Great Moments in Traffic Collisions: When a Bread Truck Meets a Meat Truck

June 17th, 2016

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First things first, traffic collisions are no joke, and in this case reports vary on whether there were or were not injuries to any of the truck drivers. And of course, injuries might not be reported at the scene, but nonetheless be very present and very serious. So I certainly hope nobody was injured, and failing that, I hope nobody has any lasting injuries from this.

Aerial view of deli truck collision, from NBC News

Aerial view of deli truck collision, from NBC News

So this morning, two trucks converged on I-287 near Piscataway, New Jersey. One was carrying bread, the contents of which were strewn all over the road as shown above. The other, which was carrying deli meat, is variously identified in news reports as a “Black Bear cold cuts truck” or a “ShopRite truck“, appears below. For what it’s worth, the truck seems to have both Black Bear and ShopRite logos on it (one of them obscured by the wrecker in front of it), Black Bear’s site has a product finder that redirects you to ShopRite, and ShopRite’s site mentions “ShopRite’s exclusive Black Bear line of premium meats and cheeses”. So this may be a distinction without a difference here.

ShopRite truck at the side of the road, from News 12 New Jersey

ShopRite truck at the side of the road, from News 12 New Jersey

As one might imagine, the collision of trucks carrying bread and cold cuts led to some attempted humor from a local radio traffic report and the nether reaches of the Internet. (As for me? I’m just interested in the facts, ma’am.)

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Great Moments in Primary Politics, cont’d: Bernie Sandwiches Won New Hampshire

February 11th, 2016

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Riffing on Chris Hayes’s slip-up described earlier, Stephen Colbert is absolutely on point.

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Great Moments in Primary Politics: Chris Hayes Just Called Him “Bernie Sandwiches”

February 9th, 2016

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A possibly hungry TV talking guy makes a curious misnomer: Chris Hayes calls Bernie Sanders “Bernie Sandwiches”.

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Great Moments in Jurisprudence: Chicken Sandwiches Uncopyrightable

August 25th, 2015

Filed Under: cheese, fried chicken, lettuce, miscellaneous, tomato with 0 Comments

(h/t Ars Technica)

The sandwich in this picture is uncopyrightable. The picture itself, on the other hand, is absolutely copyrightable. The use of the picture here, though, is solely for the purpose of commenting on a highly newsworthy matter of great social import, to wit, the copyrightability or lack thereof of sandwiches, and to serve as an educational illustration of the sandwich at issue in the litigation in question.

The sandwich in this picture is uncopyrightable. The picture itself, on the other hand, is absolutely copyrightable. The use of the picture here, though, is solely for the purpose of commenting on a highly newsworthy matter of great social import, to wit, the copyrightability or lack thereof of sandwiches, and to serve as an educational illustration of the sandwich at issue in the litigation in question.

Last Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a decision in an appeal from the District of Puerto Rico. The plaintiffs essentially claimed that South American Restaurants Corp., which is among other things a Church’s Chicken franchisee and a seemingly misnamed entity (as Puerto Rico is not in South America), owed them for the continued use of a sandwich recipe that one of them concocted while working there. The sandwich, which is called the “Pechusandwich” and/or the “Pechu Sandwich”, “consists of a fried chicken breast patty, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and garlic mayonnaise on a bun.”

As the appeals court put it:

Congress has enumerated eight categories of works available for copyright protection:

(1) literary works; (2) musical works, including any accompanying words; (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; (4) pantomimes and choreographic works; (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works.

17 U.S.C. § 102(a).

Contrary to Colón’s protests on appeal, the district court properly determined that a chicken sandwich is not eligible for copyright protection. This makes good sense; neither the recipe nor the name Pechu Sandwich fits any of the eligible categories and, therefore, protection under the Copyright Act is unwarranted. A recipe — or any instructions — listing the combination of chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mayonnaise on a bun to create a sandwich is quite plainly not a copyrightable work.

