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Archive for the ‘Style’ Category

The People of Tomorrow

Posted by Ron Coleman on January 21, 2009

Jack over at the The Missal has some thoughts about the Obama Era and the people who live in it.


Posted in Heart and spirit, Politics and Poker, Style | 1 Comment »

Hitting bottom, all right

Posted by Ron Coleman on November 25, 2008

Ara Rubyan:

My son has asked me on more than one occasion recently, “So what do we do now?” Usually, in that conversation, I start out apologizing to him for the mess my generation has left him to deal with. Which leads to him asking his question.

Say it ain’t so, Ara.  You apologize to your son?  On behalf of your entire generation?  Because it has left the future such a sticky, gooey mess?

It is stuff like this — and Ara is thoughtful, and insightful, and serious — that reminds me that even though I’m obviously not nearly rabidly oppositional enough about Barack Obama, I must really not be any kind of liberal at all.

Posted in Heart and spirit, Sisyphus, Style | 9 Comments »

Trails of tears

Posted by Ron Coleman on November 17, 2008

Kaus sums it all up:

Vodkapundit makes the basic point about Obama’s Blackberry. … You want the President to rely solely on information passed up the official chain through the White House gatekeepers? That way lies the Bay of Pigs!  The chain of command is a lousy way to find out bad news. Emailing around seems like a pretty good way. Is it that much harder to secure than a phone call? Aren’t Presidents trusted with the telephone? … Paranoid P.S.: You have to wonder whether on some level this isn’t an an attempt by the White House bureaucracy to control Obama. … [via Insta]

I guess I just can’t stop being a lawyer.  It is obvious to any of the wingtip-shod that the President can’t use a BlackBerry the way he uses a phone because, duh, (1) a BlackBerry leaves a textual trail, and (2) the BlackBerry isn’t only a way to receive information, it is a way to distribute it; and the process of receiving it requires a series of textual prompts — at the very least — by the putative BB-ing President BO.

Just last week, at the Media Law Resource Center dinner, the presidential historian Michael Beschloss made it very clear that he has no idea how his job will be done in the future.  Presidents today, and those around them, do not dare write contemporaneous notes, diaries, letters… these are mere fodder for politically-motivated congressional witch hunts and special prosecutors looking for something, anything, as a hook on which to hang the other side out to dry.  The only defense to this process has been executive privilege, and even that is considered bad form now.  The Democrats in Congress have made it clear there will be purges later this coming winter and are warning the White House not to rev up the shredders — and in this environment, we think the next President should generate dozens of email trails containing hundreds of messages in the process of governing?

The virtual eye?

The virtual eye?

It’s much more than this.  We have lost some perspective, it seems.  The BlackBerry is a virtual replacement for being at the center of the process.  It is a form of portable access, both incoming and outgoing, as a replacement for being face to face with the people and data with whom interaction is required.

The BlackBerry — the “CrackBerry” — in fact, is a tyranny that we impose on ourselves in an attempt to manage our piece of a world that will move along without us if we log off for long.  You might argue that this is all the more true for a Chief Executive, but it is not merely wishful thinking to suggest that this is not the manner in which the President of the United States should operate on a personal level.  It is a managerial and executive imperative that this be so.  If there is any single person on earth who absolutely should not be executing his responsibilities via the essentially reactive, and highly improvisational, mode of feverish electronic messaging, it is the President of the United States.

Posted in Nuvo-Techno, Social networking, Stragety, Style | 14 Comments »

Timothy Noah, master of self parody

Posted by Ron Coleman on August 6, 2008

I kept checking to make sure this wasn’t just something I missed on April 1st, but no:

When white people are invited to think about Obama’s physical appearance, the principal

Boy, could this guy pass!

Boy, could this guy pass!

attribute they’re likely to dwell on is his dark skin. Consequently, any reference to Obama’s other physical attributes can’t help coming off as a coy walk around the barn. A whole genre of humor turns on this reality. A Slate colleague informs me that an episode of the TV sitcom Happy Days (“Fonzie’s New Friend”) had its 1950s-era characters nervously discussing the fact that a black man in their midst was so … skinny. Was it true that skinny people liked fried chicken? That they were good at basketball? And so on.

No, really. Seriously.

So we, who thought we could take some solace regarding our melanin deficiencies in our endowments of underlying flesh, turn out to be no-good racists again on that score too.

