Just Your Head, Jack

Posted on November 6, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

23rd in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day (redux):

  • witness = (verb) to see first hand; (noun) one who saw first hand
  • first-hand = one is on the scene to witness an occurrence
  • weasel = be evasive or try to mislead

And what about Weasel #2, ol’ head of security Jack Alvarez?  He showed up for this KBR roast as directed by the subpoena.  Doyle  turned on the camera, shoved a “document” into his hands, asked him to read it, and then asked Jack to speculate on what he just read.  Now, we don’t know what the paper had on it.  Doyle keeps secrets; we obviously are to assume  it is some hush-hush communique from within KBR.  In response to those questions from Doyle, Jack cautiously said “this looks like KBR might have  known before hand about the bad chemicals.”  Doyle also asked, “IF KBR knew, what reason would it have to delay reporting the problem to the Army.”  Jack offered, “Well, they might lose incentive  money for finishing before a certain date, and clean-up operations could cause them to shut down the work until it was done.”  (I paraphrased that stuff.)

Be it noted that Jack acts very tentative about what he is saying.  Why?  Because he doesn’t know anything about the water plant task order.

Here we go again with the flim-flam.  Doyle is trying to whiz two things right past our ears:

  • KBR is working on a COST-PLUS basis.  The more things they can find to do in fulfilling the army’s requirements, the more they get paid.  The deadlines they are working toward are the Army’s operational time lines.  Dragging their feet on HAZMAT would be counter-productive and gain them nothing.
  • The reason someone from “security” is being questioned on contract fulfillment.  It is not established that Jack was at the water plant or exactly what kind of security he was the “head” of:  Document security?  Gate Security?  Motor pool security?  Office supplies security?  Yeah, I know.  He shows up in this video only because he was the Head of Something at KBR, and Doyle thought he could pass him off as an authority by shading what he answered in a negative tint toward KBR.

The KBR personnel testified straightforwardly without a hint of uncertainty, confident of their actions and knowledge.  Doyle attempts to refute them with dialogue cards, his own monologue, and a slovenly looking former “manager” (whom he tried to pass off as the head of a corporate department) who could only repeat speculation and rumor.   Poor ol’ Jack was maneuvered into analyzing a document he had never seen before and putting it in the context of a matter about which he had no first-hand knowledge.

Yeah, ol’ Super Dan has some big salt shakers…   but, I think this litigious entrée he has carefully served up is just a bit too salty to ingest.  One can only hope the eventual jury panel at trial is carefully watching its intake of salt.

Next up:  What price martyrdom?  (Honest, folks!  Just 2 more of these things)

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, sued, deposition, litigation, cluster

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You Can Only Testify To What You Know

Posted on November 5, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

22nd in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your word vocabulary list for the day (mostly from MS Word Dictionary):

  1. witness = (verb) to see first hand;  (noun) one who saw first hand
  2. first hand = one is on the scene to experience an occurrence
  3. hearsay = one was not on the scene, but, allegedly, heard about the alleged occurrence from another
  4. rebut = to deny the truth of something, especially by presenting arguments that disprove it
  5. whistle-blower =  (a Raiznor-implied hot-button) = informant; someone in the know who exposes wrongdoing, especially in an organization.
  6. turncoat = a traitor; someone who abandons a group or a cause and joins its opponents
  7. traitor = someone who is disloyal or treacherous
  8. evasive = not giving a direct answer to a direct question, usually in order to conceal the truth
  9. weasel = (1) sly or underhanded person;  (2) be evasive or try to mislead

Super Dan relies so much on the HOT BUTTON CRUTCH that he could qualify for a “Handicap Parking Permit.”  Six hours of testimony (according to Sparky) boiled down to a 10-minute video which includes 5 minutes of Doyle Raiznor doing monologues or flashing dialog cards, so, all he got was 5 minutes of KBR words that he thought he could paint in a negative tone. 

