Bentley College (now University)

This blog was born with the start of my search for a PhD program, so that process and the subsequent studies were very well documented here. Eventually, a few months ago I wrote about my master’s experience at Simmons, but I have never written about my bachelor’s degree.

I was living in London when I had to choose university. I really wanted a small liberal arts school in New England to study Business (at the time I did not appreciate that liberal arts and business do not mix that well. That was a mistake, which I can write about in a later post). My final choice was Bentley College (now University), just outside Boston, and what an experience it was!

Bentley was the perfect space for me to bloom. I loved my management courses (not so much my accounting, finance, number courses in general) and I really developed my leadership skills, becoming President of the International Club, International Representative to the Student Government, and finally Student Government Representative to the Board of Trustees, where I met Jere Dykema, my first mentor. I also grew into my art appreciation, spending Saturdays at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and what little pocket money I had on Season Tickets to the Boston Ballet, DJing the Classical Music Program at the College radio station WBTY “Sunday Night at the Pops”, writing a weekly column in the Vanguard newspaper, playing soccer with the International Club, establishing the Model United Nations program, debating the Oxford Union, and generally just walking around, taking in the history, architecture, and vibe of all the different Boston neighborhoods.

But the most important part of my university days was the connections and friends I made. Most of my best friends to this day I met in college –you know who you are. I also made great relationships with professors, like Aaron Nurick who would become a mentor, and with administrators like the great Bob Minetti.

In conclusion, yes university is about education and learning, but more importantly, at least in my case, was to grow as a person and to make lifelong friends.

La Grande Belleza (The Great Beauty) 2013

La Grande Belleza

Thanks to Film Club, I am seeing many more films now than I have in years . Having said that, I really do not want to make antonioyrocinante into a film blog, there are enough of those already.

But I just saw La Grande Belleza, (yes it is a 2013 film, I am a bit slow) and I have to tell you about it – beware, there might be spoilers.

This is an exquisite film, as beautiful as Rome, the city where it is filmed: exuberant, colorful, rich, fun… but there is a gaping void in it, a melancholy, sad void represented by protagonist Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella.

You see, all the beauty in the world is sterile, meaningless without love, without a deep spiritual connection. Director Sorrentino is not subtle about this: The film opens with a quote from Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night

Traveling is very useful: it makes your imagination work. Everything else is just disappointment and trouble. Our journey is entirely imaginary, which is its strength.

To drive home that point, the opening scene combines ethereal views of Rome combined with David Lang’s otherworldly song I lie. The fact that the song is in Yiddish should lead you to the great spiritual journeys of Israel, of Job. Life is nothing if not a spiritual journey to yourself, to the divine in you, to your Grande Belleza, Namaste.

Let’s stop there. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or go see the film and then let me know.

On Bow ties

No, I did not always wear a bow tie.

Before I started my professional career I had a bow tie, a single bow tie gifted to me by an old girlfriend who bought it in Barneys, the real Barneys on 19th St. only four blocks from my Chelsea apartment where I lived while I looked for a job in Wall Street in 1987 (Hint: it did not happen, although I did get a great job in Boston a few months later).

I did not even know how to tie it. I had to walk over to Barneys twice before learning how to tie it by myself. Now I can tie it with my eyes closed – literally!

It took a few years for me to get a second bow tie, then a third, a fourth, you know how it goes. Eventually it became a bit of a trademark and developed as my “look”. In crowded conference halls, trade shows, and schools I was the bald guy with the bow tie. Of course, it helps that bow ties are characteristically academic, so wear a bow tie and automatically become more “academic”.

Nowadays I mostly wear bow ties for teaching. An old teacher trick is to have some sort of flamboyant item of clothing to guarantee that your students fixate on you as the most exciting thing to look at in the classroom -keep in mind that you can easily be replaced by a fly buzzing around the room! Surprisingly, this even works at the grad school level where I teach now.

Even the logo for Tonxo Tous, my moonlighting job as a tour guide in Spain is a bow tie!

Occasionally I will wear a regular tie to mix it up, and for my church ushering job on Sundays at mass, but otherwise it’s bow ties all the way!

So, if you are stuck with what to get me for Christmas, problem solved!

Tonxo Tours update

Here is a mysterious story for you…

If you follow my blog (thank you, I really appreciate it) you know I now have a deeply rewarding, full time job, which means that Tonxo Tours has become a bit of a side gig, which I can only indulge in during a few days at Christmas time and during Summer. I still love sharing my love for Spain, especially Madrid and its surroundings. I also get a kick out of promoting it. I love taking photos to put up on the Instagram (tonxotours) and I also love recording short videos explaining bits of Madrid which I also post to Insta and to the Tonxo Tours YouTube site. Here are a couple of my recent clips, and you can watch the rest here!

The videos are not great quality, in fact they are all home made with little to no edits, because I believe the story is what matters here, so unless you are a video snob, enjoy!

So, if you are in Spain for Christmas or Summer, hit me up and I would love to show you around!

Here is a quick one with a special guest: my niece!