Monthly Archives: February 2005

Unwitting coffee model awarded $15.6M

An interesting case, this. Model goes to a photo shoot, received $250 for the job – with the understanding that he would be paid $2,000 more if his image was selected to promote Taster’s Choice in Canada.

Sixteen years go by and he discovers that his image has been used on Taster’s Choice coffee in several countries for years.

Nestlé offers him $100,000, which he turns down.He asks for $8.5 Million, and Nestlé turns him down.

Unable to agree, they go to court. Nestlé’s defense: The employee that pulled the photo thought they had consent to use the picture.

The jury does not buy it and awards him $15.6 Million.

My comments:

  • First of all, The verdict was just, the amount was not – while Nestlé screwed up, $15M+ is a little excessive, as is the $8.5M he asked for.
  • Secondly, he has not seen a penny of that money yet, and won’t for a long time. Nestlé have appealed and even if the appeal fails he will lose $5-10M of his windfall to attorney’s fees, and that may take years.

Looks like another win for the Lawyers.

Book Look: Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss

A book about punctuation – hoodathunkit?

Light-hearted, witty and at times, downright shocking. After reading this book you'll never look at the apostrophe the same way again.

Get it from the library – or buy a copy

The State of the Union

Saw bits of the President's speech yesterday. For me, the high point was when, for the first time, a sitting president admitted that Social Security be broken – an obvious fact that anyone with half a brain and an elementary grasp of mathematics can discern. I was amused that the Democrats – who probably regard SS as "their invention" – sat in stone-faced silence.

The low points were relatively minor.

  • After years of record prices and profits, the president – a Texan Oilman himself – talked about alternative fuel. Time will see whether this talk graduates into action, but I suspect not.
  • At last! Proof that no Texan can pronounce the word "Nuclear"

Returning to SS, one thing that irked me was that the President talked as if it was the responsibility of the workers to pay for the retirees; it is not. In theory, each of us is making deposits into their SS "trust fund", putting money aside for our old age – that is why our SS contributions are separate from other taxes.

In theory. In practice, the government has pillaged the trust fund – and has been doing so for decades.

Let me sum up with a few words of advice that were furnished to me in 1989.

Do not assume that the Government is going to give you ANYTHING when you get old

Study: Cell Phone Use Ups Accident Risk

This just in from the "I-knew-it-I-knew-it-I-knew-it!" department. According to the boffins at the University of Utah…

  • Driving while using a cellphone makes a 20-year-old drive like a 70-year-old.
  • Oh, and it makes you more dangerous than a drunk driver.
  • Using a hands-free kit does not help.
  • As if that was not enough, a Swedish study reckons that some cell phone users are at risk for tumors.

The Cellphone companies are going to love this… though I am sure that like any industry group they will come up with studies of their own to prove that their products are harmless if not beneficial.

Personally I think that holding any source of radiation close to your brain for long periods of time is bound to eventually fry something that you need; cell phones are ok in moderation, but yakking on them all day can't be good for you.