I will gladly concede that there is garbage on TV that insults the intelligence and competence of all Americans (Two and a Half Men, I’m looking at you). But there is not a soul who can argue that the same garbage doesn’t exist in print or music. Every medium has a significant low-brow contingent, but no one who has seen an episode of Mad Men, Arrested Development, or The Wire can deny the high art that television can achieve.
As impassioned soliloquies ran through my head, my mother sought to bring me back to earth. She explained the mind-numbing boredom that accompanies jury duty of any duration. Worse, she explained that it is incredibly unlikely that I would ever be chosen for a jury because my father is a lawyer and I have an aunt and an uncle who are former members of the NYPD. No matter how reasoned her thinking, I dismissed everything mother dearest said, and began to prepare my remarks for the other members of the jury.
I didn’t know it before I took the job, but the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge where I worked sees 325 different species of birds throughout the year. As a result, it’s a world-famous birding site, drawing visitors from allover the globe. Late spring though August is the prime time for migratory birds, and the number of birders following them made it feel similar to what I imagine it must be like to work in Mecca during the Hajj (that is, if Mecca were visited primarily by upper-middle-class, middle-aged white couples).
I recently read a New York Times article about a new particle accelerator in Switzerland. Articles in the Science section don’t normally fill me with a sense of foreboding and doom, but this one succeeded where others failed. With the accelerator, scientists hope to recreate the “Big Bang” on a small scale in order to explain the origins of the universe. It seemed alright until I got to the paragraph which said that two men “think the giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole or something else that will spell the end of the Earth—and maybe the universe.”
Two months after the University’s announcement of a new alcohol policy was met by uproar among students, the working group formed to address their concerns will meet for the first time today.