Saturday, March 31, 2007

You've got a clean shot. Do you take it?

This morning, I noticed a very interesting article on I enjoy discussing ethical questions, and this new story is quite applicable. However, someone is dead, so I'm obviously not 'enjoying' the situation. I first will preface this by 3 things. I don't own a gun, have a wife, or live in Texas.

From (Waco, TX):

Husband Shot Wife’s Lover: She’s Charged, He’s Not

A Fort Worth man who killed his wife's lover after finding them together has escaped murder charges from a grand jury.

Instead, the Tarrant County grand jury indicted Darrell Roberson's wife, Tracy Roberson, accusing her of causing the shooting by claiming she was being raped.

The 35-year-old wife is charged with manslaughter in the death of Devin LaSalle.

Police say Roberson invited LaSalle to her home in December with a text message that said "I need to feel your warm embrace!"

If convicted after Wednesday's indictment, Mrs. Roberson faces two to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Darrell Roberson arrived home and found his wife clad in only a robe and underwear with LaSalle outside in a pickup truck.

They allege Mrs. Roberson told her 38-year-old husband she was being raped, so he fired four shots as LaSalle tried driving away.

One bullet struck LaSalle in the head.

Some legal experts say they've never quite heard a case quite like this.

Texas Wesleyan School of Law associate professor Jason Gillmer says a husband "is entitled to defend his wife and his family against aggravated assault."


Some questions I've been asking myself:
Are the charges fair?
Who's the victim?
Who's 'good' and who's 'bad'?
What if the wife was raped?

I've got some thoughts, but I'd also be interested in hearing your questions, answers, and plot twists. Please feel free to comment. I'd really be interested to hear what you think about this and other issues.

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Kidney Kare 5k

Last week I ran in the 2nd Annual Kidney Kare 5k sponsored by the UNC Kidney Center. There were over 300 participants raising over $9,000. The race was at McDougle Middle School in Chapel Hill, NC. According to the map, the race was actually 5.14km. I finished with a time of 23:54. Using the updated distance figure, that translated to an average pace of 7:29/mile or 8.0mph. This is a significant improvement from my last 5k race, 2nd Annual Duke University DPT 5k, this past fall (24:40 total or 7:56/mile). Most likely due to some rounding inaccuracies, the race results page incorrectly reports a pace of 7:58/mile. They mean well, but they're just wrong. This past week, I have been taking it easy due to some pain in my shins, but hopefully that will subside soon. I've been keeping a full running log, and will post highlights periodically.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Murray Perahia

It was a slightly roundabout way, but I learned about a concert by receiving a email invitation to a group dinner. The invitation to Murray Perahia's concert was on the same day and passed along to show (no pun intended) that they weren't mutually exclusive. I went to both. Dinner was Thai food. No surprises, it met expectations. I really enjoyed the concert afterward.

The summary:
In the more than 32 years he has been performing on the concert stage, American pianist Murray Perahia has become one of the most sought-after and cherished pianists of our time. He has a long relationship with Duke University, having first performed here on the Duke Artists Series as a young rising star in 1979. A multiple Grammy-winner, Mr. Perahia performs in all of the major international music centers and with every leading orchestra. He is the Principal Guest Conductor of the academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and has recently embarked on an ambitious project to edit the complete Beethoven Sonatas.

I actually purchased one of his CDs a while ago, and it is quite good. (Mozart: Piano Sonatas K.310, 331 & 533/494) Köchel 331, Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11, is fairly well known mostly for its 3rd movement, Rondo Alla Turca. The concert's program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Chopin. At total of 5 pieces were scheduled, but Murray didn't stop there. He went into extra innings, playing 3 extra pieces with standing ovations between each one. Unfortunately, I didn't have the savvy to know the overture pieces. Funny enough, there was an accidental crowd mishap during the scheduled performance. In a three movement piece, the audience applauded after the second movement. Having lost count myself, I am sad to admit I was part of the problem. Overall, the concert was great. All the pieces were new to me, and I was very impressed with the performance. On a side note, I also learned that Murray is a member of the tribe thanks to Wikipedia.

