Literary Review

Just left the Marathon Library. Three thoughts:

1) If I ever write a political book, the title will be “Picking This Book Up Means You Already Believe Everything In It”. All the pages will be blank, except for the occasional instruction, like “Nod approvingly” or “Clunky joke about a political demographic you don’t like. Snort.”. It will cost $30 and be indistinguishable from every other You-Suck-No-You-Suck tome out there.

2) I’m pretty sure that the librarian handling the “Request A Book” pulls from the online catalogue looked at the order sheet and said to the Circulation Desk, “Our two newest titles on financial planning, a paperback about trophy wives who solve mysteries, and a nine-pound book on the physics of time. I’ll go pull the books, you call Al and tell him their books are ready.”

3) Has more potential comedy ever been left on the table that when the author of “Overcoming Dyslexia” settled on his title?

Why I Am Obsessed With Free Wireless Access

“Al you are obsessed with free wireless access”

-kathy, 9/21/2007

* * * * *

“Hi, how much does it cost to use the pay phone?”

“$10 for an hour.”

“But I only need to check my voicemail messages. It’s a local call. It’ll take twenty seconds.”

“I’m sorry, we only have one price.”

“I have to pay $10 to use twenty-five cents worth of time?”

“Right.”

“That’s ridiculous. Why can’t I just pay twenty-five cents? I’d be delighted to pay twice that, even. I just need to make one quick call.”

“It’s $10 for one hour. You can use the extra time to call some friends. Or family. Or maybe just call random people and talk to them. Or Moviefone, see what’s playing.”

“But my flight leaves in twenty minutes. Do I bank my extra time?”

“No, we don’t have a way to track that.”

“So if I call Marrakesh and talk to the Ritz concierge about donkey recipes for an hour, it costs $10; and if I call my investment counselor, say ‘yard, parlay, Pats Giants and Cards’, and hang up, it also costs $10.”

“Yes sir.”

“But at the hotel I just left, local calls are free.”

“That’s not our policy sir.”

“Same with the airport I left this morning.”

“Well, here at our airport, and at many hotels, using the phone costs $10 an hour. Except at the hotels where you pay $100 for twenty-four hours phone access. But that’s only for one person. A second person using the phone has to pay again. Unless you take turns using the phone. Plus sometimes we block you from making calls to certain area codes, even after you pay. That’s our policy. As you can see, it’s very reasonable. Wait, what are you doing? Is that a chainsaAAAAAIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHHH.”

Prioritizing

INT., The Original Pancake House, Saturday morning. Me, Luna, my Older Younger Brother, his wife, my niece, and my nephew. We’re at the coffee-refill-and-a-check stage of the meal.

OYB: So what’s on for you today?

Me: Nada, really. You want to go hit a bucket of balls?

OYB: (indicates children) I’ve got these two all day.

Me: Can’t we leave them in the car and crack the window?

OYB: It might be a little cold…

Me: Crack the window and give them each a blanket?

OYB: Huh? Oh, no, I mean, it might be a little cold for us to stand out on the tee.

Reason #4,087 Why I Love Sports Talk Radio

From the best radio show you’re not listening to, weekdays from 3-7pm Eastern. (Also available via download.)

Stugotz: What Antoine needs to do, really, is just keep his weight down in the off-season.

Dan LeBatard: ‘Toine can’t do that. He likes to get his drink on, and he has the same nerve problem I do.

Stugotz: You have a nerve problem?

Dan LeBatard: Yeah. I can control it if I’m not drinking. But after I have three or four drinks, this weird thing happens with my arm.

Stugotz: With your arm?

Dan LeBatard: Yeah. It’s weird. I’ll be with a group of friends, or dancing with a beautiful woman at Mansion, and I have a third drink, and my right arm shoots out and orders nachos.

You Finally Lay Your Burden Down

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned In Grade School

Authority will always let you down.

Terrible things happen for no reason.

Rules exist to improve life for the rulemakers and the majority, in that order. Disregard accordingly.

People do not mature. They learn to hide immaturity better.

Sooner or later, the common wisdom will invariably be proven wrong.

People die or move or grow or for whatever reason disappear from your life. But your life goes on.

“Friend” and “ally” are different things.

Beware those purporting to act in your interest.

Grownups lie.

Follow the money.

If there’s no money, follow the power.

No one has your best interests at heart but you.

Authority admires independence and self-reliance only in theory.

“Go with the flow” means “Shut up and keep your head down”.

Being left alone is better than being championed by someone with temporary congruent interests.

Trust no one.

* * * * *

(Crystallized on reading this bit from Becks. Poor Ben. Twelve more years to daylight, buddy.)

Where Nothing Ever Grows; No Rain Nor Rivers Flow

On the law of unintended consequences:

All throughout my childhood, really until Oprah took notice of AIDS, the big charity was hunger. We took food to school. We raised money for food. We bought preachy holiday music. We listened to famous dogooders lecture us in concert form. We read article after article about the unfortunate children in the Third World, and we took their plight to heart, and we pledged to feed them. And feed them we did. Generously. Lavishly. The whole Western world threw in.

And the reward for the twenty-year outpouring of generosity? Scientific American‘s September issue carries the basic theme: “Everybody on Earth is too fat.” It made me daydream about being the Ghost of Do They Know It’s Christmas Past, getting to put my arm around one of these screeching dogooders, draw him aside and slowly, gently, say, “You told us to feed the world. The world got fed. Extravagantly. What did you think was going to happen?”

I mused on this the other day at Jewel while trying to decide how many things I should pay 10% more to get in pink.