Year of the Rat – Lunar New Year and other stuff

Well, certainly on Wednesday and Thursday morning, Lower Manhattan still had pieces of confetti strewn here and there along Broadway or on Wall Street from what I saw. Yet, the parade didn’t nearly have the kind of load that past parades had, as NY Times’ Ken Belson and Sewell Chan writes:

Football fans probably don’t see it this way, but by one measure the Giants’ Super Bowl victory on Sunday had less than one-hundredth of the significance of V-J Day, which marked Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II in 1945.

New York City’s Sanitation Department has been compiling statistics on the number of tons of paper collected after each ticker-tape parade, including the one that marched up Broadway on Tuesday for the victorious Giants.

The department’s data point out that parades were far more common in earlier decades, when heads of state and foreign monarchs were often treated to a pageant down the Canyon of Heroes.

In recent years the parades have become largely limited to championship sports teams, with occasional astronauts and returning military troops mixed in.

The Sanitation Department collected 36.5 tons of paper after Tuesday’s parade, compared with 5,438 tons for the celebration of the Allied victory over Japan in August 1945, according to Vito A. Turso, a Sanitation Department spokesman. [….]

Fourth, parades in cold weather tend to have smaller turnout and fewer paper throwers than processions in warmer months. Finally, there may be less paper, or at least less readily available paper, to throw.

Not only is ticker tape no longer in use, but also, even shredded office paper is often taken straight to the recycling bin. When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg urged office workers along Broadway to throw paper out their windows, he even suggested torn-up telephone books.

I thought that NY Times’ Adam Nagourney has some pretty insightful analyses on Super Tuesday’s results:

here, from Wednesday’s paper, he notes, regarding the concern of whether the Democratic campaigns of Clinton v. Obama might go negative:

But the history of their contest — and the sensibilities displayed by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton — suggests that would not necessarily be the case.

The most bitter period of their campaign was in South Carolina, when Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton repeatedly challenged Mr. Obama’s credentials and credibility. But after signs of backlash, she scaled back, and since then, the two have expressed their differences for the most part with fewer sharp edges. Should that tone continue, this contest may end without the bitterness Republicans were hoping for.

Finally, whatever the passions of Mr. Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s supporters — and by every measure, their passions are about as high as they ever get in politics — Democrats have throughout this year been unified by the intensity of their desire to win back the White House after eight years of President Bush.

And that, more than anything else, may continue to be the best thing Democrats have going as they enter this potentially turbulent period.

I have to say – I hope it doesn’t get negative; we do have to keep a perspective on things and remember that we still have to get to November.

In Thursday’s newspaper, Nagourney writes on how the publicity on Obama is going to have to translate into real votes, and questions whether we have a cultural (generational? philosophical?) shift yet:

But at the end of the day, the task for Mr. Obama may well transcend the demographics or voting blocs that are the brick and mortar of the traditional American campaign. As even Mrs. Clinton’s aides will acknowledge, Mr. Obama has brought a level of excitement and involvement to the campaign trail that few people involved in this contest have seen before. The question is whether he can move them one more step on the electoral process — into voting — in the dwindling number of contests that make up this campaign.

NY Times’ Alessandra Stanley on the tv coverage of Super Tuesday – the weirdness of seeing the pundits and anchors caution on polls and raw vote numbers. Well, I watched the PBS and the ABC coverage. Jim Lehrer steered Mark Shields and David Brooks and the PBS team along. Yeah, so ABC stuck with the coverage because otherwise it had some crappy strike substitutes, but I was kind of charmed by Charlie Gibson, Diane Sawyer, and George Stephanopoulos doing the coverage almost in an old-fashioned kind of way (well, except for their taking a Facebook perspective of things), and how they kept at it until the wee hours.

Time’s James Poniewozik notes the sad reality that “American Idol” and “House” trounced the news coverage in the ratings. And, true, like he said, can we resist the thought that more Americans “vote” for the American Idol than vote in the real elections?

At least “House” was kind of a pretty good episode. I didn’t really want to watch it, since I as a news junkie wanted to watch news coverage, but my sis insisted on watching “House.” Awesome zingers from Drs. House and Cuddy as they tried to get Dr. Wilson not to date an inappropriate woman. Notably, Cuddy cuts Wilson to shreds by warning him that Amber (aka Dr. Cut-throat-Bitch) would take so much from him, the giver, that he would be just a chalk outline on the ground. If I find the exact quote, I’ll post it. Wilson’s reaction was pretty priceless; Cuddy hit him nasty, even if she’d rather not go along with House in trying to undermine or interfere with the (pathetic) love life of Wilson.

Wednesday Dining: NY Times’ Mark “The Minimalist” Bittman has a blog! “Bitten” look so cool already!

In time for Black History Month: nice article on on Willie O’Ree, who broke the NHL color barrier and continues to advocate for diversity in his sport.

Slate’s Emily Bazelon on how a President Barack Obama may choose the judiciary – and, considering that he’s a former con law prof and has a nifty bunch of law profs advising him — well, one wonders!

In time for Lunar New Year – Time Magazine James Poniewozik notes that the Super Bowl ads on the Chinese-accented pandas are being pulled – but not the one with the Indian sales guy. Poniewozik links to the Stuart Elliott article in the NY Times about Salesgenie, and it leads to the question of what do we find offensive in the ads when they exploit stereotypes? I hate ads even more when they’re not good and they’re promoting a product I’d have no use or care for (like I’m going to make sales and need leads).

The passing of former ABC News journalist John McWethy, the former Pentagon correspondent. Kind of poignant that ABC News’ video closed with McWethy and Peter Jennings.

The passing of Joshua Lederberg: Nobel Prize winner, pioneer in the study of genetics, educator, president emeritus of Rockefeller University, Stuyvesant H.S. alumnus, Columbia U alumnus, and so many accomplishments.

Look for the best of luck and good fortune for the Lunar New Year!