Tag Archives: Asshats

Fire Safety Tip

Oh the horrible things you find in a dusty college photo album.

I have no memory of this

I have no memory of this

That’s definitely me and it was about 15 years ago that I apparently started a massive BBQ fire on the front porch of a very old rental house in a sketchy neighborhood adjacent to Rockhurst University. Who can spot the safety / BBQ fails here?

1. Squirting shitloads of fluid onto the coals. I guess I didn’t know about coal chimneys. At least it wasn’t lit.

2. BBQ on a narrow (maybe 6′ deep) porch… with a rotted wooden porch roof above it. Super not safe.

3. BBQ directly adjacent to an old outside couch? That couch is certainly dried out and full of mice nests and spilled hard liquor. Extreme fire hazard.

4. Looks like I’m treating a smoker as if it was meant to be a 500 degrees inferno. That’s probably good for killing the germs on our cheap-o unsafe discount meat for college age idiots that are drinking beers… but not so good in hindsight.

5. You can’t see it, but I was probably drinking really bad beer

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Alaskan Moron’s Wildlife Guide

Who doesn’t love BBQ, beers, and a gentle bike ride through nature?

What better way to spend your Saturday than communing with one of Gob’s snuggly creatures and sharing some delicious BBQ.

Cuddles the Love Bear (Source: Flikr, via Wikipedia. Photographer: HBarrison. Reproduced under Creative Commons)

Alaskan Moron’s Wildlife Guide:

1. Drink beers (probably the more the better)

2. Bike ride into wilderness with BBQ in your pocket (or a satchel)

3. Confront bear and offer to share said BBQ

4. Get mauled by bear

Apparently step 5 is getting charged by wildlife officials with illegally feeding animals.

No word on whether this person completed step 6, which is removing yourself from the gene pool via the mauling. This guy is expected to survive.

Edited to add: How did I overlook this totally obvious pun? Don’t baste your BBQ – Maull it! (even if their sauce is thin dreck)

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Cold Calling A Patent Attorney

BBQ & Beer enthusiasts, this one probably isn’t for you (unless you need an IP attorney, in which case you may learn a little about cold-calling).

As you might know, my day job entails lawyering. Not just any lawyering, but the specialty known as Intellectual Property. Because of that, I get phone calls.

(Disclaimer: In case you didn’t already know, nothing here is legal advice. Don’t rely on anything here as legal advice. Remember that seeking legal advice from a BBQ & beer blog = You fail at life.)

The subject of cold calling a lawyer has been very well-addressed by Ken at Popehat (although we get different types of calls since we are in different practice areas). This post is a little more specific to intellectual property law.

I do my best to avoid taking legal work from clients who are going to turn into problems. This is not taught in law school. If Mr. or Mrs. Cold Caller seems like someone who will be a nightmare client or, even worse, a nightmare malpractice plaintiff, then I decline. I prefer to let someone else take on the risk of that type of client – as a solo practitioner with a wife, kids, house, dog, massive student loans, etc., I am exceptionally risk-averse.

Each of these things (I swear this is all true) have been said to me. It’s at that point in the call when I know I will never ever agree to take your case.

Invention worth millions of dollars.” – The red flag of all red flags. I hear this MONTHLY. Any iteration of this is an immediate referral out to the bar referral service. It’s a sign of delusion. If you’re deluded about your invention and the chances of becoming a millionaire, then who are you going to be mad at (read: sue for malpractice) when your seven figure check doesn’t arrive? Me. No thanks.

I fired my last patent attorney.” – This isn’t necessarily a 100% dealbreaker, because maybe he/she truly did a horrible job. I can read the patent file online and see the state of the case, but odds are high you are either a pain in the rear client or the application is FUBAR. Either way, my risk-aversion says I’m not the attorney for you.

I filed my own patent application...” – I’m not much of a gambling man. I play a little poker here and there with friends, and I have been known to wager beer during the fantasy football season. But I’ll bet that your application has been hopelessly screwed up by your own hands. It’s a nearly ironclad rule that no one should ever file their own patent application. When the client is looking for someone to blame down the road, it is either them or you… who do you think they’ll choose?

I filed my own provisional patent application 11 months and 3 weeks ago…” – See above. If you file your own provisional patent application because it was super cheap and super easy, you likely super messed it up. You have 12 months from filing to file a non-provisional based on the (probably toxic) provisional. I might be able to help you out in this small window of time, but the earlier filing date is probably forfeit.

The Lord delivered you to me.” – I got this verbatim, followed by lots of Bible quoting and failing to give me the name of the jackass who provided my number. This one was referred to a large general practice firm that I especially dislike.

