Monday, January 4, 2010

FILM: World at War


I think the Churchill biopics just wet my appetite for more. I just downloaded the first part of the incomparable World at War BBC documentary. Up ahead 30+ hours of rare WWII footage and insightful commentary.

Part I was absolutely, positively, fascinating. Taking place between 1933 and 1939, the first hour sets up the causes of the war and delves into Hitler’s cult of personality. I can’t remember any History channel program being so gripping and so informative. I’ve never seen anything quite like this.

Questions that I have after watching this first hour: can this happen again? Can group think ever threaten the fate of the world? Have we learned enough about history to stop a similar downward spiral from occurring yet again? More importantly, how can we still allow entire societies to succumb/acquiesce to state-sponsored brutality and mass killings (see Cambodia, Congo, Rwanda, etc…)?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FILM: Churchill Was a Badass


I just watched a couple of Winston Churchill HBO biopics, The Gathering Storm and Into the Storm. The latter was definitely better than the former, though I’m not sure whether that had more to do with the fact that it focused on Churchill during the war, which to me is just way more fascinating.

These films have totally reawakened my interest in the WWII period and Churchill in particular. It made me wonder whether we as a society could cope with a similar crisis today. Do we have leaders like Churchill this day in age? Are we even capable of placing so much trust and faith in one person in the face of possible cultural annihilation? More importantly, could our leaders allow the fragile balance of power that currently reigns on the world stage to deteriorate to the point that another world war breaks out?

Bottom line, Churchill was a badass.


Lady Astor: "If you were my husband I would flavour your coffee with poison"

Churchill: "Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Embracing My Inner Nerd


This is just sooo frickin’ awesome!! I’m sitting in a cafĂ© near Dupont Circle thinking about next steps and my mind is just spinning with possibilities. It feels as if “the rest of my life” has finally come and there appears to be no end in sight. Spread out before me are several copies of Lonely Planet, a map of the world, a copy of Outside magazine, and a cup of green tea.

But while the urge for travel, adventure and assorted international mischief beckons like never before, something else has begun to monopolize my every waking thought: the potential to expand my education to its furthest possible limit. That’s right, my dear reader. When Jack is not discovering the pleasures of yoga and meditation, enduring endless carnal temptations, and/or occasionally imbibing to his heart’s content, he is absolutely, completely, positively, and without question embracing his inner nerd!


Call it the Plan, after the Plan. Maybe Plan #2 is more appropriate. Or even The Plan, part deux.

Whatever you call it, I feel it has the potential to exist at the very core of my being for the rest of my life. It is nothing short of embracing education as a lifestyle.


At any one time I want to immerse myself in books and/courses focusing on (1) themes involving history/culture/philosophy/politics; (2) literature; and (3) foreign languages. Throughout, I want to be able to combine all three components as I travel. For example, I could learn a much Hindi as possible before traveling to India where I could take a course on partition. Or maybe I could brush up on my Spanish while taking a course on the Incas before heading out on a trip to Machu Pichu. For me, the sky will be the limit.


I know, I know. This post is just oozing nerdyness. But can you blame me? I just wanted to share a little of my excitement as I embrace a new-found freedom I am only now discovering. Besides, I can’t be the only one that finds this super cool. Seriously, are there any fellow nerds out there?

[This is a cross-post from my other blog Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Blog

After some consideration, I’ve decided to start another blog. The douchey-sounding Adventures in Intellectual Stupidity is intended to be a repository for essays, notes and commentary on history, politics, philosophy and any number of other interests running around in my head.

Here is my standard disclaimer: don’t expect a more ‘scholarly’ version of Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity. In fact, some of my regular readers may be put off by the dryness of the material or by an inherent lack of cohesion in how ideas and themes are presented.

But who gives a shit. Here’s the bottom line: now that I’m leaving law firm purgatory I am going to have a ton of time to devote to some of my long-standing interests, principally reading, writing, film and arts in general. As impossibly boring as it might sound, I can’t wait to be able to read an analysis of how Alexander the Great defeated the Persian empire without having to check my blackberry. Or to peruse an article dissecting the political underpinnings of the American Civil War (any John C. Calhoun fans out there?) without checking my voicemail. Or to watch a documentary on the Katyn massacre in Russia (did anyone see the film by Wajda?) without having to make it to bed before 11pm.

And isn’t that the meaning of freedom, my dear reader? To be able to pursue your interests unabated; to focus your senses on those things that truly touch your heart without any pretense or impediment?

For me, freedom is the opportunity to immerse myself in the waters of nerdy douchiness, even as I celebrate the added drinking, biking, traveling, and assorted womanizing I’m looking forward to in the years to come.