On public libraries

There’s an obituary in today’s Greensboro newspaper (nothing to do with Coronavirus) for a man named Tex Wood.

At the end of his obituary, it says “When once asked by the librarian in Stuart [Patrick County Public Library, Stuart, Virginia] to complete a comment card … as part of a funding request, his reply, which remains on the librarian’s desk today, was pure Tex. ‘A community without a library is a cesspool.’”

I did not know this man, but I will miss him.

Important planning for the other side – Herbs – 2020 Herb Sale – NC Unit of the Herb Society of America – Greensboro

On the other side of this current epidemiological mess, you are going to want herbs. Fresh herbs. From your yard.

Plan for April 16, from 7 AM to 3 PM at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market.

This is the Annual Herb Sale of the North Carolina Unit of the Herb Society of America.

“All your favorite herbs will be there.” Thousands of plants for culinary and landscape uses.

Not just your garden variety herbs, but also heritage plants, gardening tips, specialty vendors, and educational materials. Proceeds from the sale will support community gardens, student scholarships, public schools gardens, and more.

But mostly, it’s herbs. Thousands of them. All your favorites. What a unit!

  • This event may be held either indoors or outdoors as conditions warrant.
  • Check with the Unit to learn its plans for an intriguing upcoming presentation. “Unusual, Interesting, and Uncommon Herbs.” [EVENT CANCELLED. TO BE RESCHEDULED.]
  • The Herb Society’s recently announced Notable Native Herb of 2020 is Claytonia virginia, which appears to have edged out Claytonia caroliniana by a leaf.

The Unit is a unique and prolific source of learning about herbs. Its material about basil, in particular, is quite steamy and perhaps a touch fevered (go read it for yourself), but certain to draw the adventurous to the Sale at the Farmers Market on April 16. [Like everything else, I assume that a fresh assessment about canceling the event will be made closer to the date.]

Fresh herbs in your backyard, on your deck, in your patio, or in a window box, have been proven to be superior to dried ones in applied programs of herbification.

 

Longest-running pick-up basketball game in the WORLD at Guilford College

By rights, Guilford College would be known as the Mother of College Sports in North Carolina.

The first college baseball game in North Carolina was played there. Later, Guilford baseball teams were preeminent among southern colleges and a parade of its graduates became professional stars and hall-of-famers. In the 1960s and ‘70s, it produced now-legendary basketball teams and players. To this day, Guilford basketball, golf, volleyball, softball, and other teams achieve success at the national level (NCAA, Division III), year-in and year-out. And Guilford is a leader in providing new opportunities for women, most recently having fielded a women’s rugby team. As many as 40% of Guilford students are varsity athletes, and graduates of its sports management curriculum regularly graduate to become coaches, athletics administrators, and managers of professional sports franchises.

But those are merely conventional measures of success in college athletics.

Guilford professor Richie Zweigenhaft has published a new book that points the way to the ultimate evolution of college sports: Geezerball, North Carolina Basketball at its Eldest. (Half Court Press 2020).

Guilford College, after all, is a classic, small, independent liberal arts college. It prepares its graduates not merely for jobs, or even careers, but for successful, rounded, and gratifying lives. And Professor Zweigenhaft’s memoir demonstrates as powerfully as that first baseball game did, the important place of sports (and team sports) in everyone’s lives.

The longest-running pick-up basketball game in the world is played at Guilford College. It’s been going for more than forty years. Its current players range in age from their thirties to their seventies. It has been the subject of magazine, newspaper, and journal articles – and now it has a book.

What it is, is a demonstration of where sports fits and why it’s important not to drop games when school is done. Zweigenhaft quotes George Bernard Shaw: “We do not quit playing because we grow old. We grow old because we quit playing.”

And the forty-year-old Geezerball game at Guilford College is a model for students and graduates of all stripes. It has been open to students, professors, college staff, and members of the Greensboro community, including men and women of all races, the short and the tall, the quick and the not-so-quick. Befitting its demographics, it makes a place for those who value strategy and teamwork over running and gunning. Players include not just academics, but bankers, doctors, salesmen, podiatrists. Pretty much anybody. Mostly professionals. Notably, not lawyers.

The book boasts cover blurbs from an NBA Commissioner and a prominent NBA coach, which extol Zweigenhalft’s work, although the credits on the copyright page admit that the quotations are fake. Scorners or whitlings might cavil that, since those blurbs are fake anyway, they could have been a bit more enthusiastic. What kind of modesty is this?

Ultimately though, and memoir though it may be, Geezerball is a model: lifelong athletics alongside lifelong learning. The guiding principles of the longest-running pick-up game in the world set forth by Zweigenhalft are (1) everyone plays an equal amount, (2) injuries and arguments are to be minimized, and (3) friendship first (a maxim taken from the Chinese Communist ping pong team). And the outlines of a grand vision may be discerned in those principles.

It’s not about stats. It doesn’t end when school is done. It may be the ultimate evolution of sport as part of a liberal learning community.

Jesus, Paul, Micah, George Fox — MidLaw takes a turn to the religious

David French recently pointed to

Jesus:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

Paul:

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

Micah:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

French did not cite George Fox, but he might have. Fox was not so succinct, but he was munchier.

This is the word of the Lord God to you all: Go not forth to the aggravating part, to strive with it out of the power of God, lest ye hurt yourselves, and run into the same nature, out of the life. For patience must get the victory, and to answer that of God in everyone; it must bring everyone to it; to bring them from the contrary. So let your moderation, and temperance, and patience be known unto all men in the seed of God. For that which reacheth to the aggravating part without life, sets up the aggravating part, and breeds confusion; and hath a life in outward strife, but reacheth not to the witness of God in everyone, through which they might come into peace and covenant with God, and fellowship one with another. Therefore that which reacheth this witness of God in yourselves, and in others, is the life and light; which will out-last all, and is overall, and will overcome all. And therefore in the seed of life live, which bruiseth the seed of death.

