Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Florida Man So Far

Florida man wrestles puppy from alligator’s jaws in video. Florida man crashes golf cart, blames Trump. Florida man sets hospital bed on fire to get nurse’s attention. Florida man asks cop to help him start scooter he was trying to steal. Wal-Mart evacuated after Florida man found crawling through ceiling. Florida man drives lawnmower on highway. Florida man steals ambulance from hospital, drives it into mud. Florida man impersonates FBI agent, harasses homeowner, leaves several live catfish on driveway. Florida man hides meth in belly button. Florida man caught on camera licking doorbells. Florida man tries to resist arrest by singing karaoke. Florida man wearing bonnet and flower dress steals baby formula. Florida man caught stealing from Kmart days after buying $8 million private island. On release from prison, Florida man burglarizes cars in prison parking lot. Florida man breaks into home, sucks on sleeping man’s toes. Florida man accused of groping 6 people at Disney Water Park, blames broken glasses. Florida man breaks into home, cooks breakfast, tells owner to go back to sleep. Florida man gets beat up by Easter Bunny. Florida man shot by police while eating man’s face. Florida man calls 911 multiple times asking them to bring him ice cream and liquor. Florida man threatens destruction with his army of turtles. Florida man arrested for assault with ketchup. Florida man bitten while trying to get alligator drunk. Florida man wearing bucket on head breaks into pet store, steals pigeons. Florida man steals $30,000 in rare coins, redeems at Coinstar for $30. Attempting to rob church donation box, Florida man’s arm gets stuck. Florida man attacks with machete in argument over squeegee. Florida man brings sword to gun fight. After winning cockroach eating contest, Florida man dies, asphyxiated by roach exoskeletal material lodged in bronchial tubes.

Have some deadpan with your coffee. Check out Idiocy, Ltd. You will laugh dust.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Salinger, Briefly

Everybody’s read The Catcher in the Rye. Which is unfortunate in a way. It’s one of those Books with a Big Idea on Society (TM), and though the Big Idea was maybe striking in the 1950s, since the ‘60s, well, we’re all pretty much one version or another of Holden Caulfield. But the real reason it’s unfortunate is that this first novel is not Salinger’s main work. Who would bother to reread the book unless he had to?

Rereading Salinger this past month convinces me that The Catcher in the Rye really needn’t be read at all. For those who haven’t read Salinger, I’d suggest just skipping it. The worthwhile Salinger is Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey—where, of course, the Glass family appears in all its messy glory.

Salinger’s main achievement came in chasing about his child prodigies, the Glass children, staging their cognitive sophistication against the background of their oddly normal New York childhoods. But his theme isn’t just gifted kids in a messy home. Elder brother Seymour’s religious quest, the way it impinges upon his brilliant younger siblings, adds the third key element of tenson. Through most of the work, Seymour himself is absent, dead in fact, but nonetheless drives the others. The final pages of Franny and Zooey wonderfully cement his stature as teacher.

These three elements (sibling child prodigies + rough and tumble New York + serious religious quest) make for a tough balancing act. And it’s this, I’d say, that makes Salinger’s last published work Seymour—An Introduction a failure for most readers. I.e., unlike the rest, it doesn’t balance. Narrator Buddy Glass, bubbling with juvenile energy in the verbal register, is simply not convincing given that at the time of narration he is in fact a pudgy 40-year-old academic. The takeaway: Salinger can give his children a virtually impossible sophistication—it definitely works—but he can’t make an adult, in this case Buddy, a convincing childlike voice.

Still Sallinger’s last volume is worth reading: Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour have their high points: some of the character portraits in the former; Seymour’s literary life, his poetics, in the latter. But yes, long stretches of Seymour (the attempts to describe his appearance) shouldn’t have seen print.

Many Salinger fans regret that though he continued writing he didn’t continue publishing. I’m going to guess he knew what he was doing. Any artist knows when his work is just a rehashing of things he’s done better before, and he knows not to impose that rehashing on the world. Unless that artist is a rock band.

To conclude: Start with Nine Stories, then read Franny and Zooey. The rest mostly pales in comparison. Leave Holden Caulfield with his gripes on the shelf: Holden is a period piece and, for us, almost ancient history. His society is no longer ours, a fact we should regret. Why? The “fakes” Holden had to deal with were not, like our current fakes, dangerous to life, limb and basic liberty.

Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Poseidon Retires “Transitory”

Your sister, Laodamas, is a dividend aristocrat, but I’m afraid I must abstain. I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, and Ithaca is my goal.

We embarked from the dusty plains of Troy, the tailwinds sped us on. Perhaps it was that led us to fall for the Lemonade hype. We awoke hungover on the coast of Ismarus, wailing Cicones approaching with spears. Maybe Upstart?

Polyphemus had the foresight to shift into commodities, but he didn’t see it through. If you know what I mean.

Frothy valuations carried my fleet across the wine dark wastes. But we ignored PE, ended scuttled in a sheltered harbor, our vessels smashed by hungry Laestrygonians.

Many a shipmate was cooked on a spit, eaten before my eyes.

Zeus still didn’t taper.

We came to the floating island of Cramer, whose wind gave us hope for a time, then blew us back. To the floating island of Cramer.

Circe and her maids gave us cheer and the delta variant. Natural emergence or lab leak? Porcine transformations notwithstanding, we guessed the latter.

Hades, Inc. has a wide moat, even Ocean. Does a vigorous business with vigorless clients. The blind CFO leaked us some Inside Info.

Back in Aeaea. Should I stay? I don’t stay.

We skirted the sweet song of Crypto, and soon the Straits came into view.

Talk about a supply-chain crunch! A huge octopus to one side, a yelping six-headed crab to the other.

We made it through, only to be stranded with the IPOs of the Sun.

I told my men to lay no finger upon them, but their semi stocks dragging, they bit.

Finally I was alone, adrift. I washed ashore on Ogygia, half dead. Calypso of the braided tresses nursed me back to health, offered me eternal youth and a simple Index ETF like SPY. I declined.

For Penelope my wife and Ithaca—rugged, brave Ithaca!

Oh if only I’d tasted that lotus.

I’ve now a third in cash, Eumaeus, waiting for the crash. Then I go back in.


Check out Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.