Law students (maybe not really) await their mascot auditions (not really) in a new video from UC-Hastings College of Law.

Law students (maybe not really) await their mascot auditions (not really) in a new video from UC-Hastings College of Law.

There are a lot of things that might stir pride in your alma mater, even including your law school (OK, that’s a stretch.) But I’m not sure what emotion is stirred by a recent humorous announcement that Hastings Law is trying … mascots.

Before you get too deep into law school irritation (yes, it’s a thing), take a deep breath and realize: It’s a joke.

Yes, the University of California–Hastings College of Law did put out a video of a faux mascot competition. But they only did it to drive home the message that they are wholly focused on law, and not those many other things schools of general knowledge spend time on.

uc-hastings-logo-2

Here’s the video, which I rather enjoyed.

But then I started thinking: Maybe a mascot wouldn’t be so bad. Ever so briefly, it might take your mind off tax law, and damages, and civil procedure, and all those horrible things we discovered in torts that a vacuum could do. I mean, what if law schools around the nation lent their imaginations to the effort to select mascots that befit their mission and their clientele? What would they come up with?

And what would you come up with? I really wanna know. Send me a note (arizona.attorney@azbar.org) indicating your best law school mascot idea, which I may share, depending on the absence of obscenities.

Just so you know, sharks or shark-related ideas will be declined by me as the decider. Not because they’re not funny. But just because they’re altogether too easy.

Happy Change of Venue Friday. Enjoy your weekend—and always keep swimming.

British police car in its high-visibility "checkered livery." And it's not just loud on the eyes.

British police car in its high-visibility “checkered livery.” And it’s not just loud on the eyes.

How do you fix a crisis in policing?

(If your first response was to scratch your head and mutter “Crisis in policing?” then I offer a few terms to Google: Ferguson, school-to-prison pipeline, chokehold, Rahm Emanuel. That should get you started.)

Maybe the answer is to get people engaged in policing’s nuts and bolts. For example, amidst all the coverage and scrutiny of large police departments (and even smaller ones), rarely addressed in the debate is the question that has gripped U.K. schoolkids:

What do police sirens really sound like?

On this Change of Venue Friday, I offer a news story in which English police officers blared their car sirens to allow schoolkids to answer the difficult question: Do they sound like “nee-nah” or “woo-woo”? If you’ve watched any British movies, you may have wondered yourself what the hell is up.

This article—and the schoolkids—try to answer your question. It involves loud sirens, student voting, and a tongue-in-cheek apology by the police. All of this, I’m guessing, was mentioned somewhere in Magna Carta.

Police demonstrate their car and its multiple siren sounds to British schoolkids.

Police demonstrate their car and its multiple siren sounds to British schoolkids.

The hilarious musings by the school’s headmistress will have you thinking a British education doesn’t sound so bad.

“The school’s headmistress had ‘officially put it out there’ that it was actually a wah-wah. But following a vote at the school earlier, it was announced that ‘woo-woo’ was the winner by 60 votes to 28.

“Ms. Muckleston said the result was surprising as the children had been ‘leaning more towards the nee-nah’.”

“‘Nee-nah is a bit of a classic but when it came to it they decided woo-woo was the way to go,’ she said. ‘I would say it’s probably a surprise—although I think it’s more of a wah-wah myself.’”

That Ms. Muckleston is a saucy one!

And, as the Daily Mail explained the whole why-are-British-sirens-so-weird issue:

“There are at least six different types of siren used in the UK and most vehicles are able to sound them in different tones. According to one police training document, a longer tone should be used when the driver can see further and a shorter one in built-up areas.”

Color us colonists confused.

Have a terrific—and a woo-woo—weekend.

My kingdom for an earplug: Polling closed, young Britons stand beneath their selected siren sounds.

My kingdom for an earplug: Polling closed, young Britons stand beneath their selected siren sounds.

Here's hoping you don't hear your own Linkedin humblebrags and self-praise emerge from actors' mouths.

Here’s hoping you don’t hear your own Linkedin humblebrags and self-praise emerge from actors’ mouths.

I’ll admit I like Linkedin well enough, and that I use it a good bit. I post items there, and read others’ items even more. I track down friends and colleagues, and I cheer them when they have a promotion.

And yet Linkedin manages to make my eyes roll skyward at least once a week, usually due to someone’s chest-thumping.

Today, I share three videos that demonstrate I am not alone in my occasional irritation.

What the videos include are actors reading actual posts and updates from Linkedin users. It’s horrifying, and hilarious. As the creators say, “We’ve cherry-picked real quotations from the website’s millions of profile summaries and invited actors to read them out loud.”
Here are parts 1, 2, and 3. I’m guessing you can’t watch just one.

The producers are Joseph & Joseph Productions, and their own Youtube page is here.

All the featured profiles, and more, can be found on Tumblr.

Have a terrific—and hopefully not Narcissistic—weekend.

New Yorker illustration by Brian Rea.

New Yorker illustration by Brian Rea.

It was not the plan to make this a magazine-appreciation week. Really.

Yesterday, I pointed you to our own evocative “Call to Authors” house ad that we occasionally publish in Arizona Attorney Magazine.

And then, on Sunday, I was leafing through the newest issue of The New Yorker. (If you’re a writer, I recommend it highly, especially when it comes to profiles and intriguing feature stories.)

