Legal Humour Blog


August 2013

Vanishing School Supplies

Aug 27, 2013 8:58 PM
Marcel Strigberger

There ought to be a law against August ads for school supplies. Come August you cannot visit a store without running a gauntlet of “back to school” stuff. This phenomenon creates kiddy school supply junkies.

After all, just weeks earlier in June, the kids finished school with all their supplies. What happened to all their stuff?  Did it all suddenly vanish over July?

While sitting my neighbour’s deck recently sipping an ice tea, Leo’s kids were hounding him for must have school supplies.

His daughter Melissa demanded if he had bought her new school knapsack yet.

Leo asked her whether the Elmo knapsack he had tripped over in June was still around? .

Melissa replied, “But I need one with Spiderman. That’s only fair.”

Her comment I thought certainly added a new dimension to the fairness test.

Meanwhile his son Josh pleaded that he absolutely needed to buy a dozen red pens. When Leo queried where Josh’s June stash was, Josh responded, “Dad, you just don’t understand.” 

Melissa, interrupting, said, “If you get him more pens, you have to get me that Spiderman knapsack.  That’s only reasonable”.

Her argument was unassailable I thought.

During their heated debate, my mind drifted, visualizing research on the subject, like a study undertaken by a professor Jean-Jacques Lemouche, of l’Université de Montreal, who found that pencils do indeed disappear. He was adamant that three boxes of his former pencils had turned into butterflies on July 1 and they were now flying around this summer all over Mount Royal.

Oxford Professor of metaphysics, Sir James Pedley, disagreed with the butterfly theory.  His study concluded that every summer, all supplies simply get sucked into a school-supply Bermuda Triangle.

The issue also caught the attention of Sigmund Freud, who observed that most of his patients were very depressed at the end of summer, as they could never find a pen or a pad of paper.  Although he initially dismissed this neurosis, Freud noted that his own lunch box disappeared every July.

Even Albert Einstein was plagued by this problem.  He ran around frantically one August day repeating to himself, “E=MC@” and shouting, “Quick, I need a pencil.  Where is the pencil cup I had in June?”

I went home and thought about writing to my MPP about these ads, which incite the kids.

But just to hedge my bets, next summer, I am keeping an extra eye open on my own pencil cup.


Please visit www.striglaw.com .  I practice family and personal injury and insurance law. We do a great job but we are not responsible for any pens, notepads or umbrellas that may disappear in our office.


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Cronuts and Nuts

Aug 25, 2013 11:08 PM
Marcel Strigberger

    A few dozen people have come down sick after eating this year’s wonder food at the Canadian National Exhibition, namely the cronut burger. I am not sure of all of the ingredients but they include, a hamburger, cheese, jam, bacon etc. sandwiched between a fried half donut half croissant bun.

    I really doubt any one will dare sue the vendor consequent to this event. The seller would easily have an airtight defense of volenti, which is Latin for, “you asked for it”.

    This food item is lethal.  What did the customers expect? Had Rasputin eaten one of these suckers instead of the arsenic laced cakes fed to him by Count Yusupov, it would not have been necessary for the Count to shoot, stab and throw the mad monk into the River Neva .

    I understand the cronut burger was first introduced in ancient Egypt.  Cleopatra was experimenting with painless and quick ways of committing suicide. After testing the cronut burger on a couple of unfortunate criminals, she decided this method of death was too horrendous and she came up with the asp.

    I am not sure if the cronut burger at the CNE was covered in poutine.  I doubt it. That would be as superfluous as tasering a guy who has just been guillotined.

    If any of these victims of food poisoning sues, I ask to be given the defense file. I’ll do the job pro bono. Or for a Timbit.

