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Saturday, June 22, 2002

Large Summer Reading

Jeneane: "[H]is feet were very, very small." John Irving (A Widow For One Year): "[S]he kept asking Ted, 'Timmy's not gone too--is he? Can you see if he's gone?' But Ted was a coward when it came to answering that question, which he left unanswered--and would leave unanswered. He asked one of the rescue workers to cover Timmy's leg with a tarpaulin, so Marion would not see it." John Irving (A Prayer For Owen Meany): "[H]e was the smallest person I ever knew..."

Friday, June 21, 2002

On The Radio, On Linking

Listen to Cory Doctorow and NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio's Future Tense, over here.

Geoffrey Nunberg: On Calling A Blog A Blog, And Roiling Prose

Geoffrey Nunberg writes:
I did a piece on blogs a couple of months ago. After it ran I got an email from someone who objected to my use of the word, particularly when it's used to describe the records that people post on the web of their daily thoughts and doings. I should have called them "e-journals," she said. I could see her point, but blog is a syllable whose time has come. Who can resist that paleolithic pizazz? It's the tone you hear in a lot of programmer jargon, in words like kluge, munge, and scrog. That's how insiders demystify the technology. It sets them apart from the digital parvenus who lade their speech with technical-sounding language. When we use blog, it's as if to say we're all geeks now.
He goes on to consider the shortfalls of prefixes like "e-" and "cyber-", and concludes,
[A] lot of the things that have emerged online are genuinely novel, but then why strain to find their offline counterparts? That's the beauty of "blog." You could call these things virtual journals, e-clipping services, or cyber-Christmas-letters. But why can't they just be unique in all their bloggy essence?
In another recent piece, Nunberg nails one reason I find blogs more compelling than journalism these days - they speak a more direct dialect:
You don't hear roil a lot in everyday conversation. It isn't really a word of American English at all -- it belongs to the patois of that exotic alter-America that we read about in the newspapers, a world populated by strongmen, fugitive financiers, and troubled teens, where ire is always being fueled until violence flares, spawning hatred and stirring fears until hopes are dashed.
Both are excellent essays, go give them a read. I guess I enjoy Nunberg's take on these things so much because he's a linguist, and a good deal of linging goes on around here. [Via Fresh Air - oops, must get that form filled out] (Regarding American English, I'm sure the rest of the English speaking world eschews this sort of transgression. If not, ire is fueled and fears are stirred.)

Thursday, June 20, 2002

No Links, No Peace

Lots of potential Thread The Needle fodder in the NPR controversy. Marek has done the heavy lifting for the time being, as well as drafting a letter to NPR that shares greatness with Tom Matrullo's.

Leah, Legal Librarian

The University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law has a Reference/Web Services Librarian, and she now has a blog: Leah's Law Library Weblog. Welcome to blogland, Leah, and thanks to Rick for spreading the gospel through his recent article. [Via Ernie The Attorney]

POPping Free

If both Hotmail and Yahoo are ending their free POP3 retrieval service (see PCWorld, via TVC Alert), do any free alternatives remain?

Legality; Law

Wired News reports NPR's response concerning its linking form and policy. In the article, NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin talks about links from commercial versus noncommercial sites, and NPR's reluctance to "give support to advocacy groups." ["Public Protests NPR Link Policy," via GrepLaw; see Slashdot] What Dvorkin does not address is whether the policy isn't enforceable because linking isn't unlawful. On this point, Wired's Farhad Manjoo references Central District of California Judge Harry Hupp's reasoning in March and August, 2000 orders from the Ticketmaster v. case. [Orders via GigaLaw] While the article says these orders dealt "linking policies" "a serious blow," that characterization overstates things because this language never made it into a published opinion. Thus, while the orders may be right, they're not law. It's not unusual for reporters to miss or downplay the distinction. What it means in the real world is if you cited the orders to NPR or anyone else with a similar linking policy, they could simply say "so what?" Linking cases need to be litigated to conclusion and tested on appeal in order for multi-jurisdictional precedent to develop. Informing your elected representatives of your views couldn't hurt either. (Unless you hate the idea of legislating the Internet. In which case we're back to the courts.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

"You say I'm so sage / Go check out my webpage..."