Doyle’s crutch is hot buttons.  Mine is sarcasm.  In keeping with that , I will characterize his “rebuttal” dudes as “weasels” (see word 9 above).  Why would I do that?  B’cawz neither of ’em is a witness (and, therefore, cannot be a whistle-blower) to the events they are touted to have information about.  The best Super Dan could get out of six hours of testimony is one smirking retelling of a rumor and one stammering stab at speculation.     …and, a lot of camera time for himself.

Elucidation you demand, elucidation I remand (not an exact usage, but it does rhyme).  One of the ploys arising from Super Dan’s epiphany was to remove the water plant incident from that infernal combat theater to the placid, conniving realm of corporate USA.  Our boy Ralph (Weasel #1) fills the bill for location, but, is he believable?  Well, if he is highly placed in the organization, then, ostensibly, he would have access to “privileged” information.  We are not told what Ralph’s position was in KBR, but, Doyle’s slick dialogue places him in the Health, Safety, and Environment Department from which K. Tseng worked — at corporate headquarters in Houston.  Sparky and Doyle  use different approaches to his title, but, both slide in the word “manager,” one with the capital M and the other, a lower case m.  Neither uses the definitive articles “a” and “the” but, the implication is clear.  Without saying so, the dynamic duo is letting the viewers conclude that Weasel Ralph is THE head of H-S-E department.  This should make his rumor believable to the unquestioning public…   so long as they don’t question.

This is the essence of Doyle’s questions to Ralph, the manager of something or other in Houston:

  • Now, Weasel #1, did KBR back in Houston know about the chemicals there before Tseng went on his assessment?  (Smirk) Oh, yeah!
  • Well, Weasel #1, before he left for Iraq, did Tseng make a list of those chemicals?  (Smirk) He didn’t have to (smirk).  He already knew.
  • Good boy, Weasel #l.  So, it was Tseng’s job to make a list of chemicals to check?  “Oh, yeah…   as I understand it.”

As…   I…   understand…   it…   !!?????????  What part of eye-witness are we having trouble with, Doyle?

Middle management!  That was Ralph.  How do I know?  Well, Doyle is leaving it up to my imagination to figure all this out.  My imagination proposes:

  • Ralph doesn’t know anything about the water plant;  he was stuck in Houston.
  • H-S-E consists of 3 different disciplines, hence 3 different sections to the department.
  • You got your Top Dog (i.e., THE Manager), 3 Section Chiefs, numerous unrelated middle managers.  And, Tseng.
  • Top Dog would KNOW what was going on in each section.  A Section Chief would KNOW what was going on in his section, but, not necessarily what other sections were doing.  A Middle Manager would KNOW what he and his subordinates were doing, but, not necessarily what other sections and associated middle managers were doing.
  • Ralph DOESN’T KNOW what Tseng was doing.  ERGO:  Ralph IS NOT the Top Dog, Section Chief, or even Tseng’s manager.
  • RALPH IS SPECULATING AND PASSING ON RUMOR OF SPECULATION.  HE JUST DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING.

But, just showing up and moving your lips while Doyle writes the music to your words makes you thirsty.  In one frame, Ralph has no water.  An instant later, a half-consumed bottle of water shows up in front of him.  Magic?  Or proof of the old saw that lying will make your mouth dry?  Hey, Doyle’s the one who left me alone with my imagination and cynicism.  It’s not my fault if I’m overly abusive critical.

Next up:  Doyle wanted only his  head

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, sued, deposition, litigation, cluster

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Mary L. Wade, Lady of the Contracts

Posted on October 8, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

19th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day:

  • avarice = an unreasonably strong desire to obtain and keep M-O-N-E-Y
  • surreal = bizarre, distorted, weirdly dreamlike

Ms. Wade seems to be the focus of Raiznor’s push to his objective, which would be Litigators’ Nirvana — the mother lode promised by a massively successful class-action lawsuit against a giant corporation.  It is a no-holds-barred campaign of avarice to get something for nothing in keeping with the mantra of the Litigation Nation…   drum-beat and lyrics supplied (oh, surprise of surprises) by litigators.

