i-5416f37bac4a14e72a0f7ce2d58a80fa-Justin_Beiber.jpgI went to graduate school to study Anthropology, so naturally, there was very little funding. Some semesters, I paid the bills working as an administrative assistant for one Harvard Muckimuck or another, often at the Kennedy School of Government, but for a while, at the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. There, I was the assistant to the director, a man named Marvin Kalb. There is a chance you’ve heard of him as well as his brother, Bernard. Kalb was the Shorenstein Center’s original director and Edward R. Murrow Professor of Press and Public Policy. His brother Bernard is a journalist as well.

Working for Kalb was a blast.

i-5c496c564b84015756f0278a99683c56-Dr_Who-thumb-150x398-69694.jpgWhen the outside line would ring, there was a better than even chance that it was some guy who had, oh I don’t know, run for president, or been a Senator or ran a country or something. Visitors were similar. When the director of the most prestigious academic institute for journalistic studies who also happened to have hosted Meet the Press for several years and otherwise done so many high profile things entertains a guest speaker or visiting scholar, that person is someone notable too.

One of Mr. Kalb’s buddies from way back was Dan Rather. And, for some reason, as a joke, or a gift, or for who knows what purpose, someone linked to both Rather and Kalb had given the latter a full size stand-up cutout of Rather, much like the one depicted above of Justin Bieber but of Dan Rather instead of Justin Bieber. And Kalb placed the cutout in the room at the end of the hall such that if that room’s door was open, and you walked into the hall, you would see Dan Rather standing down there looking at you.

i-0d2b10bffabbfa6ec1fe3c59d1e1c559-Dumbledore-thumb-150x415-69699.jpgAt that distance the only thing your brain could do was assume it was the real MacCoy.

I can’t tell you how many times that fooled my brain before my medium-term memory taught my limbic system to expect it. And even then, I’d still get re-fooled after a three day weekend.

Anyway, certain events and certain memories converged for me today (and I’ll admit one of those was a targeted ad on Facebook) that made me think that a fun Happy Holiday present to get Julia would be a life size cutout of one of the Dr. Who characters.

(Don’t tell her about this idea, I want it to be a surprise.)

i-c06836f82d05c9a628acea02fd057349-Dr_Who_Amy_Pond-thumb-150x348-69701.jpgPursuant to this, I looked at the range of characters available and realize this might be too tough of a decision to make on my own. There are so many possibilities beyond Dan Rather.

And then, I realized that a full size cutout figure of something, or someone, would be even better than a cool Halloween costume. A life size cutout of Karen Gillan as Amy Pond in the bushes near the house, or of Justin Bieber looking out the window, or of Dumbledore standing on the stairs so someone sees it when they are getting their candy.

i-1cff49c837b0b4e508338e45a381fb51-Dalek-thumb-150x238-69703.jpgNo, wait, I’m probably not going to get the Justin Bieber one because I don’t like him at all and don’t want anybody getting the wrong idea. And besides, a Harry Potter life size cutout character would be much more Halloween-like. (Well, I suppose a Michael Jackson figure would too, in a morbid sort of way.)

What worries me is that a Dr Who character would, I assume, mostly go unnoticed unless maybe it was a Dalek, and I also had some audio going with it.

i-c1e65657cf39e027dafd1796f27282dd-The_Tardis-thumb-250x368-69705.jpgExterminate … Exterminate … EXTERMINATE!!!!

And then, it occurred to me, that I needed The Tardis cutout no matter what. For the blog cave. I wonder how big it is. Well, I suppose it doesn’t really matter … as long as it is ….

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All images from various Amazon.com ads

Comments

  1. #1 Warren Senders
    October 5, 2011

    Far too many decades ago to remember, I was a temporary secretary for four or five months at the Shorenstein Barone center. Thanks for a trip down memory lane!

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    October 5, 2011

    Warren, when??? I wonder if we overlapped. Of course, I don’t remember exactly when I was there… but it would have been when Kalb was director (87-99) before I graduated (92) and who was that… famous woman may have gone on to NPR or government later … was assistant director.

  3. #3 Warren Senders
    October 5, 2011

    It was probably 1989 or 1990. I mostly worked in Garry Orren’s office, but also did duty for Ronnie Heifetz and a couple of others. I achieved brief notoriety as “the guy who’s cleaning Marty Linsky’s office;” you may recall that it was an extraordinary vortex of entropy. At his behest, I reduced entropy there sufficiently that he was later able to leave the Center entirely and go to work for William Weld. I guess I shoulda stayed in bed.

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