Wednesday, December 28, 2016
For some time now I've been doing a little wrap-up of my favorite posts and the things I enjoyed over the past year. I go back over the year, month by month, and pull the links. Sometimes, when I look back at these year in review posts I find the seeds of events that didn't turn out so well, but most of the time I'm pleasantly surprised by re-encountering events and writing I'd forgotten about. It shouldn't really come as a surprise that 2016 has not been like that. So many deaths of so many persons who were important to me, artists and writers and musicians. Even the one death I was glad of was spoiled when the Senate declined to take up Merrick Garland's appointment. Sometimes a bad year is a bad year, and although there were moments when I thought things would turn out okay, I was just wrong, and looking back over those times is painful. Not to say that I didn't have some happy moments-- of course I did. Those just happened to be things that I didn't write about so much. So October's North Carolina celebration is not represented here, and neither are the pleasant hours spent kyacking, or the AHIA meeting in San Diego...
- Teaching Constitutional Law at Buffalo State
- Scalia died
- "Out on Bush Street, thinking things over"
- Buffalo State Moot Court
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Next time I'm in NYC I'm going up to 110th Street for a chopped cheese. (Also hilarious for the slagging Brooklyn gets in the video: "People who used to hang in Williamsburg, they don't even live in Williamsburg no more.")
Monday, December 12, 2016
I have to say that hearing Patti Smith sing "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" at the Nobel Prize ceremony should put to rest any further question about Bob Dylan's deserving the prize. I also think that his banquet speech was modest and charming. Dylan was a piece in the Mock Trial problem we used this semester, which was about a popular culture writer who was fired by her magazine, supposedly because she was not sufficiently up on current pop music. On a quiz, just for fun, I asked the students to name three Dylan songs for extra credit, and none of them could. After the final I had them vote on who the class MVP was, and awarded him with a copy of "Greatest Hits, Vol. II".
Friday, December 09, 2016
What is the most annoying Elton John song? It is tempting to just say, "Whatever Elton John song is currently playing/stuck in your head at the moment," but that lacks scientific rigor. I used to think it was "Tiny Dancer", but that has the scene in Almost Famous going for it, so I am going to say it's this one. My god that is irritating. What the hell is wrong with the woman? Rolling in the hay like a puppy child? Is she simple-minded? Can't she eat without dribbling?
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, July 2, 2017, Canandaigua. I think I want to check this out. Pound for pound Tom Petty is as great a rock and roller as anyone, and if you don't believe me, ask Bob Dylan. His radio show is legit, and hilarious, and he has written more great songs than I could name. He always sounds like he is having a fine time, and if that isn't a prescription for a great concert I don't know what is.
Monday, December 05, 2016
As it happens my law school is housed in a building named for John Lord O'Brian, a one-time United States Attorney most famous for prosecuting Eugene V. Debbs. I guess that is several degrees less horrible than being named for a pro-slavery Senator, but I've never felt particularly great about it. We have some rooms named after some people that didn't exactly live up to the highest principles of our glamor profession as well, but for the most part I am able to regard that with a wink and a sense of irony. What I'm saying is that I'm impressed with Yale's approach on this issue. It has decided that there is a "strong presumption against renaming", that if a namesake has “made major contributions to the University,” then “the presumption against renaming is at its strongest,” and that four criteria should be considered in considering the question. The first is whether "a principal legacy of the namesake fundamentally at odds with the mission of the University?”; the second is, “Was the relevant principal legacy significantly contested in the time and place in which the namesake lived?”; the third is whether, "the University, at the time of a naming, honor[ed] a namesake for reasons that are fundamentally at odds with the mission of the University?”, and finally, does a building that meets the other criteria “play a substantial role in forming community at the University?”