The FBI is tracking me because of what I have to tell you.” – Not a lie. This guy called me and then showed up unannounced at the office and scared the holy hell out of the receptionist. He was in pajamas, slippers, a robe, had mussed hair, and was obsessed with organizing the sugar packets and pencils at the front desk. Mr. Managing Partner told me that this guy needed to go, so we sent him to the bar referral service.

[Absolutely non-extendable statutory deadline] was last week, but I still want to file. I need [fraud & unethical conduct].” – Sorry, but I’m not risking my law licenses for you. I got this phone call mid-morning the day after Christmas a couple years ago, and a hard 12 month deadline had passed the prior week. Someone really truly asked me to commit fraud on the Patent Office, and I respectfully declined.

My unpatented invention of [ubiquitous product] was stolen by [huge multinational company] and I want to sue.” – This has happened a few times, and the “inventor” can never prove their case. I’m not a fan of being sanctioned by the Courts for bringing cases like this.

Cold caller wants me to take their patent application pro bono. – Pro bono work is not often associated with intellectual property. Indigents who are facing an unflinching criminal justice system, or a destitute person being evicted… that’s pro bono work. You don’t want to pay for a patent application? Not quite pro bono work.

Cold caller wants me to draft application for free (and pay the filing fee!) for a small slice of their future multimillion dollar company. – No, you sleazeball.

Cold caller will only tell me about the invention after I sign an NDA. – I don’t sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. I am bound by the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct, so anything a prospective client tells me in confidence stays in confidence. (With exception. “I’m off to kill / maim someone…” gets reported to the cops.) If I explain that and they insist I sign, then goodbye and good luck.

Cold caller touts their “social network” invention as the “next Facebook” and wants free legal work – Maybe I’ll look back on this with regret, but probably not. Decline.

Cold caller’s invention cures a serious disease through a special diet – Yes, I got this call. I hesitate to say the illness, but I passed this single-claim inventor-drafted application on to someone else who handles this type of stuff. I hope the inventor is correct.

The one I’m waiting for, and it would make my day: Cold caller has invented a perpetual motion machine. – Please, Jebus, deliver this person and their contraption to me.

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Spam Email

For some unbelievable reason, this message got through the spam filter on two separate Gmail accounts (one for this BBQ site, and the other for the day job law firm site):

Hmmm…. do I expand my brand?

How in the world did the spam filter miss this? Why would someone think having two Simpson____.com websites would make me want a smut site with my name? And, for continuity sake, wouldn’t I want simpsonporn dot com instead of the transversed version? Scammers & spammers are scummy morons.

I respectfully decline, scumbag spammer. All of my smut sites are registered through proxy registrars anyway.

NB: I took the liberty of redacting some rather deplorably-named ad hoc domains at the bottom of the email. You’re welcome.

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Spambots Love Me

One of the golden nuggets of having a WordPress blog is the amazing site stats. I can learn about the search terms, search engines, referring websites, countries of origin, etc. of the people visiting this site. It’s quite remarkable and I really enjoy this feature. You might not believe the goofy search terms that bring people here.

Yet another amazing feature is something called Akismet. It’s a comment spam prevention thingy that weeds out spambot comments and lets me enjoy the actual, productive comments from humans (like someone referring to my massive Super Bowl BBQ Menu as the Pooper Bowl).

Akismet takes all of these horseshit nonsensical comments written and vomited out onto the internet by a program created by some “search engine optimizing” knuckle-dragging mouthbreather for whom English isn’t even a second language and sequesters them in a queue for my review. I can do nothing and let them be deleted automatically, or I can take the time to review them for anything accidentally caught. To date a single actual comment was caught out of nearly two hundred worthless ones.

Why not share and ridicule the best?

This brilliant insight came from someone with (and this is not a joke) an email at chickenspoultryeggsincubatorsreviews dot com. You can’t make that up. The site is real. This comment on my Smoked Easter Eggs, though, is as legit as the Easter Bunny:

Thanks for your write down Smoked Easter Eggs simpson bbq. I have not considered this before. It can be a wonder what you might learn on the web.

Wow. How insightful, you stupid robot. What’s sad isn’t how horrible the comment is. It’s that this is easily one of the most coherent spam comments I have ever received. I’ll take another hundred “pooper bowl” comments before I publish this trash and give you a back link.

The “key” to search engine optimization for these asshats is putting deplorable, meaningless comments on blogs throughout the internet with a back link to their shitty spam blog. The problem is that takes time. Lots of time if done diligently. So, why not have some shuckster in Bangalore write some code in his free time, when he isn’t answering phones for AT&T Wireless customer service, that automatically defecates worthless, garbled spam into the blogosphere? Sounds like a plan!

