when i was younger, my dad had a curious rule about tv: no tv on school nights — except during dinner. yup, close family, great communicators, this is why i don’t talk much. so anyway, because we ate dinner rather religiously at 6:30pm, all my pop culture larnin’ was limited to — first and foremost — world news with peter jennings, followed by whatever i chose until dinner time ended — i even remember eating exceptionally slowly to see the end of episodes. when i was feeling generous, i let my sister choose and we watched jeopardy (and kept score) or mystery! (and i passed out, faceplant into rice bowl). but most of the time, the clicker landed on WB11 or fox 5, where i found the sitcoms in syndication that all the cool kids at school talked about.
i learned all about the soup nazi, cowabunga, and the rachel at least a year late, but it made no matter. the mindless stuff had my sister and me cackling — and importantly, eating at a remedial pace. however, it was observed that my dad never so much as cracked a smile (mom was busy daydreaming about peter jennings, scribbing on napkins “mrs jennings” in different script styles and “PJ + [her maiden initials],” hiding it when my dad glanced over).
so i asked one day how he, a fellow human being, could somehow watch seinfeld and not laugh. rather unexpectedly, he exploded with, “much ado about nothing!!!!” and launched into a rant about how the show goes on and on about nothing and that he’d rather tune out and be left to his own very important thoughts. like father like daughter, what can i say. i certainly can’t deny that situational comedy violates his highest priority of an unclouded mind, given the sample of his parenting below.
in an email to my sister after she bought her semi-automatic car, he managed to wax philosophical…
[Dear Clutch Rider Daughter]:
Stay in semiautomatic. It saves the sweat. It is really annoying to drive in manual mode. Every 10 miles up or down one has to change the gear! On congested city streets and crowded highways, with constant stop and go, pickup and slowdown, one’s right hand will be tired in no time. Besides, too busy with gear shifting reduces one’s alert on the coming traffic condition.
Modern automatic transmission has improved gas mileage quite a lot. There is absolute no advantage in using a manual one. The one who still insists is a bull with a twisted vanity.
In an ever more complex society one uses better and better tools to handle the conventional cores, so that one has time left to concentrate on the new ones. And it is how well one can handle the new ones that one is called a hero.
in case you are wondering…yes, he speaks like this in 3D, too. does everything about me make sense now?
however, i can deny that i prioritize an unclouded mind. i’m all about clouding. i love clouds. above the clouds, how do you catch a cloud and pin it down, a walk in the clouds starring keanu reeves which is so much better than anyone would expect even keanu’s mom, i uploaded all the music on this mac to the cloud on friday when i learned i get free gigs on amazon music, the thrill of cloud printing, looking out a plane window in flight when i was too old to be wondering, i even foolishly asked my mom (of mrs would-be jennings fame):
me: can those clouds out there support me? could i walk on them [with keanu]?
mom: no way, jose!
me: what about a paper clip?
mom [putting down her peter jennings biography to scrunch her brows together and pout her upper lip a bit before replying]: maybe.
have you ever tossed a paper clip out the window of a plane mid-flight? yeah, didn’t think so. she’s right and you know it.
all this to say, why yes. yes, you’re right! all below and this entire blog are unapologetically about nothing. carry on.
email from LW to me, subject: this is the end
I just got a budget template, from our Finance dept in D.C. (the nation’s capital), created entirely in Comic Sans.
R.I.P. Western Civ.
me: is that guy wearing a paisley shirt?
MD: he must be an international student.
spotted at paper hearts on division: midwest gangsignz
creeping up behind me in the quiet study lounge, talking me about the best time to meet for this week’s case write-up, casually eyeing my open browser windows of a facebook page on jack link’s beef jerky, a google shopping search for “flannel shirt” “plaid” “free shipping”, urbandictionary search for gross!dontclickthis!, grooveshark, MS allowed, “it’s okay. makes me feel better about my productivity.”
on a nostalgic kick lately (see this flickr’ed delia*s catalog from 1999!!!!), i polled some friends on tv crushes of our youth and was so hugely entertained by the responses. thanks, friends, for the trip down memory lane that resulted in my not reading my compstrat case (picture my name card down) because i couldn’t stop youtubing entire episodes of my so-called life and freaks & geeks.
#1 all-time: jordan catalano from my so-called life.
so dreamy…yet. dumb. as. rocks.
also what does it mean that i would wear all of these items below (except the t-shirt)? that i’m stuck in the 90s? old news.
#2 pacey witter from dawson’s creek
pacey ranks high largely because — just like below — he stands in manly contrast to the off-the-scale sissiness of dawson. pacey was the guy who got in trouble with the school, yet knew how to build and or fix anything with metal. dawson, on the other hand, was a “writer” whose best demonstrable skill was his ability to curl his bangs without even brushing his giant forehead with the curling iron.
