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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Condemnation in Verse

I was looking at some official court listings the other day when I came across one labeled "In Verse Condemnation."

Wow, I thought. What a great idea.

Poetic justice!

Sadly, I was disappointed once more when I looked at the actual lawsuit. It was for inverse condemnation.

Still, just because something is a typo doesn't mean it should be overlooked. This is a wonderful concept and it's one that can be interpreted in several ways.

For example, it could mean that convicted criminals or losing parties could be required to write poetry.

What's a more effective deterrent to crime: thirty days in jail with your friends or house arrest until you produce 300 lines of acceptable, English-major-approved free verse?

We bring down the scandalous incarceration rate and enrich our culture at the same time.

Or we could sentence offenders to have to listen to poetry - bad poetry. Think Vogon poetry from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

A true condemnation in verse.

There could be an argument that this is cruel and unusual punishment, but the occasional soothing metaphor or rhythmic interlude could make this pass constitutional muster.

There could also be a combination of the two approaches. Offenders or losing parties could be required to write poetry and then read it to other loser-authors.

It could turn into a productive workshop or therapy session.

Or a brawl.

Poetry will once again become vital and exciting.

Survey Says: I have yet another item for your collection of odd surveys. This is the headline on a press release issued last week:

"Half of Americans Use the Internet for Personal Reasons While at Work, Says FindLaw.com Survey."

Yes, I know this is shocking.

Only half? That can't be right.

And it probably isn't, because if you read the press release, it turns out that 50 percent of respondents "admit" using the Internet for personal reasons at work.

As with other surveys, I have no idea why anyone thought we needed this information or what we're supposed to do with it. Maybe FindLaw wants us to feel better about goofing off at work because so many other people are doing it.

But there are a few interesting tidbits here.

For example, the survey reports that 3 percent of the goof-offs "wanted to hide activity from family." I'm guess that's the percentage of workers who don't know about private browsing.

My favorite survey result is that 14 percent use the Internet for "other."

What could this mysterious other be?

It could be porn, but I don't think so, since there's a "YouTube or other videos" category.

Actually, I think the 50 percent who don't admit using the Internet at work are the ones looking at porn.

Maybe the point of this survey is that you shouldn't trust surveys.

I'm going to assume that the 14 percent are reading Courthouse News.

Is there a better way to spend your working time?

I don't think so.

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