Wednesday, January 26, 2005

So the dictatorship of the proletariat hasn't come to Alabama yet?

From the NYT, on the trial of disgraced HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, for allegedly committing huge accounting fraud:
[The judge] emphasized that the jurors should not be influenced one way or another by Mr. Scrushy's wealth. "Mr. Scrushy is not on trial for making and spending money," she said.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Found poetry

In a blurb in the online WSJ, after a cheerful commentary on today's market action:
"Traders were pensive as the final hours of trading lately have been tough on stocks."
Ah, those pensive traders! Ah, long-suffering stocks!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

And you thought the WSJ had no sense of drama

But consider this opening.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- As dusk fell here one evening recently, an armed team spread out over the corporate campus of RadioShack Corp. and waited.

Suddenly, high above the downtown skyscrapers, the electric-blue evening sky darkened with a huge swirl of black dots. Soon, a screeching cloud of birds descended, settling on the trees around the building.

One of the armed men pointed his pistol and fired, sending a special noise-making cartridge into the trees, where it exploded with a loud boom. Then the rest of the team opened fire. For the next 45 minutes, this normally quiet place sounded like a war zone, echoing with explosions and screaming missiles as the birds boiled back into the sky in a graceful, fleeing mass.

It's grackle time in Texas.
The closing is pretty good, too:
Fort Worth -- which spends up to $60,000 a year dispatching crews to "power wash" its downtown sidewalks -- also favors the gun approach. Last year, city workers began training employees of downtown businesses to use pistols with cracker shells to drive off the birds.

Now, city park officials are asking the city council to approve a much more ambitious plan. The goal: to train a citywide corps of residents and business owners who would fire coordinated blasts from shotguns to drive the birds beyond city limits.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"The dailiness of life"

At first I was going to quote this poem and give a reference to Jo's post, about her unexpected pregnancy while waiting to adopt. But I really think you should read the whole post, for lines like this:
I value my tiredness. In it I feel my mother and my grandmother and my next-door neighbor, now 34 weeks; I feel every woman who ever felt it, proximal, as though we were working in a vast kitchen together, kneading bread in a contrapunnel rhythm together, watching the tenuous work of yeast at the right temperature with the right food, no less miraculous than pregnancy, conscious of how everything is really just the same thing, just one thing. I feel in my bones the wanting and ache of every woman waiting for an adoption, too, and those women just waiting to see what might happen, which miracle to teach themselves to see. We are all in the kitchen, working, waiting, talking over busy hands. All of them rest inside me, and I can never separate myself from any of them, no matter which way opens itself to me, no matter whether each group can see the other, in that kitchen.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dispatches from the world of hair (1)

From Wednesday's NYT:
The [North Korean] government is telling men to keep their hair short and visit a barber twice a month, saying that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy, according to the BBC, citing broadcasts from Pyongyang. The drive is being led primarily by state television with a series called "Let Us Trim Our Hair in Accordance With Socialist Lifestyle."

Dispatches from the world of hair (2)

And from today's paper, at the end of a way-too-long front page article on the commercialization of Donald Trump's wedding:
[E]ven stars who are less than press-shy or freebie-averse have their limits. Mr. Trump, for instance, will handle at least one important wedding-day service himself.
"I'll do my own hair," he said, adding wearily, "unfortunately for the world."

Friday, January 07, 2005

Your sports update (with a highly tangential Long Island twist)

I don't really do football (hey, I'm waiting for all those golden Pedro quotes starting this spring). But I did relish this commentary on a recent Monday night game from Skot at Izzle Pfaff!:
Where to start? Well, maybe the quarterbacks, who in this instance I hope are named for the amount of money they earned for their efforts. Luke McCown? AJ Feeley? These are not the names of quarterbacks. They are the names of residents of West Egg. Then again, the hottest quarterback in football is named Peyton, so what do I know?

I feel good, but not that good

Amazon has just kindly sent me an e-mail offering me the chance to buy James Brown's memoir, "I Feel Good: A Memoir of a Life in Soul," at a 32% discount. I feel baffled, though I suppose I should feel flattered: clearly their recommendations engine hasn't grasped how square I really am.

* * *
Meanwhile, despite my pre-Christmas angst, I had a very nice vacation. I'm now back at work, where the prospect of my approaching leave sometimes fills me with relief, but more often with worries about the amount of work to be done.