Book Review: On Beauty

August 26, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Recently I finished reading ‘On Beauty”. I can understand why it made the EW Best 100 books of the past 25 years; the beginning starts off with a series of emails that grabs your attention. We see Jerome Belsey’s emails to his dad, Howard. Jerome is in London living and working with Professor Monty Kipps, we also learn that he has fallen in love with Victoria Kipps.

We get to know the Belsey family. Howard is a professor of art history at Wellington College and his wife, Kiki, is a nurse. They’ve been married almost 30 years and have 3 kids, Jerome, Zora, and Levi. We also learn of the Kipps family. Monty Kipps is an academic rival of Howard Belsey and when he gets a job at the same university Howard teaches in, their rivalry takes a new turn.

I was surprised to have an intense dislike for a majority of the characters in this book but that didn’t take away how interesting they were. Howard cheated on his wife and tried to hide it in all sorts of ridiculous ways. I found Jerome to be, for lack of a better term, a wienie (read about the short lived affair of him and Victoria) and Zora to be brash and self-centered. Who writes 34 emails to their professor?!?!  I also found Monty Kipps to be an obnoxious, pigheaded character and Victoria’s portrayal as a Lolita bothered me. I did love the unsympathetic manner that Zadie Smith wrote these professors and their offspring. Both of these professors committed heinous acts and they both get found out, which I loved. Their prestigious positions didn’t save them from the consequences of their actions.

I loved the vivid descriptions of London and Wellington, and the opposition of the two opposing worlds in Boston, the Wellington University world and the world of the Boston streets, which Levi has chosen to immerse himself in. I found the ending to be a bit unnecessary, if it would have ended 10-15 pages earlier, that would have been better. Other than that minor complaint, I loved the book. The EW list has not led me wrong yet : )

Catch the Olympic Fever!

August 20, 2008 at 7:32 pm | Posted in Random Stuff | Leave a comment

The Olympics are almost over and I have been watching them nearly every night. I’ve always loved watching the Olympics since I was a kid; it didn’t matter so much which countries were at war with each other, sports transcend all of that or at least it should. Remember the summer olympics in 1996? I was there : ) I even had free accomodations because Dr. O lived in Atlanta at the time. We watched track & field, tennis, rowing, and table tennis.

Gettting back to these games, let’s talk about the good stuff:

1. Michael Phelp’s historic 8 medals; he is awesome in the pool and seems like he’s a pretty awesome guy out of the pool. The minute they showed him playing with his dog, he had me.

2. The US womens sweep in sabre fencing; great way to start off the Olympics.

3. James Blake defeating Roger Federer in mens singles.

4. The US mens gymnastics team taking the bronze medal in team competition

5. Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson going 1-2 in the womens all-around competition, balance beam (except in reverse order), Liukin’s performance in uneven bars (got screwed out of a gold medal IMO) and their 2-3 performances in floor exercise.

6. Shalene Flanagan taking the bronze medal in the womens 10,000 m. This race is the territory of Ethiopians, it’s nice to see an American do well in the long distance races.

7. Oksana Chusotivina grabbing a silver medal for Germany in the womens vault competition. She used to compete for Russia and moved to Germany when her son was discovered to have leukemia. Her son is in remission and, btw, she’s 33 years old, how freakin’ awesome is it to see her compete with women half her age?

The Disappointments of the Summer Games (so far)

1. Tyson Gay not making it to the finals of the mens 100m; i guess his injury was more serious than initially thought.

2. James Blake losing to Fernando Gonzales in the semi-finals of the mens’ tennis.

3. Bernard Lagat failing to make it to the finals of the 1500m, quite a shock!

4. The whole controversy with the Chinese girl singers

I’m sure there are more disappointments but I can’t think of them now. There are 4 more days left and then 4 more years until the London Olympics…

Life with Short Hair

August 18, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Getting personal, Inspiration | 1 Comment

On Friday, I got my big haircut. 10 inches of my hair were donated to Locks of Love. It was a very lovely experience, my stylist was so nice and she did an awesome job on my hair. Next time I need a haircut or if I decide to get highlights, I am going back there. I also want to thank my small entourage for cheering me on and making this experience really special.

After almost 3 days with short hair, I already have a list of advantages of having short hair over longer hair:

1. Less prep time in the morning and before going out.

2. Running with short hair is a pleasure, I feel so much lighter.

3. The looks of surprise on the faces of my family and friends when they see my haircut for the first time. This has been a nice little boost to my ego although I worry that I might have the first signs of ‘big-head syndrome”.

4. Along the same vein of #3, I’ve had people tell me that I look older, mature, and more sophisticated. Instead of people telling me that I look 21, 20, or even 18, I might get to hear that I look 23 or 24 instead.

5. Letting go of old thoughts and making room for new positive thoughts. Previously, I backed off of getting a major haircut because I didn’t think I would look good with short hair. I’ve always had long hair and the shortest I ever had was shoulder-length hair. This makes me look back on negative thoughts I’ve had in my life and might still have and gives me some hope that it is never too late to change for the better.