As noted in the two previous posts, ol’ Doyle used Tseng to hint at “cover-up” and “obstruction,” while trying to paint Lee as the personification of a corporate “culture of indifference” toward human safety, if that safety interfered with getting just one more dollar from that government contract.

But, KBR’s Lady of the Contracts has been cast in a different sort of role for this litigator’s rewrite of reality, one that seems to be the pivot point of his twisted path through a surreal dream-scape.  (Her image is the header on the un-ethical video displayed on Sparky’s website.  By default, she becomes the image of a greedy corporation.)

In keeping with his theme of negligent business behavior, Super Dan and Ms. Sparky have re-titled her as “senior contract negotiator” and “chief contract negotiator,” respectively, to insinuate a wide ranging latitude in dispensing taxpayers’ money.  As noted in previous posts, the correct title is Senior Contracts Manager, which carries the inference of tight control over terms and performance of contracts.  That would not be good for Raiznor’s pipe dream;  thus, the instant makeover.   You can bet that Raiznor knows Ms. Wade’s correct title; he had to have it right when he subpoenaed witnesses and documents from KBR.

That word “negotiator” has several meanings.  Super Dan used it in questions to Ms. Wade, and Ms. Wade responded in a manner that seemed to agree with his use —

  • How long did this negotiation take?  Long enough.
  • A few hours, a day?  One morning.
  • So, you are saying this whole deal was negotiated in just one morning?  Yes.   …No, we went over the terms and conditions of the contract in the morning.

It is not evident what set-up questions Raiznor employed to get Ms. Wade to think they were using her understanding of the word “negotiate” since he carefully left those on the cutting room floor.  But, when it hit her what he was driving at, she spelled out what she meant by “negotiated” —  going over the terms and conditions of the contract.  Since this was obviously the closing of a contract, signatures of all now-satisfied parties would then have been affixed to the contract.

“Closing a contract” is one of the definitions of negotiate.

“Meeting and wrangling over the how and what” of a deal is another one.  Raiznor wants you to see Mary Wade (and, by extension, KBR) as an unconscionable bargainer, hammering out quickie, lucrative deals for KBR regardless of human cost.

Raiznor, again under the spell of hot buttons, generalizes in one of his insertions, “This deal between KBR and our government was put together in a shockingly casual way in a short time...”  It must have galled him that Ms. Wade clarified what was done at that morning meeting, but he made the best of it with that spliced-in, nebulous monologue implying reckless haste in pursuit of LOGCAP money.

Next up:  Shockingly casual — only in another universe.

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Ms. Sparky, Doyle Raiznor, litigator, lawsuit, contract

 

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The Taming Of The Truth

Posted on June 24, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

7th in the series The Great Cluster Fu...   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day

  • milieu = surrounding environment              
  • WAG = wild ass guess (your acronym for the day)

Two quick notes here:

  1. I really hate to paint the following picture for you, but it has to be done.
  2. I was saving this for toasts in later posts, but, go ahead and get out that bottle of Georgia wine (from the country, not the state) and have that glass handy.  Use as needed like Tums or Alka-Seltzer to settle your stomach.

Okay.  Here we go —

Super Dan standing on the high ground, wide stance, knuckles turned against hips, elbows out, red cape gently billowing in the breeze.  Shoulders back, chin jutted forward in fearless challenge, eyes panning the landscape with a steely gaze (like a photo op for Superman, himself…  ?   Oh, no!  That will never do.  Instead of those blue tights, let’s make that a medium blue 3-piece suit.  If he insists, he can wear red boxers — just not on the outside.)  he assesses the playing field.  To his right, at his feet, an at-the-ready milking stool;  to his left, an upscale leather brief case dubbed “the bag of tricks.”  Ear buds firmly in place, iPod securely clipped to his belt, he listens to a chorus of adding machines singing out a soothing string of numbers punctuated here and there with dollar signs, and, way down there to the right, a decimal point.  Mightily, he wants this to happen.