If you’re curious, if the court had held that sandwich recipes are copyright-eligible, the [almost certain] existence of previous sandwich recipes identical to the one at issue wouldn’t have hurt the plaintiffs’ case. (Or, at least, it wouldn’t necessarily. Though the recipe might well have been considered a work for hire, and then they could have lost on that point.) Unlike with patents, where (as John Carmack can tell you) coming up with something yourself independently isn’t a defense to infringement, where copyrights are concerned, if you didn’t copy, you didn’t infringe. (But, of course, nothing is ever simple; courts can sometimes infer copying via the principle of “striking similarity“.)

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Great Moments in the News: Onion Sandwiches

February 1st, 2010

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Today, in The Onion:

Mayonnaise, Black Forest Ham To Share Top Billing In Upcoming Sandwich

FEBRUARY 1, 2010

HOLLYWOOD, CA—Lunch insiders confirmed rumors Monday that Mayonnaise and Black Forest Ham would share top billing in a highly anticipated upcoming sandwich, which sources said is still in the early stages of development. The on-bread reunion will be the first time the popular duo has teamed up since costarring in a widely acclaimed Italian grinder in 2009. Recent kitchen reports stated that the sandwich itself was almost abandoned when it appeared that a prior commitment to star in a low-budget chicken salad might have rendered Mayonnaise unavailable. Sources would not confirm rumors that Shredded Lettuce and Melted Provolone are also involved, but confirmed that, despite early interest, Ketchup just wasn’t right for the project.

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Great Moments in Science: Fresh Sandwiches for Sale

October 15th, 2009

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From Popular Mechanics magazine, back in 1922:

Not only would that machine sell you a sandwich, but the sandwich might actually be fresh. Apparently the 1920s were more technologically advanced than the 31st century will be, at least as far as sandwich-vending-machine safety goes. If only Fry had had access to a refrigerated sandwich, he might never have learned to play the holophonor.

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Great Moments in Literature: The Red Sandwich of Courage

December 8th, 2007

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From Chapter III of Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage:

The youth had been taught that a man became another thing in battle. He saw his salvation in such a change. Hence this waiting was an ordeal to him. He was in a fever of impatience. He considered that there was denoted a lack of purpose on the part of the generals. He began to complain to the tall soldier. “I can’t stand this much longer,” he cried. “I don’t see what good it does to make us wear out our legs for nothin’.” He wished to return to camp, knowing that this affair was a blue demonstration; or else to go into a battle and discover that he had been a fool in his doubts, and was, in truth, a man of traditional courage. The strain of present circumstances he felt to be intolerable.

The philosophical tall soldier measured a sandwich of cracker and pork and swallowed it in a nonchalant manner. “Oh, I suppose we must go reconnoitering around the country jest to keep ’em from getting too close, or to develop ’em, or something.”

“Huh!” said the loud soldier.

“Well,” cried the youth, still fidgeting, “I’d rather do anything ‘most than go tramping ’round the country all day doing no good to nobody and jest tiring ourselves out.”

“So would I,” said the loud soldier. “It ain’t right. I tell you if anybody with any sense was a-runnin’ this army it—”

“Oh, shut up!” roared the tall private. “You little fool. You little damn’ cuss. You ain’t had that there coat and them pants on for six months, and yet you talk as if—”

“Well, I wanta do some fighting anyway,” interrupted the other. “I didn’t come here to walk. I could ‘ave walked to home—’round an’ ’round the barn, if I jest wanted to walk.”

The tall one, red-faced, swallowed another sandwich as if taking poison in despair.

But gradually, as he chewed, his face became again quiet and contented. He could not rage in fierce argument in the presence of such sandwiches. During his meals he always wore an air of blissful contemplation of the food he had swallowed. His spirit seemed then to be communing with the viands.

“He could not rage in fierce argument in the presence of such sandwiches.” I think that’s all that needs saying.

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Sandwich write-off

November 15th, 2007

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Apparently a blog named “Right Behind” recently had a sandwich-themed event:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to write a manual or guide of no more than 500 and no less than 300 words describing the procedures involved in preparing a sandwich of your choice. You are to restrict your entry to the task of preparing the aforementioned sandwich from assembling the ingredients to serving the final product on a plate or other equivalent vessel.

The event’s now over with, but you can read the entries either at the link above or by clicking here, here, here, here, and here. Unfortunately I found out about this too late to enter, or even to vote, but for the record, I would have voted for the Narnia one.

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