging rights.
This site’s a riot. Once you sign up, you can submit your “case”—which will then be sent to the defendant (whose name is not revealed publicly) via email–i.e., they “receive notice” of their affront—can you just dream of the possibilities here? The plaintiff submits what he thinks are adequate “stakes” should he win—could be a dinner on the defendant’s dime. Both parties can submit their opening arguments and evidence (seriously)—and then the case is listed for the “jury” (other viewers) to decide.
Here are the “rules of the courtroom”:
Case must be accepted by defendant within 24 hours.
All arguments must be entered within 24 hours of the preceding argument.
A verdict must be rendered within 24 hours of the defendant’s closing arguments.
The case must receive 3 votes from a jury to be official. If the case receives less than 7 votes, the case will be decided by the judge.
If the case ends in a tie (Hung Jury), the case will be decided by the judge.
The Judge can throw out a case at his discretion.
Now, needless to say, you won’t actually get much out of having your case “heard” at InstantJury—perhaps some satisfaction, but no one’s going to be witholding pay from your defendant’s paycheck till they cough up dinner. And, I imagine, there is always the possibility of someone not taking too kindly to recieving a complaint—aimed at them—in their inbox. But if you’ve got a beef that’s under your skin and you just can’t let it go (or talk it out like the rest of us) then this may be your answer. And, hey, unlike submitting your problem to Dear Abby, you don’t have to wait and see if your issue is deemed worthy of publication—just hit “submit” and you’re in court baby!
Are you tired of living alone, even though you are classed as a “social” pig? And do you feel for your goldfish friend, which is suffering mistreatment by having four open sides in his / her / their aquarium, when it is obvious that they need shelter and such shelter is being denied?
If so, Bunky, you need a lawyer. And even though you can’t understand a word I’m saying, it is my duty to tell you that you need to move to Switzerland. Go. Go now. Pack up your pellets and skedaddle to Zurich.
Switzerland is on your side.
In fact, the Swiss will hold a public referendum in March as to whether domesticated creatures have the right to be represented by lawyers in court.
Not that the government there wants that. Even the Swiss authorities think that’s going a bit far, even though the government altered its constitution last year to protect the dignity of plant life and crafted a law in 2009 establishing rights for domesticated creatures such as canaries and goldfish.
And Guinea pigs. Yes, you.
If the referendum is approved, every canton in Switzerland will be obliged to appoint legal counsel to represent pets and farm animals, in an effort to defend them from abuse.
It all started in 2007 when the canton of Zurich appointed lawyer Antoine Goetschel (don’t worry about the spelling—you’re a Guinea pig after all, we’ll help you fill in the forms when the time comes) as an animal advocate as an experiment. That move motivated animal welfare groups to mount a campaign for a referendum to install similar officials across Switzerland.
Activists gathered the required number of signatures of support needed as a pre-requisite to a referendum.
The government has its doubts. So too, do farmers associations and pet breeders, who fear more strict regulations. The ‘No’ side has established a group known as ‘No to the Useless Animal Lawyers’ Initiative.’
It should be noted that in the Middle Ages, locusts and frogs were summoned to court to answer for their crimes of infestation.
Not that you, Guinea pig, will ever have to physically appear in court as a witness if the crusty old guy next door complains to your owner that you’re living a solitary existence.
However, take heart in the knowledge that in Switzerland-while you go about your day sleeping, shedding and trying to figure out what is a food pellet and what is a poop-a lawyer could be representing your interests in court.
For more, log onto LawyersandGuineapigs.com