Captions sought

by Eszter Hargittai on May 29, 2006

My brother just sent me this picture of my nephew:

Last in has to get out on his own

My first reaction was that I laughed. The second was that I started coming up with possible captions for it (here’s one). It seems like a natural for a caption contest. I’m not holding a contest as I have nothing to give away, but I still invite you to suggest a caption, you know, just for the pure amusement, glory and fame associated with participation. As my brother kindly pointed out to me, my nephew is the one on the left, Pooh is on the right, fyi.

Museum hotel

by Eszter Hargittai on May 29, 2006

Recently I stayed at an intriguing hotel that is worth a mention: the 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. (I was unimpressed by the reservation part of the experience, but the stay made up for the annoyances incurred at that stage.)

Upon entrance, you almost have to step on the projection of two people sleeping in bed to get to the receptionists and/or the elevators to access your room. I wonder how many people who notice this just walk right across the image versus how many decide to walk around the picture. Big plastic red penguins are scattered across the building, not just in the designated museum section, but also in the hallways. I didn’t care for some of the installations (like the film about a woman and a man having a seemingly pleasant dinner judging from their facial expressions despite the fact that mice are walking all over their food), but some of it was neat (like the falling letters on a screen where the viewer becomes part of the image).

The hotel just opened this Spring. It’s a museum-hotel mix with various contemporary art pieces all over. The visit was much more fun than your usual hotel stay and it made me wish more hotels would put some interesting twist on the experience.

Unfulfilled and Unfulfillable Ambitions

by Harry on May 29, 2006

I just finished Charles Murray’s new book, In Our Hands (I’ll post a review in a couple of weeks). Almost in passing he comments that:

Few teenagers finish high school already knowing what job will make them happy. Or they may think they know, but change their minds. This is as true of those who go to college as of those who do not — that’s why students change their majors so often. The process of finding a job that makes one happy often continues well into a person’s twenties, if not beyond.

Or they do know, but that job disappears! I didn’t know what an academic was till I went to college, and I only developed the ambition to be one after I had already become one (about 2 years into my current job). As a kid I had numerous possible jobs in mind, but after I learned that there were jobs other than teaching, only one was a really lasting ambition; I thought what I’d most like to do was make History programmes for the BBC schools radio service. I thought schools radio programmes were fantastic, good enough that I would sometimes try to stayhome from school in order to listen to them; and the history programmes, with dramatisations of everyday life in distant times, were the best of the lot. When I told my 9-year old daughter (who is, if anything, more of a radio fan that I am) she pointed out that she never listens to the radio at school and that, probably, nobody does. There is some stuff up on the BBC site, mainly loads of great archival clips, but not much in the way of actual programmes (and I had no interest in making any other kinds of radio programmes, still less TV progammes, even in History); forming that ambition in the 1960s was probably rather like forming the ambition to be a blacksmith just before the explosion in car and tractor ownership. What did you want to be before you became what you are; and does that job still exist?