The six around the table were all highly educated and literate, but only one—the spouse—knew the correct pronunciation of “pyramidal,” with the accent on the second syllable—“pi-RAM-i-dl.” I was not sure that I had ever heard or read the word before. Then the next day I saw it in each of the first two chapters of George Orwell’s 1984. I have been looking for some special meaning in these events but have failed.


“In any case, in talking about the past we lie with every breath we take.” William Maxwell, So Long, See You Tomorrow.


I went to my first Bach at One concert of the season. It was understandable, but I still felt chagrined, that now I had to go through a metal detector to get into St. Paul’s Chapel. I was surprised, but not all that chagrined, that this time no offering plate was passed during the performance.


I wish I had taken a picture of a group of pubescent boys walking across the Brooklyn Bridge as they passed a photo shoot of a six-foot blonde model.  They tried not to stare, but they failed. I, too, tried not to stare.


Why, if the score is tied after nine, do people say the game is going into extra innings? Isn’t it going into an extra inning? Only if the game goes into the eleventh is it extra innings.


“We are all refugees from our childhoods.” Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.


I just watched The Darkest Hour, the movie about Winston Churchill in the early days of WWII, and I noticed what I had not seen before in movie credits. Towards the end of these credits, it said (I did not have the time to write down the exact words), that the use of tobacco in the film (Churchill constantly puffed a cigar and others smoked cigarettes) was for historical accuracy and was not intended to promote smoking. That disappointed me because I was going to justify my cigar smoking by referring to The Darkest Hour.


He said his name is Louis. He is in the Coast Guard. His father is a retired military man—twenty years active duty, thirteen years of reserves–from Minnesota near Fargo. His father commanded a tank corps in the Gulf War. His mother was born in Germany. She met his father when he was stationed there. Louis misses the beer and bratwurst of Germany. He said that he hoped to live in Germany again. He likes Texas barbecue. Louis said that when his four-year Coast Guard stint was up he wants to be a Texas state trooper. Louis said he “idolized” his father. After the drydock was completed, Louis’ ship would be sent again to interdict drugs off the South American coast. Louis asked me if I knew of a nearby strip club. Louis is an American. His is an American family.

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