    From cronuts we go to nuts. In Quebec, the minority PQ party wants to pass legislation banning the wearing of religious symbols in public institutions.  Premier Pauline Marois cites the “need to preserve Quebec’s language, identity and values”

    If these kooks have their way, the wearing of a turban, crucifix or kippa (skull cap) in public institutions will be verboten.  Knowing how enforcers  in these fanatic regimes can take their jobs seriously, I can hardly wait to see how the Quebec’s special preservation police will react when they come across a bishop or a cardinal:

            “OK. You with the crucifix and red skull cap!... Values police. You’re under arrest.  Spread them.  You have the right to remain silent. But first give us the names of      everyone you know who wears a turban.”

    And this is from the province that invented poutine.  I think if the PQ has culture identity problems, they should focus on getting the Montreal Canadians to once again play hockey.

    What’s wrong with the PQ?  Maybe their party members have eaten too many cronut burgers.    

I practice family and personal injury and insurance law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .  If you bought your spouse a cronut burger, I'm your lawyer.




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Send out the Clown (and the Dentist)

Aug 18, 2013 6:45 PM
Marcel Strigberger

     A clown at the Missouri State Fair rodeo has been banned for life for appearing at a rodeo  wearing an Obama mask. The clown whipped the crowd into a frenzy by encouraging a bull to run him over.  The Missouri State Fair Commission however thought the clown's actions were insulting to the President.

    That's funny. Hardly a night goes by without some comedian lampooning the President. I have yet to see Conan or David Letterman being banned for life. But my question is, why do we still have rodeos altogether?  Isn't the real insult here the abuse of helpless animals? What fun is there in watching yahoo cowboys ride wild horses, rope and cuff calves and taunt bulls?  Has anyone asked for the bull's opinion about this incident? I doubt if asked, the bull would say, "Never mind me.  That clown insulted the President. Shame shame.".

    This brings me to dentists. The B.C. College of Dental Surgeons has laid charges against a Tung Sheng Wu, who supposedly has been practicing dentistry for 10 years without being qualified.

    I have trouble visualizing this crime.  How could someone fake being a dentist?  Dentistry is a calling that actually requires knowledge and skill. Just imagine you or I approaching a terrified patient shaking like leaf in the dental chair. I would probably get as far as, "Open wide please."  Then I would be lost.

    Maybe I could extend the act to, "Rinse please"."   The patient might think this advice at the beginning of the treatment as being premature. If he does, I could say, "New protocol from the New England Journal of Dentistry. Rinse early." But that is as far as I could get.

    Tung Shen Wu actually must have successfully filled cavities, treated gum infections and installed crowns.  Non dentists just cannot fake it. I can think of only two occupations where imposters can easily fool the public.

    The first is psychiatry.  Psychiatrists generally do nothing during a 45 minutes interview except go, "Uh huh; please continue."  At 44 minutes and 50 seconds, they'll say, "That's all for today. See you next week."  Anyone of us can impersonate a shrink.

    The other one is, you guessed it, the clown.  Just put on the make up, the floppy pants and the big red nose and you are a clown. You can take a tumble, crash a Volks Beetle, or spray the audience with seltzer.  The audience reaction will be, "Hey, what a funny clown."  You'll never hear someone saying, "Hey, that's only a  man dressed like a clown."  Nothing is out of character.

    For centuries, court jesters have been making fun of the kings and queens with impunity.  

    In fact while at law school,  I was a clown one week at Eaton's (remember it?) in Montreal, during the pre Christmas period, earning some cash by carrying a sign saying, "Open til 9:00 tonight".  For fun I would ride the elevators operated by elevator ladies (remember them?) dressed in smart uniforms, and I would giggle and pull off their blue berets.  I don't think I could have gotten away with these actions wearing a lawyer’s robe.  

    I guess this universal and eternal license for clowns does not extend into the Missouri State Fair.  I say ban rodeos for life.       


I practice family law and personal injury and insurance law. Please visit my website,  www.striglaw.com . And yes, I have actually represented  both clowns and dentists.


