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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

June 18, 2007

frisbees, flying saucers and space cadets

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 10:16 pm

frisbeeFlyingF When I posted Michael Dylan Welch’s “old frisbee” haiku over the weekend, I wasn’t aware that the nation is in the midst of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Frisbee. [See, for example, “Frisbee still flying high after 50 years: Disc’s inventor never thought name would fly,” AP/San Diego Sun-Tribune, June 16, 2007; and purchase the Wham-O 50th Anniversary 175g Ultimate Frisbee Disc for a mere $11.99.] Along with a bit of fun nostalgia for us Baby Boomers, frisbee stories present good lessons for students and practitioners of intellectual property law. For example, although its designated inventor Walter “Fred” Morrison thought it was “insane” to rename his Pluto Platter “frisbee,” the AP report explains:

“Frisbee instead became insanely popular, making the name as synonymous with flying discs as Google is with searching the Internet and Kleenex is with tissue.

“But Wham-O doesn’t allow the Frisbee name to be thrown around indiscriminately. When the Emeryville-based company sees Frisbee used to describe discs made by other manufacturers, lawyers dispatch legal notices seeking to protect the trademarked term.”

fading sun at low tide —  frisbee50th
teeth marks
in an old frisbee

………… by Michael Dylan Welch, Frogpond XVIII:3

If you want to know how the Frisbee got its name (hint: a bunch of Yalies were tossing pie tins from the Frisbie Pie Co. and yelling warnings), The Ultimate [Frisbee] Handbook has the scoop, in a piece calledWhere the Frisbee First Flew: The Untold Story of the Flying Disc’s Origin 50 Years Ago in SLO,” by Jeff McMahon. More interesting for lovers of the sport of litigation, is the “untold story” of the unheralded and unrequited co-inventor of the frisbee, Warren Franscioni. McMahon opens the tale:

“Two men held a circle of plastic over a heater in a San Luis Obispo garage in 1948, trying to mold a lip onto the disc’s down-turned edge. One of those men would be hailed as the inventor of the Frisbee. The other would die unknown, just as he began to fight for a share of the credit and millions in royalties the Frisbee generated.”

Frisbeeplayers Morrison, now 87-years old, says he won’t answer questions about Franscioni, because “I’m so tired of this shit.” Coszette Eneix, Franscioni’s daughter, says she cringes whenever she hears the name “frisbee” (which should be called “Flyin’ Saucer“) and won’t let one in her home. She complains:

“When you read about the history of the Frisbee, you always hear Fred Morrison. Fred Morrison did this. Fred Morrison did that. Bullshit. Excuse my language. Bullshit. It was Warren Franscioni and Fred Morrison. It was a partnership. I think they should have equal billing.”

I’m a bit surprised that Franscioni’s family let the death of the Air Force major keep them from suing for millions of dollars in royalties. Legal experts in the field (and on the playground) will have to let us know whether it is too late to see compensation.  In the morning, I’m going to dig out an old plastic flying saucer.  But, for tonight, I’m satisfied savoring a few frisbee-ku cooked up on the spur of the moment today by our friendly, famously prolific, Honored Guest Ed Markowski.

frisbee tournament frisbeeFlyingF
the sudden dip
of a red dragonfly


ufo photo…
the chipped edge
of a silver frisbee

a Pluto Platter hovers
on the desert wind

frisbeeFlying  mid-summer heat
the retriever watches
the flight of a frisbee

Starship reunion
the frisbee’s flight
triggers a flashback
……………………………….. by ed markowski

frisbeeMorrison Fred Morrison as a frisbee-promoting Spaceman (from Schenectady Sunday Gazette, “Flying for 50 years,” June 17, 2007, $ubscr.

Frisbeeplayers Spaced Out Over Supreme Court Clerks:  The New York Times published some awfully spacey commentary today, with an op/ed piece by David Lat of the Above the Law tabloid weblog, titled “The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies” (June 18, 2007).  Lat  writes about the $250,000 signing bonuses that law firms have been giving to young lawyers as they leave clerkships with the U.S. Supreme Court. [Each of the nine justices has four law clerks.]  He points out that the bonuses are paid on top of starting salaries approaching $200,000. “Thus some former clerks, in their first year practicing law, will earn twice as much as their former judicial bosses (the chief justice earns $212,000 a year; his colleagues earn $203,000 each).”

huge trees in the park–
a different dog
chasing the stick

………………… by gary hotham – the heron’s nest (April 2001)

Lat notes that the bonuses are controversial and wonders how rational it might be for firms to be paying so much to junior laweyrs — and therefore having to charge corresponding high fees to clients.  What seems far-fetched and half-baked (but don’t forget that tabloid-monger Lat does like pulling our cyber legs) is his suggestion that although “the astronomical Supreme Court clerkship bonuses may be dubious investments for law firms, they are good news for our legal system.”  He argues:

“Here’s why: by promising clerks a financial windfall on the back end of their clerkships, firms encourage bright young lawyers — many of whom carry loads of educational debt — to render service to the court and country. The bonuses place clerks in a similar (or superior) position financially to their classmates who went directly into private practice instead of clerking for two years (the first with a lower-court judge, the second with a Supreme Court justice). The bonuses can be viewed as an after-the-fact supplement, paid for by the private sector, to comparatively modest clerkly wages (less than $65,000 a year).