Meanwhile, back on Earth…

  • His client is an ill soldier (WAG) who, ostensibly, contracted his malady as a result of his duty assignment during US combat operations.  He belongs to the military;  can’t sue them.
  • His client was working in close proximity to civilians on a project ordered by the US military in a war zone.  No money in suing individuals.
  • Those civilians were contracted by a US corporation…   a very large corporation.  It’s just that blasted “acts of war” thing, like garlic to a vampire (a competing blood-sucker) that keeps Danny Boy’s grasping fingers just out of reach.

But, what if…?  If only he could get that corporation relocated to an unprotected non-war zone, there might be possibilities for hooking up the old milk machine.  Bring ’em back to the good ol’ Litigation Nation where the juries really like to see the big ones fall.  Danny Boy perked right up;  the game is afoot!

Danny Boy’s salt shakers trembled with anticipation.  He realized he didn’t really need to relocate the mark corporation.  Consider the old drama class in high school — maybe college.  Like a theater production, the actors hold their places on stage while the stage hands drop a different scene behind them.  The script remains unchanged, but, the new background changes the context of the actions and dialogue.

EXISTING SCENE:  A shooting war in which events are a chess game between opposing military commanders who move their forces (troops, equipment, and civilian personnel) into places and situations based on operational requirements bound to operational time lines NOT predicated on CAREFULLY RESEARCHED SAFETY FACTORS AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDIES.  These forces report resistance from, and other impediments to, the targeted objectives TO SPECIFIED COMMANDERS (i.e., they follow the chain of command).  In military operations, first ACHIEVE THE OBJECTIVE!  THEN report casualties and other loses.  Such is war.

THE DREAM SCENE:    What war?

Wow!  I repeat, WOW!   Danny Boy has some really big salt shakers.

Next up:  Truth.  Beauty.  Mud.  It’s in the eye

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigator, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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The Truth Hurts

Posted on June 21, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

5th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your word for the day 

  • flim-flam = (1) trick or swindle
  • flim-flam = (2) deceptive talk, talk that confuses or deceives

Lest I be guilty of not being up-front (as I am about to accuse Danny Boy and his law firm of doing) I should tell you what triggered this series of posts.  In my preceding post (No Safety in Numbers) I mentioned finding Danny Boy and his apparent venture.  The on-line post I viewed purported to be a deposition taken from employees of KBR.  That display may have started out as a deposition, but after Danny and his firm  cut their testimonies into sound bytes interspersed with silent-movie-era dialogue boards and a “let me show you what you are seeing” voice over, the deposition became a work of fiction.  The “deposition for public consumption” use, instead of being strictly an in-house litigator’s discovery tool, bothered me.  The more times I watched it, the more it just didn’t add up.  

“The Great Cluster Fu…”   series lists my objections to this tabloid opus.

Flash forward:  We are approaching Danny Boy’s opus, a grand fusion of fantasy, journalism, yellow journalism, tabloid style of story-telling, half-truths, speculations, unfounded assertions, mellow-dramatic tear jerker ending designed, tabloid-like, to help you ignore/skip/fast forward over the array of inconsistencies, inaccuracies, outlandish assertions, presented in his vague novella.  In true more-knowledgeable-than-thou-art anchor-person fashion (complete with the inability to even read the teleprompter flawlessly) he condescendingly leaves out important pieces of information in fear that you will decide the true nature of things for yourselves.  Throughout this exercise, Danny Boy has glaringly left out 3 pieces of pertinent information:

  • Who the hell he is representing.
  • who the hell he is trying to convince in the absence of a court-room and jury.
  • HOW MUCH  M-0-N-E-Y  HE EXPECTS TO CLEAR FROM THIS VENTURE OF YELLOW JOURNALISM.

Danny Boy’s failure to include the cream filling in his little Twinkie leaves me no choice but to fill the void with my own assessments.  You are forewarned.

