Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This isn’t a law blog (i.e., “blawg”), and I’m not in the area of criminal law or certain areas of civil rights law to really discuss with any great articulation about this week’s news regarding Ferguson, MO. PBS Newshour has a tidy and expansive coverage, and I’m a PBS supporter, so I’m linking it. I’ll also link to the coverage over at Slate, which includes some incisive legal analysis by Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West.

I’ll also share the commentary by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA legend/writer), posted over at Time.com, and I especially admired his closing thoughts:

But we have to remember that the goal of protesting is to raise awareness in those that don’t agree. This is not done instantly, through one gathering. Nor is it done through the persistent occupation of one space. It has to be a national movement, and it has to keep its energy high. When enough people across the country gather to say something, more and more people will listen.

Second, the violence and looting is counter-productive because it redirects the message away from the reasoned arguments to just the emotion. The roar of the fires and the sound of shattering glass drowns out the voices demanding change. The level of frustration that leads to violence is understandable: When you’re treated as if you’re not a valued member of society, why should you uphold society’s values? But violence turns away potential allies and only provides more targets to start the cycle over again. Yes, we must be passionate about the situation, but only because our passion will fuel the open discourse.

A lot of food for thought, and I can only wish that civil dialog, with the intention of persuasion not merely opposition, could occur alongside civil disobedience. But, we’re living in interesting times, as usual.

So, this year, Slate’s current Moneybox writer, Jordan Weissmann, poses the argument on why one shouldn’t shop on Thanksgiving Day.

I’m linking to last year’s post, a lot of which I said still holds up (and was in response to the past Slate Moneybox writer Matthew Yglesias, on why it might not be so bad to work/shop on Thanksgiving); as I said last year:

I get that there are people who are willing to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas.  And, Christmas, in my mind, is more of a religious holiday, even if a lot of secular folk and the American government have taken advantage of it.  If you want to be open and/or work on Christmas, go ahead.  There are a lot of non-Christians who need servicing. I won’t judge.

But, Thanksgiving – notwithstanding its complicated history (much like anything and everything else in this country) – is a uniquely American holiday and unites everyone, because it’s not about race, gender, national origin, religion, lack of religion, or whatever.  It’s about being American and being grateful.  Maybe Thanksgiving is more than grouching about whether you’re working or not and shopping demonstrates greed/lack of greed/save capitalism and the free market/economy and how much free will is involved when someone chooses to work/open the business on a holiday… the debating is endless.

I feel like it comes down to our national values and our culture.  Do businesses have to be open on Thanksgiving – for just one day?  Are businesses just about money?  Do corporations – assuming they’re people too, as former Gov. Mitt Romney said and legally, they are – have one core value?  Do they have one element of patriotism?  Just pick one day where you don’t cross a line and say why.  And, can’t we as Americans have one nice thing to agree on?

The lines are blurred.  All the crazy arguing – this is why we can’t have nice things.  (insert sarcasm there, in case you didn’t catch the sarcasm).


I know: weird that I’m quoting myself… Anyway, bottomline for 2014: hey, corporations, as legal people, you ought to have values; give your employees a living wage and don’t be open on Thanksgiving, when it turns out that the deals aren’t even that great anyway (except you want to exploit people’s desire to buy gifts for others).

Past links to past triscribe observances of this great American holiday – the master post.  I couldn’t find a Thanksgiving 2012 blog post. That was the year of Superstorm/Hurricane Sandy, so go figure.

My Nat’l Novel Writing Month project just hit 50k words. I don’t even know how to end the damn “story.”  And it is a glorious mess indeed, without wormholes. Eh. (no, that was not a joke to Christopher Nolan’s movie “interstellar,” which I still haven’t seen yet).

Don’t overeat, watch the parade, and some football. But, take a moment to be grateful for what we have; we are all luckier than we may think we are.

Post Veterans Day/Pre-Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year… when calories might become a problem.

Also, I’m not sure whether to give any credit of any kind – extra or negative – to the house a few blocks away for putting up Christmas lights since Veterans Day.

This week, the bunch of us had a birthday dinner for FC/celebration for the 72 Hour Shootout (celebrating our making the top 35 this year).  See the links here: watch the video and all that. We ate a lot at Hill Country BBQ Market, in Brooklyn. Meat. Dessert. Whoa.

The passing of director Mike Nichols.  I remembered watching, years ago, the documentary, “Nichols and May,” on PBS’ “American Masters” – about Nichols’ career as a comedic duo.  (nice tribute from PBS).  Watching the documentary was great – Nichols and Elaine May were neurotic and hilarious, with ridiculous chemistry.  Their famous Mother and Son skit was smothering (of course), a little incestuous (uh…), and laugh out loud funny (oh, boy).  Embedded below – you should see this!