This idiot spammer really, really likes grilled apples:

I think youve made some truly interesting pitons. [Thanks, though what the hell is a piton?] Not too many people would actually think about this the way you just did. Im really impressed that theres so much about this subject thats been uncovered and you did it so well, with so much class. [You’re going to make me blush!] Good one you, man! Really great stuff here.

More gold:

This is one of the best websites that I have ever seen. (Hey, thanks!) Check out [fake sex pill website ending in dot be… where the hell is that?] I’ll folow (sp) your website!

I’ll pass on following your site back. I’m good without the counterfeit, likely toxic crap that would shrivel my genitals and give me cancer.

Anyone else have hollow praise followed by a link to a website full of trojan horses and internet worms? Oh, you in the corner? You have something to say? Go ahead:

This website is realy (sp) awesome! [I appreciate your sincere non-spam compliment!] I just wanna say thank you for sharing this kind of [I swear this is the site: sex-date123 dot nl… again, where in the world is nl?] information with us.

Glad I could help you, Nigerian scammer. No back link for you.

This one is less deplorable:

A magnificent article. I’ll be sure to subscribe to the rest of your posts! Thanks :)

No spammy crap in the post itself, but the back link goes to some sociatnetworkfriends dot net or something like that, with the subpage titled about how to get 5000 friends. I don’t need 5000 friends. Seriously, who does?

More insightful commentary:

Another great site about this stuff you can find over here [shitty spammer site]!!! Let me know what you think about this website and i’ll subscribe to your blog!

So they would like you to visit sex-dating dot co, which is highly relevant to my West Coast IPA post. Nice try, jagoff.

This is a little off-base:

Mark, I saw you at Dragon*Con and we had a brief chat about your wearable light santds. So I borrowed your idea, and made a kit like yours, but in full-on Steampunk style. They’ll be making their debut at MegaCon this weekend. I’ll let you know when I have some photos of the setup, and some taken with the setup.Thanks for the inspiration.- Nathan

Sorry, Nathan, but there’s no Mark here, I’ve never been to Dragon*Con, and I’m sure as hell not going to see your “kit” at MegaCon this weekend. Have a blast without me, though!

The spammers do get a little smarter. This is from a foreign (surprise!) Facebook page, but at least it relates to food:

Ok!Pizza and pasta! I have to check if there is an oven for Pizza.Meg, please post the rciepe of your delicious pasta sauce!I was also thinking of Vegetarian (and also non-vegetarian) Chili. Chili is a must menu for a summer camp. no?I have a rciepe I often use for vegetarian chili. I will scan it and post it soon.I was thinking also to do a Swedish food one time. Maybe a Swedish fish soup. Do anyone have a good rciepe?

And this one, from another scuzball scammer, actually relates to BBQ! Amazing:

hey silz86, beef ribs tend to be fattier so you need to low and slow them at aruond 225f for 4-7 hours(depending on the size of the rack) to render off the fat and get them tender! Serve with a good sauce or gravy -BBQ Pit Boys

Who is “silz86” and who are the “BBQ Pit Boys”? Not horrible advice, though I would pass on the gravy with BBQ beef ribs.

The hot dog and fireworks conspiracy spammers have something to say! Shiny shoes, pointy hats?!

In fact there were something like 90 state and local doitaralcens of independence in the Colonies beginning on Oct. 4, 1774, with the state of Virginia issuing hers in May of 1776. At that point the hugely powerful hot dog and fireworks corporate interests had finally had it: the market for hot dogs and fireworks had become too fragmented and unprofitable, so something had to be done. They hired expensive lobbyists in shiny shoes, wool coats, and fancy pointed hats who strong-armed the Continental Congress into speaking with one voice and passing the final Declaration of Independence.Hot dog and fireworks markets were instantly stabilized and have prospered ever since.

Why not finish with this incredible ode from some Arabic Facebook page. This is a verbatim quote from the spam queue, typos and wharlblargl unedited:

Geeze old man, take your rational pills, you’re driitfng again.It’s the story where they invented post colonialism. Then went to the Philippines and sort of forgot it. They rehashed the Ancient Greek Demokrasis idea (without quite so much body oiling or sodomy) but only applied it to male melanin-deficient people. They rejected monarchism, then fawn upon anyone with a title, pedigree, hemophilia &/or a cleft palate. They took a perfectly reasonable economic concept free market economics and fetishised it to the point where 90% of all there is to own is owned by less than 10% of the population. Then they give that 10% tax cuts. They are generous to a boggling degree business & private philanthropy gives squillions to animal welfare, performing & creative arts & heritage, yet they let their countrymen starve & freeze on what they appallingly call welfare and even die of treatable diseases as some kind of bizarre morality lesson. They declare themselves a nation of immigrants yet fear and demonise illegal Latinos. They worship truth & justice yet live comfortably in a stolen land and happily conduct trial by television. (OJ’s glove?) They value hard work & persistence above all else except pointless celebrity like the Kardashians & Paris Hilton. They (literally) broadcast their competitively rabid Christianity, yet reject brotherly love and demand the right to tote lethal, concealable & high velocity death.They are the 20th century’s great innovators and industrial leaders. Except for a couple of noteworthy Scotts, they developed, commercialised & thus bought to the mass market every technology from TV to toaster ovens. Without their moral code & intervention Europe would almost certainly be under the third, or perhaps by now fourth Reich. Yet they created a baker’s dozen of psychopathic despots.They are remarkably, surprisingly, concurrently the best and the worst a nation can be.Happy Birthday America.


