Friday, May 20, 2011


Ah, spring. The herald of many lovely things: blossoming flowers, sunny evenings relaxing on the porch with a lager, asparagus feasts aplenty, and around here, commencement at Penn. Usually, this doesn't mean too terribly much to me aside from a huge wave of Penn parents discovering the wonders of our gelato, but this year, my wife Carrie finished her Masters degree in urban planning. CONGRATS, CARRIE! Both her parents and mine came to town, from Sioux Falls, SD and Seattle, WA respectively, we had a huge party, and we also attended the general commencement ceremony, which was quite the spectacle. It was exciting to see how many of our departing regulars cap off their year. The commencement speaker was none other than star of the silver screen Denzel Washington.

I'm not huge on fawning over celebrities, but Mr. Washington presented himself in a very humble and genuine manner, which I truly appreciated. It made it all the more hilarious when many of the other speakers at the cerimony continuously praised all facets of his oeuvre, including when the chancellor repeatedly cited one of his most recent cinematic efforts, UNSTOPPABLE, which I would categorize as one of his lesser achievements, disingenuously as "one of [her] new favorite classics", listing it alongside films such as CASABLANCA and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. Why not sing the praises of his other classics, like FALLEN or THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123? At any rate: it was rather hilarious to watch Denzel's downcast face on the Jumbotron as other speakers dropped reference to several movies of which he was obviously not too proud. Unsurprisingly, his speech was largely about embracing your failures to learn what you are capable of.

If you're reading this, Mr. Washington, you may want to follow your own advice and stop doing pictures with Tony Scott.

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