Catching Up

Fell behind on things, including blogging. Ah well.

As we head towards April, that McDonald’s Fish-o-Filet promotion’s coming to an end, and that might explain why there’s less of THAT commercial; nonetheless, I’ll link to this: Channel 11’s Kaity Tong commenting on that McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish commercial; yeah, THAT commercial. The commercial actually makes me sing along with the silly song, and of course, what did I do – I eat the filet-o-fish sandwich. The idea that Kaity Tong and her co-anchor Jim Watkins were talking about the commercial means that… they’re a lot like us at work, talking about the commercial…

My NCAA Men’s Basketball brackets went kaplooey when Syracuse went down the other day; why did I get caught up in their magical moment? Oh well. Now with even Pittsburgh out, I’m still have my other two final four picks alive – UConn and Louisville (at least, I hope Louisville stays alive).

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick had some interesting legal-oriented articles of late. Apparently, being dean of Harvard Law School isn’t enough experience to be confirmed as US Solicitor General, to the Republicans. Lithwick was on point on the whole looniness of the partisan reaction to judicial/legal selections, as applied to the recent confirmation of Elena Kagan (the first woman Solicitor General, btw).

Plus, well, the speculation continues, but I think Lithwick’s article, about the US Supreme Court’s coyness about their futures, makes an interesting point: do we really want a spring of endless speculation, and – big if – a summer of confirmation insanity?

More follow up on Chancellor Michelle Rhee of Washington D.C.’s public school system: I think NY Times’ Nicholas D. Kristof raised some interesting comments on the D.C. education reform situation, under their Chancellor Rhee – yes, there’s a need for reform; yes, her “bedside manner” needs some help; but all this also assumes that everyone buys into coming up with compromise – the stakeholders (parents, principals and rest of management, the teachers, the students, the people-at-large) aren’t actually giving me the feeling that they’ll end their stalemate.

NY Times’ Mark Bittman on the excellent point: “organic” is not that same as “healthy.” Junk food is still junk food, even if it’s “organic”; it’s about respecting food, or else continue eating badly. Which a good many of us (me too) do…

Bittman’s video and article of his variant of “anti-ramen” – Egg Noodles in Soy Broth (with the not-so-secret ingredient of ketchup) – the idea of using a simple base – sounded quite cool.

Interesting NY Times article on cutting clutter and being organized. I need to find ways to cut the clutter at home and at work. Can I ever figure it out?…

Time Magazine is covering the issue of Big Law Firms’ plans to defer 1st year associates’ start date by sending them to work as subsidized $60,000/year public interest lawyers (or in some cases, outright rescinding the employment offers to the 3L’s, in the name of cutting back for financial reasons). When a trend makes it to mainstream media (like Time) rather than remaining in the confines of industry reporting (like, where – face it – only us lawyers/law students read), it must mean that the trend is real. Big Law Firms subsidizing law students to go into the public interest (because the firms have no work and won’t pay the 6 digit salary…) – yeah, that’ll save the legal field… Pardon some slight skepticism on my part, but this is a trend to watch, I think.

March 28, 2009, 8:30pm-9:30pm – Earth Hour 2009. Symbolic, yes; but symbols do say a lot.

The passing of historian John Hope Franklin. I had no idea that he had a local connection, being the first black chairperson of a department of a majority white institution (namely, Brooklyn College). NY Times’ Brent Staples had an moving anecdote:

Every death leaves a conversation unfinished. The one I regret not finishing with the historian John Hope Franklin, who died Wednesday at the age of 94, focused on what it was like to be a rising black intellectual in the Jim Crow South. In particular, I wanted to hear more about Dec. 7, 1941, the day he and his wife, Aurelia, drove from Charleston, S.C., to Raleigh, N.C. — covering the better part of two states — before they reached home and learned that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

Clearly, the car had no radio. But wouldn’t they have heard the news when they stopped to gas up and get something eat? No, he said; I had misunderstood the period. Black families motoring through the Jim Crow South packed box lunches to avoid the humiliation of being turned away from restaurants. They relieved themselves in roadside ditches because service-station restrooms were often closed to them. They worried incessantly about breakdowns and flat tires that could leave them stranded at the mercy of bigots who demeaned and wished them ill.

