This Week in WTF, July 31, 2015

– In some circles, that’s a valuable natural resource: Residents and business owners in La Jolla, a San Diego neighborhood perhaps best described as “tony,” filed a lawsuit in San Diego County Superior Court in late 2013 against the city and its interim mayor, demanding that they clean up the apparently excess amounts of sea lion and cormorant poop currently stanking up La Jolla Cove:

The plaintiffs, Citizens For Odor Nuisance Abatement, also want the city to remove a fence that limits public access to the cove.

According the suit, San Diego has “exclusive dominion, control and responsibility for the maintenance of the cliffs in and around the La Jolla Cove and is responsible for keeping the area free of noxious odors.”

The nonprofit group, which was created earlier this year for the express purpose of eliminating annoying odors, claims the city “at some point in time and without public notice, erected a fence along the sidewalk that runs along La Jolla Cove, preventing the public from accessing the rocks. The fence was built without an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and is in violation of the Local Coastal Plan (LCP), which requires maximizing coastal access.”

The fence allegedly prevented access to the rocks and created a “buildup of excrement from sea lions and cormorant birds, causing noxious odors resulting in illness to the citizens of San Diego and others who visit this area.”

"La Jolla Cove view" by Dirk Hansen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons + "Sea lion head" by Alexdi at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons + "Great Cormorant RWD2" by DickDaniels ( (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons + "Mladenovo, Guano hill at the bottom of the steeple" by Author:Sors bona (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons = "Free Illustration: Gavel, Hammer, Judge, Justice - Free Image on Pixabay - 568417" by Mdesigns [Public domain, CC0 1.0 (], via Pixabay

Earlier this year, a judge tossed the lawsuit, which did not go over well. The city suggested they try politics instead of litigation:

“The judge did what he was not supposed to — interpret that order in a light most favorable to the entity seeking summary judgment. The judge is putting his own personal opinion in a place where it doesn’t belong. Mayor Filner’s order trumps everything else,” [plaintiff’s attorney Norm] Blumenthal said. “The judge is responsible to order the city to follow its own orders, until the current Mayor changes those orders.”

The city’s lawyer, Glenn Spitzer, told Judge Taylor the document from Filner wasn’t an executive order, but a memo, and that the issue should be addressed by the Mayor and City Council, not the courts.

“This belongs in the political realm,” Taylor said. “The courts don’t run society.”

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith added, “Sea lions are proliferating throughout California, and that is neither the fault nor the responsibility of San Diego. The city can address the pooping habits of wild animals as a policy matter, but it cannot be compelled to do so by the courts.”

The proliferation of sea lions in Southern California (which might be separate from this issue) could be because of El Niño, but there might be another explanation for it (or not).

As I was saying, though, bird poop is viewed as a commodity in some circles.

– And yet another intern gets fired: Pro-tip for old-school corporations trying to get hip with new technologies: if you’re going to run a promotion that involves a website, make sure you hold on to that domain name for as long as you can, or at least don’t let it fall into the hands of someone who might surprise your customers (h/t Lani):

Heinz had launched a “design your own label” campaign. So, naturally, when a German man, David Korell, scanned the QR code on a ketchup bottle, he expected to be taken right to the design site. Instead, he landed on a hardcore pornography website. Whoops.

In defense of Heinz, the QR code was for a contest that ran between 2012 and 2014 so the QR code and corresponding link expired this year. While it is understandable that companies can make mistakes, Korell brought up a good point: “even if the bottle was a leftover, it’s still in lots of households. It’s incomprehensible that [Heinz] didn’t reserve the domain for one or two years.”

Remember, Heinz figured prominently into the storyline of Mad Men. Maybe we shouldn’t expect it to be on top of fancy technomological things like QR codes and domain name registration.


Wouldn’t you like to know….

– It’s a vernacular term…: This is why it’s critical to have an editor:


– Well, Clarice?: Have the llamas stopped screaming?


(h/t Outside The Interzone)

– And finally: By now you’ve surely heard about Shabani the Hot Gorilla, who has Japanese ladies swooning from Kyoto to Tokyo (which are totally anagrams, I never noticed until just now) (h/t Paul). What is it about this rugged simian specimen that is so alluring? His steely-eyed gaze that manages to be both smoky and searing? His confident-yet-calm manner, which suggests that he knows what he wants but is willing to pull out all the stops of romance in his quest to get it?

The truth is, I don’t know what it is about Shabani. But I have some idea about what it probably isn’t.

Photo credits: “La Jolla Cove view” by Dirk Hansen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons; “Sea lion head” by Alexdi at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons; “Great Cormorant RWD2” by DickDaniels ( (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons; “Mladenovo, Guano hill at the bottom of the steeple” by Author:Sors bona (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; “Free Illustration: Gavel, Hammer, Judge, Justice – Free Image on Pixabay – 568417” by Mdesigns [Public domain, CC0 1.0], via Pixabay; QR code via; FIFA image via; Llama newspaper clipping via


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *