Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The People's Historian passes away

Howard Zinn dies at 87.

Update: When I wrote "More to follow" in a previous version of this post, I meant to link to obits as they come in and probably write a few lines myself on someone whose works are among my all-time favorites. I definitely wasn't expecting JD Salinger to follow suit the same day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I can drive, But...

Friday afternoon. Phone rings. I glance at it. Look at watch. 2 PM. I look at the phone again. It says Bill alright.

As long time readers know by now, we don't generally call each other before 8 as we do not have to decide who is picking up dinner until then. If one of us is calling the other at 2, one of two things is likely - a) someone died b) one of us is in labour. Neither of which are probable at this point in time. I am puzzled. I answer.



"Everything alright?"

"Of course everything is alright. In fact, its such a nice day, isn't it?"

"Do you live in the same country as I do?"

"Oh well, as far as this country can go, this is a great day no?"

"In Cambridge, it might be. Here, it is not"

"Well, I think its a great day"

"Good for you"


"So what's up?"

"Nothing really"

"You just called to say that its a great day?"

"Shouldn't I?"

"Okay, enough. What do you want?"

"Nothing. I don't lack for anything"

"I should know that. Since I fund everything"

"Ya ya"

"So what's going on?"

"Nothing. Can't I just call?"

"Are you alright?"

"I told you I am feeling great"


"Hey, I was thinking..."


"We should get out of town or something. Go somewhere North"

"Dude, where have you been living the last few weeks?"

"Lets not worry about the weather and such nonsense. Don't you think it would be really nice to get some fresh air?"

"Where are you thinking of going?"

"I don't know. Anywhere. Lets just go and see the country types"

"See the country"

"Yeah, won't it be great? Its been ages since we went on a roadtrip and got lost and all that jazz"

"Even if you disregard the weather and I don't know how you can, you know bloody well my American license exp...oh wait"


"Your driving test"

"I thought you'd never ask"

"You passed in your first attempt?"

"What do you think?"

"Dude, six attempts in Pittsburgh, one in London? I don't believe that"

"You can believe what you want. I got a piece of paper which says I can drive in this country. Which is more that what I can say for some other people"

"Ah, so you called to gloat"

"Nothing. I was just saying..."

"So when do we go on this trip?"

"What trip?"

"Roadtrip. Somewhere North you said"

"The weather sucks, doesn't it?"

"In this country you should just disregard the weather"

"Of course you can't. What if we get stuck somewhere?"

"But I thought you wanted to go"

"I do but I think we should be prudent and wait for the weather to improve"

"How long do you think that would take?"

"I don't know"

"Why do I have a feeling that would be about the time I manage to get my license renewed?"

"Darling, I've got to go. See you later"

Monday, January 04, 2010

My American Friends not so much about American friends as it is about the British.

Imagine how different this is likely to be if this was an American writing about his / her British friends.