“You took your life into your hands every time you went out on the road,” he said. It was, of course, a relief to come upon a black-owned service station. But he said that you could drive from Charleston quite nearly to Baltimore before finding one.

We had that conversation in 2006, in connection with an article I wrote for this page on his powerful autobiography “Mirror to America.” [….]

He continued to speak out against injustice and never let himself be flattered into the role of the black factotum who would conveniently declare the race problem solved. If anything, the militancy grew fiercer over time. It reached its zenith in “Mirror to America,” which recounts in vivid detail how the decision to segregate the armed forces poisoned American civic culture. He refused to serve during World War II for a country “that had no respect for me [and] little interest in my well-being.”

I had hoped to sit down with him one more time to reconstruct that trip back in 1941. I must now do that without him.

St. Patrick’s Day

The passing of actor Ron Silver, a New Yorker who was an activist and artist.

Some local items of note:

Montague Street needs some new businesses; although, Marty Markowitz might want to be careful about attracting big firms to downtown Brooklyn or going too legal-related in the neighborhood. Big Firms are laying off lawyers and paralegals, Marty; that’s no help.

Arby’s in the Gage & Tollner? Look, I like the roast beef sandwiches and all, but… this is so wrong on so many levels.

Another local bit: This article‘s now making me really wonder what on earth is going on with the TGIF’s near the office, which apparently had a drug bust (or at least employees who were involved in some illegal drug activity). The customers weren’t expecting anything like this; no kidding! I haven’t been there in so long and never thought it was that kind of place. Some year or other ago, they had a murder or something; now this; like what? I know business on Wall St. hasn’t been doing too well, but this is a bit much for TGIF.

An interesting NY Times article on the increased patronage of public libraries in Westchester. I’m all for using the library – I still patronize my local branch – but NYC public libraries are facing serious budget cuts – and that means cutting back hours and access. Good for Westchester, maybe, but not so good for NYC.

Article on a windmill in Staten Island; nowhere near close to the idea having a bunch of windmills in the Fresh Kills, but some day…

Dreadful news – fire at Totonno’s means no classic Coney Island pizza for awhile.

Something we are all getting used to on Facebook: Facebook’s latest format. Personally, I’m still wary about new status bar thing’s asking me “What’s on your mind?”’s report on this makes the point of how this can be a bit much of the — uh — let’s say egotism of a Facebook user.

Since we of triscribe are APA’s and people of color and all that, some items of note:

An interesting article on The Root about the “Model Minority” myth as applicable to the Indian-American demographic. I propose retiring the phrase “Model Minority.” If one doesn’t realize that it’s a phrase that divides people and doesn’t realize that it’s a stupid stereotype, well, it’s all the more to rid us of it. (and YC agreed on Facebook; hope he doesn’t mind I noted that!).

YC also noted this on Facebook: “Dreamgirls” – with a Korean cast. A universal story of hope and dreams and – really, who doesn’t love a musical?

A follow up on Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of the Washington DC public school system – apparently, it ain’t easy to reform public schools – as she admits that doing too much, too soon isn’t the way to go (no, really?… okay, end sarcasm now). Seriously, I still don’t envy her job.

I’d read Seattle P-I online for the comics section, since Daily News comics section isn’t as expansive as it used to be. I do think it’s sad that Seattle P-I’s paper version is going to be gone – it is the end of an era when a major newspaper of a major newspaper (the first one apparently) is going only on-line. What about people w/o internet? What does it say about access to info?

Eventually, I’ll do a post on the latest views on tv items, but let’s end on a happy note in the meantime, as we head into March Madness and the Crazy Land of Bracketville – enjoy a little something weird and funny: British actor/comedian Ricky Gervais with Elmo. The article and the AP video (see below) together are hilarious.