Reuters blog archive

from The Great Debate:

Should judges try to be funny?

This is an excerpt from Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge, published this month by Thomson Reuters Westlaw.

The use of humor by a judge is a controversial matter. Should the judge always be “sober as a judge” as the saying goes, or is there a place for some levity? Sir William Gilbert, author of the humor-packed librettos in the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, was himself a lawyer, though he practiced only briefly. In the first act of the Mikado, the Lord High Executioner sings about various persons who should be executed because they never would be missed. Included in the group is “The Judicial Humorist.” As Sir William wrote, “I've got him on the list.”

In 1952 Dean William L. Prosser of the Harvard Law School – who was not known for his sense of humor – echoed Gilbert's sentiments in a preface to a book, The Judicial Humorist, which was appropriately named for the lawyer who Gilbert thought should be executed. Dean Prosser did not believe that the bench was an appropriate place for humor because the litigant's “entire future, or even his life, may be trembling in the balance, and the robed buffoon who makes merry at his expense should be choked with his own wig.”

On the other side of the ledger stands the great Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who, although “preaching caution,” did not believe a judicial opinion “is the worse for being lightened by a smile.” Justice George Rose Smith, a long-term justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, aptly cautioned in his excellent article, "A Critique of Judicial Humor," that a judge “must, without weakening the fabric of seriousness, weave into it a thread of playfulness. Not a simple feat.”

from Oddly Enough Blog:

The last huzzah?

So this is the end. The last post for this blog.

It's a good thing we've said our farewells, because this is also the last day for new comments.

Today, this site freezes in time. You can always revisit it for a little nostalgia, like that old amusement park in the creepy part of town, with all the chains and cobwebs.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

The best goofy but true stories from 2011

As I said recently in a post which began a countdown to tomorrow's final entry in this blog, one of the things I have enjoyed most is presenting stories that are goofy but true.

Sure, it's fun to make up funny stuff and riff on news photos, but real life often finds a way to top me.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

You’ve got till tomorrow to pay up, pal…


Blog Guy, I know you're following the New Hampshire primary closely for your readers. All state primaries follow pretty much the same format, right?

Not at all. The New Hampshire race mainly involves a series of physical challenges between hopefuls and local voters. The one who wins the most fights wins the primary.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

The stuff dream photos are made of…

Hey, Blog Guy, I'm here! Do  you recognize me?

I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?

No, you dimwit. This isn't "A Christmas Carol." I'm the guy who sets up all those great fantasy photos for your readers, so I'm sorry to see it's going away.

Well, thanks for all your good work. You've pulled off pictures I would have thought impossible, especially the ones involving world leaders.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Seinfeld, a show about bupkis…

Blog Guy, you have the most authoritative entertainment news anywhere, so I'm coming to you first about something I heard.

There's a rumor that my all-time favorite sitcom, "Seinfeld," is coming back to TV next season. Any chance it's true?

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Yule laugh, yule cry…

Blog Guy, what do you think is the biggest holiday for your blog?

Christmas, for sure. We celebrate it for most of the year. Not only that, we're able to appreciate BOTH holidays.

You mean the religious Christmas and commercial Christmas?

No, I mean the magical goosebump childhood excitement Christmas, and the darkly absurd, "Look, somebody shot at Santa's helicopter!" Christmas.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Nine ways to lose weight and live forever

People say to me all the time, "Bob, your blog is SO stupid, how do you get people to read it?"

These folks don't understand how online journalism works. You can write anything you want, and if you put a good headline on it people will read it. Especially if you hint at immortality, easy weight loss or better sex.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

He’s making a list, and Czeching it twice…

Blog Guy, I need to tap your background in psychology. I can't get my husband to enjoy the Christmas holidays. When he sees festive decorations he just breaks down and sobs.

Hmmmm. Did he by any chance grow up in Prague?

Why yes, he spent his childhood there!

I thought as much. Have a look at these photos from Prague, where revelers dressed as Saint Nicholas and a devil approach small children on the street and demand to know if they've been good or bad. It's enough to warp any child for life.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Will you be taking those grenades all the way to Belgium?

Sometimes I just don't understand stuff, so maybe you can help me with this exercise in logic.

The security folks at Newark's airport were X-raying checked baggage a few days ago when they found five hand grenades in a woman's luggage. Yes, five.