The Problem with Politics

August 12, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Posted in News and Views | Leave a comment

Where do I even begin? As of today, I do not know who I will vote for as President. Usually, you vote for the candidate you like the most. This year, it looks like I will vote for the candidate I dislike the least. I almost wish Al Gore was running for President again, no joke.

Last week was rough for a few American politicians. Let’s start with Kwame Kilpatrick, the mayor of Detroit. At the beginning of this year, he was charged with perjury along with his former chief of staff, and now he has these accusations to contend with as well.

Now we move on to John Edwards. When the National Enquirer came out with a story of him having an affair, I instantly thought it was false. Who would take a tabloid paper seriously? It turns out that the story is true. What a disappointing story, I remember when the whole Clinton/Monica affair took place and that took years for that whole story to finish. Now the Democrats have to deal with the aftermath of another affair. Geez, can’t any male politician keep it in his pants anymore?!?!

Judaism in the News

August 6, 2008 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Judaism | Leave a comment

I’ve spotted a couple articles of interest. The NY Times has a writeup about the Aish Hatorah Executive Learning Program. On a sadder note, Newsweek has an article up about Jews and alcohol abuse. Apparently, Jews are not immune from problems with alcohol.

Read This Now

August 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Read this now | Leave a comment

In general, I enjoy living in America. There are lots of things we take for granted here that don’t exist in other parts of the world, freedom of speech, we can vote in elections without worrying about whether we will get blown up, an abundance of supermarkets and fresh food markets, and other fun stuff : ) However, there are certain stories that bring to light situations which the American government can do a better job of handling. The cover story of the Sunday New York Times is one example. In theory, I understand that there does have to be rules for immigrants coming into the USA. Somewhere along the way, things got very messed up. From what I understand (and you can correct me if I’m wrong) one complaint is that illegal immigrants take away jobs from people that were born in the USA. Most of the jobs that are taken are labor intensive work. Also, crossing in the USA illegally is dangerous. I imagine that life has to be downright difficult, maybe unbearable in other countries if someone wants to leave their family, pay thousands of dollars to someone who is supposed to take you across the border and run the risk of getting caught and being deported back home, or worse yet, dying.

Speaking of situations that the American government could have done a better job with, read this article about the closing of a FEMA trailer park in Baton Rouge. It’s been almost 3 years since Hurricane Katrina and it’s heartbreaking to realize that some people in Louisiana are struggling to survive.

On the lighter side, read about a 50-something lady who is bringing the art of belly-dancing to the suburbs of Westchester. 

The Olympics start in 4 days, and the New York area has a substantial group of athletes representing in a variety of sports from swimming to soccer. You can find out more if you click here.

The Real Secret to Successful Relationships

August 1, 2008 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Humor, Relationships | 3 Comments

Look in almost every womens’ magazine and you will see an article on how to have a successful relationship, a happy marriage, so on and so forth. I wonder why selective amnesia is not on the list. Think about it; if you remember every annoying thing your significant other did or said, then you would talk yourself out of relationships. I’m referring to the times when your s.o. squeezes the toothpaste from the top instead of the bottom, doesn’t put the toilet seat down, is chronically late, or g-d forbid snores at night. That’s why earplugs were invented : )

The Next Stop for the Pussycat Dolls Tour

July 29, 2008 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Fitness | Leave a comment

I remember when pole dancing first made its way into the gyms of the USA. The popularity of the Pussycat Dolls and Carmen Electra added to the popularity of pole dancing. This NY Times article talks about how pole dancing is becoming popular in other parts of the world. What is the country mentioned in the NY Times article? Well I’ll give you one big clue. The Olympics will start in this country in 10 days.

Read This Now

July 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm | Posted in Read this now | Leave a comment

The Literacy Debate story on the front page of yesterday’s NY Times is thought provoking. Does the internet take away the power of books or can books and the internet exist side by side?

This week’s Modern Love story is written by a young woman, now married with kids, who got tattoos after breakups and what these tattoos meant to her then and what they mean to her now.

More people in the NY/NJ area are using public transportation and carpools, this story illustrates the lengths that people will go to in order to save a buck or two. I consider myself very lucky, I walk to work everyday except in cases of inclement weather, then I go on the bus. After reading this story, you better believe I will not be giving up my job anytime soon without a fight. There’s also a story on the increase of people who ride their bikes to work.

I Couldn’t Agree More

July 25, 2008 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Fitness | Leave a comment

The half-marathon is gaining popularity among runners. This is one trend that I absolutely love. About 8 years ago, I completed a marathon (Jersey Shore Marathon, in case anyone’s curious) in 4 hours and 6 1/2 minutes. It was a tremendous accomplishment but it was the precursor for me giving up running for quite some time. That distance just burned me out, ended up injuring my foot 6 months after the marathon when I tried to run a 5K (my most favorite distance ever). Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I did it, one thing to cross off my personal list of things I want to accomplish in this life. But I will never do another marathon again, I don’t care if someone were to pay me tons of money to do it.

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