Would you like fries or our tips to go with that?

hamburglarHelpful hint for job applicants: It’s best that you don’t steal before you even get the job.

A woman who filled out an application at a Five Guys in Rehoboth Beach, Del., lifted about $15 from tip jars at the burger joint, police said. Authorities looked at surveillance video and her application, then arrested Melissa Brittingham, 44, of Rehoboth Beach. She pleaded guilty to theft and got a year of probation.

Oh, another hint, this one for would-be thieves: It’s best that you don’t leave your contact information with the place you’re stealing from.



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Ben & Jerry’s fights for naked truth

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is not being so sweet to a film company it says is infringing on its trademarks.

A Massachusetts court has granted a request from Ben &  Jerry’s for a temporary restraining order against a company that makes pornographic films.

The ice cream company took issue with Cabellero Video for giving its films titles that were a little too similar to trademarked ice cream flavors.

The film company took names like “Chocolate Fudge Brownie,” “Peanut Butter Cup” and “Boston Cream Pie” and gave them a racy twist — “Chocolate Fudge Babes,” “Peanut Butter D Cups” and, yes, “Boston Cream Thighs.”

Whether ice cream plays a role at all in these cinematic endeavors is unknown but, needless to say, the Vermont-based ice cream company is not pleased about the 10 DVDs that Cabellero has released in its series.

Ben & Jerry’s argues that the porn packaging even sports the company’s signature cows and clouds design from its ice cream cartons. The ice cream maker said in a statement that it

acted to protect its company, brand, products and image. This is a clear cut issue where the video company is imitating Ben & Jerry’s logo, flavor names and trade dress to sell their products. We have taken prompt legal action to stop the manufacturing and sale of these materials.

The film company is due in court Tuesday to show cause as to why a permanent injunction should not issued.

D.C. lawyer (chicken) dances around political debate

When it comes to defending same-sex marriage, one Washington, D.C., lawyer is no chicken.

Attorney Ted Frank, who also blogs, has come up with a way to support same-sex marriage and consume controversial Chick-fil-A chicken.

The country has been abuzz about the Georgia-based fast-food chain in the past few weeks after its president, Dan Cathy, told a Baptist newspaper in an interview that he only supports marriage between a man and a woman.

Since then, each side of the political spectrum has jumped into the issue. Opponents of same-sex marriage declared a “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” and encouraged those supporting Cathy’s views to head to their nearest Chick-fil-A and order a chicken sandwich and waffle fries. Those in favor of same-sex marriage responded with Chick-fil-A “Kiss-Off” day, where same-sex couples smooched outside chicken chains across the country.

Frank has found himself, like many Americans, facing a conundrum: he loves Chick-fil-A food, but dislikes the company’s stance against same-sex marriage. So Frank decided to take a stand — all for the love of chicken and same-sex marriage.

Frank started the website, Chicken Offsets, where people can donate every time they eat at Chick-fil-A. The money will then go to a number of LGBT nonprofits. Every $1 donated equals an offset of one chicken sandwich, and $6 is worth 10 chicken sandwich offsets, according to the website.

As Frank explains on the website:

Chick-fil-A sells $4,100,000,000 of chicken a year and donates about 0.04% of that to Christian organizations that are only anti-gay in a collateral sense. Buying a chicken offset does far more for gay rights than boycotting the chain because someone asked a business executive so religiously Christian that he insists that the stores be closed on Sunday what he thought about gay marriage and people are pretending to be surprised by the answer.

At least 90 percent of the money donated goes to the It Gets Better Project, which focuses on helping LGBT teens, and The Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law that researches gender identity and sexual orientation law. Only a small amount of money is kept by the website for operating expenses.

Frank launched the website Saturday night and reportedly had raised $100 by late Monday.

So now, thanks to Frank,  gay rights supporters hankering for a spicy chicken sandwich bathed in signature Chick-fil-A Sauce can consume the 630-calorie meal guilt-free. Well, morally, anyways.

Lawyer puts a cork in legal career

A Washington, D.C, lawyer has chosen vino over verdicts.

The Washington Post reports Elizabeth Banker, part-owner of law firm ZwillGen PLLC in the District, has decided to quit the law and go into the wine business. Banker is opening a wine bar on Wisconsin Avenue in mid-August.

Banker has put about $600,000 into Slate Wine Bar, $450,000 of which was her own. Much of the rest of the money came from other lawyers.

The restaurant will serve some food but will concentrate on wine, a menu Banker prepared for by traveling to wineries around the world for two years.

Steaking a defense: Alberto Contador and the Tour de France

Cyclist Alberto Contador of Spain takes his seat to give a press conference in Pinto on the outskirts of Madrid, Thursday Sept. 30, 2010. Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador tested positive for a banned drug while winning this year's race and has been suspended by cycling's governing body.

Cyclist Alberto Contador of Spain takes his seat to give a press conference in Pinto on the outskirts of Madrid, Thursday Sept. 30, 2010.

As alibis go, Alberto Contador’s has at least has some sizzle.

