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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Writer's Life 1/16 - Slants

"What's in a name?..." Those immortal words were given to Juliet by Shakespeare. According to government hacks, there's plenty to a name. In an op-ed piece in today's NY Post, George Will cites an interesting case going to the Supreme Court. It concerns the name of an Asian-American rock band: The Slants. The US Patent and Trademark Office is empowered, by the so-called “disparagement clause” of a 1946 law, to protect American sensitivities by denying trademark protection to “immoral, deceptive or scandalous” trademarks. These have included those that a substantial portion of a particular group perceive as disparaging that group. The Slants say they adopted their name “to take on these stereotypes that people have about us, like the slanted eyes, and own them.” The PTO, which has denied trademark protection for The Slants, has given it to a band named N.W.A., which stands for N_____ Wit Attitudes (The program's outrage is selective, it seems.). The PTO last earned the nation’s attention in 2014, when it denied protection to the name of the Washington Redskins, in spite of polls showing that 90% of Native Americans were not offended by the name and only 18% of “nonwhite football fans” favored changing it. (Pared and edited by yours truly. My comment in parentheses. Just about all the rest are Will's words.)

NFL: Not a single one of the four outcomes was surprising this past weekend, although I thought Seattle would make a better showing. As for next week - the Steelers lost to the Patriots, 16-27, at home in late October. Now they will travel to New England for the AFC championship. As Rocco said to Michael regarding the proposed hit on Hyman Roth: "Difficult, not impossible." (Screenplay by Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola) As for the NFC title match-up, each QB, Aaron Rodgers & Matt Ryan, is in top form. The Packers were taken to the max by the Cowboys. Will they be able to recover in time to eliminate the Falcons, who had a relatively easy time, in Atlanta? That's a tough call. Green Bay is looking a lot like the Giants did on their last two improbable Super Bowl runs. The organization has a glorious history. Atlanta has one of failure. Will that hold true? I have no idea.

RIP pro wrestling legend Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, 73. The modern era of high risks stunts began with his signature leap from the top rope onto a sprawled opponent, which had to hurt each party, staged or not. He took that several levels higher when he did it from the top of the steel cage in a match vs. The Magnificent Don Muraco. It was insane. His promotional interviews were often hilarious due to his mangling of the English language and illogical statements. Unfortunately, rumors always abounded about Snuka's substance abuse, which explained his long absences from the WWF/WWE. I would be remiss not to mention his most grievous fault. He was indicted and arrested in 2015 on third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges in relation to the 1983 death of his girlfriend, who suffered injuries a coroner described as consistent with domestic violence. He'd always been the only suspect. His demons have been laid to rest. Here's a two-minute+ clip of the aforementioned move, the dawn of the modern era, the insanity that is pro wrestling in a nutshell:

Business at the floating book shop was an almost exact duplicate of yesterday's session. I stood around in the glorious sunshine for the first two-hours-and-forty-five minutes, questioning my sanity, almost entirely ignored by passersby, when a young Asian man noticed the CD's that were on display. Just as a woman did yesterday, he selected the Ultimate Jazz and added Rockin', a compilation of various artists including his favorite, Led Zeppelin. On his heels, a young woman noticed the shoe box full of Nora Roberts novels and called her mom on her cell phone. She wound up buying five - and A Hitch in Twilight, which I signed for her sister, Thea. Yesterday a woman had purchased four books to cap the session. Thanks, folks.
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