I’m calling this hatchet job  a travesty of the justice system.  Danny Boy and his lackey Ms Sparky (we’ll get to her shortly) have created and posted this piece of propaganda and have the audacity to call it a “deposition.”  It started out as a deposition, witnesses being subpoenaed to appear and give out-of-court testimony.  These witnesses appeared and gave testimony because to not do so would result in charges of contempt of court.   Had this intended use been known before hand, I am sure KBR lawyers would have had a lot to say about allowing the depositions to be given.

Will the truth hurt your case, Danny Boy?  I think, “Probably.”  So, as we continue, I will fill in your omissions (and expose some of your commissions) from my own humble store of life experiences.

Next up:  An inconvenient truth

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigation, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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No Safety in Numbers: It’s War

Posted on June 20, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

4th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your word for the day:   

  • ignore = refuse to notice.

It was while perusing the internet recentlyWait!  That should be “surfin’ the net,” shouldn’t it?  — I ran across one such super litigator who seems to have found himself a big one — a Cape Buffalo — and was angling to bring it home for proper milking.  As his luck would have it, it was standing between some bad publicity brush and a huge government contract tree.  It was trying to shake some unwanted partisan politics off one hoof while batting away the politically inspired bad press buzzing like flies around it.  The litigator must have been stunned silly, and became frantic to climb that money tree and get his.  Big downer, though:  the only way to the money tree was through that Cape Buffalo, which was very healthy, alert, and roaming free in a temporary game preserve.  In that environment, it was a legally protected species.  He knew it was gonna take a lotta work to get that baby to stand still for a little milking.  (Oh, ick!!  See the litigator salivate?)

In deference to his apparent self-image, lets call this dandy litigator Super Dan, an advocate for any reason (even if one has to be made up), but, most especially, for the  M – O – N – E – Y  (that may sound a little like unbridled greed, so let’s call it attorneys’ fees).

Okay, lets peek behind the bovine metaphor.  The cash cow that Super Dan has his eyes on is that global, multi-billion dollar contractor formerly known as Kellogg Brown and RootKBR these days.  He has taken on a client who is not an employee of KBR.  He be a  soldier.  An employee of the US of A.  Who had signed a contract of military service for the US of A.  Who sent the soldier to a war.  The same war in which the US of A contracted the assistance of KBR in refurbishing a defunct water purification plant.  As well as a host of other engineering jobs in that war zone.  Jobs that, to all intents and purposes, made KBR a valuable and functioning part of the US of A war machine.  The preserve that protected KBR from pecuniary liability was the combat theater designated by the US of A.

The  water purification plant at Qarmat Ali belonged (formerly) to one Saddam Hussein, head of state, State of Iraq.  Which Head objected fiercely to having his State invaded for any reason.  Brought out his fighting side.  And all his fighting forces.  But, for all that, he was a bad poker player, and lost the plant in a high stakes game with the US of A.  He wasn’t any better at domestic house-keeping, either, as it turns out, and had left the place in a mess.  He saw no reason to take the time to clean it up for the new owner.

The US of A decided it needed that water plant in operation and plunked hundreds, if not thousands, of civilian support personnel into a hot combat theater.  Forbade them from carrying weapons to defend themselves, but, thoughtfully enough, furnished its armed combat personnel to escort and watch over the unarmed civilian work force while they were outside designated “safe” zones.  Like our salivating litigator above, lets gloss over the fact that a lone mortar shell (or RPG) exploding nearby will take out both the unarmed civilian and the armed, combat-ready soldier.

In a combat zone, everyone is a combatant.  NO ONE is safe.  That is something our drooling litigator has chosen to ignore while looking for a nice “safe” place to set up his milking operation.

Next up:  The truth hurts.

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigation, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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Business = C-A-S-H-C-O-W

Posted on June 18, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

3rd in the series THE GREAT CLUSTER FU…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your word for the day: 

  • cash cow = A steady source of income.

There are many, many litigation attorneys.  Competition for clients must be fierce.  So fierce, in fact, they can’t simply wait for a mark injured party to walk in and drop a big suit on the desk.  They gotta sound the drums and beat the bushes trying to scare up prey business.  In the old days, they used to chase ambulances…   literally.  Sign up that client while he’s still woozy and bleeding.  Frowned upon by government, so, that was deemed unethical practice.  (Irony?  Politicians deeming another profession “unethical”?)

