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