I’m in the market for a bookcase. I’m always in the market for a bookcase. If you have a bookcase, call me and I’ll at least take a look. In this case, I’m looking for a tradeup — the one piece of furniture that persists “above stairs” in our house from my salad days is an old particleboard p.o.s. bookcase, and I’m ready to be shut of it. I considered painting it — still might, if I can’t find a decent replacement — but would prefer to replace it with something a little nicer. So I’m on Craigslist several times a day, getting reacquainted with my Craigslist luck.
What is Craigslist luck? An example; here is a table Amy Welborn found on her Craigslist (Birmingham, Ala.), for $50:
Look at that thing. It’s gorgeous. Maybe teak? Fifty bucks. Meanwhile, I clickclickclick on linklinklink advertising “bookcase! nice!” and see wrecks that make my particleboard disaster look like vintage Stickley. They’re all asking $80. Or more. And I’d have to drive an hour to find it. Bah.
In all fairness, I have to say all my Craigslist luck hasn’t been bad, but the good stretches were only when I was partnering with someone else. Our filmmaking escapades have all owed a lot to Craigslist, but we must have been piggybacking on someone else’s good luck. I understand people use Craigslist to find jobs; the only writing jobs advertised there are the ones for content farms, where they pay $3 for 400 words. Sex addicts use Craigslist to find so-called casual encounters; if I ever did such a thing, I’d meet an ax murderer.
I do two Craigslist searches when I check — “bookcase” and “grosse pointe.” You never know when someone in your neighborhood will be selling something interesting. And may I just say? Affluent people are the absolute worst to buy secondhand goods from. They think every piece of crap they own is worth a thousand bucks, and all their prices are firm. I saw a woman a couple years ago selling a “brand-new” iPhone for $450. At the time, you could buy one in an Apple store for $400. I sent her an e-mail asking — politely! — what the extra $50 was for. She replied, “Ha ha I already sold it asshole.”
That must have been some case.
Craigslist cut the legs out from under my industry, and now it curses me.
For the record, I think the FDA has better things to do than fret about sodium. However, this line from a LGM post on it gave me a smile:
Conservatives have evidently worked themselves into something of an incoherent snit over the FDA’s plans to limit sodium in processed foods. If I understand the anxiety correctly, a cooperative effort between the federal government, industry representatives and public health experts to gradually (and I would imagine quite modestly) reduce sodium levels over a ten-year period is pretty much the sort of thing that Pol Pot did before depopulating the cities and having everyone gouged to death with bamboo.
Hysteria on the right is going around, however; Lance Mannion finds a hilarious essay in Reason and runs with it. Back when past-life exploration was trendy among Shirley Maclaine types, I observed that everyone who claimed an acquaintanceship with prior lives was a princess or Cleopatra or the king of all druids; where were the anonymous serfs and scullery maids? I believe the same affliction exists on the right, too, as Lance points out:
You know, I always thought it was me and my bad habits of stereotyping and making sweeping generalizations about people, but it’s often seemed to me that there is a type of Conservative of the more corporatist and self-congratulatory “libertarian” bent who believes that the only reason he’s not a titan of industry is that America has gone downhill since, oh, about 1876.
This type seems to think that if he were suddenly blown through a wormhole in time and dropped in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territories just after the Civil War with nothing but the clothes on his back and a Swiss Army knife he’d show up back here a year later, rich as Croesus, having dug a gold mine out of the mountainside with his spoon and fork and corkscrew attachments and incidentally having invented the telephone, the electric light bulb, the internal combustion engine, and time travel.
Actually, Lance is on something of a roll of late. Today, the stunt restaurant and why it’s bad.
Something I’ve long believed about television, Gawker speaks out loud: It’s time for TV’s old guard to retire. As someone between the age of Morley Safer and Lisa Ling, I’m of two minds. While I think it’s admirable many of these folks are still swingin’ decades past conventional retirement age, it’s unsettling to turn on “60 Minutes” and see Andy Rooney, still at it at 91. I thought that figure — Rooney’s age — was an outlandish exaggeration on Gawker’s part, but no. He’s really 91. Of course, I never liked Andy Rooney, and the compliment that always made me wince back in my columnizing days was this: “I like your column. It’s sort of a combination of Erma Bombeck and Andy Rooney.” Gee, thanks.
Hey, look — someone just sent me an invitation to a premiere screening of “You Don’t Know Jack” tomorrow night, a little perk of being tangentially connected to the creative community in the location where it was shot. Too bad I can’t go. Working. To afford my HBO, where the film will eventually screen in my living room. Ah, well.