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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, June 25, 2007

Quick Hits

Morning, my friends. Hope your weekend was pleasant. Mind unfolded swimmingly. Mrs. B and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. And while it was low key and simple, it was also very, very fun. I'm looking forward to number three.

Anyway, back to reality.
  • I saw that the D.C. pants judge lost his $54 million case against his dry cleaners. Hopefully that will bring about some judicial reform. Hopefully people who sit hot cups of coffee between their legs and then drive fast over speed bumps will no longer be able to sue for burnt crotches. Hopefully people whose cholesterol goes through the roof after they eat CrackRonald's three times a day seven days a week won't be able to sue CrackRonald's for their bad fat addiction. Buuuuuuuuut, hopefully small businesses like dry cleaners won't take advantage of "nobody's perfect" and begin using it as a cop out for shoddy service. That's no good either. It doesn't warrant frivolous lawsuits. But it doesn't help.
  • I just backed out of an offer to help a friend of a friend get his Web site launched. The friend of my friend wanted me to proof read his content and give him tips on presentation. I didn't mind. But the friend of my friend started getting snarky with me. Condescending. Talking down to me. Berating me. Lecturing me on how the media operates. So I told him he could go and love himself with a rusty pipe...and then get no tetanus shot afterwards. He didn't understand. So for him and anyone else out there asking to "borrow" another person's "expertise (yes, I use that word loosely)" for free, don't be mean to people who agree to help you. You will burn all sorts of bridges that way. Now, my friend feels burned, because he knows his buddy pissed me off. And if his buddy - the friend of my friend - ever asks for my help again I won't even consider it. He blew it.
  • I'm just wondering, who are the 5,000-plus people who sent fan mail to the jailbird heiress in the L.A. County lockup? How old were they? And if they were minors, how hard should their parents be slapped for allowing those letters to be sent to her? Sending that mail is like giving your puppy a Scooby Snack every time he craps on the living room carpet.
  • As per some of your requests, we hope to have Mrs. B do a guest post on Friday, maybe Saturday.

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  • JB,

    Congrats on the anniversary. I hope you and the missus celebrated in grand fashion. Regardless of my written demeanor here, deep down inside I am genuinely happy for people who make it work together. I just get tired of hearing the complaints of my friends who have done everything humanly possible to screw up their life with someone else only to bemoan why "this thing is happening to me". Those crocodile tears make me less tolerant when listening to real pain and suffering, which, in turn, makes me into a real asshole sometimes when confronted by serious issues. Just like I've done here. It's why they call me "The Tactless Wonder".

    Cue segue into the subject of helping an ingrate here. I, (like you, I suspect) work in a business which lends itself to the frequent assisting of others for free. Unfortnately, what I generally find is someone who wants a yes-man for validation of their results rather than a true project manager to put them on a path for future success (a la Mr. Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction). This happens most frequently in familial situations (divorces, break-ups, child custody battles, baby mama/daddy drama), but is often a component of artistic and creative endeavors. I guess both are emotional subjects.

    So yeah, there is nothing worse than going out of your way to help some fool who doesn't appreciate the help he's gotten already (by you just agreeing to show up for another friend) and then stands in your way the entire time you're trying to help him by either questioning your expertise in the matter or preventing you from taking necessary steps to end the problem. You might be patient if the helpee is 5 years old or younger. But when a trickless old dog keeps biting the hand trying to take the thorn out of his paw, your instincts are to just leave the mufocka in there, let it get infected and hope he remembers who could have saved him early if he wasn't such a jackass. Evolution kills off the stupid and foolhardy for a reason and humans need to stop standing in the way of progress by offering them a protective umbrella when their shitstorm starts falling.

    For Judge Fancy Pants
    I still think the judge was right on principle--but there's just no way a magistrate judge could afford more than $600-700 for a suit without questionable assets. That suit includes the lawsuit. Had he simply demanded they replace the damaged suit and pay for drycleaning at another store for a year, he would still have his case on.

    OK--I must confess--my secret shame is that I've written at least 400 letters to Paris Hilton in jail telling her to stay strong, not to get caught up in any crazy gang mess, and to come see me when she gets out 'cause I got a job for her cashiering at the Winn Dixie. She wrote back and said she got her hair braided, three extra piercings in each ear and fell in love for the first time with another older con named is Martha. When she gets out, they're gonna go to Canada, get married and adopt Nicole Richie.

    I'm writing her another letter right now if you want me to wish her well for you.