The conservative response would be to seek to follow these foundational Christian precepts.

So would the radical, progressive, and liberal responses.

The Arc of a Professional’s Career

Article by me published this week by ABA Law Practice Today at link. Thanks to Greensboro lawyer and editor Afi Johnson-Parris for inviting me to do it. They chose the picture, not me. The guy in the picture is not me. Dresses better.

Not Fade Away: Can Old Lawyers Age Successfully?

Lawyers, the old man’s disease

Matthew Shardlake, was “the sharpest hunchback in the courts of England” in the 16th Century. That’s how he is accounted by C.J. Sansom.

In Sansom’s Dark Fire, Shardlake speaks of his “ambition to retire from practice, to escape the noisome crowds of London.” And, he says, “in two years’ time, I would be forty, in which year the old man’s disease begins; if business was good enough I might do it then.”

On the other hand, Shardlake’s friend, Guy Malton, the dark-skinned Moorish-Spanish-one-time-Catholic-monk and physician, who escaped to England to become an apothecary in Henry IV’s post-Dissolution England (always one step ahead of the latest sectarian persecution), asked

Yet I wonder if that is the life for you, my friend. Would you not become bored without cases to sharpen your wits on, problems to solve?

Shardlake:

London now, fuller of fanatics and cozeners every year. And my profession has enough of both.

I dream of a quiet life in the country …. Maybe then I will feel like taking up painting again.

Looks like the only thing that has changed from then to now is when “the old man’s disease” begins.

But wait. When Sansom in the 21st Century creates Shardlake of the 16th, who is really speaking of when?

The Mystery of Albion Tourgée and Bennett College

Albion Tourgée

Multiple biographies and profiles recite that Albion Tourgée was a founder of Bennett College. That’s the tradition. Wikipedia says it’s so.

He lived almost next door.

BUT nobody can cite a primary source and he is not named in the original charter issued by the General Assembly. (Wait, is Wikipedia a primary source?)

I bet that the first one to find a primary source will get a free Bennett T-shirt or cap. Shoot, I’ll get you one.

 

Sun-dried tomato pesto — SPOILER: Recipe plagiarized from Guilford College

Recipes are not protected by copyright law.  (At least, as long as they do not incorporate anything more than materials and directions.)

Recipes might be plagiarized, but plagiarism is not illegal, exactly. There is, however, a moral component to it.

So let’s start with this: the excellent recipe set out below was created (as far as I know) by Guilford College to accompany the exceptional sun-dried tomatoes grown and dried on the Guilford College Farm, which supports Guilford’s extraordinary Sustainable Food Systems major and which produces over 10,000 pounds of food a year (and more).

Here’s the deal: Guilford College sun-dried tomato pesto is dynamite, and it’s great on collards. And other stuff. Takes about 10 minutes to make. Here’s what you need to know:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes.

NOTE: Use dry dried tomatoes, not the ones immersed in oil. If you try it with the latter, you’ll want to adjust other ingredients, and flavor may be inflected. Guilford College sun-dried tomatoes are comparable to a leaf of flue-cured tobacco.

  • 1/3 cup unsalted, dry roasted almonds.

NOTE: I would use more almonds than this, at least with my collards. I’m not sure that salted almonds wouldn’t be fine, but not the smoked ones or flavored ones.

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt.

NOTE: Now, you see the point about whether the almonds are salted.

  • 2-3 cloves garlic.

NOTE: This is going to depend on you and garlic, and the particular garlic you have. Food without garlic is ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­like an interstate with no exits­, but too much garlic is a punishment for sins.

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves, the ones you should have growing in a dry, full-sun spot somewhere in your yard (in a pot for all that). Even you can raise rosemary.
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. (You know the drill about red pepper: it’s optional; you can probably add more than what’s prescribed. Up to you.)
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper.
  • ¾ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil. (More or less, depending on your plans for it. I wouldn’t use too much here.)

Directions

Put it all into a food processor. Process. Just like the Early Friends did.

Put it on whatever you want to.  Collards is/are a good idea. Or, black-eyed peas, for the season.

Moral Absolution

If you have read this far knowing that this recipe has been appropriated from Guilford College, you now have three options. They are:

  1. Refer a likely student to Guilford knowing that Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE – changes lives.
  2. Make a donation to Guilford, hoping that, if your donation exceeds three figures, someone will send you some sun-dried tomatoes, and knowing that your gift will support Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE. If the sun-dried tomatoes are not forthcoming, ask for some.
  3. Tell others that Guilford’s remarkable, innovative program – THE GUILFORD EDGE – is carving out a unique and immensely valuable niche for Guilford College in the firmament of 21st Century higher education.

If you do not do one of these, then you may be colluding in some sort of plagiarism. It’s not clear.

Sylvia

I saw this in an obituary this morning:

Sylvia always brought so much food to family events that people had to make several trips to her car to bring it all in.

Kind of a poem about a certain slice of North Carolina in the mid-20th Century.

On the road with Albion Tourgée and George Henry White at Bennett College

MidLaw spoke to the East Greensboro Rotary Club this morning. They convene at 7:30 AM in Jones Hall on the campus of Bennett College (they have one handsome dining hall in there but they do gather at an early hour).

Compared and contrasted the careers of Albion Tourgée and George Henry White. That is a very cool topic, but you gotta be a member of the East Greensboro Rotary Club to know why.

(Tourgée was a founder of Bennett College, draftsman of the Education Clause in NC’s 1868 Constitution among many other things. For comparison’s sake, White secured the charter of Livingston College. But that’s not what the talk was about.)