What’s a starving litigator to do?  You and your buds get together and urge the politicos (how many of them graduated from the same law school and would be practicing law again after being voted out of office?} to make it legal to advertise for business…   you know, chase all the ambulances at the same time in a virtual environment.  So, now, any time a story breaks about some study showing that a popular drug MAY have bad side effects (death is always an eye-catcher),  the clarion call-to-arms goes out, “IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE (that means a dead relative) HAVE EVER USED (insert brand name) OR BEEN WITHIN 500 FEET OF SOMEONE WHO DID. YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO MONEY.”  There are a lot of “entitled” individuals out there, and recruitment operations will get lots of sign-ups.  Out of that, there will be enough that can be squeezed into the case parameters to promise a big payday for the litigator.  Now, the litigator doesn’t give a rat about your dead relatives, no matter how soothing his bedside manner.  It’s a big share of the expected settlement M-O-N-E-Y that he’s after.

It doesn’t matter whether the plaintiff really has a good claim.  So many frivolous claims get filed against businesses that they even have a name:  nuisance lawsuits.  It is often cheaper for the business to settle out-of-court (whether merited or not) than to spend thousands more at trial (win or lose); after all, you might as well use that liability insurance you’ve been paying for.  Attorneys specializing in this have found their spot at the milk farm and make a living tugging on the mere threat to file nuisance claims much like a farmer works a cow’s udder…   and associated parts.

Big business = Holy Cow!  There are those who aspire to the heights.  They are not content to milk those compliant domesticated cows, no sir-ree.  Here, we got your bona fide supermen, fearless milkers/litigators who brashly march that milking stool toward the business end of a Cape Buffalo, our metaphorical equivalent of BIG BUSINESS — the big ones that don’t keep a lawyer on retainer…   they have legal DEPARTMENTS at their beck and call.  True, there is the risk of some heavy-duty trampling, but, if you work it right…   lordy, lordy what a payday.

Next up:  No safety in numbers

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigation, sued, cluster, deposition, hexavalent chromium

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It’s Not My Fault!

Posted on June 11, 2012. Filed under: KBR, Piss Ants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

1st of 25 in the series  The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation  practices

Bil Keene’s Family Circus kids, in response to mom’s “Who did this?”  replied, “Not me!”  Mr. Not Me kept out of sight and lived in a sweat because he never knew when he might be fingered as the fall guy for someone else’s pratfall.

Mr. Not Me, you may try to hide, but, invisible or not, you live in the Litigation Nation (a.k.a., the U.S. of A.).  Here, nothing that someone does is ever his own fault or responsibility.  For you, there is a litigation attorney out there right now trying to dig up someone — anyone — with a cock-eyed story fingering you as the patsy who needs to pay for his very own mistake.  Specifics don’t really matter.  These litigators are really good at sleight of words, and, if you were breathing air in the same city at the time of the alleged indignity, your non-involvement can become deep involvement.  You could be sued, so, review everything you’ve done in the past ten years or so.  Be prepared to defend yourself against…   (?) to be announced by the litigator…   accussed possibly by someone you have never heard of.  Don’t think you have all the files from everything you did even 5 years ago?  Tsk!  Too bad, ’cause, believe me, that litigator will seize upon that as “still missing critical documentation”   Doubt your vulnerability?  Check out these unwitting targets.

