Back to blogging; the hiatus, due to the fact that
(a) been busy – work can be exasperating;
(b) I did do two blogs on 3/15 – and even added that postscript on 3/16, so that wasn’t good enough for you? 😉 Eh;
(c ) did you really want more pointless rambling from my messy mind that soon anyway?; and
(d) spent last night on-line shopping on Barnes and Noble – got to take advantage of the discount that was good until 3/21. I bought yet another Learn-Chinese (Cantonese) item, as part of the neverending-yet-to-be-fulfilled quest to improve my pathetic Chinese language speaking ability.
I was watching first round NCAA basketball tournament, Division I, as we speak – and I was actually (gasp) rooting for Princeton. Yeah, I’d root for the alma mater rival, just to see the not-likely-hope of seeing an Ivy League team progress in the March Madness – but that was just a dumb move on my part, as usual (N.B.: Princeton, seeded 14, lost to Texas, the 3rd seed; fortunately, what I had actually put down on my brackets was Texas, but I was still hoping for Princeton, so that part of my brackets wasn’t completely screwed). But, if you really want to see a school with great academics and athletics, you’re better off rooting for Stanford or Duke, I guess. I’m still waiting to watch some part of my brackets go bust by the end of tonight.
And for timeliness, Slate.com’s Explainer explains “Why is it Called ‘March Madness’?” There are tidbits in that article to amuse trademark law enthusiasts.
Slate.com tends to have moments where there are lacking of articles to note and then strange bursts of great reads. The last couple of days were some of the greater reads days. Among other things, check out Dahlia Lithwick’s “Jurisprudence” articles for yesterday (Lithwick notes how some members of Congress apparently do not understand the concepts of having three branches of government or having checks and balances, as demonstrated by their proposing a bill to “veto the Supreme Court” – or, as the bill is officially called, “The Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004”) and for today (Lithwick’s comments on Justice Scalia’s memorandum explanation for his refusal to recuse himself in the case against VP Cheney).
Fascinating NY Times article on the whole issue of social promotion of NYC grade school kids (recap for those not in the know: NYC Mayor worked his way to have the Panel on Education (the ex Bd. of Ed.) to vote to approve his end-to-social-promotion policy). For me, the article encapsulates a problem: we debate about “issues” but the reality is that we keep changing how we frame or define the issues anyway and, the bottomline is that, by constantly framing the issues differently, we can’t even abide by our own discussions and thus we have no answers to real, perennial, social problems.
As the article notes, political liberals say that the issue is about “nurturing kids” (ending social promotion = bad; repeating 3rd grade is humiliating) and political conservatives say that the issue is about “mastering basic skills” (ending social promotion = good; get left back and you’ll finally learn how to do math and read). But, real education experts cut through the chase and say that it’s neither/nor – it’s about what services do you provide for kids. This is a question to which the usual partisan politicians have no real, easy answer (after all, they’re thinking that saying “I don’t have one quick solution” is not what they want to tell the voters – and that assumes that they believe the voters are so stupid as to reject the complicated, grayer answer).
Fascinating NY Times article on language and world views: contrasting how China and Japan view their own places in the global neighborhood and noting how such world views are expressed in their respective written languages. The Japanese language apparently distinguishes between who are Japanese and who aren’t (even if one is of Japanese ancestry), while the Chinese language apparently considers overseas Chinese as, well, Chinese (even if one is as incapable of speaking the mother tongue). My conclusion: there’s no such thing as a monolithic “Asian.” China and Japan have their own self-perceptions to deal with.
Food articles!… Ed Levine on Cheesecake! (the debate on what’s the best cheesecake in NYC will never go away), and Nigella Lawson on cooking for one’s own comfort (I’ve read the criticism about Lawson as a foodie writer, but I’ve enjoyed how she really displays the comfort in comfort food).
Now back to the brackets…