Rohit's Realm - November 2007

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November 05, 2007

Forever Young No More

As New Wave band Alphaville aptly (and perhaps prophetically) observed in their 1984 single Forever Young, no one likes getting older, and me the least of all. As early as 2002, I observed that there was likely nothing worse than having to do [menial tasks associated with adulthood] for the rest of my life. (The notable exception to this rule, of course, are children, but given their ignorance of the patent meaninglessness of life, and moreover, the years of heart-breaking disappointments, soul-crushing existential angst, hope-extinguishing failures, and daily flirtations with suicide that inevitably await them, one can hardly fault their enthusiasm.)

Though as a society we presume certain ages when one can be considered old, or perhaps, older (e.g., 18 for sex, 21 for drinking, 30 for [first] marriage, 40 for mid-life crisis/divorce, 65 for senior discounts, etc.), most people likely possess their own individual notions of when they will personally cross the threshold from the joys of youth to the decrepitude of old age. For me, that transition occurred last week—Saturday, October 27, 2007, to be precise. I was barely 24 years old. [...]

November 14, 2007

Of Gunners and Douchebags

A couple months ago, I wrote a lengthy article that asserted, among other things, that (counterintuitively) more douchebags in one's law school class would likely augment one's career prospects. Though no one has yet challenged my primary assertion (shocking, right?), a couple anonymous law students did write in to argue that in law school, the proper name for individuals I termed douchebags is gunners, and that by adopting my own terminology, I was only confusing the issue.

Some—likely most—people might be inclined to dismiss this criticism as the purely semantic complaints of a couple particularly persnickety malcontents that seek to alleviate their manifest sexual frustrations through pedantic attacks; but, I am inclined to give my comrades the benefit of the doubt: first, precision in language is not to be discounted, especially given my future profession; and second, if we were to become upset at every sexually frustrated persnickety malcontent waving a wand of pedantism, we would likely have to eliminate the legal profession as a whole. In any case, there is no need in this instance to dwell on tangentials, for their assertion can be challenged on the merits; specifically, I would argue that rather than douchebag and gunner being synonymous, the former is, in fact, a specialized subset of the latter, with the primary distinguishing criterion being self-awareness. In other words, a douchebag is simply a gunner who knows he is one. [...]

November 12, 2007

Norman Hsu, Real American Hero

For those readers (sadly!) not encumbered by the addiction I unabashedly described 18 months ago as news junkie-dom, Norman Hsu might not yet be a household name, and his truly bizarre rise and fall in the world of fashion and politics not yet the subject of parlor conversation. More's the pity; he is quickly becoming my hero and role model. [...]

November 24, 2007

30 Seconds of Bliss (in an Otherwise Meaningless Existence)

'Tis the season of giving thanks, or at least the time for decadent consumption and mindless consumerism, so to counteract—I mean, commemorate—this joyous period of the year, I thought I would add my own (necessarily worthless) two cents to the loud din of Thanksgiving-related postings permeating the so-called blogosphere. Now, as we all know, I am nothing if not the stereotypical bourgeoisie ingrate, and as such, rarely find much of anything to be thankful about. And yet, this year, in stark contrast to my usual persuasion, I recognize that I have much to be appreciative of, not the least of which is my status as an impoverished graduate student. [...]

November 25, 2007

FeedBurner and Related Minutiae

It is astonishing how much I can accomplish with respect to this website when I have much to do in my so-called real life. And with first quarter finals less than two weeks away, the trend continues unabated. [...]

November 26, 2007

Suffer the Subprimers

For all but the most blissfully unaware of readers, the current brouhaha in the financial markets stemming largely from the continuing collapse of the subprime mortgage market should not be news. Markets first seized up this summer following stagnating house prices across the country and higher than expected defaults. Since then, much blood has been let: several companies that were major originators of such mortgages have gone belly up; thousands of jobs have been (or are soon to be) cut; and in the last month or so, two CEOs of large (investment) banks (Stan O'Neal, Merrill Lynch; and Charles Prince, Citigroup) have been pushed out amidst historical writedowns associated with subprime losses.

With shit hitting the fan so fast and so hard, it seems nothing—perhaps not even the U.S. economy at large—will come out unsullied. As with any mess of this proportion, our faithful representatives in Washington D.C. have only recently arrived upon the scene, mostly to point fingers at one other ex post facto, or, in the alternative, at evil-doers of one sort or another. And almost without fail, their solution has been to punish corporations that made such loans, and force those who hold the debt now to alleviate the stress on homeowners. An article in today's Wall Street Journal highlights pressure exerted upon one such company (Citi) to help out borrowers facing large and untenable interest rate resets, and thus, a rather significant risk of losing their homes. For some reason, very few people seem to be concentrating on the misdeeds of the borrowers rather than those who gave them the money; at the risk of sounding like the unsympathetic bastard that I likely am, I will take up this position that no one seems willing to defend. [...]