business news in context, analysis with attitude

When I checked into the Statler Hotel at Cornell University this week, the night before I spoke to a food industry management class there, I was greeted by a piece of paper that had the effect of making me feel woefully inadequate.

The paper was a welcome note from a student in the School of Hotel Administration, Ben Okun, who graduates next year and no doubt will have a wonderful career. In the note, he describes his courses of study and, as you might expect, raves about Cornell.

But here is the paragraph that brought me down to earth:

“When I’m not busy in Statler, I use my free time to pursue other challenges. I am currently teaching myself Mandarin Chinese, which I hope to use while traveling in the future. To satisfy a more artistic endeavor, I am also teaching myself to play the piano and guitar. You may also catch me on the tennis courts on North Campus reliving my high school competition days.”

And I’m thinking myself, he’s carrying a full course load and simultaneously teaching himself Chinese, guitar and piano?

When I went to college, admittedly during the last century, I taught myself how to drink. (Gave myself an A+, by the way…I was a helluva a teacher and a helluva student.)

My hat goes off to Ben Okun – obviously quite a motivated young man – even if he’s made me feel like a non-achiever.

There seem to be a lot of reminders in my life lately about age and lack of achievement. The age thing came up again when we went to see the movie “I Love You, Man,” a pretty well-reviewed comedy about a guy who suddenly realizes that he doesn’t really have any male friends and needs to find one to serve as best man at his wedding.

Doesn’t happen very often when I go to the movies, but about halfway through, I was ready to walk out. Not that I was offended by it, not even the parts designed to push the envelope. I just didn’t think it was funny.

Maybe I’m just losing my edge.

Wow. Apple said this week that there have been more than one billion downloads from its online App Store since it was opened last July.

I don't know either of these gentlemen, but I have to say that I was pleased this week when Jon Meacham, the editor of Newsweek, won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of President Andrew Jackson, and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson won the Pulitzer for commentary.

Both men have become favorites for what I think is a measured, common sense approach to their craft. While this wasn't part of Meacham’s prize, I’ve particularly liked the way he writes and thinks about the connection between faith and governance, a subject he approaches with a degree of thoughtfulness not often seen in the media.

Interestingly, the announcement of Robinson’s award reminded me of how much I miss Tony Kornheiser’s daily radio program, which he’s decided not to do as long as he has a job on “Monday Night Football.” He would have taken enormous pleasure in Robinson’s Pulitzer, and he would have spent an entire show on it…but he also would have had a unique take on the reasons he’d gotten it.

It’s the same way with “American Idol,” a show I never watch…but that I enjoyed listening to Kornheiser obsess about on the air.

The radio misses Kornheiser. I hate to root for him to lose the “MNF” gig…but radio would be better for it.

I was only in New Orleans for about 20 hours this week, but managed to consume during that time a platter of red beans and rice and a bowl of gumbo (at some hole in the wall place I cannot remember the name of), beignets and coffee at Café du Monde, and a Fried Peace Maker Po-Boy at the Acme Oyster House, which consists of fried oysters, fried shrimp, lettuce, tomato and Tabasco-infused mayonnaise. (Didn’t do wonders for my cholesterol level, but what the hell.) Add to that a few Abita Ambers, and it was a good 20 hours.

I love my job.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.


KC's View: