Michael Leddy : Parmenides : U of Chicago Press : Philosophy : Homer and the Law

MANY years ago I chanced to a stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair and engaged in a long and lively conversation at the publishing company Parmenides, where I was bestowed a circular Parmenides promotional mouse pad of such exceptional quality that I still use it today. That pad is in the shape and design you see here at Parmenides, whose books are meanwhile distributed worldwide by the University of Chicago Press.

INDEED, for the philosophers among our readers, we recommend highly To Think Like God, a book from Parmenides by Arnold Hermann which is available in an illustrated as well as scholarly and fully annotated edition.

IN a bit of deja vu coincidence, after following some of the links at the blog orange crate art, which we mention in the previous posting, we found ourselves at Jacket Magazine and Michael Leddy’s review of the Parmenides multi-CD audio publications of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, as translated and read by Stanley Lombardo, and where a “brief synopsis read by Susan Sarandon precedes each episode as a separate track“.

WHAT interested us in terms of law is the following part of Leddy’s review in Jacket Magazine, which relates directly to some of the legal issues we raised concerning punitive damages and the confusion of the roles of criminal and civil law in modern law:

Like Aeschylus’ Oresteia, in which trial-by-jury supplants revenge-killing, Homer’s poem [The Odyssey] ends with a new god-made means to resolve conflict, as Ithacan culture escapes the spiral of vengeful violence that structures the world of Iliad and has threatened to turn Odyssey 24 into a replay of 22.

LEDDY is surely one of few people who have identified this crucial law-related aspect of Homer in this clarity.

That law-related aspect of Homer has immediate application to current events.

IS not the major problem today in the Middle East the reactionary status quo of inert cultures who have not learned Homer’s lesson of substituting the RULE OF LAW for primitive and backward vengeance and private retribution?

Improve Your Writing : Break Your Task Down into Modules : The Principle of Granularity

How much of your professional, educational or personal life involves writing?

In many cases, your answer is bound to be “a lot”.

As someone who has taught legal writing at the law school level, I can affirm that good writing is one of the key roads to success in our modern world. KNOWING something is one thing. COMMUNICATING that knowledge to others is quite another thing.

David Pescovitz at Boing Boing has just made a posting about Michael Leddy (who blogs at orange crate art), a write-proven Professor of English, who recently wrote a Lifehack.org essay titled Granularity for Students.

The essense of Leddy’s principle of granularity in writing is that although many writing tasks can appear formidable if viewed as a whole, they can become quite manageable if the whole is broken down into chunks, and even better, if these chunks in turn are broken down into even smaller chunks, etc.

Indeed, this strategy has always been a fundamental element for the wisdom of making an outline before writing. An outline not only “organizes” our thoughts, but it also channels our writing towards modular execution.

One good way to teach anyone, especially a student, the value of granularity in writing, is to have that person write several pages on a given topic “off the cuff”, without an outline and without modular writing. THEN that same person is instructed about modular writing and asked to rewrite that same topic, first making an outline and then writing the piece modularly. Of course, the second effort is almost always far superior to the first. Q.E.D.

Wesabe : Social Networking : A Web Community for Sharing Money Experiences

In the previous posting there was a reference to the December 2005 start-company Wesabe, a new type of financial web community, which “deals with real money issues“.

As written at Technically Speaking by Rex Dixon:

[Wesabe] is a community of people (social network) that share their experiences with money. The community is there to help others make better financial decisions.

Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing writes:

I’m proud to have joined Wesabe’s advisory board — Marc’s way sharp, and Wesabe’s a damned cool idea. The service anonymizes your financial data and then compares it to others’ and figures out ways that you can save money right away, and worked into it is a bunch of community stuff for people who are figuring out how to spend smarter. It’s a little like Flickr for your money, or social Consumerist.

Wesabe also has an appropriately titled blog called Wheaties for Your Wallet, where we read that the following topics form the current top 10 of user interest:

1. Pay Off My Credit Cards
2. Save Up An Emergency Fund
3. Lower Spending
4. Buy A House
5. Spend Money With Green Values In Mind
6. Stop Paying Late Fees, Overlimit Fees, Nonsufficient Funds Fees, ATM Fees, And Any Other Fees I Can Find!
7. Contribute To My IRA
8. Make Wesabe Better
9. Buy A MacBook Pro
10. Don’t Panic About Money

Wesabe looks like a good idea for internet users who want to improve their money savvy and save money.

Small Businesses Helped by Blogs and Websites

Via the Technolawyer Technorelease of November 29, 2006, we are directed to LexisOne and an Associated Press article by Joyce M. Rosenberg on Balancing Life and Practice: Blogs, Sites Aid Small Business.

Rosenberg refers to numerous websites which have proven to be helpful to small businesses. Typical is the following example:

Marc Hedlund, chief product officer at Wesabe, a personal finance startup based in Berkeley, Calif., said blogs have been a great help as the company prepares to launch.

“For pretty much any kind of business, there’s someone who’s writing about getting that business to work and what works for them,” he said.

It was through a blog that Wesabe found a site to help it with project coordination and to set up an online chat room for its employees, http://www.37signals.com. “It replaced e-mail for us,” Hedlund said.

Take a look at Rosenberg’s article for specific reference to other websites which have proven to be useful for small businesses.