Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Random thoughts of the day

Last night we visited some of my oldest friends, a mother and her daughter who I've known literally since she was born. We went over to introduce them to our new baby.

Obviously men and women see the beauty of their own sex differently. As we were driving home, my wife remarked that the daughter was "so beautiful, she has such lovely skin and she's so funny and witty". Of course, what I was thinking was that she'd grown up so beautiful and had such a great figure, like the proverbial brick $%*^house. For the record though, I also think she's funny and witty. So is my wife, and I really like that in a woman.


I have noticed a thing. If you take sides in an argument people really feel passionately about, half of the people will wind up hating you. However, if you try to be objective about it, likely all of them will.


I have a university email account here, which I use as little as possible and will close down as soon as I'm out of here. A growing majority of the emails I get are ads for, 1) viagra-type medications, followed by 2) fake Rolexes, followed by 3) stock tips. What the hell does that say about the present college generation? Not a rhetorical question, I wish I knew.

I've just been told that the university IT sevice spam filter screens out more than a million such messages a day. What we're gettting is what gets through, and recently the email has been malfuncioning (attachments not attaching etc) and often shuts down altogether.


Yesterday we kept our 5-year-old home from preschool because he was coughing and had a runny nose. He complained, "But I WANT to go to school!" I wonder how long that is going to last?


Every now and then I really wonder what my wife and I have in common. (Not often, mostly I just thank my lucky stars she sees something in me she likes.) We come from different countries, different languages and different generations. Best I can figure out is that to begin with we are both military brats. That seems to give us something in common that transcends the specifics of which military. Our children have grandfathers who were military officers on opposite sides of the Cold War and we both appreciate the irony of that. More importantly, we both have a tragic sense of life which gets reflected in our tastes in literature and sense of humor.

Maybe it really is true, women love a man who makes them laugh.


Last night we stayed up later than we should have to watch the old black and white movie, Captains Courageous, from the book by Rudyard Kipling, with Freddy Bartholemew, Spencer Tracy (who got an Oscar for his role), John Carradine and Mickey Rooney. Very early on my wife said, "Oh I get it, he (spoiled rich kid) is going to get picked up by the fishermen who'll straighten him out." Predictable of course. Enjoyable just the same.

Now I'll really have to reread the book, but it struck me that there were some significant differences. The movie was mostly about the relationship between Tracy's Portugese fisherman and the boy. I recall the book as being more about the relationship between the two boys. The movie portrayed the boy as a spoiled sissy, I believe the book made him out to be more thuggish.

The movie father (Melvin Douglas) was rich and sophisticated, the father in the book was a rough, uneducated man who had made himself rich by his own efforts. Though Melvin Douglas played his part really well, there was a point lost about how deeply the father felt his lack of education and polish and knew that the people around him scorned him behind his back. What was nicely played was how when the father complained to the school authorities about the boy's thrashing at the hands of a schoolmate, they gently straightened him out and told him that the kid had it coming - and he agreed. Dare I say you wouldn't see that in a movie today? And would anyone believe that a private school would take that line with a rich benefactor today?

Alll in all though, it was a great movie. It's strange to realize that it was made only a year or so from the date of Kipling's death.


  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger Gilmoure said…

    I've just been told that the university IT sevice spam filter screens out more than a million such messages a day.

    I work at a US research lab. One of the places that helped invent the internet and such. Despite the array of talent and money, spam still gets through. No much, though. We have days when not a single piece gets through, to any of our 13,000+ customers. Other days, not so good.

  • At 5:18 PM, Blogger Tati said…

    Dear Mr. Browne, I can't recall when I first saw Captains Courageous, but it was quite some time ago- I had a black & white tv and cable television was not yet as common as it is today. I love that movie - to this day I make my kids watch it everytime it comes on.

  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger Steve said…

    > What the hell does that
    > say about the present
    > college generation? Not
    > a rhetorical question, I
    > wish I knew.

    Since spam isn't targeted it doesn't say anything about them. You should see the stuff that accumulates in my spam trap. Same sort of stuff you mention plus a few others.

  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Isn't spam targeted? A lot of the senders' addresses are from university accounts, and use a random sentence generator. I think these are students hawking to students.


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