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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Odd Questions

If you're dead, can you be an active member of the State Bar?

Or are you on inactive status?

Is there a danger that you'll neglect your clients or eat their brains?

If you don't know why I'm asking these things, you must have missed a fascinating ruling from the California Supreme Court last week granting posthumous admission to the State Bar to a Chinese lawyer who was rejected for bar membership in 1890.

The case is In Re Hong Yeng Chang and it's one of those wonderful proofs of how things may change but stay the same. Some of the anti-Chinese sentiments in 1890 sound eerily similar to some of the anti-Mexican sentiments we hear now.

It's a nice history lesson and it sort of rights a wrong, but I do wonder what Mr. Chang is going to do with his new law license.

Consider all the continuing legal education classes he's going to have to catch up on.

It's hardly worth rising from the dead.

I'm hoping the State Bar at least grants him a discount on the annual dues, based on his income.

Are you happy? So how did you spend the International Day of Happiness?

And what the heck is the matter with Greenland?

Again, I ask seemingly odd questions because of something I learned last week: Last Friday was the International Day of Happiness and there have been such days each year since 2012.

Apparently, I was too grumpy to be aware of this before.

It turns out that greeting card companies are not responsible for this holiday. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the holiday in a resolution calling the pursuit of happiness "a fundamental human goal."

Nations, organizations, and "civil society" are invited by the resolution to observe the International Day of Happiness "in an appropriate manner."

By, for example, singing happy songs or eating stuff.

I know this because the U.N. is promoting singing and Nestle is promoting sweetened condensed milk.

The opening paragraph from a Nestle press release last week: "March 20 commemorates International Day of Happiness, a celebration instituted by the United Nations to further the idea that happiness is a fundamental human right and everyone deserves the chance at a happy, healthy life. Since 2012, NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk has brought this belief to life through 'Recipes for Happiness,' a campaign to inspire consumers to make desserts that lead to moments of happiness for themselves and their families."

Holidays are made for selling stuff.

By the way, this happiness notion doesn't seem to have caught on everywhere. Check out a map where people have pledged to create happiness on the Day of Happiness website. There's a lot of happy green in some parts of the world and then there's Greenland, where there's none.

The U.N. needs to send troops to cheer up Greenland.

Part of the problem with this concept is that pretty awful things make some people happy. I'd prefer a grumpy Greenland to a happy ISIS.

Still, I guess I'm not opposed to happiness per se, but I'm the kind of person who gets really annoyed when someone tries to cheer me up. I'm guessing a few world leaders in, say, the Middle East or Eurasia are like me that way.

But maybe I'm wrong. Let's send Pharrell to Syria and see what happens.

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