Mets vs. Tiggers

The matchup of New York and Detroit that should have occurred 4 months ago finally took place today in Port St. Lucie. The Tigers won 5-4 despite a late Mets rally. Absolutely nothing happened according to Greg, but Mike says it signifies winter’s retreat. He’s right too as it is significantly warmer in the Northeast (although it’s not unlike March to periodically trip things up and come in like a lamb and leave like a lion…or a Tiger). Anyhow it’s time to countdown to what’s really important which is 32 days, 3 hours by my calculation.

What do you do if you’re a meat-eater living with a vegetarian?

A lovely article in The Guardian has great suggestions for meat-eaters on how to relate with vegetarians. Lucky for me I live with a conscinetious omnivore, but the article is useful for anyone you know and may take a meal with. I wish I had this article twelve years ago. I could have given it to all the people in college who told me I could pick the pepperoni off the pizza (heck, I once had someone tell me I could pick the meat out of a soup!).


Q: What’s worse than the media wasting a lot of time and space with endless coverage of celebrity fluff?

A: Media wasting time and space writing about how bad it is that the media wastes a lot of time and space with endless coverage of celebrity fluff?

Q: What’s worse than the media wasting time and space writing about how bad it is that the media wastes a lot of time and space with endless coverage of celebrity fluff?

A: A snarky blogger wasting time and space to write about how bad it is that the media is wasting time and space writing about how bad it is that the media wastes a lot of time and space with endless coverage of celebrity fluff!

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Equine Scatology

The Infoplease Editor’s Blog contains an entry about the popular misconception that the number of hooves in the air on an equestrian statue indicates how the rider met his death. I remember my father telling of this urban legend when I was a child (incidentally when describing the George Washington statue in Boston’s Public Garden that illustrates the blog post). Dad added that if all four hooves of the horse are off the ground that the rider died from falling off his horse.

Sullivan humor. You can laugh or groan but you cannot ignore it.

White Airborne Objects

In Boston, it’s snow.

In Port St. Lucie it’s baseballs.

I’m not the kind of baseball fan who eagerly follows Spring Training from the moment pitchers and catchers report. Generally I tune in to the first couple of Grapefruit League games and the realize that non-competitive games are pretty dull and go back into hibernation until Opening Day (that most glorious of days!).

So I was a bit caught off guard to find out that the Mets first Spring Training game is Wednesday 1:1o pm. At least I found out in funny – albeit bittersweet – way from Jason’s post at Faith and Fear in Flushing “The Limits of Prophecy.” At least this Spring Training game is not likely to lead to marital strife, unlike the World-Series-that-never-was (thanks to Yadier Bleeping Molina).

Virginia Apologizes for Slavery

Some interesting news from my former home commonwealth Virginia. Both houses of the General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution to apologize for slavery and exploitation of Native Americans. The measure of course is merely symbolic. The crimes occurred a century and more ago committed by people long since deceased. Due to the liquidity of the American population it’s not even likely that these elected representatives nor their constituents include a great number of descendants of slave holders. But in another sense it is very appropriate. Slavery in England’s colonies began in Virginia when the first black indentured servants arrived in Jamestown in 1619. Virginia has a long history of leading the nation and inspiring revolutionary change, and I think this may be another case. I’ve read some other bloggers commentary about the resolution and it’s largely negative along the lines of “too little, too late” and “hypocrisy.” I think a commenter at the Busted Halo blog puts it best though when s/he states that it is a good thing to acknowledge our shameful past in the same way that we patriotically celebrate our more commendable moments. Whitewashing history generally is ineffective compared to simply letting it all hang out.

Rite of Election

The first Sunday of Lent is one of those occasions that reminds me of the catholic (small “c”) nature of the Catholic (big “C”) Church.  The Rite of Election is the beginning of the home stretch for people who are becoming Catholic: the Catechumens (individuals who will receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and first Eucharist at the Easter Vigil) and the Candidates (individuals baptized in another Christian faith who will join in Full Communion of the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist).  As a sponsor for a candidate I participated in this ceremony today.

We began with the Rite of Sending, a simple ceremony during the Mass at the chapel that allowed the community to get to know the Catechumens and Candidates in a more intimate setting.  Then we piled onto the Silver Line and rode to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross where we joined Catechumens, Candidates, sponsors, godparents, family and other well-wishers from all the parishes of the Archdiocese of Boston.  Thousands of people filled the cathedral, which is quite a beautiful building with carved wooden buttresses and stained-glass windows.  The Catechumens were called forward and presented before Cardinal Sean at which point they became the Elect (hence Rite of Election) and the Candidates followed for a similar celebration.

I tend to like ceremony and ritual, apparently more than your typical progressive Catholic.  So I enjoyed the processions, the presentations, the intercessions, the contrast between Cardinal Sean’s basso profondo and cantor Phillis Baker’s ceiling-scraping soprano.  The thing that got me most though is that this same ceremony occurred in each and every cathedral throughout the world.  According to the cardinal there are about 3,000 total.  It’s pretty awe-inspiring to be part of something that big.

Movie Review: The Twelfth Annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival!

Every February, The Brattle Theatre presents the Bugs Bunny Film Festival and last night I took in their All Bugs Review. Bugs Bunny is not my favorite Looney Tunes character — that would be Pepe Le Pew — but he was featured in these 11 classic comedy capers (dig that alliteration).