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His Case Lies with the Fishes

Aug 12, 2013 9:17 PM
Marcel Strigberger

A Mr Tony Magi was driving his car in Montreal a couple of years ago when some of his underworld colleagues sprayed his vehicle with bullets causing him to crash.  The Quebec  auto accident compensation tribunal (the Régie)  ruled that his car had nothing to do with the injuries and his claim was denied.  Interestingly the claims of other victims in similar circumstances have been allowed, the only difference there being was that those shooting victims did not have Mafia connections and were totally "innocent".

    My question is how does the tribunal find out about your notorious connections? I looked into this matter and came up with the following interesting information.

    It seems when you buy or rent a car in Quebec, you have to complete a questionnaire for the Régie . The questions read something like:

    1.  Which  of these names do you fancy?
        a) Melvin;  b) Pierre; or  c) Bugsy.

    2.   Which of these items do you find the most useful?
        a) a corkscrew; b) a flashlight or c) a silencer.

    3. Which expression of the following do you use most often?

        a) do unto others what you want done to yourself; b) love thy neighbour, or c) I'll make him an offer he can't refuse.

    If you picked "c" for anyone of these questions, do not bother having a car accident in Quebec.


Please visit www.striglaw.com .  My family law and personal injury clients are always beying reproach. (Always generally)




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In Lawyers We Trust

Aug 7, 2013 10:00 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The Ontario Bar Association has started a public campaign to reverse the image of sever distrust lawyers are facing. A poll found that only 44% of the public trusted lawyers.  We lawyers scored less trust than plumbers. And we just beat out auto mechanics and taxi drivers.

I get the feeling it would not be a great idea for a lawyer's website to read, " See us about your divorce. While you wait, let us do your oil change.  We also give you the best deals to the airport.”  

It is all about image and optics. Abraham Lincoln once said, “When I prepare a speech, I spend one third of the time planning to say what I want to say and two thirds planning to address what people wish to hear.”

For example the public does not like it when we represent notorious criminals.   A most common comment I get is, "How can you represent someone just know is guilty?"

Bearing this in mind, to improve our image,the criminal lawyer should respond, " You have a point madam  I am going to the jail this afternoon and I shall advise my client to plead guilty."

The lawyer should be carefull not to add, " Now how about that oil change?"

There are also major concerns the public has about legal fees.  Image again is crucial.  If it would help I would rebrand immediately and call my firm," Mother Teresa- Barristers and solicitors."

We already do some pro bono or free work here and there, more than most professional athletes who get paid much more than most lawyers even when they lose.

The Toronto Maple Leafs players earn many times over per player than the average lawyer. They have not won a Stanley cup in almost half a century and have made the playoffs only once in the last 9 years or so.

Do we ever hear a survey that concludes that the public does not trust hockey players? How many people do you know who would rather watch plumbers at work?

Why are lawyers more mistrusted?  Maybe it is the way we communicate. Unlike hockey players, we have our own language, legalese. Perhaps this annoys the lay people.  We use terms like examination for discovery , pleadings and those dreaded Latin words and phrases like , Factum, res ipse loquitor and habeus corpus. The public probably believes we charge more for using theses words .  Maybe they have a point. After all I have never heardthe Great one, Wayne Gretsky interviewed and he talked about taking a swing with his stickum and slapping the puckum into the netta.  And when he got a hat trick, I never heard him say he scored 3 goali.

Perhaps lawyers can learn something from the athletes.  Win or lose, keep it simple. Don't try to show off.

The OBA  survey certainly is a wake up call to the legal profession.  I suggest we do our best to improve our  collective image.  We should watch our billing practices, communicate better, and perhaps keep a modest profile about our notorious clients.  I am not sure what it will take but in the meantime  it seems we can move up to the next tier of trust by offering to unclog someone' sink.

 I practice civil lititgation, emphasis on personal injury, and family law and divorce.  My clients have been trusting me for 39 years.  Please visit www.striglaw.com , a trusted site.






















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The Midwest Book Review has referred to Marcel Strigberger as "an irrepressible humorist with a story teller’s flair for spinning a yarn with true (and hysterically funny) insights into the basics of human nature".

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