What do you look like?

I am distracted by trying to imagine the descriptions of people in a magazine article:

"A fit, taciturn man in his early sixties who looks like a retired astronaut and dresses like a real estate agent..."

"...he has the face of a wise old janitor at a local high school who lets the kids sleep in his office and finds them jobs raking leaves."

"Hawkishly handsome, [he] dresses like a jazz piano player, in a black turtleneck and elegant gold chains that dangle from his wrists."

From the article "Buried Suns - The past and probable future of America's nuclear-testing program" by David Samuels in the June 2005 Harper's.

Life lessons

Finally finished relocating from condo to temporary apartment to new condo. I learned this much:

When you're looking for a real estate agent to sell your condo and you call the one located on the same street where you live, and she asks how to spell the street where you both are at that moment, it's a good idea to interview another agent.

When the cable guy comes over and in the course of installation asks for, and uses, a butter knife (and takes a chunk out of its tip), consider questioning the preparedness of the technician.

There should be three of these items but I didn't learn anything else. Wait: I bought Caffeine-free Pepsi by mistake and now have this endorsement: Caffeine-free Pepsi: It's not as bad as you might have thought.

Let's be friends

Mimi Smartypants recently wrote (4/26/05) about bonding with strangers on the bus who had been speculating about the awful things Michael Jackson must have done to children. The point was that it seems strange that talking about such terrible things can bring people together. Kinda like that, I made friends in college one year by agreeing with strangers in my dormitory about what a jerk my roommate was.

I walked past a room and two guys and a girl were talking about somebody's moist, disgusting appearance and obnoxious behavior. I lingered in their doorway long enough to confirm what I thought, and introduced myself by saying, "I know, he's my roommate." They responded with many sympathetic comments and we hung out and had fun together for the rest of the year.

Later that school year I embarrassed myself with respect to the disgusting roommate, whom I'll call George. Out of politeness or conflict-avoidance, I never told George that I thought of him as a glistening, revolting nuisance. I moved to a single room within the dorm at my earliest opportunity, which was nice, and I disassociated myself from George. Working on a campus magazine, I submitted a short story, one of a few attempts to be funny in print at school. It took until a couple weeks after it was published, and only then did I realize that the person who dies at the end of the story was my unedited, ugly portrait of George. Talk about writing as therapy. Jeez, it was so obvious, and I didn't realize it the whole time I was typing the thing out. Nobody called me on it, which I attribute to the low circulation of the magazine.

According to Google, twenty years later, my three friends are now doctors, scattered across the country, and George is on a list of donors to a local charity. Hm.

The Newsroom

From a 2004 episode of The Newsroom, in which we see pompous TV news anchorman Jim Walcott on his local broadcast:

Jim: ...and now with sports, I'd like to welcome a new member of our team. Live from the Skydome, Chandra Berman. Welcome aboard, Chandra.

Chandra: It's great to be here, Jim.

Jim: Great to have you, Chandra. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm thinking you must be pretty tired of people reminding you that you have the same first name as Chandra Levy. Am I right?

Chandra: Well, that doesn't happen a lot.

Jim: Well, she was a terrific woman and one that will be sorely missed.

Chandra: Uh, Chandra Levy, who was murdered over two years ago, was murdered, I believe, before the public had a chance to know her, Jim.

Jim: Well that's a very good point, and one that might just well be the real tragedy of this story: a public figure's life cut short before the public had a chance to appreciate who she really was. But you know, we all remember her parents so well from the Larry King show, and the suffering they went through night after night on national television, and it's actually almost a tragedy in itself that the body was found, and we won't be seeing the Levys on Larry on a regular basis anymore. You know, their courage was an inspiration to us all. And speaking of inspiration, talk to us about the winning streak that we're on!

From the episode "An Enormous Waste of Time," written and directed by Ken Finkleman, produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.