The Rabbit of Seville (1950) — Bugs and Elmer Fudd face off on stage in the classic opera with Bugs continually forcing Elmer into the barber’s chair for abuse. Probably the highlight of the night, so why did they show it first?

A Star is Bored (1956) — Daffy Duck gets a job as Bugs Bunny’s stunt double, meaning basically anytime something too dangerous for Bugs is about to happen, Daffy is inserted into the scene to suffer from the disaster. It’s funny for it’s parody of Hollywood divaism, but I’ve never really been into the Bugs-Daffy rivalry, and the jokes get repetitive.

Bugsy and Mugsy (1957) — Two hoods are hiding out upstairs from Bugs and Bugs plays tricks on them to make the little smart guy (Mugsy) mistrust the big dumb guy (Rocky). Some classic physical humor including Bugs putting skates on Rocky and then dragging him across the room with a giant magnet to repeatedly smash into Mugsy.

Forward March Hare (1953) — Bugs is accidentally drafted into the army and although he tries to serve his country, he repeatedly messes things up and causes his drill sergeant to be repeatedly demoted. Lots of sight gags with Bugs in oversized fatigues among big, beefy army guys. This cartoon is an oddity in that Bugs is the dupe who keeps goofing up instead of his typical wiseguy role.

Hare Lift (1952) — In typical nonsensical fashion, Bugs Bunny is checking out the world’s largest airplane (which parked over his hole) when bank robber Yosemite Sam arrives and forces Bugs to fly it. The best part is when Sam pushes the robotic pilot button, the robot runs out, grabs a parachute and jumps from the plane.

My Bunny Lies Over the Sea (1948) — Bugs ends up in Scotland where he falls into a series of sterotypic ethnic jokes. Actually, it’s pretty funny when he attacks a Scotsman with bagpipes because he thinks it’s a little old lady being attacked by a monster. The Scotsman of course challenges him to golf, and a series of golf jokes ensue.

Knights Must Fall (1949) — In a medieval romp, Bugs and his tiny burro take on Sir Pantsalot of Drop Seat Manor in a jousting match.

Hillbilly Hare (1950) — This time Bugs ends up in the Ozarks for some more stereotypic humor. The funniest sequence is when Bugs becomes a square dance caller and forces the hillbilly brothers into a series of slapstick dance moves.

Big House Bunny (1950) — Bugs Bunny tunnels into the Sing Song Prison and battles it out with warden Yosemite Sam who keeps getting in trouble with his boss for all his apparent screwups. Cabinboy at Wuzzon? writes in everyone loves a hanging about discomfort with a joke on the gallows which leads into a discussion of which forms of capital punishment you can laugh at.

Rabbit Every Monday (1951) — Bugs versus Yosemite Sam again, this time in a hunting caper (was Elmer Fudd on vacation). Funny bits include Sam getting caught up in a chewing gum bubble which doesn’t wipe off right away in typical cartoon fashion.

Devil May Hare (1954) — The Tasmanian Devil makes his debut and Bugs tries to help him find something to eat (so that he doesn’t eat Bugs). I never got much into the Tasmanian Devil although his grunts and dimwittedness are at their best here. Perhaps this explains how Taz despite appearing in just a half-a-dozen films appeared on all those t-shirts, posters, and Warner Bros. marketing materials in the 1980’s & 90’s.

Some classics, some not, but all funny stuff including several cartoons I don’t recall from my many childhood years of cartoon watching.

Boston Athenaeum Lecture Series: Libraries and Copyright

Last night I attended a lecture called Libraries and Copyright: Hands Off, That’s Mine! Who Owns What And For How Long? at Boston Public Library’s Raab Lecture Hall. The lecture is part of a series Current and Back Issues: Persistent Themes in the Library, part of the bicentennial events of the Boston Athenaeum (despite this, all the lectures take place at the BPL). Speaking last night were Meredith McGill of Rutgers University and Dr. Siva Vaidhyanathan of New York University. The Boston Athenaeum’s William Strong moderated the discussion.

I don’t have much to write about the lecture, because:

  • A. I didn’t take notes (it was too dark).
  • B. I have a mind like a sieve and can’t remember anything.
  • C. I nodded off for a bit of the lecture (this is NO REFLECTION ON THE QUALITY OF THE SPEAKERS, it was just dark and I was sleepy).

McGill spoke first offering an historic perspective of copyright in the 19th Century. Apparently for the first century or so after the ratification of the Constitution, the United States did not recognize international copyright. As a result, books published in Europe were reprinted in the United States off in densely-printed, two-column per page format much like a magazine. The idea was to sell cheap copies of great European writing to encourage the ideal of civic republicanism. As Vaidhyanathan stated later, US legal views on international copyright didn’t change until the economic shift where US publishers became the primary source of printed materials for export.

Vaidhyanathan focused more on contemporary issues in copyright. Specifically, he talked about how copyright changed from protecting the consumer (providing quality literature for readers to help create Madison’s civic republicanism) to protecting the author and corporations. In the question and answer period after the lecture a lot of the audience were concerned with Google Books. Specifically what does Google owe to the public (answer: nothing, they just provide things that will drive people to their site to create revenue). Also there’s a lot of concern that institutions like University of Michigan Libraries just gave away a lot of their resources to Google, did not incorporate library ethics and scholarly concerns into the contracts, and pretty much bargained from a position of weakness when they did not have to.

And that’s about all that I remember. I’ll be looking around to see if anyone else who attend this lecture writes about it and post some links.