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Man of La Mancha

This year's final Broadway at Duke performance was Man of La Mancha. I'd give it a good, but not great review. During my senior year in high school, I was part of the pit orchestra for the show. This probably contributed to my high, fairly unobtainable expectations. Seeing the show again, reminded me of our production. For me one of the funniest parts was the scene in which a Bishop, King, and Queen are conversing. A checkerboard pattern was projected onto the stage and the actors movements were all 'legal'. The Bishop, introduced as 'charmingly diagonal' would move diagonally one way while speaking. The King, 'restricted', would only take one step when he spoke, etc. It was hard to tell, but I don't recall seeing a Knight's movements in this show, whereas I remember that was the case when we did it. It was good, but a little more depth would have made it priceless.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Inland Empire

Inland Empire was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Dragging on for 3 hours, it was completely incoherent and mundane. I wish I could recover the time I wasted. The only entertainment I found during the movie was musical, which is very surprising because the soundtrack was practically nonexistent. The only humorous element was when a group of girls were dancing to "The Loco-Motion". I did notice a musical connection to the 1999 version of "The Thomas Crown Affair". The song "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone was featured in both movies. It was in the end credits of Inland Empire. IMDB confirmed that it appeared in "The Thomas Crown Affair", and I believe it was also in the end credits. Any help here would be appreciated.

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March Madness Update

The #6 seeded Duke Men's Basketball team lost to #11 Virginia Commonwealth in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament this year (79-77). Duke had made 9 straight Sweet 16 appearances, and had 10 consecutive first rounds victories. Interestingly, Greg Paulus scored a career-high 25 points, and Josh McRoberts added a career-high 22 points and had 12 rebounds. Major problem: Duke went 20-32 from the foul line. I've archived the game notes for future analysis. Link

The good news is that the Women's Basketball team received the top overall #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. With a loss to NC State in the ACC Semifinals, the team certainly looked back on track last night with a 81-44 win over Holy Cross. The game was memorable for one of the Holy Cross Seniors, Brittany Keil. Entering the game with 993 points, she had scored only 4 minutes in the first 39 minutes of play. Timeout Holy Cross. They inbound the ball, and after a few passes, Keil gets the ball drains the 3 point basket. Granted our defense left her pretty well open, but a 20 foot shot isn't exactly a 'gimmie' (basketball or golf).

Here's what Holy Cross coach Bill Gibbons had to say about Duke and Coach Gail Goestenkors:
"I always have respect for Gail, but today it grew ten-fold. I am rooting for Duke to win it all because of the class they showed."

I concur. This game will fade from our memories, but I thought it was important to document it. Certainly, it was a big day for that senior.

I was a recipient of the Holy Cross Book Award in 2001


Wednesday, March 14, 2007


A few people in the office have observed a similarity between a Duke employee and Dr. Niles Crane from the TV show Frasier. If you have a guess or would like to know who it is, please contact me directly. This further builds on one of my previous pseudonym creations. I renamed a former employee to Lilith, Frasier’s ex-wife.

Speaking of monotonous voices, I couldn’t stop laughing yesterday after I heard a particular Duke Professor describe a conference as “very exciting”. Also, please inquire directly if you would like to know the details.


Duke 67 - St. John's 50

It has been over a month since my last post, but that isn’t an accurate reflection on the rate of adventure. In fact, these past few weeks have been exciting, and I can only begin to summarize. One trip stands out in my mind, being the journey to New York City to watch Duke Men’s Basketball vs. St. John's in Madison Square Garden. The trip was nonstop, and I did want to mention it was unfortunate that I couldn’t meet up with my sister who also happened to be in town on Sunday.

The itinerary included driving up with Vito, Jeff, and Kristen to Philadelphia to stay at Eric’s place. The next day we took the train. I met Jeff and Liz for a tour of the American Museum of Natural History. I enjoyed that a great deal. There’s so much information there it can be overwhelming.

A remarkable small world story was that we ran into another group of students from our department in Penn Station. We each had an independent travel schedule, but managed to run into them just after getting off our train. This was marginally more significant for them because we were the only people they knew in the City. Personally, that’s what I like most about New York: Even though there are more than 8 million people living in NYC, it’s fairly common to cross paths with people you know.

I met up with Lauren and Leah from high school to celebrate Lauren’s birthday. She also went to the game with us. I think Leah may have said it best in commenting that we would have never expected the reunion if it was predicted back in 2001.

Mathematically speaking, this reunion phenomenon is similar to the small world phenomenon. The probability of a particular reunion event on a given day is low, but integrating all the possibilities over a time period of years has a tendency to make the unlikely a reality.

See also: The Serendipity article on Wikipedia describes many life changing inventions such as Penicillin and Post-It Notes.

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