Smartphone Accidents

First there was the hazard of talking on the phone while driving.  I would say this may have apexed around 2002-05.  Next, there was texting while driving, say 2009-2013.  Now it seems that everyone has their head down at traffic lights.  I looked around at a traffic stop yesterday and saw three drivers surrounding me in three cars all doing the knowing tilt of the head to the lap.  There is so much to do and keep up on on the phones, it appears to be addictive and neurotic to the point of self-implosion.  Anecdotally, I would have to guess that accidents on I-40 are up 35% just in the last year based on the traffic and accidents I'm see on my weekly commute to Raleigh.


The Sofa Centuries

We are living in an age marked by the availability of upholstered bedding and couches to families both rich and poor.  This was never possible on a wide scale prior to the 1800s.

When people speak of our age and time, they will say, "And they were so wealthy nearly every family had a couch on which they could recline like Cleopatra."



A shlemiel is the fellow who climbs to the top of a ladder with a bucket of paint and then drops it. A shimazl is the fellow on whose head the bucket falls. [Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D.-N.Y.), 1986]


Trade Winds

Was it smart for Britain to be isolationist (i.e. Brexit)?  Having seen the havoc rent on their old colony, Jamaica, by the forces of the global economy, does this move portend economic survivalism?

On Cortazar

Stories of Cronopios and Famas

1. Famas - go getters, captains of industry, bourgeois, capable, short-sighted, social (v. natural), cruel, rational,
a. more sympathetic than Esperanzas, less than Cronopios
2. Cronopios - laborers, layabouts, poor, incompetent, poor, playful, natural (v. social), uncultured, odd, emotional,
b. apparent heros of stories
3. Esperanzas - blockheads, middle managers, organized, sedentary, self-absorbed, violent, fear unknown
c. tertiary characters, least developed/sympathetic

Be a Boss

It was unfortunate, but did not matter too much, if the boss was a bastard, a skinflint, a cheat, a no-good, so sharp with his men that one might--God forgive us--doubt he was a Jew.  All that was to be expected of him, was of his very essence as a boss--for a boss, as my mother offhandedly defined the type in a sentence that lighted up for me our instinctive belief in the class struggle--a boss was a man who did nothing himself, sat by idly, enjoying himself, and got rich on the bitter toil of others.  It was far more important to us that the boss be successful, full of work to give out.  Let him be mean, let him be unspeakable, let him be hateful--he kept us alive.

From "A Walker in the City", Alfred Kazin