Go ahead - judge me

Can I still be cool if I really, really want to see I Am Legend?

President Laureate

I cannot reveal my source, but I have it on good authority that you should go buy Iowa Electronic Market shares in Al Gore entering the race. If it happens and I'm the first place you read it with certainty, you must call me J.Bro King of Politics for one week.

I am going to win these Duck Boots...

...on ebay, and I'll show you the pictures next week to prove it. And when I do, my hipness will increase by eight and three-quarters, according to the New York Times (of September 2006).

“I love those boots,” says the designer and nightclub habituĂ© Lazaro Hernandez, who had his Bean Boots refurbished after two years of everyday use. Hernandez, half of the fashion wonder team Proenza Schouler, insists, “All my friends have been copying me.”

Dig out your tote bags: fashion’s true believers, arguably the least authentic humans on the planet, are clamoring for the “real” America. Trend-deaf homegrown brands, whether fancy or just plain homely, have never been hipper. Will downtown Manhattan start looking like Martha’s Vineyard? “I look at old images of Bill Blass with his duck shoes and a cable-knit V-neck sweater and, like, a pipe in his library — it’s amazing,” Hernandez says. “It’s like wearing your grandfather’s clothes. It feels cool.”

Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity

It's hilarious to me that our economic future hinges on whether Jennie and Amber, two new moms from Sheboygan, decide to have an extra-large frappuccino from Gloria Jean's coffee to keep themselves amped for another lap through JC Penney. Oh. My. God. Amber, look at these reindeer figurines at this kiosk over here! Wouldn't my mom looove this?

However, some industry analysts caution that the early buying frenzy could soon peter out - and endanger crucial weekend sales - as millions of pre-dawn shoppers succumb to shopping fatigue.

"The early bird shoppers are definitely out there. But will it last through the day?" said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with market research firm NPD Group.

Here she is now, entertain her

Melanie, who was four years old when Kurt Cobain killed himself, is in her room with my copy of Nevermind, grunging along to Smells Like Teen Spirit. How terrible is new teenager music going to be when my daughter is 15? Terrible terrible.

Update: Aaand, that experiment's over. I think I just heard the song that's playing now say something like, "Watch me crank it in these hos", which is definitely not Nirvana. Melanie has no musical stamina. When I had Nevermind on cassette, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say I listed to it a dozen times in a row. Melanie fast forwards through the intro music of songs to get to the chorus, then reverses to listen to the chorus again. She would be ecstatic with a compilation CD of five hundred 15-second snippets. Maybe "NOW: That's What I Call The Attention Span of a Third-grader!"

Exciting times

I have a healthy respect for The Jinx, so I'm not writing much, other than to say the last few days (and the next couple weeks) are exciting times. Maybe none of it will turn out to be anything, but there's lots of potential for future (very) happiness in the air right now. These are all different places, any of which my little family and I would be exceptionally content at.

My alma mater's no ugly duckling, mind you. Like all campuses that had an influx of students from the GT Bill, it's marred by a few Soviet-looking dorms, but it was voted the most beautiful campus in the midwest many times.

This is the dorm my grandfather lived in when he was a student there - 50 years later, it was where I lived my freshman and sophomore years. That's right - I'm a legacy.

A good father

It was a while between updates, but Bean's blog is active again.

Also on the good-father front, I don't want to jinx it, but I think I nailed yesterday's phone interview. If it doesn't get me to the next stage, I need to fundamentally rethink and retool my approach to job-hunting.

West (China)Towne Mall

When the misses and I visited New York City this Spring, one of the high points was visiting Chinatown for fake purses. It was a story that involved almost being led into a back-alley cellar, and later, going through the fake back wall of a little stall. But we flew home with two "Gucci" purses, so hand me my codpiece and put up the Mission: Accomplished banner.

Yesterday, at West Towne Mall (far from shady - well, unless you only shop at Hilldale), we found two new kiosks hocking x-mas gifts - one selling fake Burberry cashmere scarves and the other with fake Coach bags. I'm not talking about general look-a-likes or homages, but completely fake $12 scarves with Burberry tags (note: not "Berbarry" or "Burrberrey", but correctly-spelled and all). The Coach bags have one tag that talks about their authenticity...and another in Chinese.

West Towne Mall's no fly-by-night organization (Look at its spelling!) - how in the world did these kiosks get approved? I assume whatever company owns the mall has some lawyers, right? (Someone has to defend the management from Orange Julius-related slips and falls.) As the new owner of two fake Burberry scarves, I'm not complaining too hard, but I'd still like to know what the deal is. Not enough to call the mall office, though - I think I still want a green one.

I forgot: West Towne Mall is also the home of the least-guessable url in mall-shopping history. Welcome to www.shopwesttowne-mall.com - if the extraneous "shop", "e" and "-" didn't lose you, that is!

Things which, today, have been observed, by me

1) That I'm less nervous for my real job talk on Friday (the one that matters) than I was for my practice job talk on Monday. Practice job-talking in front of your friends and colleagues is a horrible thing to have to do, even if you do end up with good advice and a much better presentation from it.


3) The job market has peaks and valleys - I got another phone interview today, but also (a) found out that one of my colleagues got a campus interview at a school we both phone-interviewed with, and (b) got a letter from ABOYAM (A Bunch of Your Alma Mater) that they've hired someone for the position I applied for.

UPDATE: The peaks and valleys come very quickly! Three minutes after I posted #3, I got an e-mail from one of my top 3 choices making sure I was still interested in the position! I'm on an emotional roller-coaster!

Big day, smelly bathroom

The first heater that gets turned on in our apartment every fall is the one in the bathroom. A combination of leaving the cozy bedcovers and being naked on a tiled floor makes it necessary to crank up the heat in the bathroom up before any other room. But along with waves of warm air, comes the stench months of dust being burned off the register. Sweet warm, stinky air.

I hate winter so much.

Speeding: It's On The Nose

I hope that all of you already use the "on the nose" gesture that I've spent the last ten years trying to popularize - right elbow out, right index finger tapping the tip three or four times. I have only this little blog to spread my gesture's word - the Australian government has so many more resources at their disposal (like, a million blogs!), it's no wonder their gesture caught on so quickly.

The "little finger" gesture is meant to be given to speeders in lieu of other, more traditional fingers. Rather than anger or annoyance, it's meant to imply that the speeder...uh...has a small organ. While it sounds like an 8th-grade game and is clearly less effective when used at female speeders, it meets all the qualifications of a good driving gesture - quick, easy, widely understood (in Australia, anyway). And based on this article, effective.

Simon Jardak was fined $400 by a magistrate yesterday after an accusatory finger on the Anzac Bridge enraged him so much he threw a plastic bottle out of his car window, hitting the gesturing woman's car.

Jardak blamed his malicious damage charge on the RTA's anti-speeding campaign, in which hoons are mocked with wagging little fingers, suggesting they have tiny penises.

I'm a long-time wisher that there was a commonly-understood hand signal for "I'm sorry, dude - that was 100% my fault, and I recognize and acknowledge that." It would prevent so much anger on the highways and byways - frankly, I think a public awareness campaign in our country is in order. Now we just need a gesture to use. George Bush, if you're reading this, don't use the "index finger on the nose" for the apology campaign - it's already been assigned.