Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
"Men today rely on the same two methods they had in the 1950s, vasectomy and condoms. But vasectomies are drastic, and lads often claim that condoms are fiddly and spoil the mood."
"Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope."
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
So, the other day pushing Mousey around the block I grew up on (till age 4 when we went to Ah-mehr-i-kah!) I dropped his organic cotton frog rattle. (His godfather, my brother, gave me the eco-conscious gift). Being rather un-conscious, I didn't notice and a lady called me: "Seño!" a couple of times before I turned around. I asked about this appellation: Are we not bothering to finish the word with a -ra or a rita as the case may be? My cousin's wife replied: "You're lucky. They used to call us Casera." Which literally means housewife, or very literally, housey. Or perhaps homey. I prefer housey. Sounds like a good place for Mousey.
At any rate, I imagine around the time women began to wear jeans more than skirts, a scandal being made by Peruvian women who wanted respect for their burgeoning cottage industries or college degrees or whatever they were scheming about and refusing to be called Casera. Silly that. We've now come full circle and decided that was perhaps a bit too extreme. I believe this women's lib era should hereafter be known as "When we threw baby out with bathwater," because men's response has largely been, go ahead and work but you'll have a hell of a time getting your hallowed Housey-wife status back, at least without lashings of guilt about how you could possibly be so lazy as to only raise your children.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Cries the blogger out of the dark of the web...
This past week was the first time I ever participated in a simluation of labor union vs corporate leaders (read: pigs) negotiation, something I never dreamed of doing and, given my current state of mind, perhaps the last thing I'd like to do at the crack of 9:30 on a Friday morning. This same enlightening exercise came from a Reims business school professor, who also presented us (for nearly all 21 of us for the first time) relationship mapping. He is also clearly fond of reconnaissance work and claimed how very easy it is to become someone's "friend" via facebook even if you don't know them.
Uncannily, during the week preceding all this very sort of testosterone-fueled gumshoe information I was sollicited by the largest number strange people with strange names that I could ever have imagined to become their Facebook Friend. I didn't retain any of these names, but they did remind me of the advent of Viagra-hawking spammers with completely silly made up names, until they decided - clever them - that having normal sounding names would entice people much more to click on their links and have a go at Viagra.
Today, I was also hit up by a young man of the most proposterous name, until I learned that he's Turkish, so perhaps it is his real name, and the only apparent link we have is that he also attended NYU (but much more recently than I), which is in no way unique. He also is fond of showing pictures of himself tan and shirtless, which makes me wonder if that is a direct come-on, or if he's enrolled in a relationship mapping class, and finds this tactic generally successful for connecting to female subjects. He only has two friends to date, so all this seems to point to a questionable character. When someone only has two friends in FB, they're generally close friends.
Needless to say I did not accept his request and quickly checked my 600 other "FB Friends" to make sure I did in fact go to school with them or met them over an extended period of time. If today they are working for MI6 or the FBI or for les reseignements généraux, and want to connect with me for purely selfish purposes (most people use FB for this reason anyway) at least I can say I knew them when.
I feel like all this has to do with unemployment, education, the world economy and Europe and the US vs Everyone Else but it's a bit of an Ariadne's thread. Sunday evening, my friend Melanie said to me that her brilliant INSEAD at Qinghua professor and advisor to every Chinese politician and CEO worth his salt, said (and I paraphrase), that though China does seem like it's ready to take over the world, they have nothing beyond their GDP numbers to match it. I know that. My dear friend doing her MBA knows that. That's why we live in France. France is good living. They may be in debt but they have loads of other very positive things in terms of quality of life for the largest number of people (yes, it is helpful to go utilitarian when comparing QoL). Those who still don't think so, I invite them to move to China for a while.
On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, there was an American who moved back to India, where his parents had left to give him a "better life" after college because he felt, probably rightly, that India's growth was much more vibrant and that opportunity abounded, unlike in the US. His book on the subject, India Calling, relates his story and how it has to do with this global shift. As Jon Stewart said, "You found the American Dream.. in India."
Reminds me of my own brother moving down to Chile since he feels that there's more to be done there (in terms of CSR) than in the States. I don't think anyone can understand what I'm doing in moldy old Europe at this point. But I lived in China, albeit for school, and in Sri Lanka, albeit for volunteer work, and I lived in Chile, albeit briefly and leaving the country once a month for oxygen. And although many things on a daily basis are easier there, consider how much further one's money can go, it's still not my dream, my white knight promising to pull me out that large pool I and so many others find ourselves in: unemployment.
Which me brings me (aha! the thread comes 'round!) to the WEF in Davos this week. What was the first debate that I saw on their website but "The Future of Employment" hosted by Maria Baritromo and organized by NBC. There was Ariana Huffington, the president of UC Berkeley, the CEO of an Indian Steel company, the token Labor Union guy (there for the emotional response) and one who's name escapes me who was there to represent the corporate prick who seems to think that everything is going well. To his credit, it is a debate and someone has to be the bad guy. And to be fair, during the week in Davos, I'm sure corporate pricks, however well-intentioned, probably outnumber everyone save journalists.
What are they suggesting? Having a more global perspective, yes; changing education, at specific levels in specific countries, yes; lowering wages... no, I don't think that will help the people in developed countries. Focusing more on teaching science and engineering in developed countries, what for, if we can't find any jobs with those degrees? We're not trained to deal with this change. I ask myself what is the point of having been to college. The people educating are also asking these questions because for the coming generations it will only be harder.
It seems that those who've managed to stay afloat are either because the conditions were so bad for so many people until recently that now just seems like a dream come true or those who manage to come up with something new on their own. Ariana Huffington mentioned "We've Got Time to Help" an ingenious coalition of people with the hope of doing something useful with their unemployed time, largely simple acts of solidarity that they organize by state. It's refreshing, and knowing the web, perhaps will blossom into something more consequentiel, or those love-hated three words: a real job.
It seems the only way out of this mess, for us in the "developed world", is to invent your path, since no one before us has managed in a world similar to ours. It also seems that the way to do it is to eliminate the "invisible other" by going towards what is real. Instead of being afraid of developing countries, what is after all, the real threat? Once again, The Invisible Other at its best. Concretely, we have no jobs, so for those of us who believe we can, we must.
And on that note, I will leave the invisible blog-o-sphere to deal with what's real, today, because no one can really see any further.