You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

May 5, 2006

may 5th menudo

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:36 pm

The Spanish word “menudo” has several meanings. It is not only the official soup/stew

of Cinco de Mayo, it also means “small change.” Of course, the term is probably best

known in the non-Hispanic community as the name of a certain Boy Band. Here is a

handful of “menudo” blurbs for the Fifth of May, which prove that small can be priceless:


tiny check The history of Cinco de Mayo gives an ironic twist to the week that saw

much sturm und drang across the nation over the May 1st activities supporting immi-

gration (prior post) As the folks at VIVA! CInco De Mayo (San Marcos, TX) point out:

“So, why Cinco de Mayo? And why should Americans savor this day as well?

Because 4,000 Mexican soldiers smashed the French and traitor Mexican army

of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico, 100 miles east of Mexico City on the morning of May

5, 1862.


“… When the battle was over, many French were killed or wounded and their

cavalry was being chased by Diaz’ superb horsemen miles away. The Mexi-

cans had won a great victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying the confed-

erate rebels for another year, allowing the United States to build the greatest

army the world had ever seen. This grand army smashed the Confederates at

Gettysburg just 14 months after the battle of Puebla, essentially ending the

Civil War.


withoutMexicanNS a day without a mexican


“It might be a historical stretch to credit the survival of the United States to those

brave 4,000 Mexicans who faced an army twice as large in 1862. But who knows?


” . . .Mexicans, you see, never forget who their friends are, and neither do Americans.

That’s why Cinco de Mayo is such a party — A party that celebrates freedom and liberty.

There are two ideals which Mexicans and Americans have fought shoulder to shoulder

to protect, ever since the 5th of May, 1862. VIVA! el CINCO DE MAYO!!”

sparkyN Political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow postedAnother unsolicited testimonial” at his

This Modern World weblog yesterday (May 4, 2006). Regular readers of f/k/a surely know

already how much we appreciate TT’s insightful (and painfully humorous) commentary —

see, e.g., this post and that one. But, Tom probably doesn’t. So, we want to add one more

unsolicited [does fishing for compliments count?] testimonial about Tom’s This Modern World

comic strip.

“Every week, Tom Tomorrow finds a way to (a) insightfully lampoon

the inept-amoral Bush Administration and/or the cowardly and

self-serving Democrats; and (b) make me smile and want to share

the newest strip with all the thoughtful and/or witty people I know.”

david giacalone, editor, f/k/a



Hell in a Handbasket


This week, my copy of Tom’s newest book-compilation, Hell in a Handbasket, arrived

and it has made my long sessions in the f/k/a Bathroom/Library most enjoyable. His

October 3, 2002, strip would have been a wonderful adjunct to last weekend’s post

a question for True Majority,” and I wish I could link to it. The strip starts with Senators

Clinton and Daschle voting to give Pres. Bush the authority to go to war, but threatening

to spring into action after the election. After a few more years of Democratic waffling, it

ends in 2143, with the cryogenically preserved brains of the two Senators considering

whether to issue a statement supporting the restoration of democracy.

sparkyG Note: you can find each week’s new TMW strip at Working for Change.

It’s TMW archive goes back to Feb. 4, 2003. If the strip is not available in

one of your local newspapers, complain about it.


tiny check When the hassles of putting together a weblog every day seem far too

great, I can always get some sustenance from my “Referer Page,” which reminds

me just how often Mr. Google and Ms. Yahoo! send their little querists to our humble

website. For example:

May 5, 2006

As happened in November 2005, a Google search today for democratic morality>

placed our post towards a “democratic morality” and majority in the #1 spot.

There are more than a 9 million results now; last November there were 4.6 million.

meaning of virtual firm> The first result out of 13 million in this Google search

was our post decrying the loose use of language by the first-user-techies. See

Can We Talk About “Virtual” English?

legally insane Kentucky> Okay, this is rather inadvertent, but still fun in a Prof.

Yabutty kind of way. Our Kentucky says every blawg post is an ad is the first

Google result (out of 1.2 million) for this query.



May 4, 2006

how to spell goombah> This Google search led directly to our educational post

“goomba goombah gumba gumbah,” where — as the title suggests — we equivocated

(with explanation) on just how to spell this Sicilio-American slang term, but gave

a great lecture on its meaning.

mph900> Our discussion of this leading edge bit of police gadetry was the #1 result

(out of only 28) in this Google search. See Old Dorp: less backwards! less appealing?

