Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I was procrastinating for Hegel class today. Sue me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Two on my Favorite Things

I am busy, but a quick post. I love Harry Potter and questions of gender/sexuality (though, not as much as other people, and not as much as I love HP) so I can't help commenting about the most recent HP bombshell that Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was, before his tragic passing, queer (and maybe in death too, up for debate). [As a side discussion-isn't power enough to blind the wise? Why does Jo need to go into sexual desire to explain Dumbledore's oversight? There is power which is not sexual (contends I).]

I should have guessed this, right? But honestly (and embarrassingly) the thought never crossed my mind (cough, heteronormative, cough). It's a good thing, or at the very least, a thing, but it also signifies the shift of consciousness. I am generally quite warm to the incessant detail Rowling provides for her world, but invariably then, no aspect gets ignored. We know everyone's embarrassments, glories, failings and boredoms.

Part of characterness, even the characters in our own lives, is precisely that lack of detail. A sweet old man, who is sweet sans context (and particularly sans sexuality). In particular, literature/mythology has preserved wisdom, qua wise old man, without the need to have contextual bindings. Merlin, Eliyahu, Yishaya, Yirmiya, Sherlock Holmes never needed indulge in the social and sexual pirouettes of common folk; they just were never defined along those lines. I guess we have just gotten past that. Shame, really.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Doe v. United States

I don't have any IR theory background. None. However, this statement by Hu Jintau at the 17th National Congress of the governing Communist Party leads me to question ensuing global politics:
He [Hu Jintao] called the international situation favorable to China, saying a “trend toward a multipolar world is irreversible.” -NYT
This seems to be the language of Russia more than the US or EU (citation needed). I don't actually believe that China wants to be one of those polls; it does not seem to be in their business plan. But why phrase it in competitive language?

It is possible, distinctly possible, that as Communists they feel the need to fire some "empty shots." Apparently Mao told Nixon after the Shanghai Communiqué that China will still have to write bad things about the America in the newspapers so the people will not get confused, and likewise America is free to write bad things about China. "Empty shots" in the words of Mao.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Epic Tragedy

Last night was Joe Torre's last night at the manager for the New York Yankees. Like the many tragedies of great drama, the Fates have turned, and a great man is now a poor man. And that is precisely the point of great drama, all Good Things pass. Joe is the best of things.

He has managed the Yankees for twelve years, twelve consecutive playoff appearances, six pennants and four world series titles, all the while showing glory to baseball's stars and never taking for his own. He has faced mercurial ownership and roster changes, always able to present the right lineup card at game time. But not last night. He made the wrong call. Wang was too young and could not pitch on three days. Moose could have pitched. That is tragedy. A great man becomes a poor man, weak to fates and furies.

The point of tragedy, the damning truth, is that it is inevitable. Arguably the only other manager in the history of baseball who has the privilege of having his name recited along Torre's is Casey Stengel, who also managed for twelve years won five consecutive World Series titles. He too was forced out after a bad playoff result. There must be parity between comedies and tragedies. Oh how the mighty fall.

Say it ain't so, Joe.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

OU on Rabbi Kret

I just wanted to post this piece from the most recent issue of the OU's Jewish Action on Rabbi Kret zt'l.

What was really amazing about R. Kret was that everyone found exactly what they needed in this tiny man. Not all of the article resonated with me, but that's also kind of what is amazing.

Playing hardball, with someone else's good name?

I thought this quote in the NYT was a bit agressive, but of course Apple has been known to say things in the past:
Jennifer Bowcock, an Apple spokeswoman, said that when people went to update their software with their computer through iTunes, a warning appeared on the computer screen, making it clear that any unauthorized modifications to the iPhone software violated the agreement that people entered into when they bought the phone...“If the damage was due to use of an unauthorized software application, voiding their warranty, they should purchase a new iPhone.”
When I googled "Jennifer Bowcock" most of the hits I got were as a Media Relations rep for Cingular. That would make a whole lot of sense, considering how pissed Cingular is liable to be having learned that some 17 year old de facto cracked their exclusivity contract with Apple. She might also serve a dual role for both Cingular and Apple, so I can't be sure. Interesting though.