Our old bud, Mickey D.  Been serving coffee to this little old lady (and a whole nation) for years.  HOT coffee, to be sure.  She wouldn’t have it any other way.  Seventy years she has been working out the principles of gravity and thermodynamics.  She knew that the handles on porcelain tea-  and coffee-cups stayed cool to the touch even though the lip-burning HOT liquid in the cup was…   well…   hot!  She knew that coffee was brewed using HOT water.  She knew that coffee kept its flavor while it was HOT.  She knew when she ordered and accepted it that her coffee was HOT.   She knew she should be careful in handling it, ’cause gravity works 100% of the time, and, that, regardless of circumstances, HOT always travels from a place of higher concentration (that coffee)  to a place of lower concentration (her lap).  Thus, the tendency to corral the stuff behind an insulated barrier from which it can be sipped carefully and safely.  EVERY coffee drinker since the invention of fire knows you got a tiger by the tail and, if you let it go, it gonna bite the livin’ crap outtayuh.

When acquiring all this data on heat hazards, there must have been some practical exercises reinforcing the knowledge.  She must have spilled hot stuff on herself numerous times during that 70-plus years of schooling.  Did she sue her parents for her klutziness when she was a minor?  Or her children when they were adults?  Or her husband when he brewed coffee for breakfast and she spilled the stuff onto her lap?  No!  And why not?  Because, it’s what everyone does from time to time.  That’s life!  They don’t call it the school of hard knocks for nothing.

Yeah, there is another reason.  None of them were loaded with money nor had to drag around a lot of bad press engendered by the nightly news and stoked by an unknown number of litigation attorneys.   They weren’t big business.

Next up:  Brain-dead juries

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, litigation, sued, cluster, deposition

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The Hot Potato Pass

Posted on March 26, 2012. Filed under: History, Humor, Mythology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Okay, everybody enjoy those Spam sandwiches while we continue our cruise through historical straits.  Don’t worry about running short on those delicacies, cuz I got a storeroom full of them. 

It’s quite a legacy Gutenberg and his tryst with Pandora left to us.  On the one hand, we have teeming variants of that original pP fungus while, on the other hand, we are tethered to mind control devices that delude us into thinking that other peoples’ thoughts are actually our own.  Sort of a Terran version of the Vulcan mind-meld. 

(I’m still a little miffed with Sydney ’cause I had to scratch my crotch-rot (the word) as a fungal ailment from my Little p Big P post.  She got out there ahead of me with her “firecrotch” bit.   On another note, it is still a mystery how those mountain folk got their hands on that Thor’s Thunder Juice recipe, which — after a few modifications, and more than a few hair-of-the-dog mornings — they dubbed white lightning.)

Back at Olympus (the mountain), we learn that our old friend, Hermes, was a pivotal player in today’s run-amok social intricacies.  At one of their get-to-gathers, the gods thought it would be a ripping good joke to drop a ton of misery and other ill-fortune on all too mortal humanity.  Since guys sort of ran things, it was decided that loosing a clumsy, misfortunate femme-fatale among them would liven things up.  Hermes suggested equipping that body by Zeus with a little box that had a trick lid, sort of like a jack-in-the-box.  The others went for it, and, as the box was passed around, each put in his own little joke:  Ted Koppel, the pox, litigation attorneys, plague, instant messenger, a-bombs, Meet the Press…  Oh, yeah!  Now this was gonna be a hoot.  Hera suggested the name “Susan” but Hermes won the day with his “Pandora” entry.  Hera would have to wait until the 21st Century to see it her way; she hasn’t missed a single episode of Desperate Housewives.

We already found out that Hermes had dumped that big drag — that gopher-of-the-gods thing — onto Mercury.  That gig got old for Mercury, too, and when he saw  a new species of god emerging (that would be a branch of the Great Learned called “experts”) he groaned and then looked around for a suitable patsy…   protegé…  a suitable protegé.  As luck would have it, on one of his courier runs to the Underworld, he passed a back alley where some local drunks were ardently involved in a contest of whose-puddle-has-the-highest-foam.  He started to rush away in disgust when he realized these bozos had Yohan’s recent improvement on the gossip machine, and — in an epiphimous flash — shouted, “THESE are my BOYS!”  And, just like that, the god-like power of the messenger gig was pissed…   er, passed…   passed on to these fresh, wide-eyed…   street drunks?…   who were all caught up in themselves.

Wikipedia thanks me very much for not mentioning them at all this time.

Next up:  The Merger

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