There, in a section called “Shouts and Murmurs,” I came across a hilarious piece of short fiction called “Apocalypse,” by author Jack Handey. Here is part of how it opens in the world of 2042, noteworthy for its “marauding bands” of cannibals:

“The mail comes only about once a week, twice if you’re lucky. It is mostly junk mail. Somehow I have a subscription to a horrible magazine, Cannibalism Today. It features gruesome photographs and recipes. I have written to the magazine’s circulation department, asking them to please cancel my subscription, but every month I get the current issue with a note that says, ‘Welcome, New Subscriber!’ Nothing makes any sense anymore.”

As a magazine editor, I have sent exactly that type of missive, so my radar shot up pretty quickly.

Pretty fast, though, I realized that what at first glance was a riff on end times was really a love letter to that most compelling of communication channels—the magazine.

I’ll shut up and let you read the whole thing here.

Jodi Weisberg delivers the humorous goods at the 2015 lawyer-comedy competition (photo by Ruth Howe, Rotary).

Jodi Weisberg delivers the humorous goods at the 2015 lawyer-comedy competition (photo by Ruth Howe, Rotary).

I’m happy to report out the following news I received about an annual lawyer-comedy competition. (No, not comedy about lawyers; comedy by lawyers.)

In the past I’ve written about this annual competition. You can read my coverage here and here.

Congratulations to Jodi Weisberg, Bob Howard, and Matt Storrs.

Jodi Weisberg won the 2015 annual John O’Connor Comedy Competition. She is the only two-time winner of this contest, which began in 2011. She has been performing stand-up comedy for more than a decade.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and the Rotary 100 Club, began this competition in honor of John O’Connor, who had a wonderful sense of humor, and was a past President of the Rotary 100 Club.

“It is always such an honor and a thrill to perform for Justice O’Connor and her family,” said Weisberg. “It is a wonderful feeling to make her laugh!”

Weisberg won the competition in 2011, was a judge in 2012, and not allowed to compete in 2013-14. She was invited to perform this year. Bob Howard placed second, and Matt Storrs took third place.

First place prize was $2,500, and Rotary donated $2,000 to the University of Arizona, where Weisberg received her M.S. and J.D. degrees.

John and Sandra Day O'Connor in their Paradise Valley home (undated photo)

John and Sandra Day O’Connor in their Paradise Valley home (undated photo)

You think elections have gotten personal? In Arizona, one candidate wields the wooden stake. (Happy Halloween!)

You think elections have gotten personal? In Arizona, one candidate wields the wooden stake. (Happy Halloween!)

Today is the Change of Venue Friday that precedes Election Day. And it’s also Halloween. So I am going to take a few scary risks: (1) This post could sway a major Arizona election, and (2) After reading this, your Halloween—and government—may be even more frightening than you had expected.

AZ Mine Inspector logo

The state race I’m discussing drills down to the core of who we are as residents of a Western state. Of course, I refer to the Arizona Mine Inspector race.

I must declare a conflict right away, as our own 18-year-old daughter has declared her own intent—just to her family and a few friends—of being a write-in candidate for this very race. With no actual mining experience or education, I do not expect her to prevail. #prouddad. But duly disclosed.

The pitched battle for Mine Inspector is being waged to unseat incumbent Joe Hart, who has been in the position since 2007. Here is some background on Hart from the official state page. And if that’s not enough, here is a Wikipedia page about him. (Yes, there is a Wikipedia page for Arizona’s Mine Inspector; if you don’t have your own page yet, you’re clearly not trying very hard.)

But what has been a sleepy and relatively uncontested race has been changed this year by a write-in candidate committed to … ridding Arizona’s mines of vampires.

Ian Kobe is the fellow’s name, and his campaign may make you chuckle and creep you out all at the same time. You can see more about his wooden stake-based campaign on his Facebook page.

Here are a few images/status posts from his page:

 

Ian Kobe State Mine Inspector 2

Ian Kobe State Mine Inspector 3 Facebook post

Ian Kobe State Mine Inspector 1 skull and crossbonesI must add that I’ve been surprised at the small (or no) coverage given to this unique approach to mine safety (which, let’s admit, is a pretty good fake and comic campaign). But it seems that Kobe has cornered the market on Dracula-free tunnels.

Have a great—and oh-so-frightening—weekend.

What, the IKEA catalog is a bookbook? What could be better?

What, the IKEA catalog is a bookbook? What could be better?

Yesterday, I admired the writing and images in a national magazine. Today, I’m all about a consumer catalog. (You may start to think I like print products or something.)

On this Change of Venue Friday, I take you to IKEA. Not literally to IKEA, of course, but to an online offering of theirs that makes you smile.

The video the company created (see below) is in honor of its iconic print catalog—hundreds of pages of dead trees that modern thinking suggests is decidedly passe. But—no surprise—IKEA doesn’t agree. Enjoy its take, not an an ebook, but on a “bookbook.”

 

You can read more about the video in this Adweek story.

The “creative” behind the video is very, very smart. It skewers and parodies the manner of selling modern digital products. By the time they’re done you not only want to get your hands on the print catalog. You also will never be able to watch a solemn and self-important technology commercial ever again.

Have a wonderful weekend, and maybe stop by IKEA – now there’s a Stockholm syndrome I can get behind.