How the Grinch Got Jail Time

Does anyone think the Grinch from Dr. Seuss's classic story got off pretty easy, considering he committed breaking and entering, malicious mischief, and who knows how many other illegal activities in his attempted theft of Christmas?  I mean, he seems to get off scot-free despite the damage, inconvenience, and trauma he must have caused all of Whoville.

Well, maybe the story doesn't really end there...


HOW THE GRINCH GOT JAIL TIME

A legal parody by

Rich Amada

 

Every Who down in Whoville was irked Christmas Day

With the Grinch who had carted their goodies away.

Oh, sure!—yes, he’d brought back the items, at least.

And then, like nothing happened, he ate their roast beast!

 

“He hustled our houses!” said Whos, gnashing their teeth.

“He purloined each present!  He ransacked each wreath!

He fondled our food!  Stole each stocking, that ninny!

And who knows what ‘present’ he left in our chimney!”

 

This Grinch-like behavior the Whos had to stop.

So they went to the phone and they called for a cop.

The Grinch was just swallowing his last dessert stuffs,

When the Who Blues broke in and they slapped on the cuffs.

 

The Who Judge’s wrath, well, it knew no containment.

He rolled off the charges at the Grinch’s arraignment.

“Count One would be trespass,” the Judge said with great heft.

“Count Two, breaking in with intent to do theft.”

 

There was also the property damage acute.

And animal cruelty was thrown in, to boot!

Identity theft they could add just to dress it.

But, Santa, it seems, he chose just not to press it.

 

Yet the thing that would fix the Grinch wagon, ‘tis true,

Was the D.A.’s star witness, little Cindy Lou Who.

Her eyewitness tale, in her court testimony,

Recounted the deeds of the Santy Claus phony.

 

As evidence mounted in the publicized trial,

Every Who knew the Grinch would be gone for a while.

So the lesson he learned, and the moral we draw,

Is a Grinch can’t steal Christmas or sidestep the law.

 

© 2014 Richard Amada.  All rights reserved.

The Cosby Fallout Continues

If you've been keeping tabs on the fallout over the accusations concerning comic legend Bill Cosby, you may already know that, as a result of the growing number of women coming forward to claim Mr. Cosby committed heinous acts of sexual misconduct with them in past years, NBC dropped plans to develop a new sitcom featuring the comic, Netflix and Comedy Center canceled planned Cosby specials, and TVLand announced it would stop airing re-runs of the highly popular “Cosby Show.”

You may have also heard that talk show hosts David Letterman and Queen Latifah hastily pulled the plug on scheduled appearances of Mr. Cosby.

Well, the distancing continues to grow.  The Berklee College of Music and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have both cut ties with the man who, until recently, was considered one of the most famous and trusted performers.

Mr. Cosby had been awarded a degree by the U. of Mass at Amherst and had served on its fundraising committee.  Berklee College had awarded a scholarship in his name.  According to a news article in the Washington Post, that has been discontinued.  The article further states Temple University is under pressure to drop Mr. Cosby as a member of its board of trustees.

Mr. Cosby is not without his defenders.  Among the most interesting of defenses being offered is why the women waiting so long -- in some cases decades -- to bring these charges to light.  Many a celebrity has been sued over similar kinds of allegations, oftentimes with big-money settlements resulting.  So it's not an unreasonble question to ask why Mr. Cosby's accusers haven't sought legal recourse up till now.

That point notwithstanding, I expect we'll hear a lot more of this increasingly saddening story as it plays out in the media.

Bad Judge! Bad Judge! What Did You Do!

Apparently, the show's title wasn't a strong enough clue as to the nature of the title character.  I'm talking about NBC's sitcom, Bad Judge," which features a free-spirited female judge who likes to par-tay both in and out of her judicial robes--if you catch my meaning.

According to reports, the Miami-Dade chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers complained to the network that the show depicted the judge as “unethical, lazy, crude, hypersexualized and unfit to hold such an esteemed position of power.”  So, uh...they were expecting a show titled Bad Judge would portray a dignified view of the bench?

Well, fear not, you Florida lady lawyers.  NBC has announced it's canceling the show.  Bad Judge has bad ratings, and, well, that's a death sentence for any sitcom.

Case dismissed.

An Artistic Deduction

Who wants to take on the IRS?  Not too many want to tangle with those folks.  But one artist did just that, and she won a battle that could be a significant victory for all artist taxpayers in the U.S.

Visual artist Susan Crile found herself in the IRS's crosshairs when it said Ms. Crile owed tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes because her deductions involving her paintings didn't stand up to the IRS's test for an actual business expense.  Because Ms. Crile made relatively little money from the sale of her art, while she drew the bulk of her earnings from her position as a college professor, the IRS contended that her artwork was a hobby, and, therefore, the outlay of cash related to the creation of her art didn't qualify as deductible business expenses.

However, the U.S. Tax Court doesn't see it the IRS's way.  In a ruling handed down last week, a judge on that court said Ms. Crile met her burden of proving she created art "with an actual and honest expectation of profiting from it."  The fact that she actually didn't earn all that much didn't disuade the judge from ruling in her favor.

That ruling should come as a big relief to many artists who, try as they might to sell their works for a profit, have never really hit the big time with their art -- this despite the fact that they might be investing a significant amount of money in the attempt.  For the time being, those artistic business investments might be deductible.

Copyright Office Won't Monkey Around

You may have heard that the U.S. Copyright Office has laid down the law, as it sees it, regarding the copyrightability of a photograph taken by a monkey.  The office says it won't register a copyright in a work created by anyone who isn't a human.

In its latest Compendium on copyright, the office states that only human beings can be the creators of copyrightable works, and it "will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants."  You can read the official language in Section 306 of the Compendium.

This, of course, was all prompted by the battle waged by a photographer whose camera was swiped by a monkey that then went about snapping a bunch of photos, including some "selfies" that went viral on the Internet.  The photographer objected to the images being published on the web without his permission (or a fee being paid to him), and litigation was possible.

However, if the Copyright Office says only a human can obtain a copyright -- and it cites two 19th century cases as precedent for the justification of that contention -- then it would appear the monkey photos are in the public domain.

Oh, and one other thing the Copyright Office says it won't register art "purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings."  So no gods, ghosts, or witches need apply.