- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Oh, Jodie

"She's won two Oscars and played everything from a child prostitute to an FBI trainee, but Jodie Foster felt there was something missing from her repertoire. 'I've always wanted to be a villain,' she says. However, Sister Assumpta, the peg-legged, motorcycle-riding nun she plays in 'The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys' … 'is a real person, not a James Bond villain,' she hastens to add… .

"Foster, 38, says her supporting role as a nun who terrorizes her students tapped a part of her that only the victims of her on-set jokes have seen before… . Foster says that 'Altar Boys' is the kind of small, quirky, personal film she wants to concentrate on developing from now on… . 'I think you realize that you serve best as a producer by doing things that are your style, with your signature, and you can leave the other stuff to everybody else. "Titanic," or something like that, I couldn't make.' "

Al Weisel, writing on "All in a Day's Work," in the November issue of Premiere

Dating etiquette

"Much to the disgust of those who would remold human nature, men and women keep acting like, well, men and women. For instance, men ask for dates and women accept. (Or reject, as men sometimes learn, to their mortification.) Men swing by to pick women up for the date; men pay the bill and walk or drive their dates home … [say] Mary Riege Laner of Arizona State University and Nicole A. Ventrone of Mesa Community College …

"First dates are 'highly predictable,' write the authors, and 'strongly gender stereotyped.' In 1998, Laner and Ventrone had surveyed 103 college men and 103 college women from a large Southwestern university about typical behaviors on a first date… Overwhelmingly, men and women believe that a man asks a woman for a date rather than vice versa; a woman waits to be asked for a date; a man picks up his date; a man pays the bill; a man opens doors; a woman goes to the bathroom to primp; and a man walks or drives his date home… .

"There are similarities of course; men and women are both likely to groom themselves, select clothes for the date and talk about the date with friends. But the differences are stark and point to a 'predominantly traditionalist orientation' of young people despite the best egalitarian efforts of their instructors."

From "Men Still Ask, Women Still Answer" in the September issue of the Family in America

Civil lives

"A 13-year-old seventh grader in Fort Gibson, Okla., was a straight-A student, popular with his classmates, belonged to a teen Christian group and school organizations and had a lot of friends. When asked why he decided to pull a handgun in front of his school before classes and randomly start shooting his classmates, he replied 'I don't know.'

"This was about the same time in life when George Washington was writing his rules of civility. Perhaps if this young Oklahoma boy had been more concerned with carrying a younger or handicapped child's books or opening a door for a teacher, this tragedy would never have happened… .

"And what do rules of civility have to do about the tea in China? Foreigners noted that even though George Washington never traveled to Europe like his stepbrothers, he had the charm and poise and stature not only to be a diplomat but also to command attention and build a reputation.

"In the ruinous days of the War of 1812, while the British were pillaging and burning Washington, D.C., and our president's White House, an enraged American onlooker shouted to British Admiral George Cockburn, 'If General Washington had been alive, you would not have gotten into this city so easily!'

" 'No, sir!' Cockburn retorted. 'If General Washington had been president, we should never have thought of coming here.' "

Henry C. Wheelwright, from his new book, "Rules of Civility for the 21st Century"

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