Monday, January 6, 2014

Random thoughts (1)

I have heard people call a painting by Rembrandt “a Rembrandt,” but I have never heard anyone call a novel by Hemingway “a Hemingway.” Why?

In an office, there’s never enough work surface or ambient light. And there are never enough red pens. By the way, why do people unconsciously steal more red pens than black? Have you noticed that, too?

Peter Yarrow should have been named “Timothy Yarrow.” Two plants.

Some researchers doctor their evidence; maybe that’s why people sometimes call a Ph.D. “Doctor.”

Many a city boasts about the famous people who were born in that city. But those people had absolutely* no choice about where to be born, so their births imparted no honor to the city at all. Seems to me that a city should instead boast about the famous people who died in that city. After all, those people (1) were born there and decided to stay, or (2) decided to move there, or (3) at least decided to visit there. One example of (3) is Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was born in Salem, Massachusetts and died in Plymouth, New Hampshire. He had been lodging in Plymouth during a tour of the White Mountains. His death is commemorated by a plaque (pictured) on the Plymouth common.

When you are having trouble writing a transition, it usually means one of three things: (1) you haven’t clearly thought about the logic and flow of the piece you are writing; or (2) you are bullsh***ing; or (3) you are lying. Never mind how I know this.

Sometimes it seems that a lot of rich Americans want everything immediately – or at the latest, by tomorrow. How do such people obtain highly contested things such as Super Bowl tickets or vacation rentals of Nantucket cottages?

My dry cleaner has a bulletin board covered with tickets for unclaimed orders. One day I joked, “I wonder if any of those are ‘rush’ orders.” In a matter-of-fact tone, he responded, “They all are.” When he noticed my surprise, he explained that some people are always disorganized, and because they are disorganized, they do everything at the last minute. And partly because they do everything at the last minute, they remain disorganized. From this bit of wisdom I inferred that there are also organized people, and because they are organized, they are able to plan well, and so on. It’s better to try to be one of that group.

The Takeaway: Live life. Have a good day.

Due credit: I shamelessly copied the title of this post from my favorite columnist, the incisive Thomas Sowell, who writes a column called “Random Thoughts.”

*I’m not showing off, but I just want to point out that this is an example of a correct use of absolutely. More than 99 percent of the time you hear or read this word, the speaker or writer is using it incorrectly.

See disclaimer.

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