#3 seth cohen from the OC
so nerdy and hilarious! i only watched the show for him.
#4 zack morris from saved by the bell
20 years later, still dreamy.
try here if that embedded video fails.
#5 uncle jesse from full house
- at his dream(boat)iest after stephanie cut his hair … i searched on youtube for “uncle jesse hair” and learned that there is a band called uncle jesse’s hair.
- isn’t it strange that everyone in the tanner family calls kimmy gibbler “kimmy gibbler” despite that she’s basically a part of the family?
- michelle tanner past age five is the most annoying kid character in history.
— runners-up —
- trent lane from daria (would have ranked in the top five if he were in 3D)
- mike seaver from growing pains
- pinsky from salute your shorts
- brandon walsh from 90210
- charles from charles in charge
- cody from step by step
- greg brady from the brady bunch
- kevin arnold from the wonder years
— notable comments on the tween heartthrob thread —
- I’d still hit Stamos.
- mike seaver from growing pains! (is that totally unacceptable?)
- and definitely not larry or balky from perfect strangers, but does
anyone remember that??
- Embarrassingly enough, I was quite keen on Balky
- i nominate sabrina’s boyfriend from sabrina the teenage witch, but i am too embarrassed to reply-all with that submission..
- David the Gnome???
- Maybe unacceptable, but I also had a soft spot for Brian Krakow on MSCL
- I kind of enjoyed The Hoff’s son on Baywatch. Yes, I did sometimes watch Baywatch.
- I was thinking SANDY Cohen from the OC. I love Peter Gallagher and his huge eyebrows.
- You may need to use a poll for A.C. Slater vs. Zach Morris. I’m undecided.
done. my vote is 200% for zack.
last installment of our four-part series (uno, dos, y tres), the pinky wars, i.e. last thoughts on non-dominant pinky market valuation, i promise. it’s clear that we’re all irrationally pricing ourselves high given the insurance argument, plus a few closing notes:
- keith richards insured his fingers for $1.6 million and heidi klum insured her legs for $2.2 million.
- “we may not value the each marginal chance of losing a pinky at the same price (increasing the chance from 1% to 2% may have a different value than from 99% to 100%) – since this is an all or nothing proposition, simply assuming that all marginal probabilities are valued equally is likely not correct.” — JH
- “[what] about total value of lifetime resources, the fact that 1 in 572 in one year is not representative of the actual odds of losing a pinky, people may prefer to get an F than risk their pinky, people may be more or less skilled /confident in their ability to ’shop’?” — TJ
moreover, i admit i maintain an irrational difference between the price at which i’d sell my pinky, in contrast to the amount which i’d demand for its loss. it should be the same, but my selling price is much higher and based primarily on emotional attachment and vanity …
…while my real loss/demand price is lower, based primarily on the insurance cost, which is likely based on real probabilities and earnings power …
this all explains why my willingness to pay for someone else’s pinky is much lower than the selling price of my own, of course — and in this exercise, since transplants/prosthetics are not allowed, my buying price is actually zero. is this some perversion of loss aversion?
so what’s the bottom line? there is no such thing as rational independent bottom-up valuation! down with fundamentals! long live relative valuation and momentum trading! i see a head and shoulders [top down] pattern emerging! quick — double down and bottoms up!
okay really, though, what’s the bottom bottom line? nothing, really. this was merely a thought exercise meant to distract the target audience of this blog (we, the unemployed and highly levered). the only conclusions i wholly support: ii) shop class at booth is a great idea, and ii) if you dig deep enough, the breakfast club has answers to all life’s questions.
my favorite season is finally here! boots, pie, foliage, burnt orange, pumpkin patches, brown, apples, warm cider on cool, crisp, blustery days …
a good day to think about… how you value your pinky. yes, still on this. JH (during a lecture that cost $500+ to attend) opines:
I’m calling BS on the values people state re pinkies.
[Technique from statistical value of life]
Say Booth announced last year that shop class is mandatory for 2nd years. Unfortunately, someone lost a pinky last year (one out of 572). Because of the danger involved, Booth is making specialized carbon fiber pinky guards available for a cost of $________ (student loans are available). How much do you pay for the pinky guard?
At a value of $10 million, you would buy the guard if the price is $17,000. My belief is that most people would only buy the pinky guard if it was less than, say, $500.
