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Archive for December, 2005

Great Gosling

(WARNING: self-serving, diary-like post ahead where I talk about my predilection for pretty men.)

Okay, so I finally saw The Notebook yesterday and was fully prepared to hate it but knew that I would, at the least, enjoy Gena Rowlands and James Garner. I mean, Maverick man…

I borrowed it from my Dad who has been insisting I see it, I think because the character “Young Allie” might remind him of me. (Not because, despite my most fervent desire, I look anything like Rachel McAdams, who’s adorable. If I did look like that my plan to rule the world would be vastly more evolved…) “Young Allie” was pretty crazy and had issues with her mommy. check. “Young Allie” was kinda bitchy and confused. check. “Young Allie” had a thing for Ryan Gosling. Holy God, check! Who the hell is Ryan Gosling and why have I not been salivating over this man/child for years?!

Let me back up — I got my first job at 15 and forced my parents to tape 21 Jump Street every Sunday because I COULD NOT MISS Johnny Depp. Omigawd — I would just die…

The point is, I tend to obsess about the pretty boys.

Damn you Ryan Gosling!!! You are a very, very hot man. You are Canadian and, I mean, how exotic is that? (joking…) You tend to take dark film roles and seem to be a pretty sharp guy if your emotional range can be believed. You are in a movie with Ewan McGregor.

And you are in my dreams. (Even if the real Rachel McAdams is really dating you….)

The movie was pretty damn good, by the way. Nick Cassavetes, son of Gena Rowlands, directed. His dad, John, and Gena had one of those long-running Hollywood marriages which is generally miraculous. The movie made me miss being young in the South…

By the way, gotta give a shout-out to IMDB for fueling my misguided desires.

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Answers.com gives the definition of arrogance as “overbearing pride.” Pride is more fully defined as:

pride
n.

  1. A sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect.
  2. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association: parental pride.
  3. Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness.
    1. A cause or source of pleasure or satisfaction; the best of a group or class: These soldiers were their country’s pride.
    2. The most successful or thriving condition; prime: the pride of youth.
  4. An excessively high opinion of oneself; conceit.
  5. Mettle or spirit in horses.
  6. A company of lions.
  7. A flamboyant or impressive group: a pride of acrobats.

Arrogance is an interesting concept. It seems to be fairly polarizing: most say they either admire a little arrogance in someone or despise the quality altogether. I was having a conversation earlier with someone whom I think is a pretty good judge of such things and he echoed what is essentially an ancient concept: pride cometh before the fall.

I believe myself to be arrogant — to the point that I jealously guard my pride in something I know I’m good at or that I’ve worked for. I feel a sense of entitlement. It is the nature of our culture I suppose. I’m grateful I’m afforded the leisure to have such a thing as a sense of entitlement. Except…

We (in my office) have been interviewing folks for a student worker job, and a professional, foot-in-the-door one at that. The resumes we received were exemplary and, having interviewed 4 of the 6 candidates, I’m struck by the maturity of these kids (I certainly was NOT that mature at 21…). They amaze me. And then I have to slowly let it sink in that these kids — who are computer programmers and world travelers — are very likely regretting even applying when they spend 20 minutes listening to the babble of my perpetually insecure, over-compensatingly arrogant co-workers who have no idea the genius of the wizards sitting across from them. These kids who have spent months in Spain attempting fluency while at the same time designing websites that allow campuses across the country to trade textbooks, or have worked opening bids for local governments while planning a mission trip to Northwest Africa, they are not impressed with your need to advise them of what they can expect in the “real” world. Um, they’ve been out there man. And, judging by what I know of you, learned more about that world than you have in your 40 or 50 plus years. So shut it!! This interview isn’t about YOU — can’t you tell that by the glazed look in the eye of the candidate that I would very much like to have working for us but am afraid that if I contact them with an offer they’ll turn me down based on your rambling talk about how much their dream job at Ernst & Young will make them a lot of money but will stress them out. Um and you know because…? Oh, I forgot, you once knew someone who knew someone who might have worked there. Look, these kids are as smart as you are clueless, and if they list this company as their career goal I bet they’ve done some research. That’s what appropriately confident people do. And by the way, you’re embarassing yourself. It’s no wonder that the “demotivational” poster above is so funny. It follows the very first rule of funny — it’s true.

