It’s That Time Again

The Friday Five:
What tastes best covered in chocolate?
Why do you eat chocolate the way you do (or don’t)?
My granddaughter Emme and I prefer white chocolate but hot cocoa is good, too. My favorite way to eat it would be as curls on a cake with white frosting, any cake that doesn’t have pineapple.
Do you know how chocolate is made?
No….you’re scaring me!
If you knew you would live 5 years longer if you never ate any chocolate again, would you give it up?
I guess so. Quit smoking for that reason, even though I enjoyed it.
Have you ever had carob?
I think so, but again, I’m not a brown chocolate person, so it didn’t impress me much.

Happy To Be Here

Having been to Hyannis for some errands before a planned tweetup, I noticed that it had started snowing lightly around 5:30 this evening.
Figuring it was a bad idea to be on the road tonight, I opted to come home. By the time I got to my neighborhood, I driving in a real snowstorm – not a blizzard, but more serious than it looked earlier.
Suffice it to say that I’m very happy to be home right now, especially since I’d picked up six pack of Monty Python’s Holy Grail over the weekend.

Narcissists Make Lousy Leaders

The academicians at Ohio State University say so.
According to an article by Kevin Hassett in, psychologists at Ohio State University, led by Amy Brunell, studied the behavior of 153 MBA students and observed that “the students who had the strongest narcissistic traits were most likely to emerge as leaders.”
That in itself is certainly not a big surprise, nor is the article’s further conclusion that “the results of the study had large implications for real-world settings, because

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Fluffles

Mr. Fluffles flipped out on me today for about five minutes. Intestinal distress perhaps. I cleaned his litter and gave him dry food instead of canned. Right now, he’s resting.
He went berserk on me when I tried to get him out of my chair, snarling and hissing. Makes me wonder what I don’t know about his 14 year history.
Either that, or this is my introduction to the wonderful world of feline bipolar disorder.

Into the Wild

I’d been looking forward to seeing this movie and yesterday, happened to be at the only local Redbox that had it in stock.
So, last night, Fluffles and I, having woken up from early evening naps, settled in to view.
First of all, any movie directed by Sean Penn with a cast that includes Donald Sutherland, Hal Holbrook, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden and leading man Emile Hirsch, who also played Cleve Jones in “Milk”, is pretty much guaranteed to be worth a watch.
What little I knew of the story appealed to me because of its Walden-inspired theme.
I also knew that Chris McCandless’s journey to Alaska ended badly. What I didn’t know is that many consider his final days to be a deliberate and inexcusable exercise in self-destruction due to poor planning and ignorance.
For example, McCandless didn’t have a compass or a map. For that reason, he didn’t know that he could have forded the river which blocked his return to safety by traveling only a quarter mile to a hand-operated tram.
This contrasts with the story of Dick Proenneke, who at age 52 built a log cabin in the Alaska Wilderness and lived there for 30 years.
Like McCandless, Proenneke’s level of fitness at the start of his journey was extraordinary, and he also had the self-discipline to keep a diary.
Unlike McCandless, Dick Proenneke was a skilled carpenter, mechanic and repairman who financed his Alaska lifestyle with his hard-earned retirement income. McCandless was a college graduate who gave away $24,000, the bulk of the college fund that his self-made millionaire parents gave him, to charity and burned most of his remaining cash.
Proenneke’s meticulous planning is documented in a book and a film, “One Man’s Wilderness”. As spare and business-like as the author, this documentary lacks “Into the Wild”‘s philosophical, introspective and idealistic tone – not a bad thing. As a result, “One Man’s Wilderness” is fresh and inspirational, while “Into the Wild”, a more recent film, comes across as dated and clich

Friday Five

Thanks again to Live Journal for reviving this entertaining meme:
1. If you were to have a scholarship created in your honor, what qualities would you look for in applicants (leadership, service, GPA, etc.)?
I would look for two things: evidence of strong intellectual discipline and curiosity – such as teaching oneself a new language or building/repairing a house without help – and proof of overcoming long odds – adoption, physical deformity, recovery from serious illness.
2. Who would be eligible to apply for your scholarship (members of a certain major, ethnic group, sexuality, etc.)?
Women over forty who have never been married and who wish to enter a profession that is predominantly male.
3. Would it be need-based or not? Why?
I think any middle-aged woman who’s never been married would a priori meet a needs test, so it wouldn’t be necessary to explicitly impose such a requirement.
4. What would you call it?
A Second Chance
5. If you made applicants write an essay, what would the topic be?
Instead of a written interview, I’d prefer a presentation on any scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical, historical or political topic.


From NPR, A Puritan View Of The Crash by Dick Meyer:
But it wasn’t OK when midlevel, 30-year-old workers in big, corporate investment banks were routinely making over $5 million a year. It wasn’t OK when the top hedge fund operators could make a billion a year.
“In 1960, the ratio of CEO pay at large companies to that of the president of the United States was about 2 to 1. In 2007, it was more than 20 to 1,” wrote Harvard scholars Rakesh Khurana and Andy Zelleke in The Washington Post. “In 1980, executives at large companies made about 40 times what the average worker made. Last year, CEOs made about 360 times more than the average worker.”
“On the NYSE today, the average share is held for less than a year, as compared to about five years in 1960 and two years in 1990,” the authors wrote. “What matters isn’t what the companies are actually doing but the expectation that the shares can be unloaded to a ‘greater fool’ at a higher price. In the prevailing business culture, little has been meaningfully valued by either executives or shareholders beyond the short-term accumulation of wealth.”
The rise of both the financial services sector and executive compensation contributed to a deeper and more important shift in the economy: the growth of income inequality.
Economists gauge differences in income using a measure called the Gini index. According to the U.S Census Bureau, the index went from 0.38 in 1968 to 0.47 in 2006, a rise in income inequality of 24 percent.
In 2004, the top 10 percent of earners made 42.9 percent of all the income Americans earned, accorded to a well-known study by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. The top 1 percent alone swallowed 16.2 percent of total American income. By the way, to get into that top 1 percent in 2004, you needed to earn $20 million a year or $385,000 a week. Good luck with that.