Apropos of links and threads, Mad Kane has penned a clever Blogger's Rhapsody.

Hand Tying Threads (Hopefully Not For Long)

Here's a discussion Dave Rogers and I have been having about corporate weblogs: From Sean Carton, clickZ, "Macromedia Blogs and the Death of the 'Official Story.'" From Dave, "Can Blogs Find A Place In The Corpocracy?" From me, "'Official Story,' Meet 'Trusty Spokesperson.'" From Dave, "More On 'Corporate' Blogging," with comments from John Dowdell of Macromedia. Shelley Powers is working on a less clunky way to connect blog conversations, called Thread The Needle. Read what she's up to, then let AKMA or Gary know if you have suggestions.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

PDFs and Radio

Ernie and Rick each have great articles up right now at llrx. Ernie describes how and why lawyers should use PDF, and Rick explains that Radio does much more than blog. (I'm thinking of trying it out on the laundry.)

Knowledge Managing Email

Ashby Jones reports on automating email organization and sharing in the legal field, and says iManage, Inc and Tacit Knowledge Systems are developing or fine-tuning products aimed at this problem. [Via] If email management is your thing, you might also get a kick out of "Spool," a game from BVRP Software that simulates a day in the life of a harried email admin (instead of asteroids and missiles, you battle viruses and spam!). [Via The Screen Savers]

Monday, June 17, 2002

More Re Copy Protected CD Litigation

The Slashdot thread on the new Dickey class action includes a reference to an earlier Marin County, CA case that settled in February. Slashdot links to the settlement document, which required, among other things, various packaging advisories and the payment of $10,000 in attorneys' fees.

"Official Story," Meet "Trusty Spokesperson"

From Dave Rogers of Connect and Empower: Can Blogs Find A Place In The Corpocracy? Dave examines Sean Carton's article [at] about the blogging Macromedia folks and the future of corporate blogging. As Sean writes, "Rather than create mini-sites on the company site where they could post tips and commentary about the products they work with, employees created spaces outside of Macromedia -- spaces that would be instantly believable and useful to their legions of fans." Dave rightly observes it is naive to think that every corporate or corporate-related weblog will involve "an authentic human voice:" "Do they have to look over their backs while blogging lest they inadvertently offend those in the executive suite?" Will corporations permit employees to "rant and rave with freedom?" I think we're all waiting for those questions to be answered in real life and real time. The portent of the tea leaves may lie in Sean's observation that "blogs are intensely personal forms of expression; after reading someone's blog for a while, you may feel that it connects you with the writer in a way not possible with any other medium." This means the tendency of a blog to be compelling is inversely proportional to its tendency to be canned, "correct" (from a political or marketing standpoint), or filtered through anything beyond the writer's own sensibilities and conscience. Dave's skepticism about the legitimacy of corporate blogs is well-placed, but I'm betting Darwin will have something to do with how things play out. P.S. - Jenny points to Sean Carton's piece too.

Dog Maul Case

I just heard that Judge Warren denied the motion for new trial in the Knoller/Noel case, but that he set aside Marjorie Knoller's second degree murder conviction on the ground of insufficient evidence. SF Gate has more.

Class Action Over Copy Protected CDs

The Milberg Wiess law firm, known for its pursuit of shareholder derivative class actions, filed a lawsuit against five record labels last week on behalf of consumers injured by anti-copy protection incorporated into music CDs. [Via] This should get people's attention... More from the Mercury News and the Manila Business World. I haven't read the complaint, but I'm assuming California Business & Profession Code Sections 17200 (unfair business practices) and 17500 (false advertising) receive at least honorable mentions. And as Kevin Marks pointed out awhile ago on Reading Gonzo Engaged, it is not inconceivable that California Penal Code Section 502 might eventually get some play over this issue.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Give 'Em Hell, Mel