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Scammers are Scum

This is not related to BBQ or Beer. Well, I am drinking some beer while writing this, so that’s about it. During my day job, when my daily Simvastatin regimen is not battling the pork / alcohol regimen, I pay the bills as an intellectual property attorney.

On the short list of things that irritate me are people who order Bud Light in a bar. Gawd, that beer is awful. Another thing? Ripoffs. One type of ripoff is the scam. If it smells like a scam, looks like a scam, etc., then it’s probably a scam. Remember: Scammers are scum.

Mr. Big Client got this (redacted) item in the mail the other day:

Who can spot the clues?

Mr. Corporate Finance Guy at Mr. Big Client may just pay this in due course. $375 isn’t much for some important trademark bill. Shit, it’s DUE NOW?! PAY ASAP! On to the next invoice… this is what the people cashing the sucker check are hoping happens.

Let your common sense decide if this is legit. I will provide some research and opinion. Here’s the clues.

1. US Trademark Registration Office. Never heard of it. Ever. It sure looks a lot like the US Patent & Trademark Office, where you send actual, official filings and filing fees for federal trademarks. Heck, even USTRO looks amazingly similar to USPTO.

2. The real USPTO has no office in Los Angeles that I am aware of. They are based in Alexandria, Virginia. The vast majority of the Executive Branch is based in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

3. What’s at 633 West Fifth Street in Los Angeles? Amazingly, it’s the building at the epicenter of one of the first alien attacks in Independence Day! Remember that party on the roof? Didn’t end well.

Maybe E.T. got one of those invoices.

Well, it’s also the location of a company that lets you host a virtual office, coincidentally also located on the 28th floor of that building. So maybe USTRO is just using this prestigious address for mail delivery? Do they even have operations there?

4. So, what does this cost? A mere $375? Now, where have I seen that fee before? Ah, yes, that’s the fee for filing a trademark application the old fashioned way – through the mail. (It’s cheaper to file online.) We just paid a $375 bill a couple months ago on this, must be another one just like it… may as well pay it!

5. What I find truly amazing is that they posted the required statutory language in the mailing. You cannot mail a solicitation that is disguised as an invoice unless you prominently state that it is a solicitation. This guy either is (or was) an attorney, has an attorney, and/or is seriously experienced at this type of activity. Of course it’s buried at the end of some paragraphs containing references to official government agencies and references to cancellation of the trademark, but it’s still on there.

6. No phone number, no email, no fax – no surprise. I also can’t find anything on the California Secretary of State business entity search database. How odd.

7. Ah, Google. My dear friend. If you search this… entity, you get accidental hits to the USPTO, followed by a bunch of complaints on ripoffreport.com. This started in December 2011 and I found at least 19 separate complaints on that site alone. When a bunch of people suddenly start complaining, it may not be a coincidence.

8. Looking to the uploaded documents on the Rip Off Report website, you might notice something common about them! Each reference number is friggin’ identical: TRB-1781712. In fact, the numbers under the bar codes (2011-2REQ-5FGJ-USTRO and 2REQ-5FGJ-USTRO) are also consistent throughout the postings. Each matches with the document sent to my client. So… I guess these are not unique to each recipient? Do they have any meaning whatsoever, other than to give the impression of random numbers meant to distinguish between clients and/or trademarks? Were these the lucky numbers on the back of last night’s fortune cookie scroll?

9. Wow, they have a Trademark Registration and Monitoring Division within USTRO. Perhaps this is distinct from, and I’m just speculating wildly here, the Uh, Oh The Feds Are On To Us Division and the Time To Change The Name Of The Company Again Division.

10. Finally, the USPTO (not the USTRO) and the International Trademark Association have warnings about sketchy mailings that look official and want money in return. USTRO is not listed there, and I’m sure it’s not because they’ve only been around since December 2011. I’m totally sure it’s because this is a legit enterprise and this is all a huge misunderstanding.

Needless to say, Mr. Big Client did not pay this invoice.

In my humble opinion, this smells scammy. Scammers are scum, so I avoid the stench. I’ll drink to that.

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