    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 3:32 PM  

  • BD, I knew that was you writing to Paris! Kidding. Seriously though, if you let your child write that woman a letter you are a negligent parent. As for me and Mrs. B, thanks again. And I hear what you're saying. "Couples" tend to gripe a lot, I know. We try to limit our relationship griping to each other. And I agree with you on the judge. His anger was well-founded. Anyone who has lost something or had it damaged two or more times at a dry cleaners has every right to be pissed off. But he was so over the top with his suit that he took away all legitimacy from his argument.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 4:02 PM  

  • Congrats on the anni!

    That pants case in DC is too much. Now I can put the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sign back up on my blog.

    By Blogger minijonb, at 4:15 PM  

  • I think if the pants dude had gone to small claims court and just asked to have his pants replaced he would have won. I have this pretty cynical view that the dude really thought that he would get a lot of face time of TV after filing the suit and get his 15 minutes in. I'm glad nobody took the bait. ...... So far!

    Paris only got 5,000 letters? Really, that's not that many. Scott Peterson got that many marriage proposals the first week he was in prison.

    By Blogger Jay, at 4:39 PM  

  • paris who?

    By Blogger savannah, at 4:45 PM  

  • The "free advice" is a dangerous thing. If you give away your time, people will assume it has no value to you. And they will devalue it.

    I do a lot fo things for "free". (Actually, they usually cost me money) I do them for people who need- and deserve- the help. I refuse to do anything for "free" for someone who can afford to pay, it's a recipe for disaster. I usually reccomend a friend I can trust and send them there, checkbook in hand. God love you for trying, but God save you from those fools.

    By Anonymous og, at 12:23 AM  

  • missed your happy anniversary post..
    cheers! Here's to many more.

    Just remember... the safest place should ALWAYS be in each others arms.

    dry cleaning suit (pun) finally hung out to dry. YES.

    I hadn't heard about the heir mail.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 1:08 AM  

  • Yes, let's hear the real deal from Mrs. B!

    By Blogger Angie, at 9:24 AM  

  • Congrads on the big 2 year! As for the other two idiots, what's your opinion on the heathcare issues?

    By Blogger The CEO, at 10:13 AM  

  • I thought everyone knew about not biting the hand that feeds you. The guy deserved some rusty pipe love.

    I didn't realize there were 5,000 people who cared about Ms. Hilton. At least sounding out those letters must have made her time go faster.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 8:52 PM  

  • Call me crazy, but I suspect the Parisian lovers were most likely men in their 20s and 30s.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 9:52 PM  

  • Good grief James, I can totally relate to the whole "no favor will go unpunished" thing. I was recently asked to write a series of press releases for a charitable cause that shall remain unnamed.

    After I had submitted over half a dozen press releases they were "edited" (read: each was hacked up and rewritten into rambling and incomprehensible 1,200 word essays by an admin who can barely spell.) Afterward my name was dragged through the mud when the finished product was completely ignored by the local papers to which they were submitted.

    ...and of course, my name was slapped onto each "revision" without my knowing that it had been "improved".

    (Isn't there a special place in hell for people who do this kind of stuff?)

    Anyway. I'm in my happy place now that I know Mrs. B will be making an appearance. Well, that and the fact that I have a nice glass of zinfandel in front of me.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 11:56 PM  

  • Can you imagine what her fan mail must be like? There's letters from Britney, Lindsay, and Nichole...then the rest are from this copy repairman in Kent, Ohio who has been stalking her for the last six months (does anything of value even come from Ohio?). But she's a changed woman. Reborn. Renewed. I'm sure it's the NEW Paris Hilton who is charging a million plus for an interview.

    "Sorry Roger, you tiger now."

    By Blogger Stewart Sternberg, at 12:14 AM  

  • Happy Anniversary to you and Mrs B!

    Giving hope to single people everywhere for a second year in a row. :-)

    So I told him he could go and love himself with a rusty pipe...and then get no tetanus shot afterwards.

    BEST LINE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Blogger latinbombshell, at 9:07 AM  

  • Happy Anniversary, and I swear I wasn't one of them ( starts whistling and he briskly walks away).

    By Blogger captain corky, at 9:18 AM  

  • Ya know, if the good judge had accepted the Chungs' last offer of twelve grand, this matter would not have gotten the media attention it deserved. And the poor Chungs may have been run out of business. Bless their hearts for trying to settle, but $12,000?? Thank goodness he chose to pursue his suit. I hope the Chungs now turn around and sue the pants off that guy.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 10:00 AM  

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