Assorted Stupidity #138

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Well, since there’s nothing else at all going on today in America, let’s just look at a roundup of some stories I haven’t been able to get to yet. How does that sound? Great.

  • The report of an illegal hemp field in western West Hempfield, Pennsylvania, fell just a little short because the hemp (ok, marijuana) was being grown indoors. Still worth mentioning, though, partly as a reminder not to believe everything you read today. Unless you read it here, of course.
  • Also in October, Loyola University grad Brianna Hill took the bar exam online, and finished it even though she went into labor during the first part of the exam and gave birth later that day. She took the second part of the exam while still at the hospital, feeding the baby during breaks. She won’t get the test results until next month, but in the unlikely event she doesn’t pass, she should probably get an honorary pass anyway?
  • I don’t think I ever mentioned that Led Zeppelin won the legal battle over whether it had stolen the opening riff of “Stairway to Heaven,” but it did. The estate of musician Randy Wolfe sued in 2015. Zeppelin’s pretrial motions were denied, but a jury found in its favor in 2016, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the matter. Plaintiff’s lawyer said the lawsuit had still accomplished its goals, one of which was to establish that the members of Zeppelin “are the greatest art thieves of all time,” but it doesn’t seem like it did that.
  • Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s assertion that “I don’t believe there’s any [corruption] in my government” has come into question, according to The Guardian, “after police reportedly seized a wad of banknotes from between the clenched buttocks of one of his allies.” Sen. Chico Rodrigues denied any wrongdoing, said the report, but “offered no immediate explanation for the contents of his underwear.” See also Man Says Weed in Buttocks Is His, Cocaine’s Not” (Oct. 1, 2010) (briefly discussing an even more problematic explanation).
  • How much would you expect to pay for a lamp that actually had a genie in it? According to the BBC, this one was going for 15 million rupees (about $200,000), but the sellers agreed to take a down payment of just 3.3 million ($41,600). That arrangement makes a lot of sense, of course, because once you get the lamp you wouldn’t have any problem financing the rest of the purchase. The buyer apparently asked for and got a demonstration, only later realizing that what he had seen was just one of the sellers dressed up as a genie. Two suspects are in custody.
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration had to back out of a deal to give the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas early access to a COVID vaccine, apparently because the vaccine won’t be ready this month as promised. Assuming all healthcare workers were already vaccinated, I might not quibble with classifying Santas as “essential workers,” as HHS had planned. But unfortunately it looks like the timeline will make that debate unnecessary. Cf. “No End in Sight to Feud Among Rival Santa Groups” (Sept. 26, 2008) (discussing what was then described as a “civil war” between FORBS and two competing Santa organizations).
  • Finally, the polls have already closed in one presidential race, namely Nickelodeon’s “Kids Pick the President” Kids Vote. Variety reports that the child voters chose Joe Biden over Donald Trump by a margin of 53% to 47%. It also reports that Nickelodeon had to throw out more than 130,000 fraudulent votes generated by bots, votes that greatly outnumbered the 90,000 votes Nickelodeon said were legitimate. The report did not disclose the breakdown of the bot-generated votes.
  • The first real polls, the ones allegedly for adults, will close in about an hour from now (3 pm Pacific time), although it seems very unlikely there will be any conclusive results today. The Nickelodeon story might be bad news, or good news, or more likely both, for what may happen next.