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Generous and Fierce

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I'm Over Here Now [Dec. 11th, 2010|12:32 am]
Generous and Fierce
 Blogging at corinneavital.blogspot.com
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Books in 2009 [Jan. 18th, 2010|12:06 am]
Generous and Fierce
 2009 book list, which is hopefully complete. In no particular order:

1. Kindred, Octavia Butler
2. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,  Muriel Spark
3. After Dark,   Haruki Murakami
4. The Wellspring: Poems,   Sharon Olds
5. Go Tell It on the Mountain,  James Baldwin
6. In a Country of Mothers,   A.M Homes
7. Autobiography of My Mother,   Jamaica Kincaid
8. Washington Square,   Henry James
9. Netherland,   Joseph O'Neill
10. Identity,   Milan Kundera
11. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster,   Jon Krakauer
12. Humboldt's Gift,   Saul Bellow
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A Quick Vocab Lesson [Jan. 9th, 2010|05:25 pm]
Generous and Fierce
[Tags|, , , ]

Let's review:

The Economy: If you hear this phrase referred to on the news or in print, please note that it doesn't apply to you. Unless you work at an Investment Bank. If you're unemployed, live in a just-about-bankrupt district or state, or work for an a small, non financial organization that has forgone bonuses for the year (which probably wouldn't have amounted to as much as the typical Goldman Sachs exec makes in a minute) this may explain why you keep hearing the recession is over, that we're recovering, or any combination of the word economy and the phrase "good news". Perhaps if you ever get as much purchasing power as Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman (68 million in 07, who knows how much this year) you can construct your own definition of economy.

Speaking of unemployment, a 10% unemployment rate is really really bad. If offical umemployment figures were not calibrated to show more favorable numbers than is actually the case, it would be even worse. The official unemployment rate does not count underemployment -- that is if you're working in KFC for 20 hours a week with no healthcare because you couldn't secure the journalism job of your dreams or any sort of journalism job (my probable future), you're not unemployed. The figures also discount discouraged workers. Out of work? Trying to figure out if you are discouraged? Don't worry. The government has figured it out for you. Have you applied for a job in the last month? No? Sorry, you are not unemployed. You are not in the labor force. You are not part of the 10%. But don't worry -- you form a special subset of workers. Congratulations, you are marginally attached to the work force. If you fill out a job application next month, your dream of being officially unemployed can be realized. Oh, and good luck looking for a job to apply for after a month in which 85,000 of them have been lost. There's always Walmart.
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Looking to October [Sep. 26th, 2009|03:51 pm]
Generous and Fierce
 The fall is not a hard time of year for most people to love: leaves crunching under no-longer-open toed shoes; the eager good-bye to sauna-like humidity levels; pumpkin-pie; pumpkin beer; pumpkin cheesecake; thanksgiving. One friend mentioned how, for her, fall always bring with it the sense of a new beginning, a vestige of her college-days mentality. 
 
For me, fall has always felt like the end: the leaves that burn so brilliantly in crimson and ochre swatches along the I90 near the Hudson eventually fall off and die. The cooling off of temperature merely serves as a reminder of the impending wind-whipped iciness of a New York city winter. And pumpkin flavored anything seems a cliche. 
 
But even I, a die-hard fan of springtime, am looking forward to this October. The laws of baseeball have righted themselves once more, and my beloved Yankees, having already clinched a playoff spot, are games away from taking the A.L East -- and indeed having the best regular season record period. 
 
New York Yankees October baseball: now that's the kind of fall I'm talking about. 
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Ted Kennedy. 1932-2009. [Aug. 26th, 2009|02:39 am]
Generous and Fierce
 I was once within mere feet of him, ten at most. These kinds of things happen when you intern in DC, working the door of an award dinner. He was with his secretary, who had worked for him for decades. I didn't notice him at first; he looked--walking toward the elevator--like any old man: head bowed, age spots on his cheeks, shuffling toward the elevator. 
 
But later, on stage, introducing Tony Bennett, the nights honoree, he was the mythologized Ted. His voice, his posture, his stage presence -- he was no longer the man who had walked in, but the statesman you watched and listened to with giddy veneration. Even in real life, it felt as if I was watching a man on television, too much of an icon to exist in real life. 
 
But then, while Tony Bennett was performing, he called Ted back on stage.  Arms on each others shoulders, they sang--and it was Tony, or more specifically his voice, that was iconic -- Kennedy became the good friend singing out of pitch--for just a glint of a second he became someone other than the political demigod, always just out of our reach.
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A Word [Feb. 14th, 2009|09:03 pm]
Generous and Fierce
 I am excellent at not being able to recall information at the exact moment I need it. I think if I ever landed on Jeopardy, I would conclude my appearance watching a taped performance of myself as I timed out on answers I clearly know. I was attempting to do a writing exercise the other day, part of which required me to list some of my favorite words. The exercise was focused on the words that sounded pleasing, rather than on those whose meanings were the cause of positive association. Of course, I couldn't think of a single word, even though strange, linguistically seductive words pop into my head all the time, such as the following, which I've been silently repeating in my head since Thursday:

sonambulent
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Applying the Same Tired Arguments Only Works if They Haven't Been Disproved [Feb. 8th, 2009|01:32 pm]
Generous and Fierce
 Steve Forbes was on the Early Show a few days ago, arguing, unsurprisingly, against placing a $500,000 cap on exec pay for companies receiving bailout money, as the Obama administration plans to do. He opined that placing a cap on exec pay would prohibit companies from attracting the talent they need. Let's hope this is true; I think we've had enough of the talent that got us into this mess. 
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The better holiday [Feb. 8th, 2009|01:24 pm]
Generous and Fierce
 It amuses me that the day before Valentine's Day is Friday the 13th. 
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The return of the misanthrope [Jan. 25th, 2009|08:43 pm]
Generous and Fierce
 
I'm going to have to start traveling with a divider -- a solid but thin rectangle that I can slip into the space between the double-seats on coach busses. Perhaps if I want to be super blunt, I'll customize my divider rectangle with a message; it will go something like this:

Dear fellow passenger: due to  rash of incidents in which seat mates cant seem to remember that they have paid for 1 seat, not 1 and 3/8 or so seats, this is here as a friendly reminder of the aforementioned transaction. This will remain here for the duration of our trip. In the case that you would like to slip me $7.87 [ (Cost of one-way ticket /8) x 3 ] , I will obligingly remove this divider. 


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Book list [Jan. 24th, 2009|12:00 pm]
Generous and Fierce
 Considering we are currently nearing the end of January, I suppose I should finally post my list of books read last year. Another small list, although, if I were being euphemistic, I could call it spare and well edited. Eh, not really. 

Here it is, in order of earliest to latest:

1. And Still We Rise: The Trials and Triumphs of Twelve Gifted Inner-City Students    Miles Corwin
2. Are Men Necessary?: When Sexes Collide     Maureen Dowd
3. The Yiddish Policeman's Union   Michael Chabon
4. Sputnik Sweetheart    Haruki Murakami
5. The Brooklyn Follies    Paul Auster 
6. This Land is Their Land: Notes from a Divided Land   Barbara Ehrenreich
7. Veronika Decides to Die    Paul Coelho
8. The Innocent    Ian McEwan
9. Americana   Don DeLillo
10. Begin Again: Collected Poems   Grace Paley
11. A Mercy   Toni Morrison
12. Taft    Ann Patchett
13. Being Dead   Jim Crace
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