For three and a half years, I worked for a boss who had zero experience in the department he managed. He was the "good old boy" type who got ahead by being a white male who kissed his boss's ass (and, likely, other parts). He had no interview process for his role (he was an internal promotion from an unrelated department), no accomplishments of his own to claim (although he had no problem taking credit for others' hard work), and zero qualifications. I imagine his boss's thought process went something like this: "He was a (novice) wedding photographer in college, so I guess he's qualified to run marketing for a $200 million/year company." It was a mystery to most in the
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Bananas, it turns out, don't grow on trees, but instead are large herbs and are best classified as berries. The plant, which is actually a tall grass, can grow - from a cutting and not a seed - twenty inches in twenty-four hours. The banana we eat in the United States, the Cavendish variety, is not the one that first graced our grocery store aisles; that banana, the Big Mike, is now extinct. In fact, we get our "slippery banana peel" comedy from the Big Mike, with its slimy skin. To the dismay of grade-school comedians everywhere, the Cavendish isn't slippery at all. If these banana facts astonish you, you may be delighted to know that these and more are buried in the pages
Ernest Hemingway wrote and rewrote A Moveable Feast, the memoir of his impoverished years as a young writer in Paris, but was never satisfied. He could not decide on a title, or an ending, or which chapters to include or reject. In the end, he did not decide any of this. His editors (first his fourth wife and then, in a later edition, his grandson) chose for him posthumously. This is the version of A Moveable Feast we read today: a pieced together memoir Hemingway himself never finished. Yet, the fragments lend humanity to a literary legend, bringing author and reader closer together. A Moveable Feast is a jaunt through the St. Germaine district of Paris. As he drinks at bars, writes and dines in cafes,
In the first sentence of what turns into an uncommonly poignant and funny book, Nathaniel Barber dives headlong into a familiar topic: the interview for the job your don't want. We've all been there, sitting across from our future boss, being talked out of a position we never really wanted anyway. We all come to the same conclusion: My team would be cordial, for a day or two. But they'd eventually come to believe, as a district implant, I'd stolen their rightful path to middle management. He passes on the job and gets a new one. Unfortunately for Barber, as he walks to work on his first day, a man in a window somewhere above pisses on him. This, we learn, is just his luck. What
If you devoured a lot of pop culture over the last decade, you might wonder what Chuck Klosterman's latest volume, Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century, has to offer. My answer to this: perspective. In this collection of 38 essays culled from his work in publications like Esquire and Grantland, Klosterman analyzes various facets of pop culture ranging from zombies to Miley Cyrus, from Mountain Dew to Lou Reed. He explains, "Consumed in aggregate, this omnibus equates to a short book about music, a short book about sports, and a short book about everything else that could possibly exist." Disconnected as these subjects may seem, they are all filtered through Klosterman's unique voice. He's the anti-critic.