Thus I believe the Booth student values his/her pinky at a maximum of $300,000. Alternatively, $10 million might be $300K for pinky and $9.7MM for having to explain that you sold your pinky…
ps – note that there is an interesting flaw in this logic (that also applies to statistical value of life) that is left as an exercise for the reader.
seeing as how i didn’t even know there was a statistical value of life:
- i’m swayed by this new learning and the fantasy that we could have shop class at booth. i didn’t know what shop class was until i watched the breakfast club which also taught me about flare guns and lobotomies, and then when i actually had shop class in middle school, i learned that “solder” of “soldering iron” fame is pronounced “sodder”, and then i was so stunned that i soldered my shop partner’s pointer finger by accident (hi, BH!! my LED blinker got an A and is still working — your something-degree burn was worth it! to me). so many lessons.
- i need you, reader, to find the logic flaw in JH’s clip above.
separately, (hometown pride) thurston moore and kim gordon of sonic youth broke up after 27 years. let’s commiserate for a moment over the loss of brilliance such as this timely tune:
but really, i think everything is going to be okay — they lasted twenty seven years. “That’s two decades and a second grader! That’s two and a half Biebers!” (dlisted). much more importantly (because recall the focus of this blog — all me, all the time) that makes my age “two decades and a third grader,” which translates loosely to old enough to have spawned a third grader (plus a fraction of a bieber).
I would like to take this moment to remind you that this song (and video) happened. Facial expression at 2:51-2:55 is my default reaction to everything until something else is suggested.
Part of the thrill of living in these times is knowing that, no matter how young you may be, relatively speaking, the culture is always working on new and inventive ways to make you feel a thousand years old. That’s how I felt when I learned that 120 Minutes, which from 1986 to 2003 was MTV’s delivery system for what was called “indie” or “college” or “alternative” rock, was coming back–well, at least “back” to its poor-sister channel, MTV2–with the most beloved of all its hosts, Matt Pinfield. One thing I realized when I heard the news was that … I’m out of the loop. I have no idea what they’re repeatedly pounding into the ground these days.
Back in the ’90s … I did know. Dear God, did I know. … thinking back now, I can scarcely remember a moment when I was alone and had the house or apartment or dorm room to myself and didn’t have it on. … The sheer, sugary buzziness of the programming was hard to resist. … in those pre-download days, …we were experiencing the unfamiliar sensation of having some modest connection to the culture at large. And I’m not gonna lie: when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was lifted out of the farm team of 120 Minutes into heavy rotation on the mothership, it was thrilling. As George Costanza once put it, “Yes! My guys can swim!”
:: Phil Nugent, The Onion AV Club ::
Amen, brother. At an age when I was so uninspired by my surroundings that I routinely smuggled my Walkman (the OG cassette version, not the latest mockery) full of Modern Rock Live interviews and Loveline into class to get me through it, I remember the inaccessible (on so late I had to record it every week), unattractive (Hi Matt!), and modest (brimming with commentary but not aloud so much) 120 Minutes most fondly of all. Every week through most of the 90s, Matt Pinfield & team spoonfed to me the soundtrack of my life, this marvelous mix of noise that I didn’t even know I needed. I made mix-VHS-tapes of my favorites, in which — like the nCr button on your scientific calculator — order did not matter.* Every selection was so distractingly good.
So obviously I was thrilled with 120’s relaunch announcement, partly because I miss it and partly because I know that I’m not the only one still thinking about this stuff now. Most google yields are odes to the old show, but Nugent manages to rant and legitimately. Matt Pinfield is not an insightful critic nor a skilled journalist, but then who said VJs had to be? He isn’t rock n’ roll in the angry rebel sense, he isn’t edgy, doesn’t push very hard. And that’s refreshing to me. Matt is just this normal guy, soft even, 100% fan and friend, a very knowledgeable support character facilitating access to his favorites, entirely engaged but uncomfortable setting the path.
Likewise I’m 100% fan so I’m rooting for this 120 Minutes Redux to work, but I’m not confident that it will. As Nugent rightly wonders, “What, and who, is the show for?” Well, since you asked and since it is all about me, me, me all the time, you shouldn’t be surprised when I suggest MTV is courting … me (and my ‘type’). Restless and willing, we early-80s-born, impressionable rock music fiends who loved it then, crave it now, and want an excuse to be reeled back in. Because these flashbacks are just too good — below: Supergrass – Late in the Day. I actually remember putting this video on my SuperMix, buying a Q Magazine music sampler because this song appeared on it, and subsequently falling into one of many future Britrock stints.
*Before you cry “mixtape blasphemy!”, cut me some slack okay? Just picture the process of transferring tape to tape with two consumer VHS players, my severe myopia, and improperly labeled cords … [sniff] is something burning?