Lat further explains that “The financial freedom supplied by these bonuses can allow the clerks who decide against a corporate career to move on more quickly to what truly interests them — academia, government practice or public-interest law. Law firms end up in effect subsidizing less wealthy precincts of the profession.”  You don’t have to be as cranky as Prof. Yabut to reply: What a crock!  Each year, there are hundreds of law school graduates who have the intellectual capacity and advocacy skills needed to perform with distinction as Supreme Court courts.  It is asinine to believe that, because they only receive about a $65,000 salary, an insufficient number of the best and brightest graduates would be available to fill the sixteen most prestigious positions available to anyone coming straight out of law school.

WrongWayN  If the honor, the excitement and challenge of dealing directly with the most important legal issues faces our courts and nation, and the future prospects that come with a Supreme Court clerkship on your resume, are not enough to lure any particular graduate; if, instead, an extra quarter million dollars are required to convince him or her to take the job, I say: “we, as a nation and a profession, do not want you in such an important position. Take you skewed values and machinations elsewhere.”

You’ll find lots of comments on this issue at Above the Law; response to a post by Jonathan Adler (June 18, 2007) at Volokh Conspiracy; and at the Althouse weblog, in  “Harnessing irrational law firm egotism” for the public good” (June 18, 2007). I don’t understand why the usually astute Prof. Althouse needs “to think about this one some more.”  But, I agree with Ann that “You can make up all kinds of theories about why some ridiculous behavior is actually for the good.”  Caution: If silly, nasty, greedy, or envious carping gives you agita, I suggest you avoid reading the Comments left at the weblogs that I just mentioned.

long night
pencil shavings
on the station floor

……………………………… by Tom Painting – Frogpond XXX:2

exitSign  No Space in the Inn: I was greatly disappointed to read in our Schenectady Gazette on Saturday that the city’s Democratic mayor, Mayor Brain U. Stratton has jumped on the Sex Offender Residency Restriction [SORR] bandwagon.  (see “Stratton endorses residency measure: Sex offenders forced out of city by new law,” B1, June 16, 2007) As we wrote last week, in our post on Schenectady’s PanderPols, the Schenectady County Legislature passed laws on June 12th that would make it virtually impossible for anyone labeled a sex offender to live in the populated portions of Schenectady County.  Rather than being a voice of reason, Mayor Stratton (who coincidentally opened his re-election campaign last week) has reacted to Republic complaints that he has not done enough to reduce crime, by giving “a ringing endorsement” of the county’s new SORR — saying the ban is a “fundamental” piece of the city’s effort to improve safety.  That’s right, a law that will surely not make one child safer is fundamental to safety.  Stratton says he plans to enforce the law — evicting any sex offender still living in the City — as soon as it goes into effect on October 1st.

One ray of reason: District Attorney Robert Carney stated that he would not prosecute violators under the new misdemeanor legislation.  The County Attorney will have to take action in civil eviction actions. In addition, our new Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett was reminded that parole officers and social workers in other cities have assigned sex offenders to live under bridges or trees, because no housing was available.  Bennett worried, “Oh, my God. That’s not the answer either.”  See “Homeless Sex offenders told to live under a bridge,” Local 10 News, Miami, March 23. 2007.

For another sign of how crazy and complicated this banishment of sex offenders is becoming, see today’s Boston Globe, “Many sex offenders end up at shelters,” June 18, 2007:

ExitSignArrow  “In a recent review of 77 Level 3 sex offenders — the category the state uses to define those with a high risk of committing sex crimes again — who list addresses in Boston on the state’s online registry, the Globe found that 65 percent reported they were living at homeless shelters.”

The Globe article notes: “They say the glut of sex offenders listing shelters as their address raises questions about whether they have anywhere else to go, whether they are more likely to commit additional sex crimes, and whether they list shelters as their address to evade registration.”

Finally, tonight, for a recent, well-written, 36-page opinion, from the Kenton District Court, refusing to enforce Kentucky’s SORR (which which has no grandfather clause) and declaring it to be unconstitutional ex-post facto  punishment, read Kentucky v. Baker, Case Number, 07-M-00604, etc.,  Martin  J. Sheehan, District Judge (via David Hess at The

dog drool on my frisbee dogBlack
— she worries about
centrifugal force

…… by dagosan

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