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I realize it’s not difficult to be irreverent and to creatively mock the current trend is fairly easy (and I should know), but these just floor me. I think my 17-year-old nephew might be getting a tee shirt for Christmas…

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My good friend Lord Somber, who formerly posted the accompanying image (he’s got a devilish sense of humor and is quite good, eh?), has sent me the elusive meaning of the Argentinian phrase this little neo-hippie wannabe is sporting on his (so original) Che Guevara shirt. (It’s almost not worth the effort cause if you don’t know by now….man….). This article is well-written and links to even more informative ones about who this man, so celebrated by the (faux) intellectual elite, actually was. The meaning is contained in the article. I challenge you to read. Here’s a taste:

Che Guevara was killed 38 years ago and, in death, his history has been turned into a myth that culminated in the 2004 Motorcycle Diaries, executive produced by Robert Redford. The movie was an ode to the young Che’s South American journeys as a 20-something idealist. Never mind who he was to become. As writer Anthony Daniels has noted, “It is as if someone were to make a film about Adolf Hitler by portraying him as a vegetarian who loved animals and was against unemployment. This would be true, but … rather beside the point.”

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Chuck Klosterman has a new book out. If it’s anything like Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto there’s gonna be many funny hours this Christmas…

Here’s a tidbit thanks to Amazon’s genius marketing scheme that allows potential buyers to read several pages of select books. (I’m just saying that their sales probably skyrocketed after they implemented that little gem and they could have easily lost their shirts. Just goes to show that the public wants to trust their vendors, but I digress…)

Here’s the truth as translated by the pop-culture uber-nerd Klosterman:

Two days before I finally packed up my shit and left Akron, I had a phone conversation with the man who would be my immediate supervisor at Spin magazine, and I expressed my relocation insecurities. He tried to explain what my life here would be like; at the time, the only details I could remember about my two trips to New York were that (a) the bars didn’t close until 4 A.M., and (b) there seemed to be an inordinate number of attractive women skulking about the street. “Don’t let that fool you,” my editor said as he (theoretically) stroked his Clapton-like beard. “I grew up in Minnesota, and I initially thought all the women in New York were beautiful, too. But here’s the thing — a lot of them are just cute girls from the Midwest who get expensive haircuts and spend too much time at the gym.” This confused me, because that seems to be the definition of what a beautiful woman is. However, I have slowly come to understand my bearded editor’s pretzel logic: Sexuality is 15 percent real and 85 percent illusion. The first time I was here, it was February. I kept seeing thin women waiting for taxicabs, and they were all wearing black turtlenecks, black mittens, black scarves, and black stocking caps…but no jackets. None of them wore jackets. It was 28 degrees. That attire (particularly within the context of such climatic conditions) can make any woman electrifying. Most of them were holding cigarettes, too. That always helps. I don’t care what C. Everett Koop thinks. Smoking is usually a good decision.

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Thanks to the Daily Pundit (see link in link section) for this good news:

Scott Adams, creator of the satirically genius comic strip Dilbert is now blogging. Aces!

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Man was this story encouraging. I’m kind of obsessed with China. As one who fashions themselves a student of world history (deservedly or not…) I have been very aware of the conflicts the West has had with the East over the course of the 20th century. [Please note: the following diatribe is in no way a criticism of the East. And why do I feel compelled to say this? Because political correctness is a bitch…]

Working at a University, particularly a research university, I hear all the time about the supposed “brain drain;” i.e. the proliferation of eastern advancements in the fields of science and technology. Couple this with the undeniable fact that we outsource a bunch of business we could reasonably do here (except that we in this country are just too hoity-toity to do menial work, yeah?), and the fact that, at least in China, there is a philosophy of government that is (hmmmmm. the politically correct monster again) less that democratic, all this “a billion people in China” and “48 to every one of us” stuff can get scary. Except….

China is a veritable petri dish of organisms. There’s a whole damn lot of them. And, from what I can tell, the folks living under the antiquated political system they’ve got are pretty miserable (remember Tiananmen Square?). It seems that every “killer” virus comes out of there (including speculation that the Spanish flu of the early 20th century originated in the east), and Communism (sorry all you neo-Marxists who romanticize what is essentially a tyrannical form of government) is pretty much a proven failure.

So rock on Michael Viscardi, the home-schooled San Diego teen who won first place for his genetics and mathematics research at the 2005-06 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. Maybe you can pave the way for the oppressed scientists in China to desire the freedom to operate in their land without the strangle-hold of government playing a role. I mean, you didn’t even need the school system, did ya, ya smarty pants!

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