Jimmy Wales; Random Books
What does this picture tell me? It tells me that Jimmy used to be major-league hot.
Then, one day, he went camping. When he was asleep, a small forest animal crawled on top of his head and died.
Jimmy's asking for donations, but I fear he'll spend all my money on toupees, so I didn't give any.
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I just finished reading the book my Mom gave me, I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. It is about a freshman girl's experiences living on the Dupont campus. I don't recommend it; I found it two-dimensional, and a huge letdown after The Bonfire Of The Vanities. Therefore, spoilers abound ahead.
I read the book cover to cover, because it brought back memories. I found many parallels with my own college life (back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.) Like Charlotte, I came expecting to see some amazing union of new generation's brilliant minds, and was stunned to encounter a small-town atmosphere instead. Like her, I had an older mentor who tried to enlighten me while making me fall in love with him at the same time. It didn't work, because my mentor was five feet tall. He had a scrawny body, slimy hands, and a bad habit of flicking his tongue in and out of his mouth when he was nervous, much like a lizard. On top of it, the guy had hangups about Jews. Didn't work at all. I learned a lot from him, though. Like Charlotte, I came to my university as a straight-A student and a small-town prodigy, only to see myself struggle and fail subject after subject for the first two years. Unlike Charlotte, I failed my exams because I tried to juggle college and a full-time job - not because of being date-raped by a frat boy or anything.
Those were good years. The campus was boring as hell, but I continued to reach out and look for new friends and experiences, and in the end had a good time. I did not hook up with a campus celeb, but I did emerge in the end with a degree, a decent transcript, and a husband. I will never be able to send my kids to a school of that level. My education was free. Let's take a break while I shed a tear.
Anyway, the biggest turnoff with the book, for me, was the way the author writes about young women. Unfortunately I just finished Lolita, so reading about all these clefts and declivities, boobies and asses, bouncy lovelies, and sweat pouring down young, tight buttocks as their owners run on treadmills, made me wonder if Humbert Humbert hadn't come to life and written this book for Tom Wolfe. Maybe if he had chosen a different narrator, it wouldn't have come off sounding so sick. If the story had been told entirely by Charlotte, the juicy detail would've made me wonder if the main character is maybe a lil bicurious - nothing wrong with that. If these observations were coming from a frat guy - totally understandable. As it is written, though, it's clear that the observer is the author himself - an elderly, gray-haired man whose picture's on the front page - which makes his descriptions sound, well, repulsive - musings of an old dude drooling over eighteen-year-olds. Don't get me wrong; I briefly dated a 60-year-old once when I was 20. It was okay. I just didn't want to relive it in that much detail.
I found it most intriguing that my Mom read this book and loved it. Possibly best thing I can say about the book. Maybe I should grill Mom about her college years.
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Speaking of books, I'd like to warn GRRM. If Dance With The Dragons does not come out in 2009, again, I'm going to write my own ending and post it, and I'm going to really mess up the characters. Heck, I'll start by making Sansa gain three hundred pounds, and go from there.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. Have fun!!! We will.