Sitting is the New Smoking-The Government Cares

 Sep 25, 2017 1:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

It looks like the Ontario government will be in charge of selling legalized marijuana. Legal weed will be sold just like liquor in special LCBO shops . The result will now be that just like gambling and booze, the government will have a monopoly and consequent golden goose tax on pot. What is next?

Since sitting has now been linked to a reduction in life span, ergo dangerous, like smoking and the aforementioned vices, will the government turn its sights to regulating sitting?

The not too distant future might look like this.

The government commissions a pricy study which concludes that sitting indeed is the new smoking. It is therefore harmful to your health. It must be regulated. Sitting per se therefore becomes illegal unless the act of sitting complies with government legislation, namely the Hey You, Get Up Act.

Firstly, most seats are removed from public transit vehicles. Seats are located in specially designated areas, but riders must be of a certain age to sit.

Foremost we have to protect the children. To therefore be allowed to sit, you would have to show you are over the age of 19. The government would issue to eligible riders, for a fee of course, “non student” passes. Special security non uniformed personnel would patrol the transit vehicles to ensure nobody under 19 is seated. Violators would be subject to a fine. As well they would have to take a rehabilitation course, including viewing a film called, “Stop smoking. Rise.”

Another especially vulnerable group is the elderly. After all their potential lifespan is less than that of the kids and naturally they too would have to be protected. Therefore on transit conveyances there would be large signs reading, “Attention seniors. If you are seated stand up immediately and give your seat to a millennial.”

However given that the sitting scourge is widespread and not only confined to public transportation, and given that the potential for government tax revenue is infinite, seating elsewhere, such as in theaters would also fall under government scrutiny. These establishments would have to post notices in front of theaters reading, “Caution: Non seniors entertainment. Theater contains seats.”

Should any of golden agers still purchase a ticket, they would be herded to a designated standing area. There, for an extra government issued pass they would be given a grab bar to hold onto. For their convenience, the grab bar would have a receptacle in which they could place their popcorn.

There will no doubt be violators; those who think they can step around the law. Like with gambling, liquor and pot, the police will be there to ensure nobody breaks the law. Enforcement officers will have the right, if they have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a sitting offense is taking place, to come along and enter such establishment of ill repute.

The day may not be far where the local police batter down a door to a kindergarten class and arrest the teachers for allowing the kids to be play musical chairs. The police would pin a note for the parents on the shirts of the offending children, warning them of the sitting consequences and admonishing them that next time, they will deem these kids to be in need of protection and they will be reporting the offensive conduct to Children’s Aid. At least one of the kids, i.e. the one who misses out on landing a chair, will get off scot free. He loses yet he wins.

And of course, like with the usual vices, a big concern will be organized crime. The mob no doubt will try to corner a large section of the sitting market. The last thing the owner of a Tim Hortons will want is for some scar face goon to attend at his outlet and say, “ My boss is waiting for your next order for chairs. I’ll be back tomorrow for your answer. And oh yes, give me a double double.”

Indeed as sitting may be the new smoking, it may not be too long before La-Z-Boy becomes a crown corporation.

Do we want further government interference? Take a stand.


I Tip My Hat for you, Your Honour

 Sep 18, 2017 1:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

The Judicial Council has come out with the ruling suspending Justice Zabel for 30 days for briefly wearing a Trump “Make America Great” hat in court the day after the U.S. election.

The council convened as a result of 81 complaints being filed about the incident. The judge did apologize for this incident saying it was really a gag, an attempt at injecting some humour into the courtroom. He was adamant he was not endorsing Trump’s views.

My concern now is that judges will be terrified to use any humour at all in the courtroom. There could be a snowball effect whereby judges go out of their way to emasculate and muzzle their sense of humour? Judges may even bend over backwards to demonstrate they are not kidding or laughing about anything. For example when the Registrar announces at the beginning of a session, “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, come forth and ye shall be heard”, I can readily see a judge saying, “Did I hear chuckling? There is nothing funny about the word oyez”.

To make sure their sense of humour is not cocked and ready to fire, some judges will likely read the morning papers, looking for a depressing news item. I can see a judge who is chipper and buoyant but just before he heads to the courtroom, he grabs a newspaper, muttering to himself, “Court starts in 3 minutes. There has to be a story in here about hurricanes. “

In the unlikely event that he does not find one, he can always look at the sports section to learn the score in the last Blue Jays game. That’s an easy fix.

There is always the risk of course that while scanning the newspaper the judge’s eyes might notice the comic strip. Life has its risks.

If the news does not work, the judge can simply examine his latest hydro bill. After a minute or so, he can go into his courtroom saying to himself, “Great. Now I feel like crap. I’m safe.”

But what about those judges whose mood is almost always at a high. I imagine there will no doubt be sharp entrepreneurs who will cater to judges who have trouble losing their sense of humour and becoming depressed and glum. These motivational speakers will offer seminars to the judiciary, such as, “Tap your inner genius. Get depressed in 3 easy steps.” Or “Humour is no laughing matter. Giggling is the new smoking.”

I am certain if a judge’s mood in the courtroom does not plummet, he or she will get a visit from the chief justice who will likely admonish the happy judge, saying, “Harry, we have had some complaints about you. You were seen smiling several times this week. It has to stop. Here, read this immediately. I’m leaving you my copy of Hamlet.

Are we heading in this direction? Better yet, do we want to head there?


A Connecticut Courthouse for Sale by Yankee Arthur King

 Sep 14, 2017 1:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

George Beckwith of Goodman Missouri, got a surprising phone call recently from a lawyer, informing him that he soon would be an owner of a 19th-century courthouse in Connecticut.

Seems back in the early 1800s his family owned the property and the deal was that if the structure ever stopped being a courthouse, the building, built in 1889, complete with clock tower, would revert to the family’s descendants. Courthouse activities indeed ceased recently and here we are.

The lucky beneficiary had no use for a courthouse and he was actually was able to find some non profit preservation trust, that agreed to buy the property at a bargain basement price.

I ask, had he not located this purchaser, how would he have disposed of this legacy? I imagine he would have had to list it for sale with a real estate agency. Let’s call it Arthur King Realty, a (not too well known) realty company from New York. I can just envisage the listing specs.

" Just listed.

Spectacular property, set in prestigious Litchfield Green, backing onto Jake’s Pond. Nestled amongst the oak trees stretching out of nearby Blackacre State Park. Walking distance to parks, churches and Aunt Myrtle’s Diner.

Contains 4 spacious courtrooms. Judge’s chambers next to master courtroom has renovated powder room. Courtroom 2 would make a great playroom, easily accommodating a ping pong table and air hockey game. And the mahogany witness boxes will make a great place for your kids to play hide and seek.

Fully air controlled with multiple ceiling fans.

And you can throw your wrist watch away. Building has a Seth Thomas clock tower.

Historical property. Walk out to back yard where former pillories stood. One pillory still remaining. Perfect for that guest who comes to your barbecue and complains too much.

No need to worry anymore about where to lodge relatives you are not crazy about.
Basement fully finished, with 3 closed concept cells. Agent has the keys and the handcuffs.

Ideal for lawyers. Your chance to finally sit on the bench.

Includes all furnishings, appliances and gavels.

A must see. Won’t stay on the market too long. Showings by appointment only. Call Arthur King."

Maybe next time we get one of those emails from Spain, India or Nigeria saying one of our relatives we never heard of, died without a will and his $10 million estate is there for us for the taking, we should consider it seriously.

I’ll be watching my emails.



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