I feel like a bit, fat idiot.

UPDATE:  Racist idiot, that is.  (Via Glenn.) (Bumped.)

Posted in Homo sapiens, Politics and Poker, Sisyphus, Style | 4 Comments »

Global cooling

Posted by Ron Coleman on July 29, 2008

Glenn Reynolds links to and repeats the query: “Is it becoming cool to mock the Greens?”

It wasn’t cool all along?  Wow.  Now I’m pretty embarrassed.

Posted in Jocularity, Politics and Poker, Style | Leave a Comment »

Cooking lawyers alive

Posted by Ron Coleman on July 1, 2008

O’Connor federal courthouse

Originally uploaded by Ron Coleman

Yesterday I was here, in the stupidestly-designed courthouse on God’s brutally-baked brown desert earth — the Sandra Day O’Connor Courthouse in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. It is truly a marvel of arrogance. Imagine being so utterly uninterested in anything besides how you’d like your box of Erector Set pieces to look like at the award ceremony that you design a massive building, meant for human habitation, that is actually a gigantic greenhouse that grabs scorching-hot sunbeams from one of the hottest atmospheres on the continent and just plays them across a massive, uncoolable interior atrium.

This monster has an evil twin in my own neighborhood, named after the entirely more prosaic former U.S. Senator and ur-fixer Alfonse D’Amato, in his home turf in Long Island. The U.S. courthouse for the Eastern District of New York is every bit as soulless and unconnected to how people use built space. Like the Arizona torture chamber, this one features cold, ornament-free, angular hard white spaces, a soaring atrium and a complete denial of the human spirit. Both feature vast plazas requiring five minutes of walking from the curb to the front door that, when shown on the architect’s drawings, must have depicted lunchtime building workers gaily eating their lunches, taking in the sun, flirting and strumming guitars — a true communitarian dream in federal jurisprudential space, and far enough from any possible truck bomb to make those shared moments entirely carefree.

But no has ever relaxed in either one of these plazas. The one in Central Islip is too windblown to hang out in, the D’Amato tower truly epitomizing the concept of a white elephant as the only building of its scale for what must be 20 miles all around — a largely empty monument to federally funded megalomania. On almost any day the sun beats off the bright white surfaces so intensely that polarized lenses are de rigeur and blinded lawyers quickly scurry across the plaza through the revolving-door entrance and into the heartless, icy lobby. But this same formula truly amounts to a miniature Judicial Conference death valley in Phoenix. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Americana, Lex scripta, Style, Suburbia, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

The family secret

Posted by Ron Coleman on June 25, 2008

Maniakes writes, on Dean’s World:

You keep using that word [– atheism]. I do not think it means what you think it means.

As he demonstrates, according to a report a meaningful percentage of self-described atheists admit they really believe in God.

That’s the ones who admit it.

It’s just socially cooler in a lot of places to claim to be an atheist than to say either, “I don’t know” or “God, yeah, but religion I can’t buy into.”  Yes, even the latter; once you admit there’s a God , there’s no end to the thing.

No end to it at all!

Posted in Faith and Works, Heart and spirit, Style | Leave a Comment »

Sharing the love

Posted by Ron Coleman on June 20, 2008

I love reading really harsh performing arts criticism, at least when it’s directed at highly-paid professionals.  (It’s hardly ever appropriate to eighth grade choirs, wouldn’t you agree?)  Why did Frank Rich ever agree to give up his perch as the unchallenged Butcher of Broadway to become another eminently forgettable, unremarkable liberal mediocrity on the Times‘s op-ed page?  Sure, we all want to sit at the grownups’ table (that’s why we swung this blog out from the IP blog, after all, right?), but if anyone was in a position to know the Jerry Lewis Story, you’d think it would have been Rich. He’s still alive, right?  (Very big in France, maybe?)

I digress.  Just read this lede by Dana Stevens in Slate, then go get something to eat and put up your feet before clicking the link to take in the rest:

There are good movies. There are bad movies. There are movies so bad they’re good (though, strangely, not the reverse). And once in a while there is a movie so bad that it takes you to a place beyond good and evil and abandons you there, shivering and alone.

The movie?  Mike Myers’s “The Love Guru.”  Myers is a talented guy, too, and hardly guilty of taking himself too seriously.  He knows he’s a clown.  But he seems to have reached that Edddie Murphy-like point where he has no one around him to tell him … to just tell him.

