Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Prince for a New Generation

As a youth, whenever I felt maligned, threatened or simply outgunned (which, as a youth, is pretty much all the time), I found it comforting to pretend I was a conniving little 16th century Italian in tights.

(Yes, I turned to Machiavelli in times of trouble. Go nuts with that one, armchair analysts.)

So my ears perked up when I heard of a new translation of this famous work.

Indeed, one need not be a despot, diplomat or general to apply the Prince's lessons to daily life. Regard the following, my subjects:

Why it's in your best long-term interests, Secret Santa-wise, to just go with that cheap gift card
"Therefore, in order not to have to rob his subjects, to be able to defend himself, not to become poor and contemptible, and not to be forced to become rapacious, a prince must consider it of little importance if he incurs the reputation of being a miser, for this is one of the vices that permits him to rule."

Why your plan to introdue a new brand of bagel into the office lunchroom is met with apathy:
"And one should bear in mind that there is nothing more difficult to execute, nor more dubious of success, nor more dangerous to administer than to introduce a new order to things; for he who introduces it has all those who profit from the old order as his enemies; and he has only lukewarm allies in all those who might profit from the new. This lukewarmness partly stems from fear of their adversaries, who have the law on their side, and partly from the skepticism of men, who do not truly believe in new things unless they have personal experience in them."

Don't share your ideas for the new TPS report design with colleagues in advance - just spring it on 'em!
"No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution."

It's stealth, not skill, that wins the Fantasy Football pool
"Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with integrity and not with craft. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who have relied on their word."

Monday, February 18, 2008

We are miserable...

According to Harvard's Professor of Happiness (now there's a sweet job), Americans are not the most content lot. Why?

- We live in a pressure cooker from birth - pre-birth for those wait-listed for the better pre-schools and daycares - to death.

- We try to cram too much into our schedules. In fact, Dr. Happy proposes, many U.S. parents don't enjoy spending time with their kids because they are simultaneously thinking of other things. (I suspect watching the Wiggles and Baby Einstein videos ad nauseum might be another reason.)

- We always want more and more material things. Yet affluence doesn't always go hand in hand with joy

That's something I could have told you from observing the, ahem, *charming portrait of grace and dignity* with the golf clubs barge his way through my apartment lobby this weekend - nearly taking out a woman who could have been his mother! Or a group of frowning ladies who passed my way as I wandered to Filenes and they to Louis Vuitton. I've seen those pool boys. Frowning really should be banned in Montgomery County.*

But I digress. Listen to Dr. Happy's 60 Minutes interview here.

* Note: In all fairness, there are many happy, well-adjusted people in my neighborhood. They are pleasant to live among. Yet not so fun to blog about as Mr. Golf Clubs. And it's been a while since this blog's seen a pool-boy joke.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wisconsin Avenue: Mannequins are suffering...

Hear their cries!

Gucci: "So I thought this was the *sexy* label. Slinky velvet pantsuits, sleek gold gowns. So when they handed me this Girl Scout uniform and told me to put it on, I said, you've got to be kidding me!"

Barneys: "Is this the National Geographic exhibit? No? Well, why is there a giraffe in here? And why am I carrying something on my head?" {ed note: I think it's a tote bag. Looks like Tory Burch}

Dior: "I was just standing here in this gorgeous purple dress, minding my own business, looking elegant. Then this random bedazzler pastes big plastic blobs onto my chest. So heavy, weighing down my fragile acrylic sternum..."

Sylene: "Help! I can't see anything! I know the whole 'blindfold' thing is supposed to be sexy for Valentine's Day (and I hear plays well with the Brooks Brothers crowd). But why did they strap this stuffed eye pillow to my head? The other mannequins surely will beat me in poker now!"

Friday, February 01, 2008

A lurker pipes up...

On DCBlogs, recent turns of events unfortunately have spurred two popular bloggers to close up shop and call it a day.

This is really unfortunate (and hopefully they will return). Because, if you scroll down the live feed at any given moment, 99% of what you'll find will be fun, random, varied, thoughtful and generally pretty positive. (And you will glance up from your computer screen half an hour later thinking "whoaaaaa - I have GOT to get back to work!")

I've been compiling these notes for a while (a far-from-complete list) and thought now would be as good a time as ever to post them - basically compliments on the good stuff one can find:

- Washington Humane Society If these stories and photos don't tear you up a little, you are, are Michael Vick
- Eavesdrop DC Yes, people actually say such things, often without irony. God bless America!
- Why I Hate DC and So DC - Mockery is good, curmudgeonry even better
- Foilwoman's Diary and Toddler Planet Life, eloquently expressed
- Ross Tech Notes, DC Art News, and On Frozen Blog Useful, special-interest information in one place because people with a passion for it saw a need. Thank you.
- Rantings of a Creole Princess I can barely eke out two posts a week. For her, that's an hour's work.
- Girasol A Peruvian dog has learned how to type:)
- A Serious Job Is No Excuse The writer's knowledge of fashion is outshined only by her adorable Jack Russell {ed note: Enough with the dogs already!}
- Goodwill Fashion Blog and Project Beltway Regarding the recent comment storm, to bag on a fashion writer for attending a party is like bagging on a sports reporter for showing up at the Superbowl. Please - parties are where the pretty clothes are.

And this doesn't count the many political, neighborhood and slice-of-life ones, which I'll have to include in later posts.

I also would like to pose a question for the "lad triumvirate". This scenario is meant in good humor - I'm simply curious:

It's late at night, there's a knock at the door. Not the take-out delivery man - instead, inexplicably, it's Carla Bruni.

Beneath her trench coat, she's wearing nothing but a merry widow, a thong, some garters, you get the picture...

"Voulez vouz couchez avec moi, c'est soi?"

Now here is an international beauty who's slept with Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, some philosopher and his son I'm not smart enough to really know about, the list goes on...This is a sexual companion approved of by the very President of France...

...but she's an "old crone" of 41.

Oui or non?

(back to lurking now...)