Research Assistant Needed (Fall 2018)

Apologies, blog readers, but this announcement is for UM Law 1L & 2L students only:

I would like to hire a UM Law student to be my research assistant for 10-15 hours/week during the coming semester. If things work out we might continue into next semester, the summer, and/or next year.

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Go See ‘White Guy on the Bus’

GablesStage has a terrific production on of Bruce Graham’s ‘White Guy on the Bus’. It has many moments of brutal truth about race relations, and some nicely abrupt surprises that I don’t want to ruin.

At the start of the play we meet suburbanites Ray (Tom Wahl), a successful investment manager to the monied class who has vague dreams of chucking it all, and his indomitable wife, Rox (Mia Maththews), who teaches in a tough inner-city school. Their young friends, Christopher (Ryan Didato, fresh from Zoetic Stage’s lively ‘Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts’) and Molly (Whitney Grace), live in the city. Christopher is getting ready to defend his thesis. But he’s worried that he might run into a buzz-saw of political correctness, although the topic doesn’t sound terriblly controversial to my perhaps jaded ear and he certainly sounds well-prepared. Molly, whom Ray and Rox find a bit naive, teaches in a ‘nice’ school and starts the play as the least-defined character, perhaps because we’re seeing things more from Ray’s and Rox’s perspective, and they’ve known Matthew since he was four.

There’s a key fifth character, Black bus-rider Shatique (Rita Joe), to whom Ray is the ‘white guy on the bus’. Ray strikes up a conversation. Shatique is spending all day working and studying to become a nurse; she sees her son only once a week because he lives with her mother in a safer neighborhood. Shatique is understandably puzzled as to why a white guy in a suit and tie is on a bus — and especially this bus. And that turns out to be a good question.

The play starts out a bit preachy-sounding, but that is as much misdirection as prelude. Everyone is going to have their balloons punctured by the end. Or worse.

Michael Leeds (more commonly found directing at the Island City Stage) directed, making this a rare GablesStage production not directed by Joseph Adler — who no doubt has his hands full trying to get GablesStage relocated to a rehabbed Coconut Grove Playhouse. Leeds gets great performances out of all his cast, particularly Wahl, Joe, and Matthews.

GablesStage always has great sets (blame Lyle Baskin). This one, which allows for seamless (indeed overlapping) transitions between scenes works particularly well to serve the plot twists in the play.

That this play shines light in dark places can’t be denied. But if it has a moral other than ‘race relations are ugly, life is complicated, brutal, and a lot of things suck’ it was kind of lost on me. Do any of the characters get what they originally wanted? Maybe, but to the extent some do it is certainly safe to say that not one gets anything they want — or later decides to want — in any way they possibly could have wanted. This is not uplifting theater, and the only truck it has with easy answers is to stomp on them very hard. This play doesn’t sugarcoat. But is a really good production of a smart play — one that notably does not suffer from the second act letdown that can infect the kind of small cast plays that find their way to the little stage in the Biltmore. 

If you like good theater, go see it and support what has to be one of the best regional theaters in the country. The run is until Sept. 9, and there are student tickets for some shows.

Posted in Coral Gables, Kultcha | Leave a comment

Mall Report

Circumstances led me to go to Dadeland Mall this Saturday evening. It was to be the first time in many years that I set foot in what was once (and for all I know may still be) the most profitable mall per square foot in the US of A.

I expected that on a Saturday night things would be nice and peaceful. Boy was I wrong.

When I arrived at about 8:30pm, the parking lot was jammed. It took me maybe 15 minutes to find a parking space, although some of that was just spent idling in a jam caused by a big pickup truck that was blocking the lane as it waited for someone else to exit a spot and then slowly eased into it.

I did find a spot eventually, but once in the actual Mall it became obvious that I’d parked on exactly the wrong end of it. The walk from one end to the other allows me to report first, that there are a lot more high-end shops than I remember from when I used to shop there occasionally lo these may years ago and, second, that the Mall was jammed with people.

Who goes to Dadeland on a Saturday night? There were a number of young people, but they were outnumbered by adults. I have no idea why that is: Is the economy actually booming? Is it something about the back-to-school tax holiday this week (but that only applies to school supplies)? Is it the air conditioning? Is it tourists? Is there nothing better to do in Miami on a Saturday night in August?

Anyway, I ran my errand, and retraced my steps. Getting out was easier than getting in.

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New Math

This octonion math looks very cool. I wish I understood it. Anything that explains quantization in nature has something going for it.

Obligatory Tom Lehrer video:

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Reducing Your Amazon Info-Footprint

This useful article 5 Amazon obscure settings you should change now, from of all places Fox News, has some good advice. I also think it has one error.

In #4 it says you can “stop Amazon from tracking your browsing” but in fact, if you go to the “Your Browsing History” page at Amazon, it appears to offer only to stop showing you your browsing history–it doesn’t actually say they’ll stop collecting it.

Even so, most or all of these steps are worth taking.

Posted in Law: Privacy, Shopping | Leave a comment

Waiting

Like so many people I know, these days I spend too much time following the news. I am reminded of how, back in the mid ’80s when I visited Israel, everyone always seemed to be listening the radio — just in case something happened.

If Cohen really has flipped, then it’s likely a question of when not if Trump has to go.

If we have reached the beginning of the end, then now timing is everything. On the one hand it doesn’t yet seem likely that political opinion will congeal quickly enough to head off the Brett Kavanaugh nomination; once he’s in place the Supreme Court tilts a bit further in favor of the Imperial Presidency which might help Trump in some versions of a showdown. Conversely, so long as the nomination is in play, there is little chance Trump will fire Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or even the AG as everything will break loose; but so long as they are both in office there is no way to get rid of Mueller.

So the second worst-case scenario is Kavanaugh gets confirmed, and then Trump goes nuclear on the Special Counsel. I think that would lead to impeachment, but it would be ugly. (The worst case is of course that Trump actually goes nuclear on something.) Then of course there’s the whole set of issues around whether Pence is implicated too…

Enough. Here’s a bit of comic sort of relief.

Posted in The Scandals | 1 Comment