Thursday, March 24, 2005

Take note: a modest suggestion, humbly stated

If you like Ocean, do click here and cast your vote in support of it. Ocean has indeed been nominated (it's one of ten) in the blog contest sponsored by MKEonline and though I’m not in it for the win (really truly), I would be a tiny bit traumatized if I collected only ten votes -- from my immediate family and closest friends who feel duty bound to register their approval (they’d vote if I wrote "padooooka" each day ten times and left it at that).

Thank you!

New Haven break: Question: Why is a Wisconsin law professor sitting in on a Yale Law School class?

Answer: To get to the other side.

Really. How else am I supposed to understand the “student perspective” (on computer use, boredom, tension, etc.) if I am never on the side of the audience? ...If I have lectured for more than fifteen years, but have never sat amidst the students, taking notes on my computer?

One objection raised by faculty who conduct classes in this Internet-driven climate is that flashing screens are a distraction to those (few? many?) who are paying attention.

I am simul-blogging this class, trying hard to have my screen remain as dull as possible. I want to blend! Be part of the pannelled walls! The room is full and every single person is using a computer. A few are, indeed, reading the NYT (though he is talking about the Schiavo case, so the NYT is not irrelevant), a few are emailing. But he’s pacing, moving into the room. Interesting.

New worries for the connected generation: did I remember to mute the volume on the computer? To turn off the cell? Did you know that a NY museum will fine you $50 if your cell phone goes off on its premises?

Oh dear, why does my computer give out occasional puffs, as if it’s revving up for something big, pushing itself to make that extra leap, then giving up? No one else’s does that! I am learning something about the age of my little Dell. And my age as well: dear prof, you are mumbling the ends of sentences. Keep your energy ‘til the end: the last words are not mere shadows of the rest.

Oh! He’s taking a five minute break… says he has something in his eye. Maybe he’s crying?? Everyone of us has had this happen: a lecture must be delivered, even though our emotional world is a complete bloody mess: we enter class and we push ourselves to be in control and we can barely make it until the end. He does seem sad...

And now I am sweating for him, for myself as the interloper, and for the students who are on call. I’m looking at the clock. It’s tough to be in the middle. Next week I’m at the podium again. Nice and safe, with my notes and the seating chart.
Welcome to Yale; have a seat: spring has come to Old Campus. Posted by Hello
this is the last of it, right? right?? Posted by Hello
a snow cap on a bike seat says it all... Posted by Hello

New York: Louise's on a wet day

I cross the street and finally I see it: a diner that is open. I have been walking for hours, past blocks and blocks of closed and boarded up houses and stores, barber shops without customers, funeral homes – lots of funeral homes, and every once in a while a grocer with Coors beer flags flapping in the strong gusts of wind. Every square inch of me is saturated with wet snow. And then, on the corner of 121st and Lennox, I see Louise’s.

This post is about nothing at all. Because nothing took place there, I saw nothing of note, heard not a whole lot, ate little, talked less. And yet, it may have been my favorite half hour of the day.

I walk in. Shut that goddam door! --shouts a patron, seated on a stool at the counter. Ten stools, three tables, that’s it.

Sorry, I say and I close the door. I didn’t know that it didn’t swing shut.

It’s open, isn’t it?
You’re right. It’s open. And now it’s shut.

From the woman behind the counter: It’s dinner time now. (at 1 pm?) Here, we have these. I am shown a sheet with a list of hearty dishes, all below $10. Way below $10.

Hmm. I was thinking more like a cup of soup.

No soup today. (Bad timing. Today seems like a soup day if ever there was one.)

Okay, just tea then. I get my tea. The news is on the TV. One of Louise’s crew is eating eggs, sausages and pancakes. The others are sitting, watching – first me, then the TV. Finally, one says: would you like something with that tea?

Like what?

We have cornbread.

I’d like that.
She (Louise? Probably not. Why do I think there hasn't been a Louise around for years...) smears butter over two pieces (Okay! That’s enough, thanks! – I say, and then I catch myself. Maybe it tastes great with lots of butter). She grills them until they’re good and crisp.

Want jelly on that?
Is it better that way?
Lay it on.

The cake under that dome, it’s home made?
It is.

Horrible weather. Came as a surprise, didn’t it?
Yes, it sure did.

The one decoration is a big poster describing what to do if a customer chokes.

The first patron leaves having ordered nothing, a second comes in, sits down next to me, orders toast and lemonade. He stares at me taking my picture of a cup of tea. [Sometimes blogging is impossible to explain and so I offer no explanation.]

I hate to leave. It’s so warm – the kind of place you can doze off in. I watch the weather on the grainy TV screen. More snow-sleet-rain. Check please. I look at my total for the tea, cornbread with butter and jam: $1.45.

I’m energized. I take on the next several dozen blocks of my Harlem walk
Louise's: open and warm. Posted by Hello
A chocking poster, a dreamy cake, and a sensible alternative. Posted by Hello
Several streets down from Louise's Posted by Hello
A block that shows off the great potential of these buildings. Posted by Hello