Sunday, June 25, 2006

TIMES OF THE WEEK

Another week, another summary of what you should have read, had you read Sunday’s New York Times. This was actually a pretty good week in the paper, so you might want to settle in. In no particular order . . .

First, the South Koreans apparently have a boot camp (for want of a better term) for defecting North Koreans. This is probably a good idea, given the utter isolation of North Korea. If the East Germans thought (and think) they had difficulty integrating when the wall came down, can you imagine the denizens of the Hermit Kingdom? One of the interesting things was that the North Koreans are treated as if they made a shameful decision to be North Koreans. For instance, the Times relates this tale

One 37-year-old defector who had lost his North Korean accent did not hide his origins at work, a large auto parts maker. In fact, the Chinese he had learned during his three years of hiding in China now helped him in doing business with Chinese partners.

But his South Korean wife's parents had initially objected to their marriage because he is North Korean. They relented only after her father had a stroke and then decided that he wanted to see his daughter settled in a marriage as soon as possible. Today, his wife still hides his roots from their friends.

"One part of me says it's convenient," he said of his wife's decision. "Another part of me is sad. I know there's no advantage in telling everyone I'm North Korean, but it's who I am."

What the hell? I mean, it seems like you ought to get props for defecting, if nothing else.

Second, our President was in Vienna the other day. Like the U.S., Austria has a female foreign minister. Our President showed his Stanford-trained, PhD Secretary of State and Austria's lawyer Aussenministerin the ultimate respect by referring to them as "roses." Very nice. I don't even know what to say. At least there's no glass ceiling at the White House.

Third, speaking of glass ceilings, the Times magazine did a photospread on female Russian tennis players. I could be way off base here, but do the three pictures below make these professional athletes look like streetwalkers?







Maybe we can blame Kournikova for this, but shouldn't the Times at least try to prepare itself for Russian women to actually be noticed for their tennis, and not the extent to which they will allow themselves to be tarted up?

Fourth, the Week in Review section had a niffty graphic on the evolution of a number of corporate symbols. ADM's logo shift was a good move. The NHL's was, how to say this, a little too subtle. Kodak's looks like the last gasp of a company whose market changed. Interesting stuff.

Finally, the Business section had an interesting article about the cause du jour. If only sea roaches, also known as "lobster," could be more humanely killed! There were at least three references in today's paper to the plight of the live lobster. Jeez, how many of these are really being prepared at home? Anyway, I always learned that it was humane to put them alive in warm water over heat. By the time the water boiled they were dead and never knew what hit them. I have heard of chefs who brain them with kitchen knives. Well, the newest innovation is a $3600-$4600 device that electrocutes the lobster. It is inelegantly named the CrustaStun, and takes 5-10 seconds to kill the lobster. L and I have not ordered ours yet.

And that's what was in today's paper.

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