Alan had a day off today and Kate didn’t, so it was almost like having a babysitter, except it was daytime and we weren’t going to a movie, and it only cost our tax dollars, not $20 at the end of the evening.
But it was still all romantic ‘n’ stuff — we went to King Books, which I can say may be the best used bookstore I’ve ever been in, and yes, I’m including you, Strand Books. You know you’ve been married a while when you can walk into a place like that, split up immediately and not reunite until an hour or so later, and still be deliriously happy.
Alan got a book on marlinspike seamanship. I got two Elmore Leonards and a John D. MacDonald. The pickin’s on William Wells were thin, but I noticed abundant copies of local journalists’ column collections. When I was writing a column, people would occasionally ask if I’d considered releasing a collection. Never. The people I knew who did so complained bitterly of the extra work, the sales grind and, of course, the boxes and boxes of extra copies in their garage. I own several column anthologies, and with few exceptions, they don’t age well. Like newspapers, in fact. A columnist I knew once said, very perceptively, that he’d rather his work be clipped and hung on refrigerators than anthologized to bore freshman in years after his death. That did not stop him from releasing his own anthologies, but at least he kept the right attitude about it all.
Local boy John DeLorean is dead. Low Culture makes an obvious, but amusing, visual joke.
Fort Wayne has the rep for being America’s stupidest city, but I’d like to nominate its sister city New Haven for the crown, based on this evidence: When Vickey Siles got a check from the Globe Life and Accident Co. last fall, she decided she�d spend it on bills, medicine and some other debts. The check, though, was for only $1. So, according to court documents, here�s what happened: the 35-year-old New Haven resident decided to put it in her typewriter and change a thing or two. When she was done typing over the document�s original face amount, Siles no longer had a check for $1. She had a check for $4 million. And she did what anyone with a $4 million check might do: She went out to cash it.
But Siles apparently never heard what famed gangster Willie Sutton once said about banks being the places where they keep the money. She didn�t take the check to a bank. She took it to the American Cash Express on Coliseum Boulevard East and told a clerk she wanted to redeem it.
Finally, if you must read one thing Schiavo-related today, make it the faboo Dahlia Lithwick:
And what is the overwhelming constitutional value that supersedes each of these centuries-old legal notions? Evidently, Congress has a secret, super-textual constitutional role as the nation’s caped crusaders�its members authorized to leap into phone booths around the world and fly back to Washington in a single bound whenever the “culture of life” is in peril.
UPDATE: And also this, by William Saletan: The point isn’t that Schiavo’s parents are bad or that she’s expressing anything about them. I’m no more qualified to draw such conclusions than you are. The point is that once people like you, me, and Tom DeLay start second-guessing the judges, doctors, and families who know a case firsthand, it never ends. The “culture of life” becomes a regime of ham-fisted political reinvestigation that does for ethics what medieval barbers did for health.
OK, and also Richard Cohen: Sen. Bill Frist watched a videotape last week of Terri Schiavo made by her parents in 2001. He did this in his capacity as Senate majority leader and as a renowned physician. In both roles he performed miserably. As a senator, he showed himself to be an unscrupulous opportunist. As a physician, he was guilty of practicing medicine without a brain.
After viewing the tape, Frist felt confident in questioning the several courts and many doctors who — apparently handicapped by firsthand examinations — had erroneously concluded that Schiavo was in a “persistent vegetative state.”