I looked over the list of Nichols movies and realized that I’ve probably seen more of his dramas than his comedies and not realized that those were his movies (that’s a compliment – while he was the director, the movies seemed to be actor-oriented – so that made those movies that rich in viewing for me, anyway), and I keep saying I’d watch more of those movies in the Nichols list (but… never enough time!).  I was reading how Nichols wasn’t the kind of stylistic director as a Steven Speilberg or a Martin Scorsese, but I admire Nichols’ versatility and interest in characters.

While I’m at it, I’ll also link to NPR’s Linda Holmes’ commentary on the career of Mike Nichols. Good stuff worth reading, on a varied and fascinating career and what Nichols’ storytelling really does in grappling on the what it means to be human question.

Also, glad I’m not in Buffalo.  A winter’s worth of snow… in a week. The lake effect is nuts.  Gothamist posted photos from Buffalo, with the cute dog in the snow (hopefully safe).  Gothamist linked to the news about NFL moving the NY Jets vs. Buffalo Bills game to Detroit because of the snow in Buffalo. According to Gothamist (in one of those laugh out loud lines): “The minute Detroit becomes the preferred weather-friendly destination, you know shit is real.”

That’s kind of funny: some Bills players had to snowmobile themselves to the airport to get the plane to Detroit. And, really, who in Michigan is going to watch the Jets and Bills? And, it’s not like people in Buffalo who aren’t Bills players or coaches or significant others will make the trek (well, free tickets). Jets fans, maybe? (umm, yeah, I’m not really a Jets fan)…

I’m apparently the only one proposing to sell Buffalo’s lake effect snow to California. True, it’d be expensive to ship, but hey, it’s a win-win idea. Help out people in Buffalo and California, and get money moving…

Behind on a lot of tv stuff this week. Bit of a Doctor Who withdrawal (might have to resort to watching Peter Capaldi’s other stuff). And I’m reminding myself that writer’s block is an illusion this month… Back to NaNoWriMo writing.

Sunday Overnight Stuff

Some more articles on Loretta Lynch, US Attorney General nominee and US Attorney of Eastern District of NY, in the NY Times on her cases (she had been on the team prosecuting the case of police brutality against the victim Abner Louima) and how the Republicans might make things difficult with the confirmation process to have a proxy fight over executive directives and immigration policy.  Why the Republicans have to be a pain about this, when Lynch has been twice confirmed by the Senate for two tenures as US Attorney (as seen in the analysis over at Slate) – well, politics…

So, the Fulton Street subway hub is going to be finally… done? The MTA is calling it “Fulton Center” and after so much delay, a ballooning budget, and months of scary tarp (I was there a few times – I did not like the tarp and lack of real bannisters, and the feeling of “oh my God, this construction stuff is going to fall on me?”), the place is finally going to open with its glass dome. Very curious to see this thing and whether it was worth the madness.

Sports: umm, NY metro area’s sports aren’t much to speak of, although the NY Jets won, so there’s this bright spot in their misery.  NY Giants could not beat Seattle Seahawks (the reigning Super Bowl champs), with an unpleasant second half (I made it home to not want to watch it). This unpleasantness includes my undergraduate Alma Mater team, which is now 0-9, having lost on Saturday to Harvard (which now has the reverse record, and no loss against the Ivy League).

No spoilers from me, but the season finale of “Doctor Who” last night on BBC America was mostly ok (some odd plotholes, but so that goes). I give lots of kudos to actor Peter Capaldi for bringing the 12th Doctor to life, and actress Jenna Coleman for rising to his game level as Clara (the previous season was criticized for not quite knowing what to do with Clara, writing-wise, and so there was a lot of better character development this season, since the writers – and especially head writer Stephen Moffat – remembered that Clara isn’t just a plot device; but I generally like Clara anyway, so I’m not going to complain). And, of course, season finales (and Doctor Who ones, certainly) has some heartbreaking moments. So, if you hadn’t seen it yet, be prepared!

I was watching a little of “Worricker” on Masterpiece on PBS, starring actor Bill Nighy as Johnny Worricker, the MI-5 agent whose principles get in the way. I wasn’t paying the greatest of attention, but it was a strange watch because I was all “spot the actor” – Winona Ryder! Christopher Walken! Helena Bonham-Carter! Malik Yoba! Rupert Graves! (and Rupert Graves – who has played Inspector Lestrade on BBC’s Sherlock – has aged so well; I remembered watching some of the shows on PBS years ago and thinking that he was one of those dangerously creepy good looking men; so, mmm!). I wasn’t sure what was happening with this episode, but with these big casts, sometimes it can be crazy.

Back to some other writing…