So Dana’s going to tell him.

Posted in Ars Longa, Style | Leave a Comment »

Shoe shine

Posted by Ron Coleman on April 10, 2008

Shoe shine

Originally uploaded by Ron Coleman.

So far, so good.

I had two early court dates this morning, in two cases where I represent plaintiffs in trademark infringements. Amazingly, and quite coincidentally, they were scheduled an hour apart in the same courthouse, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. So in addition to the blue pinstripe Brooksease suit, I decided to go whole-hog and wear my Court Shoes, the Aldens with the extra-heavy hard soles lined by a thick Republican welt. These puppies are full wing tips, my lads, not those girly curvy little wingers that drop out on you half way back to the heel like on my everyday Florsheims, you hear? Yes, the steel shanks set off the metal detectors, but this seemed like the morning to go crazy.

Now not everything started out perfectly. First I had to get up super early, because the first conference was scheduled for a punitive 8 AM. I left Clifton at 5:30 so I could get to the office in time for morning prayers, prep and leaving cushions for disasters, but not before realizing these shoes needed serious attention — which I was not going to get before court. Still, they would manage, on the merits. I had a cold-sweat moment in the Lincoln Tunnel, realizing I had brought the wrong keys, but after furrowing my brow and analyzing all the alternative courses of action including breaking down the internal door to my own law firm, I realized I had, ta-da!, a spare set in my briefcase. Wow.

Traffic was a breeze at that hour — I felt like king of the city whizzing cross town around 6! — and I was ensconced at my place on 42nd Street by 6:15.

I got everything I needed taken care of here and headed onto the 5 train express downtown at a quarter after seven, even having time to scarf down an H&H Bagel bagel at my desk first. Got to court 15 minutes early, greeted my out-of-town adversary on the front steps, and the conference went off more or less as expected (i.e., a fairly spineless judge got pushed around and my adversaries lied through their teeth).

Conference number two was a little less intense, except for the judge making us sit an entire half hour before coming out on the bench. It was worth the wait — he immediately provided my adversary new accommodations for lower-GI evacuation, giving me a good report to take to my angel-like client in that particular case. I skipped out of court (okay, well, figuratively; we do not skip), retrieved my BlackBerry from the stern blue-blazer boys in the U.S. Marshal’s office, and flipped it on as I bounded toward the subway. God had placed not one but two very happy emails in the ether for me, and my handheld snagged them and provided me with their appealing company as I descended into cool underground station at Foley Square.

Now back uptown, and to deal with the shoes.

I knew what I wanted. Since I left the snazzier part of midtown, I haven’t found a good, regular shoe-shine place along my commuting path. Now that spring was here, surely the guy in front of Grand Central would be the way to go? I sat down on what was now a perfectly sunny spring day and let him to his worst, as he commented to me about the “high level of talent” on 42nd Street this morning, and warned me not to look at the shoes directly in the sun after he was through without proper eyewear.

He finished the shine, and I asked him what the damage was. To my surprise, it was a cool five-spot — a very expensive shoe shine, considering that most places in the City still charge $3 or maybe $4. I was also not blown away by the gloss, frankly. With the tip, the same amount of tip I would have given on a $3 shine, now we’re talking $7 for a good but not great shine. The front of Grand Central guy was not going to be my answer. Perhaps I would have to stick for now with the boys in the Port Authority, who do at least as good a job for a buck less and usually throw in some excellent improvisational comedy that gives me the rare opportunity to play straight man.

But the shoes do look better, even if they don’t throw off photons like black neon as I would like them to, and it was a heck of a good start to the morning on a day that looks as if it could be the real beginning of climatic spring. What’s not to love?

Posted in Heart and spirit, Homo sapiens, Lex scripta, Metropolis, Style | 13 Comments »

Defining eloquence

Posted by Ron Coleman on March 19, 2008

Instapundit links to this headline:William Jennings Bryant

ABC NEWS: Buried in Eloquence, Obama Contradictions About Pastor.

It is rather ironic how the definition of eloquence has devolved. It once meant a talent for powerfully, persuasively and elegantly communicating ideas. Now it is used to describe the use of pretty language to obscure meaning.

There are other words for that.

Posted in Medialites, Politics and Poker, Style | 23 Comments »