Bus route

I’m at the M79 bus stop on Amsterdam Avenue, where the bus has to hang a left turn before heading crosstown. An elderly couple walks up to the stop, haltingly, looking around a lot, loitering in the street.

Her: “Is this the bus stop?”

Him: “Yes, it is.”

“Do you think this is the one that goes across town?”

“Yes, this is it.”

“It’s a funny stop.”

“I guess it is.”

They look around some more.

The wife turns to me. “Does this bus go across town?”

“Yes,” I say, “this is the crosstown bus.”

“Thank you,” she says.

She turns back to her husband, who looks at her, impassively.

Her: “I believed you…!”

Helpful cashier, I

The lottery is $202 million tomorrow. On the way out of work I stopped in the little shop in my office building to give it a shot.

“One Powerball ticket, please,” I asked the manager behind the counter.

“A winning one?” he asked.

Hey, Master DJ

As the parents of two perceptive and opinionated children, my wife and I grant a substantial amount of self-determination in their young lives. So when, on a lengthy road trip, our seven-year-old son asked to control the iPod, I saw no reason not to hand it to him. We stretched the cord as long as it could go, I handed over the iPod—a Classic model, with 17,000 songs on it—and he started exploring from the back seat.

The result, blasted into the car after a minute or two of silence: AC/DC’s “Caught with Your Pants Down.”

This track immediately became the soundtrack to our vacation. “Can I DJ?” followed by a big guitar riff and, roughly a minute later, lots of laughter at the chorus.

Our story would end here, with a smirk, were it not for our four-year-old, who, of course, also asked to DJ, and who, it should be noted, is a very good reader already. The first time he got ahold of the iPod, he clicked into albums, directly into Genesis’s “Abacab” (thanks, alphabetization!) and landed on “Keep It Dark.” Nice choice. He decided he liked the song and played it several times, not least because he knew how to find it.

His second track: “Rape Me.”

We’re thinking on the next road trip we’re going to have to bring the kids’ iPod with us.

Leading with paper

Me, 2001: Paper. Rock. “You went paper! No one opens with paper—that’s unprecedented!”

Tokyo, 2005: “Christie’s was the winner: scissors beat paper. It will sell most of the major paintings in its evening sale of Impressionist and modern art on Wednesday. It hopes the star of the group, Cézanne’s “Large Trees Under the Jas de Bouffan” (1885-1887), will sell for more than $12 million.”

Shows what I know.

In this activity, everybody wins

New York Times: In a Game of Shirts and Skins, They’d Be the Skins. Hamilton College has a “team” of streakers that, rather than just run across its own quad in the buff, has invaded Middlebury College and Colgate recently.

“We kept referring to ourselves as a team,” said Craig Moores, a senior studio arts major, “and then it dawned on us that if we were truly a team, we’d have to have away games.”

And with that, I’m off to China. See you in December.

Anecdote (true story)

Guy works at Citibank as a full-time employee with insistent bosses. His wife is about to have their baby and he sets aside time off to be a good husband and new dad.

The time comes, the wife goes into labor, and Citibank calls him into work! He has to spend the day in the office with just an hour or so granted for him to run back to the delivery room and see mother and child. The following day he gets brought into work again, this time for a meeting.

When all was said and done, mom and dad had a happy new baby boy.

They named him Chase.

More Emerson fan mail

From: Bill

Hello, Emerson…

(Can I just call you Ralph, or would you prefer R. Waldo?) You sound like a great gadget, and I’m definitely in the market for a good lightly-used micro; you’re even located walking distance from me; but I need more info. Do your owners have a photo, or any measurements? I realize that sounds a little personal, but don’t take it the wrong way…

Update, January 29: This person bought Emerson and reports back that it (he?) “works tremendously.” Enjoy, Bill.

Emerson, the most popular microwave on the Internet

Emerson is getting fan mail:

From: UserC6999

Baby, you have either to much time or your hands or have taken too many drugs.

But I did LOVE Emerson, I hope he finds love and a new, loving home.

From: etie

Just came accross your ad in craigslist. I am not interested in Emerson although he sounds like a real fine micro and I hope he found a good home.

From: UserC6999 (separate message)

Now, I’m starting to worry about him. What if no one buys him, will you abandon him, like an old Trojan wrapper….to the garbage…doesn’t he DESERVE BETTER?

I know some drug crazed woman who might offer him a home…..a warm and loving spot where he would become a “family” member….not just……garbage

Maybe my friend was right—I should have listed it under “pets.”