Observations of the 1st Quarter of 2023

Happy April 2023! How did the first quarter of the year go by so quickly? I usually blame that on how February is such a short month, and for me, March goes by in a blink because I spend the weekends watching copious amounts of college basketball.

March Madness was indeed full of Madness, with the upsets. I still can’t believe how New Jersey get to be the state of Cinderellas. In March 2022, St. Peter of New Jersey was the low seed that went far. In March 2023: we had two New Jersey institutions of higher learning: Fairleigh Dickinson got to be the 16-seed that shocked us all (they were a play-in team, for God’s sake!), and Princeton – a 15-seed – somehow made it to the Sweet 16 round.

Hope springs eternal that an Ivy League team make it past the Sweet 16!

And yes, only in college basketball can we think of an Ivy League school as a Cinderella. It is weird to view an elite school as a Cinderella at all, and just how New Jersey is Princeton? Beats me. And honestly, the only time I’d root for Princeton is when they represent the Ivy League.

I do prefer March Madness over March Sadness 2020, which was when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything.

While I’m glad that COVID-19’s perpetual March is behind us, I’m still not sure where my head is with COVID-19. Are we as a nation ever going to be more equitable, when the pandemic showed how much we are not? Did we learn anything from the pandemic, and how we are to avoid the next one (or at least be better at responding to mitigate the painfulness)?

Plus, emergencies are going to keep happening because we’re in a world very much affected by climate change, which is real and is causing all kinds of weather fluctuations. Are we going to do more at a societal level? How can we keep asking individuals to take action when we need more action?

The above questions are entirely rhetorical, of course…

The first quarter of 2023 was also a weird winter, with a paltry snowfall in New York City and an average higher than normal temperatures. Perhaps climate change skeptics can remain skeptical, but it’s weird to have had random low frigid temperatures that veered into higher than normal.

April is National Poetry Month. But, of course, I managed a re-read of Billy Collins’ Aimless Love in March 2023.

I completed reading Mary Oliver’s Dream Work in April so far. Will I get to another poetry book before the end of the month? We shall see.

I have an intention to read more in 2023 than I did in 2022, but it’s not like I follow any real reading goal.

Girl Scout Cookies Season 2023: I hope we don’t lose sight that this is part of fundraising for the kids, but the craze for the new Raspberry Rally cookie seemed too much to me.

Like, hey, greedy bastards, the point of Girl Scout cookies is to help the kids, not buy the new cookies to re-sell them for your own profit. And hey, the people who are desperate to get the Raspberry Rally cookies – why are you so desperate that you’ll go to eBay for the cookies? How is that safe, and again, you’re not helping the kids by buying them cookies off of eBay.

Restrain yourselves, people… (see here for a March 4, 2023, CNN Wire report regarding the Girl Scouts’ asking people to not buy Raspberry Rally off of eBay: https://abc7ny.com/girl-scouts-raspberry-rally-new-cookie-ebay/12909915/).

Thanks to A, the offspring of FC and P, I ordered a box of Raspberry Rally before the boxes ran out.

Pros: I like that it’s a solid and crunchy cookie with a good bite.

Cons: it’s a little too sugary for me, the raspberry taste came off as too strong for my taste.

I suppose that raspberry isn’t quite my flavor. Ironically, I really enjoyed the Berry Crunch cookie that the Girl Scouts sold so many years ago, but it was a short-lived Girl Scout cookie.

I’m not into Thin Mints, but it is a good balance of mint in a chocolate cookie. I was hoping that the Raspberry Rally was more like that, but to me, it wasn’t quite the right berry and chocolate balance, because it was more of a chocolate coating on a raspberry cookie.

Movies: isn’t it cool that “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (EEAAO) made it all the way at the Oscars? I finally got to see it in the theater back in March 2023, before the Oscars. Is it a perfect movie? No. Well, okay, not to me. I think that it’s weird and all over the place. I’m not in love with the movie, but I enjoyed it. I thought that it was definitely an intense me, and it tells a very Asian Pacific American story.

There’s also something fun and poignant about seeing actor Ke Huy Quan win the Oscar, as a kid actor we all saw as Short Round from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” And, Michelle Yeoh as the first Asian-identified woman to win an Oscar is fantastic to see.

I like to think that EEAAO’s Oscar wins could encourage movie makers to get more diverse stories out there and have more diverse people in front of and behind the cameras. I’ll end this post on a hopeful note, if I learned anything from EEAAO: creatives got to keep being creative! — ssw15

Juneteenth 2022

I hope we take a moment to acknowledge the meaning of Juneteenth, the holiday to commemorate the day that the Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. A lot of events are going on this weekend, and with the observed holiday on June 20, 2022, if you haven’t been on the look out and planned ahead.

I have heard that Juneteenth can be viewed as a prelude to July 4. I’m of the view that celebrating is all nice and good, but we can and should learn from history and try to do better.

So many great resources, like documentaries and books and so on – but so little time…! Anyway, feel free to check out the following:

“Juneteenth, explained,” by Fabiola Cineas, Vox, updated June 17, 2021, to explain the history and meaning of Juneteenth.

For an illuminating discussion, check out a re-broadcast on June 17, 2022, on NPR’s Fresh Air of Terry Gross’s interview with historian/law professor Annette Gordon-Reed regarding Juneteenth and Gordon-Reed’s personal perspective as a native of Texas and descendant of enslaved persons (originally broadcasted on May 25, 2021).

Juneteenth at New York Public Library.

Learn About & Celebrate Juneteenth,” posted by Beatrice Alvarez, June 15, 2022, regarding PBS coverage from various PBS stations across the country.

The local NYC PBS station, WNET (Channel 13), has some great materials and interviews for Juneteenth, posted by Christina Knight, June 14, 2022.

Per the reporting by Brigid Bergin, Gothamist/WNYC, June 19, 2022, New York City will have various commemorations on Sunday for the holiday and Monday, the observed day.

Here’s to keep learning and keep striving for true justice and equality. — ssw15.

(cross-posted to sswslitinmotion.tumblr.com)

Memorial Day 2022, or How AAPI Heritage Month 2022 is Winding Down

Hope you’re having a meaningful Memorial Day. Take a moment to remember those who died in service for us and this country. And may we honor them by doing better ourselves for each other.

Meanwhile, AAPI Heritage Month 2022 is zooming by like a blink of an eye. We had parades (see here for the previous link about the info) and we have at least one museum exhibit (see the Museum of New York‘s ongoing exhibit of the work of Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya on “Raise Your Voice.

We are still in a pandemic. We are still struggling with the perpetual perceptions of being foreign in our own country. Plus, AAPI Heritage Month is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I suggest checking out A Brief But Spectacular Take by Christine Catipon, as a feature of the PBS NewsHour. Catipon, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Irvine Counseling Center, has a succinct take on being Filipina and overcoming shame and teaching that self-care is important. Worth a watch/listen.

I meant to check out the link to Barnes & Noble’s post, April 28, 2022, regarding episodes from its podcast Poured Over regarding AAPI literature. But, it’s worth checking out all-year round (and for us at triscribe, AAPI Heritage is a year-round thing anyway).

For AAPI Heritage Month, Short Wave, an NPR podcast, explores the life of Chien-Shiung Wu: a physicist, Chinese immigrant, a woman, a wife, mother, grandmother, mentor. She should not be forgotten. The episodes are worth a listen. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Also, last but not least, check out FC’s post, from April 2022 – but still timely because FC, as triscribe founder, is our AAPI Heritage inspiration for all he has done for the AAPI legal community in bringing us – law students and practitioners – altogether.

As it says under the title of triscribe – “We’re still here!” Until next time… — ssw15