The Tour de France champion faced the media this week to address a positive drug test that could cost him his title. The World Anti-Doping Agency found in the Spaniard’s blood samples trace amounts of clenbuterol, a banned steroid that can be used by asthmatics to aid breathing.

The drug can also be given illegally to cows and other animals to increase their growth rate, however, and Contador has blamed the positive drug test on a steak he ate during the race.

According to the Associated Press, Contador said the beef was courtesy of a Spanish cycling organizer at the request of his racing team’s chef, who “had complained of poor quality meat at the hotel where the team was staying.”

Contador said he could not deny himself “really good meat” that a friend of his had brought to France, considering “all the trouble that this person had gone through.”

There is some debate about the plausibility of Contador’s excuse. Unfortunately, he most likely will not get the benefit of the doubt. This is cycling, after all; just ask Floyd Landis.

I’ll let Sports Illustrated’s Austin Murphy, a long-time follower of the sport, have the last word on Contador:

I want to believe that he’s a victim, not a cheater. But this is cycling, the sport where our worst fears about doping are often confirmed. I hope he’s clean, and won’t be surprised if he’s not.

Either way, I hope it was a damn good steak.

For you, Subway, The Daily Record’s just $1

The other day, I found in my office mailbox a photocopied Subway coupon sheet addressed to “Daily Record Newspaper Employees” and touting “great offers.” As a longtime Subway customer, I read on, expecting to find a deal that would save me a few bucks. Instead, I met with an insult to my intelligence.

“Daily Record Newspaper Employees,” one coupon advertised, could get a FOOTLONG sub, chips and a drink for $7.

Thanks for the personal invitation, Subway, but spare me the disingenuous implication of exclusivity. As any regular patron of the sandwich chain knows, that’s what everybody pays when they make a $5 FOOTLONG into a combo meal.

I don’t know whether the other coupons offer similarly misleading deals. Maybe somebody at another downtown Baltimore employer who eats six-inch subs and has little tolerance for “one for $1, two for $2″ bargains cares to chime in.

Return of the deli (again)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:a new restaurant has taken the place of the former Court Towers Deli in Towson.

Nearly one month after the Perring Place Express Deli closed, the space was open for business again today under a new name: Crush Cafe. The restaurant appeared largely bare, and there was no sign to indicate its name, but I saw a customer walk in and purchase a drink.

My courthouse sources indicated the new restaurant is owned by the same people behind Crush in Belvedere Square, and that the breakfast offerings are pretty tasty. A Crush employee confirmed the restaurant’s Towson presence and said today was the new joint’s first day.

More details as I learn them. Here’s to hoping Crush Cafe can hang around longer than one of Murphy Brown’s secretaries.

Deli’s closed (again)

Well, that was quick.

The Perring Place Express Deli in Towson has closed six months after opening. A sign on the door says it is temporarily closed and will open under new management in the “near future.” (But we’ve heard that timetable before.)

My courthouse sources said the closing was so sudden last week it even took the employees by surprise. The general consensus was the food was good but a little a pricey. The sources said they’ve heard it could re-open in three weeks, but no one is holding their breath.

And so the Deli Watch begins again…

Prisoners getting soy overdose?

A group of inmates at a prison in Illinois say they’re getting dangerously high levels of soy in their food.

According to a Chicago Tribune story, the inmates allege that they are getting up to 100 grams of soy per day, even though the FDA recommends about 25 grams per day. The soy is everywhere–in soy cheese, cooking oil, gravy, hot dogs, sloppy joes. The head of the foundation backing the lawsuit calls the high-soy diet “the Tuskegee of the 21st century.”

The inmates say they’re having big health issues, such as gastrointestinal difficulties, allergic reactions and heart problems.

One former inmate, who isn’t actually a plaintiff, said he is allergic to soy. Prison meals caused a big problem for him in the tight confines of a cell, he told the Tribune.

“Gas was really an issue,” said [Thomas] Salonis, who was released from prison last fall. “And most of my (cellmates) were real big, and they were like, ‘Hey man you gotta take that somewhere else.’ But I was like, ‘Where am I gonna take it?’ The whole thing was just offensive.”

The foundation head says the diet conditions at the prison represent an accidental experiment in “what happens when you feed people soy with no other choices. This situation has brought it out into the open.”

HT: ABA Journal.

Deli, reviewed

About a month ago, I noted in this space that The Perring Place Express Deli had opened across the street from Baltimore County Circuit Court.

I also promised a restaurant review at some point. (Since the deli opened, the question I regularly receive is, “How is it?”) So yesterday, I bought the sandwich pictured on my way downtown from Towson.

I selected corned beef on rye with mustard, because any deli worth its salt shakers must make one and it’s pretty much impossible to screw up. This one came with chips and a pickle for $6.50.

The corned beef was lean, even though it did not indicate that on the menu, which is worth major bonus points in my book. The Dijon mustard was an interesting choice; I would have gone with the spicy mustard.

But that did not stop me from eating the entire thing. I was definitely full for much of the afternoon, which is really all you can ask for from a sandwich. I would go back and sample other things on the menu, including the breakfast items.

(Question for all of the lawyers out there – can I expense the sandwich? )