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Archive for the ‘Art of Communication’ Category

Life Lessons from ‘The Intern’

In September 2015 a comedy-drama film called “The Intern” was released in theatres.  Starring Robert de Niro and Anne Hathaway, it told the story of a retired, 70 year-old widower (de Niro) who returns to the work-force as part of a new senior intern program launched by a highly successful, internet clothing company, run since its start in her kitchen 18 months earlier, by its hyper-active founder (Hathaway).

The film’s overall box-office gross overall was close to $200 million (budget approx. $35 million).  It was a financial success, but tended to be overlooked by many in the industry because of its being tagged as something of a ‘chick flick’, and which didn’t feature IMAX worthy special effects.

But what it does boil down to is a feel good journey, whether you’re male or female.

Part of the appeal is having de Niro play against his familiar, tough guy screen persona, fine-tuned through many such roles.  It’s his controlled body language, particularly facial expressions, and easygoing, empathetic, manner which imbue this performance.

Hathaway takes her positive, likeable persona to a richer, more emotionally vulnerable level.  While the inspiring pillar of her fast-paced work-place (where she rides a bicycle to get different areas of the large work floor), she gradually takes on a side-role as protégé; while de Niro initially is her intern, his savvy, from life and years of managerial experience, win over her confidence, so that by the end of the film they are almost equals.  This is beautifully symbolized in the final scene, cinematically, by Hathaway joining with de Niro in his outdoor Tai Chi group, implicitly leading her through a new field of energy and self-awareness.

With this backdrop, it’s easy to appreciate many life lessons which can emerge:

  • It doesn’t hurt to have professional-looking clothing last well beyond your main career years
  • Just because you have more than one interviewer, it doesn’t mean the questions will become more apropos or logical
  • Bike lanes are not necessary in an office if only the boss is a rider
  • Serving as a chauffeur can provide many opportunities for practicing facial contortions unseen
  • Having a handkerchief handy, truly, can be one of the last vestiges of male chivalry
  • Trust a long-time resident to know how to get there
  • Sometimes it’s all in the packaging and size matters
  • A good way to be less conspicuous when leaving a hotel due to an alarm is to bring your own bathrobe
  • Drinking with the boss is O.K. if the latter gets more inebriated than you do
  • On occasion being a bad influence is part of being a good influence
  • Manipulation is a craft which can be learned at a young age
  • A good, solid briefcase can span generations

What is More Fun than Hot & Humid Weather?

It’s early July, and the times (i.e. morning and night), they’re only limited respites from hot and humid.

What could be more fun?  According to some pundits in the media in Canada, we should be grateful for whatever we get, because it’s much better than the cold of mid-winter.  Indeed, they consider the extremely uncomfortable conditions in eastern Canada this past week, outside the protection of air-conditioning, are simply part of the price to pay.

Why do so many seem to dwell on tipping the balance of what otherwise would seem to the solstice semi-annual trade-offs?

Meanwhile, there are a lot of us happy with average daily high and low temperatures, no need to try to boil the thermometer.  After all, moderation in all things…

So, to put things in perspective, what, really, could be more fun than the setting of new humidex bars of discomfort?  (Note: this hypothetical could also apply to certain political rallies, especially in the U.S.)

  • Sliding down a barbed-wire fence
  • Having dental surgery without freezing; or, having the freezing
  • Finding a winning lottery ticket for which the cash-in deadline has just expired
  • Being the tenth person in line to use the same cloth to clean up
  • Looking up words in a dictionary which does not list them in alphabetical order
  • Being awarded $10 coupons toward the purchase of expensive sports cars
  • Wearing clothes which were comfortable two sizes ago
  • The day after confirming a fabulous vacation, a medical appointment you can’t avoid is re-scheduled to the same week
  • Purchasing a rare, expensive baseball card, three days before a cache of the same card is uncovered in someone’s attic
  • Celebrating finally getting a hole-in-one, then noticing it was the wrong green
  • Being stepped on by ten people, at once, in a crowded elevator
  • Finding a $20 bill on the street, then realizing your wallet is missing

Of course, there are many other examples, but not necessarily as enjoyable as these.

Where Can I Get a GPS Tattoo?

We have become party to a panoply of leisure travel destinations, embellished by baby boomers entering the retirement lifestyle mode in ever-greater numbers.  With this comes the need to satisfy an ever-widening array of interests or concerns, while communicating with a range of cultures.

There is an abundance of information in both printed and on-line forms, not to mention anecdotal tips one may encounter.  Books in full size to pocket size offer flexibility and quick access for travelers on the move, who do not want to be dependent on connecting devices.  (Of course, many younger trip takers prefer the latter.) (more…)

Reserved Seating Not Needed Here

Our most recent taking in a movie, at our local cinema house, exposed a new wrinkle in the ticket buying experience.  Notwithstanding that my spouse and I were attending a less than half-filled show in the afternoon, we had to select our seats in advance, like choosing concert or airline tickets on a laptop screen.

Apparently, this has become de rigueur at least at some local screens in the last month or so.  One would have thought some warning or notification, if only for public relations sake, would have been justified. (more…)

Facing New Developments

Many of us have memories about tracts of land encountered over the years.  They looked natural, bucolic, perhaps even dreamy – largely because they were undeveloped.

Numerous city boundaries are examples of once-upon-a-time urban/rural landscape divides, where, subsequently, developments have caused diffusion of transition points; the ripple impact keeps expanding, so as to permanently blur any clear sense of dividing lines. (more…)

TOP 10 Election Aftermath Realities

Among the truisms of government elections, and candidates’ behaviours, are that many of them are predicated on massage or sublimation.

Such as in the afterglow of Ontario’s provincial election June 7th(more…)

A Case of and for Beer

Beer is not a beverage for everyone, and certainly not for all ages.

Its taste, while variable between brands, is an acquired one.  That said, it remains viewed by some as a rite of passage, and by many as simply a beverage to enjoy with lunch, after a hard day of work or strenuous activity, or simply to help while away time as an alternative to drinking wine or cocktails.

Its ultimate staying power is perhaps best summarized by a famous line from Archie Bunker in an episode of the TV classic comedy, All in the Family.  In it, he reminds wife Edith (and viewers), that you don’t really buy beer, you only rent it. (more…)