Category Archives: Society


Reading a bit about the financial crisis when I came across this picture of William H. Gross, co-head of Pacific Investment Management Company.  Strange to see a financial-type with his tie completely undone & shirt unbuttoned, microphone lying on the table.  Perhaps this crisis is worse than I thought, and I think it’s pretty awful.

from NY Times.

Capitalization, hierarchy and style

Was taking a look at some of the NY Times slideshows of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to New York today. One of the things that struck me stylistically while doing so (in addition to the red shoes he wore with the white double-breasted overcoat during his visit to Ground Zero) was the following sentence:

  • “The pope and Cardinal Edward M. Egan, the archbishop of New York, walked on the ramp.”

A caption on this photo, the capitalization decision struck me as hierarchically backwards: it seems funny that while “pope” was not capped, “Cardinal” was. To me, one would logically capitalize Pope, the head of the Church, if one has decided to do so for those whom he appoints to office, the Cardinals. I would think that the NYT editorial style calls for such consistency. In any case, it sounds like a good excuse to have a fact-finding look in the Chicago Manual of Style.

JH update

Thought I should pass along/amplify the story here in Jackson Heights that has caught the attention of city newspapers. The Western Jackson Heights Alliance, co-founded by my neighbor, Will Sweeney, has done an admirable job of gaining traction for the noise and traffic issue in this lovely neighborhood. This past Wednesday’s meeting did the job of starting a larger dialogue and bringing city officials to the table, though I did not stay for the duration.

The NY Daily News and NY Times picked up the story. The Times article leads with a photograph of the offending intersection, 73rd Street and 37th Ave. The Daily News article (cited in various places as appears today to have been scrubbed from the paper’s website.

I hope the momentum continues to build and that more than fleeting change results. I did see a police van at the intersection this afternoon, but by the time I had come back an hour later the 73/37 intersection was snarled as ever.

Shut and open cases

(a) Case dismissed: Thankfully, I was not one of 5 jurors chosen from the pool of 11 to sit on the gang assault trial. I am now safe from jury duty for 6 years.

(b) New initiative: had my first banjo lesson last night (finally) – stopped dragging my feet. It was fun & I’m looking forward to getting some practice time in this weekend. Studying with Henry Hample. Here’s what we did:

  • Some simple definitions: chords, scales, etc. & banjo orientation
  • G-major scale (banjos are tuned to G)
  • Forward roll, an 8-note picking pattern
  • G, C, and D chords
  • “This land is your land” using the forward roll with the C-G-D chords


20061005 banjo00

Here we go.

Spirit crushing boredom

Entering my 3rd day of jury duty at the Queens County Criminal Court in Kew Gardens tomorrow.

Day 1. Sat in overheated room watching The View (LL Cool J was on) and the Steve Harvey Show and reading 2 books from 8:15 am until 4 pm (except for the 1.5 hour lunch). Finally called as the last person in the fourth group- they led us over to the court building  and then dismissed us for the day.

Day 2 (today). Reported at 10 am. Our group (called K-17) was whittled down by lunchtime to 12 people to fill an unspecified number of spots on a partially-filled jury. One man did not come back from lunch, maybe because he had the lobster club, but more likely couldn’t remember where he was. A rather confused gentleman. So it’s Ocean’s Eleven in there now.

The judge got through a bunch of explanations and interviewing almost half of us. The remainder will be interviewed by her tomorrow, then the four attorneys will have their turns with us. Tomorrow appears to be when we jump the shark and this sitcom takes a turn: we’re either on for what looks like a couple weeks or we go home & back to work, etc. Maybe.

Even though it’s a lot of boring sitting around, it’s also quite rigorous, which I didn’t expect. A lot of listening and trying to make sense of lawyer-speak: lots of subordinate clauses which have subordinate clauses… It’s a bit nerve-racking too & so by the end of today’s session I was pretty exhausted.

Well, time for a salad.