In honor of Father's Day, I bring you excerpts of my dad Mel McKinney's writing. In the first piece, an editorial, Mel questions prosecutorial actions in Mendocino county where he lives and works, and sticks up for a nonprofit that promotes local traditions and artists. (For example, it's gratifying to see the MCA supporting the World's Largest Salmon Barbeque, coming up July 6, with proceeds helping restore wild salmon runs to the rivers of Northern California; the summer music festival; and you just don't see things like the upcoming "Hide And Hair" exhibit every day, now do you?) The second piece is from his book, Where There's Smoke. Mel has subseqent projects in the works, and his current novel-in-progress kicks ass (you heard it hear first). Leave a comment to encourage him to keep writing, and hey! - maybe start a blog.
More Jobs, Less Prosecutors
. . .
Modeled upon the successful structure used in the majority of California communities that encourage tourism, the Mendocino County Alliance is a full time, professionally staffed non-profit organization dedicated to the economic health of Mendocino County. Recognizing that the two principal economic engines now driving Mendocino County are tourism and the wine industry, the MCA’s promotional efforts emphasize those strengths in order to bring more visitors to Mendocino County . . . [A]s tourism flourishes, the revenue to the County from the Transit Occupancy Tax, or “bed tax,” increases. Wisely, the Board of Supervisors has re-invested a small portion (about 12%) of that tax revenue back into the goose that lays the golden egg, by contracting with the MCA for promotional services. Now, here’s the problem. The Mendocino County District Attorney covets those funds. To get them, he set the Grand Jury on the MCA, having them issue a subpoena for all of its financial records, and more. Despite the fact the MCA offered total access to its books and records, and despite the fact the Board of Supervisors has access to those records at any time, the District Attorney has pursued this illegal and unnecessary tactic. As a private, non-profit corporation the MCA rightfully stood its ground. It contracts with the County to provide promotional services. It is not a County agency. [A court] agreed and invalidated the Grand Jury subpoena. The District Attorney proposes to waste more of his precious resources in an ill-conceived appeal.
. . .
Finally, and for once, Mendocino County has taken a tremendous step forward by contracting with the MCA and realizing the benefit of its promotional efforts. The District Attorney needs to remember that jobs create opportunity. Without them, he’s busier. Maybe that’s what he’s afraid of. The more employment and opportunity that exist in Mendocino County, the less need we have for prosecutors.
A Cigar Factory In Little Havana (from Where There's Smoke)
The pocked stucco front of the dreary, low building revealed nothing. It was simply one of the many hundreds of wretched, though functional, structures in Little Havana. You had to know where to look for the faded wooden plaque, nearly hidden by a drooping eave. EL ROSARIO - FABRICA DE TABACO, it proclaimed with tarnished pride . . . The mottled outward appearance of the building yielded within to soft, effective overhead lighting. Twenty wooden worktables spanned the large room, facing the door. Each table was divided into four work stations occupied by men and women, their skin the color of Moroccan leather. The men wore stained sleeveless undershirts or loose-fitting, short-sleeved shirts that had once been white. The women were topped in faded prints that had once burst with color. Many of them smoked the results of their labor. In a relaxed, steady rhythm, they rolled the piles of brown leaves splayed in front of them into new cigars.
Dads don't come any more loving, multifaceted and talented than the one I lucked into. Did I mention every item of food he touches turns into mouth-watering cuisine? He says my stepmom's crazy for his chicken picatta and could eat it every night, so to top off this post here's his recipe. Happy Father's Day, Mel!
Mel's Chicken Picatta
Boned and skinned chicken breasts, pounded and flattened, but not paper thin. Just enough to flatten them, leaving them about 1/4 inch thick. Seasoned flour (salt and pepper). I use Wondra. Make a shallow bowl full, reserving some to thicken the picatta sauce after flouring the chicken. Juice of 6 lemons White wine chicken stock or broth capers chopped parsley Lemon slices Rice or pasta as accompaniment. Dredge the pounded chicken breasts in seasoned flour. Brown them in oil/butter, about 4 minutes to a side. Remove and set aside. Deglaze pan with white wine and add lemon juice, stock, capers and parsley. Simmer and reduce about 4 minutes. Slowly add some seasoned flour to thicken the picatta sauce. Add lemon slices. Reintroduce the browned chicken pieces into the sauce and simmer another couple of minutes. Remove the chicken pieces and arrange on plates or platter with picatta sauce and warmed lemon slices over them. Add some picatta sauce to the rice or pasta.

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