Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

View of Golden GateThe city is great, with busy streets, places to eat; and plenty of people to watch. As a small-town boy (Seattle), it is a shock at times but I am enjoying San Francisco while still missing home.

Here people move faster, are more direct (no “Seattle freeze” here), and there is a greater diversity of people and styles. As a friend said to me, “This is the home of the internet,” and that is true (for example, my office is right across from Uber and Yahoo is not far away).

Below are some more of my amateur cell phone pics.

 

St Patricks

End AnnieSFO StreetAlley Stop

Kitchen Knife Skills

Posted: June 19, 2013 in Personal, Society
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Maybe it’s because of watching Hannibal but I’m more aware of my kitchen skills and/or the need to improve them. The Italians say that a man’s place is actually in the kitchen and I heartily agree!

Men and Women

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Personal, Society

“A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men.” – Camille Paglia

A man’s life is a series of journeys and trials while a woman is born as is – hence a woman’s inability to understand why men do dumb things. – NW Mondo

 

If this NYT article is correct than maybe the next generation of students in China (and hopefully India) will go through a less demeaning and stultifying educational experience (being hooked to IV’s in order to study extra hard is a priceless image of a scary future – Matrix anyone?).

Nothing beats the old practice of honing the full individual through a combination of academics and athletics. To borrow from the Japanese and our ancient Greek heritage, the “sword and the pen” make the individual (emphasis on the individual and his or her dreams).

 

Student loan debt is at the $1 trillion dollar mark according to the NY Times and one of the long-term drags on the US economy. Flushed with taxpayer dollars, colleges have been increasing tuition across the board, putting students so deeply into debt that many of them are having to put off buying a car, a home, and saving for retirement.

College-at-any-cost is creating a generation of people with sometimes fancy and often useless college degrees that have little demand in the current job market. At the same time, companies are pressuring Congress and the Obama administration to loosen visa requirements for overseas professionals to fill jobs that Americans are not able to fulfill.

The solution is simple: the university system, which has remain unchanged since the Sorbonne in the 13th century, has to change. Degrees need to be rated (and paid for) according to their current market value. Computer science and medicine are worth more than sociology and journalism.

The delivery of educational content needs to change too. Drawing upon the Sorbonne example, information once had to be delivered in person to ensure that students could ask questions and that schools could reach their student population.

With current and future technology, there is less need for dormitories or for schools to require physical attendance in classes. That need does exist as education goes from the generalist BA level to a MA or research-style program. And for pre-med and similar programs that require lab work, some of that university tradition makes sense.

Don’t get me started on university sports programs. They are a multi-billion dollar waste of time, designed to satisfy alumni and the school’s financial bottom line. They are a far cry from the amateur sports programs predicated upon the ancient Greek principle of training the mind and the body

Singing In the Rain

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Society

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The weather is beautiful today but for some reason I am thinking about one of my favorite clips of Gene Kelly. It’s the famous “singing in the rain” scene where Gene is walking home after dropping off his girlfriend.

He’s so happy that he just starts singing and dancing…in the rain. Great moves by one of the greatest dancers of American cinema.

What struck me most was how Gene’s character showed uninhibited happiness and enthusiasm. That is something that no modern movie would portray. Now all of our leading men have to be unsure and “nuanced.” Some would say “whiny.”

Movies reflect the values and trends of their times, and some could say that nowadays we just know more, that relationships are more difficult; that we live in more complex times.

However, movies like Singing In the Rain were done in post-war America. Soldiers had come back home after seeing the Nazi death camps, the flood of refugees throughout Europe and Asia, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the earth-shattering changes of a new world order.

Despite all of that, simple happiness and enthusiasm were what people wanted. Perhaps because they had seen so much they knew what counted.

Middling Thoughts About 2010

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Society

I’ve been working on a social media project with a large software company which has, ironically, kept me away from my goal of a weekly blog post.

With 2010 coming to a close I just had to finish off the year with something…but what…? Perhaps noting the irony of the frontman for Boney M dying in St. Petersburg on the same day that Rasputin died (though probably not as violently). One of Boney M’s hit songs was about Rasputin.

Wikileaks had my attention in the sense that there was nothing earth-shattering about the content of the diplomatic cables except that it confirmed what the public knew or guessed about our relationship with allies and opponents. However, the over-the-top response from some politicians (Joe Lieberman) was unsettling. Instead of killing the messenger (the very strange Julian Assange who I think may be an Andorian…), focus on resolving our government security issues and not on stifling free speech.

The mainstream media seem to think that the economy is improving, voicing claims from economists that the recession officially ended in June of 2009. More of my friends are working than not so I guess that may be correct. Unemployment numbers are interesting when you take a look at them, though. Professional employees are seeing their lot improve but blue-collar workers are still suffering and I think this recession has created an underclass of permanently unemployed people (over 50, little or no education, and limited work experience beyond a single industry) that could become a long-term drag on the economy.

On that last note, this will be especially true of men who, unlike their female counterparts, are less likely to be flexible and accept the change forced upon them. Age is not the issue in so much as it is an issue of losing the spirit of youth which allows one to continually seek growth and new opportunities without looking backwards.

So with that, let’s all look forward to a 2011 filled with opportunities to grow, professionally and otherwise!