May 20, 2005

Meme rash

I have been tagged by a couple of memes (is my nose bleeding?).

Eric got me on the this one:

List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over.

Ok, since I like Eric and I sort of think this one is interesting, I'll give it a shot.

First: Reality Television.

Reality television is not reality. I have seen very little of it and what I have seen is execrable. I don't really need that much crap in my life.

Second: Competitive Admission Pre-School

Ok, while maybe I do understand it, sort of, that there are a limited number of slots at good pre-schools in New York City (read: Manhattan) and every parent is convinced that his or her child will not get into Dalton if they don't go to Ms. Frobishers' Finishing School for the Pre-School Years, it's the hysteria part of this that I don't get. Schlepping your poor kid from interview to interview and test to test. For what? A pre-school where you get the chance to spend $12,000 a year for nose picking and finger painting? Please.

Third: College Savings.

Much of my peer group is consumed with the idea of college savings. We are more concerned at this point with retirement savings. As my wife points out to me, the kids can, if they have to, borrow money to go to college. No one will ever lend us money to retire. That said, we are putting money away for the kids, we're just not consumed with it.

Fourth: Golf.

I'm sure it's very nice and all, but have you ever been part of a golf conversation without wanting someone to come along and either shoot the people talking about golf or shoot you and you don't care anymore which it is?

Fifth: Crackberrys

Why do you want to be reachable from work all the time? Why is constant availability a virtue for most people? Why sit there and peck away, looking so terribly important, when all you're doing is exchanging bullshit with a friend? I don't get it. I don't have one and I don't want one.



Tinklebelle tagged me with a book meme:

1. Total number of books I’ve owned

No idea. I can say that when we bought our last house, I had an additional 80 linear feet of shelf space put in and I've outgrown it in three years. We are voracious readers in my house.

2. The last book I bought.

I'm not 100% sure. There were two books. Right now, I'm not supposed to be buying any more books in light of the impending move. But the two I bought were:

Alexander Hamilton: A Life, by Willard Sterne Randall (currently a bargain selection on Amazon, I note); and,

Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything,
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner.

3. The last book I read.

I am almost finished with Rubicon : The Last Years of the Roman Republic,
by Tom Holland. I would have finished it sooner, but I keep falling asleep on the train at night!

4. 5 Books that mean a lot to you.

Gee, I am not really sure. Some books have meant more to me at other times than now, for instance.

How about, and only as a partial list:

*Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Marc Weissbluth (a must read for any new parent)

*Kim, by Rudyard Kipling (inspired a life long fascination with the whole region)

*The Three Musketeers, Dumas (love historical fiction)

*The Norton Anthology of Poetry (enough said)

*Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950, by Martin Russ (the heroism of these brave men during a war we often forget about will take your breath away).

I think this list could go on and on, but I have to get some work done today.

5. Tag 5 people and request they fill this out on their journal.



If you want to identify yourself and play along with either of these two memes, that would be great, but I'm not inclined to tag anyone else with any memes. Not really my thing. But thanks for asking me to play!

Posted by Random Penseur at May 20, 2005 10:36 AM

I've never heard them called "crackberries". that's funny.

Posted by: GrammarQueen at May 20, 2005 12:15 PM

Great idea RP. I think I will pass on the 2nd one to a book review discussioin board I paricipate in!!!

Things I don't get that others do:
1. Star Wars
2. Sideways
3. Howard Stern
4. Don Imus
5. Secretary's week
1.Total number of books I've owned? No idea. At least 1,000
2.Last book I bought? Tangled Loyalties:The Life and Time of Ilya Ehrenburg by Joshua Rubenstein
3.Last book(s) I've read: Stalin's Foly: The Tragic First Ten Days of the Eastern Front by Constantine Pleshakov and Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler (I alternate fiction and non-faction)
4.Five books that mean a lot to you"
Music of a Life, Andrei Makine
Life and Fate: Vasily Grossman
Fateless: Imre Kertesz
Small Gods: Terry Pratchett (His entire Discworld series is a treasure)
Huck Finn: Mark Twain

Posted by: ivan at May 20, 2005 07:10 PM


I'm sure it's very nice and all, but have you ever been part of a golf conversation without wanting someone to come along and either shoot the people talking about golf or shoot you and you don't care anymore which it is?

I've never understood dressing like a pimp and cussing all afternoon.

Posted by: Mark at May 20, 2005 10:02 PM

RP, thank you for humoring me :)

Posted by: Emily/Tinklebelle at May 20, 2005 10:48 PM

Hey, all thought all you JD types were supposed to be golf fanatics! Besides, I LIKE golf, sheesh. Although I do try not to bore people who don't golf. But when my boss and I get started ....... well, that pretty much means serious glazed looks from our admins.

Posted by: Eric at May 20, 2005 11:58 PM

Thanks for playing, Ivan! And long time no see. Glad to see you back around. I think it's interesting how few of those books I've ever heard of.

I wasn't humoring you, Emily. I like to talk to about books!

Eric, I suppose I really meant I can't understand taking up perfectly good oxygen to talk about golf. Playing it may be another matter. As for JD's and golf, my wife thinks I don't really need another expensive hobby. Out here in NY, joining a good golf club could set you back over 6 figures. Even if I had it to spend, I don't think I could bring myself to do it!

Posted by: RP at May 21, 2005 06:13 AM

Ditto on all in Meme 1! Well, with the exception of Crackberry's. That was truly very funny. Blackberry's or IM/Email on my PDA, are the only way for me to keep my cell charges down while receiving business information and updates from friends located all around the globe. I love my TREO!

Meme 2: I found the Hamilton book interesting, I've not finished it yet as life has been busy as of late.

I thought of buying Freakonomics, but since I have 2 shelves in my bookshelf of yet unread books I restrained myself.

Posted by: michele at May 21, 2005 09:07 AM

Iwas in full agreement till I got to the crackberrys and then I started to wonder where I had been all my life.

Re books. My motto has alweays been more bookspace not less books. That Twillight Zone with everyone dying and the one bookworm left...I can relate.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at May 23, 2005 11:04 AM

There are some benefits to a crackberry type device. Mine takes photos, for instance. I could get away with a camera phone though and gain the same benefits.

I'm with ya...resist the crackberries. They only lead to self-induced ADD.

Posted by: C at May 23, 2005 01:26 PM

RP, We have a fair amount of overlap (1, 4, and 5). And I agree with your answers to 2 and 3.

If we didn't live in a good public school district, I would have included the competitive pre-schools, too. We have friends down in Dallas who are obsessed with getting their kids on the right private school "track."

Ditto on the retirement versus college savings. Our current strategy is to save enough to provide our kids with the equivalent of tuition/books/small living stipend to the University of Texas for four years. If they go there, fine. If they go elsewhere or take longer than 4 years, they'll have to make up the difference.

Posted by: JohnL at May 23, 2005 05:44 PM

The other thing about college savings: I went to a fairly expensive college. My college roommate came from an upper middleclass background. He had a bank account specifically for college funds [birthday gifts from grandparents, etc.]. The college assumed that money [gathered over 18 years] represented the amount he could make in one summer, and gave him very little in aid.He reapplied the next year, after that account was gone, and did better.

Posted by: owlish at May 25, 2005 05:59 PM

RP! I like it. Now give away all but your most precious!

i have to say I like your answers to the first meme. The overall mindset reminds me of how I think.

I am going to pick up that sleep book right away.

Posted by: dr pants at May 28, 2005 03:51 AM
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