In case you forgot:

Mobile Plate Hunter 900 from RemingtonELSAG. MPH900 is at the leading

edge of license plate recognition technology. What does that mean? Mounted

atop a police vehicle, the device can:

“scan 20 license plates a second and then feed the information into

a computer database to determine if the owners are wanted for any-

thing from unpaid parking tickets and lapsed vehicle registration to

murder and robbery.” [“Plate Hunter 900 has your number,” Times

Union [Albany], April 20, 2006 (reprinted here) ]

tiny check Speaking of inspiring search engine results and Cinco de Mayo, you will find this

entry on our TISK! pt. 3 page:

August 10, 2005

+”new jersey” +soup slurping> #1 out of 856 results in this Google search

was the May 4, 2005 dual posting of omertaEsq? gagged in new jersey (about

N.J. lawyer disciplinary procedural rule 1:20 – 9(a), which has been interpreted

to bar anyone filing a complaint against a lawyer from making the complaint

public) and cuatro de mayo – soups and sticks (about Mexican Menudo soup),

which included this haiku from Kobayashi Issa:

plum blossom scent–

slurping it in
with the vegetable soup

Kobayashi Issa

translated by David Lanoue

We tried this same Google search today, and had slipped to the #2 slot, behind‘s listing of dumb New Jersey laws — which says that soup-slurping is

unlawful in NJ (a Commentor there disagrees). There were fewer than 900 returns

last year, but over 10,000 today.

Don’t forget, there are dozens of additional examples of strange, silly or supurb search engine results on our Inadvertent Searchee pages.

tiny check Earlier this week, we wondered “When is Cinco de Mayo?” My celebration (big

Mexican dinner with friends) won’t be until Sunday. Whenever yours may happen,

may it be with much menudo and many amigos.

Heaven’s River

of stars

in my soup

David G. Lanoue from his novel Haiku Guy

dusty cookbooks:

his soup can

in the sink



baseball haiku: no longer a guilty pleasure for lawyers

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:18 pm

Monica Bay will praise — not scold — you, if you spend part of this (or

any other) lovely Spring day browsing the f/k/a Baseball Haiku Page.

Back on May 1st, Monica noted:

“Beisbol’s on everybody’s minds lately: Check out Omega Legal’s

white paper about how “the business of baseball has reshaped the

rules of law firm productivity.”




“And Jeff Angus’ Management by Baseball: The Official Rules for

Winning Management in Any Field, is fresh off the press, from Collins.

It asks the question, “Why are baseball managers like Joe Torre and

Dusty Baker better role models for leaders in business and government

than corporate icons like Jack Welch, Ken Lay and Bill Gates?” 

 (Answer: “Because almost everything you need to learn about manage-

ment you can learn from baseball.”)”

Prof. Yabut wants to point out, nonetheless, Peter F. Drucker’s

cautionary note in Managing in a Time of Great Change (1995; at 15):

“There’s a lot of nonsense in team talk, as if teams were

something new.  We have always worked in teams, and

while sports give us hundreds of team styles, there are

only a few basic models to choose from.  The critical

decision is to select the right kind for the job.  You can’t

mix soccer and doubles tennis. . . .

fiddle bow

“The great strength of baseball teams is that you can con-

centrate.  You take Joe, who is a batter, and you work

on batting.  There is almost no interaction, nothing at all

like the soccer team or the jazz combo, the implicit model

of many teams today.  The soccer team moves in unison

but everyong holds the same relative position.  The jazz

combo has incredible flexibility because everyone knows

each other so well that they all sense when the trumpet

is about to solo.”


. . . “Though we know very little about it, we do realize exec-

utives must be both managers of specialists and synthesizers

of different fields of knowledge — really knowledges, plural.”



Yes, you do need to choose carefully which sports team model

best suits your firm’s overall situation — as well as the needs of

a particular client or case.   The f/k/a Gang suggests that a bit

of (nonbillable) reflection over our Baseball Page may help in

making wise choices. [beware: they are “real haiku,” note gim-

micky doggerel; we think you’ll find them far more satisfying.]




            Seattle sunset

              Ichiro sends one

               toward the Sea of Japan







                       the smallest boy hits

                       the game winning homer





all day rain

on the playing field

a stray dog







the toddler

runs to third base





– from the haiku chapbook piano practice  



crack of the bat

the outfielder circles

under the full moon






empty baseball field

a dandelion seed floats through

the strike zone



from Almost Unseen  (Brooks Books, 2000) 




called third strike–
the slow roll of the ball
back to the mound





two outs in the ninth–
the reliever bangs the ball
against his cup



law office picnic —

the ump consults

his Blackberry






squinting to see him —

another generation

sent to right field



dagosan/david giacalone



OldBallGameLogo You can hear many baseball

poems by ed markowski, read by Joe Harnett, longtime

radio host of “The Old BallGame” by clicking these

links:  Cut One    Cut Two   Cut Three   Cut Four


                                                                                                                                                  soccer ball neg


Powered by WordPress