Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Classic Movie Review: Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Why this movie? I asked twitter to suggest a great movie that came out before I was born in '79 and HeyLady33 suggested Bringing Up Baby as one of the most memorable.  I was skeptical at first but I found that it was on both an AFI 100 Movies list and also on Filmsite's 100 Greatest Films.

The Story is a screwball romantic comedy sparked by a chance meeting on a golf course that throws a million dollars, a marriage, a leopard, and rare dinosaur bone all into mayhem.

My Thoughts Wowee!  This movie was an absolute rollercoaster ride.  It picks up staidly enough and gets quirkier and quirkier as we go until it becomes an absolute free-for-all of mile-a-minute banter and comically misconstrued wordplay.  Hepburn's character Susan is an absolute charmer with her carefree and flippant approach to the quibbles and concerns of Grant's hapless David as she tries to win his affections, however haphazardly.  There is a real duality between these characters, two peas from a pod, and their interactions bring out a part of David that is polar opposite to the side his fiancĂ©e evokes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Malcolm Gladwell - Outliers: The Story of Success

This was my first Gladwell book and won't be my last.  I had heard that he has a very approachable writing style that tackles research and statistics based premises adroitly and he didn't disappoint.  The premise he puts forward here is simple, profound, and important.  He basically sets out to prove to us that no real element of success is self-driven and even the greatest success "outliers" are indeed products of their environment.  This is a casuality subscribing cynics dream come true but doesn't read like one.

In a fairly small package, he very clearly shows some startling corollaries between when groups of athletes were born and their career potential.  He delves into the makings of computer giants like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  He points out the biggest single reason The Beatles became "bigger than Jesus" (*1).  This is all in his signature style and leaves you wondering how you could ever see success any other way but his.

Don't worry it isn't a demotivating revelation as he points out some ways how a better understanding of success can help us generate it and foster it proactively.  Tip number one is do not push your kids ahead a year in school - if they are of that on the fence age - unless you plan to make up the difference with a rigorous summer learning routine!  There are many more insights for parents of athletes and students and even geniuses.  For my part, I've finally given up the childhood hope to be the next Bill Gates, Paul McCartney, or Mario Lemieux and that is incredibly liberating.
I wonder though, is it too late to be the next Malcolm Gladwell?

*1 - In an ode to Gladwell (*2), I'll take a footnote here to point out that it bothers me how misrepresented this off the cuff remark of Lennon's is when quoted as I have done here.  It's a shame because Lennon was an insightful guy at times and this quote always takes that and makes him look like an arrogant git.  Mind you, I'm not saying he wasn't at least a little arrogant...
*2 - He does have a distracting habit of writing a book-within-a-book via very lengthy footnotes that take his asides to up to half the page height, while interesting they are excessive.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What are your theories on deja vu?

As a teenager I had a theory that Time has no bearing on us after we die, and so Deja Vu is our spirits revisiting important moments in our lives. Perhaps this all happens in the "life flashing before your eyes" moments and each flash is a stop and moment of past Deja Vu.
So at the time I used to take especial notice of my situation and surroundings and conversation during Deja Vu and try to savor it.
Maybe these critical moments were critical mistakes and God provides us one last chance to correct our lives at death? Look for the novel based on this next year.

Today what are my theories? Gosh I don't know. Maybe it is simply that it is a common situation that you have encountered before and your brain gets tricked and misfires and writes memory in the same place it is reading it and so you feel like you know what's coming, like listening to a reverse echo sound effect - you can't quite make it out but when it arrives it sounds like it was always coming.

I just made that one up for you HeyLady33, that's how I roll.

Ask me anything

What is the most annoying thing that someone could do to you?

Shatter my ego in front of everyone I know and love. Actually that's a bit past annoying and on into terrifying.
Let's go with constantly doubt and second guess everything I say and play Devil's Advocate whenever I complain about something.

Ask me anything