Other Stuff

Inter-disciplinary approach on environmentalism – now, more than ever, can different academicians work together?

Literature for Soldiers” – interesting article in Newsweek on how the cadets at West Point read literature and the professor who teaches them lit. I’m not that surprised by the depth of their reading – these are bright young people; their education includes some humanities (not just military stuff); and sometimes, literature makes the military stuff no less raw anyway.

From this Christmas, interesting Daily News profile on June Mei, Mayor Bloomberg’s interpreter on his recent trip to China, by Kirsten Danis:

On Mayor Bloomberg’s recent China trip, one woman rarely strayed from his side: a Brooklyn-born interpreter with a knack for languages and a taste for Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup.

June Mei grew up in Prospect Heights and spoke barely a word of her family’s native Cantonese until she was 8.

“I’m such a New Yorker that I never learned to drive,” she said in her Tribeca apartment after returning from Asia.

Yet she effortlessly spun Bloomberg’s English into Mandarin over the three-day trip – and she owes her skill to childhood asthma.

Mei, the daughter of an ethnic Chinese doctor and his wife who emigrated from Singapore, was gripped by such bad attacks that her mother moved her to a Florida apartment to wait out winters.

She didn’t attend classes in the South, and her mom worried she’d never get through Public School 9 at home.

So at age 8, Mei was sent to live with relatives in Hong Kong and suddenly had to learn Cantonese.

“The Chinese literature class was like I had dropped into a foreign planet,” said Mei, 60.

Mei graduated from high school in Hong Kong and returned home to study history in college and graduate school.

Along the way, she picked up Mandarin – while playing cards with Taiwanese grad students. [….]

And, an item on NJ – with Gov. Corzine away (holiday vacation, it seems; he does remind me a bit of Mayor Bloomberg…), St. Senator Richard Codey is (again) acting governor. Considering how often he has filled the role, as this NY Times article notes, he “really acts like like a governor.” The article amused me, since the very same thought occurred to me too, when Codey signed the bill requiring HIV testing of pregnant women in NJ. Nothing against Corzine (then again, I don’t live in Jersey, even if I’m admitted to their bar), but kind of weird to think that Codey does so much. Eventually, NJ is going to have to have a lieutenant governor, like other states, and not have to make things so… weird.

The concept of Good Riddance Day, wherein people gathered at Times Square to shred crap for the sake of good karma, seems lovely; but on the news, it looked a little… weird.

As the year ends, I may very do a year in review type of thing. We’ll see!