Don’t miss Ben’s favorite poem “about working and love and Wagner and Cadillacs.”
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Other topic: Is The Great Gatsby about money or about love? Or is it about the worship of money, which in Fitzgerald’s eyes was the American religion? Isn’t Fitzgerald really all about money?
Other topic: Do today’s students even read Fitzgerald? If not, what can they read that remotely compares with Fitzgerald? Or does asking the question show a hopeless antiquity in taste on my part?
Other topic: Why does anyone even bother to write novels when none of them can come even close to Fitzgerald? Well, that’s not true. Philip Roth and Saul Bellow and Herb Gold at their best are awfully good. Still, the decline in novel-writing skills is palpable and pitiful.
It’s fun talking to Phil. He’s smart and extremely well informed.
Finally, we dragged our carcasses out of the house and headed for the open road. Or, sort of open.
We made excellent time getting down to Rancho Mirage, but I am bound to say that when we got to our favorite shopping center here, it was a depressing sight. There is so much empty storefront it scares me. There are so few shoppers that it’s worrisome. It’s getting really sad.
Then, swimming at night under the stars. That was nice. I was up a lot of the night feeling ill, maybe from some ancient leftovers I had. Well, who cares? I am a one percenter, destined for the ash heap of history. My stories are stories of the discredited parasites and looters of the rapacious free market system, where the freedom is just slavery for the poor students. I just hope before I am shot I can help the students get their loans canceled.
That might atone for my having a swimming pool.
UP AND OUT to a dermatologist to have some moles and skin tags removed. I think this guy might have been working with Adbusters, the anti-Jewish group who started OWS, that says it’s just anti-Israel. (“Tell me another,” as Diane Keaton says when her Arab terrorist lover says they aren’t anti-Semitic in the movie, the great movie, The Little Drummer Girl.)
This doctor left me with four fewer blemishes (I hope) but with searing pain all over my neck. That’s not good.
As I lay in bed afterward, contemplating my (well-deserved for being pro–free market) pain, I looked out at my sleeping dogs, and beyond them at the pool and the golf course. How I wish I had the power to allow Occupy The Desert protesters to camp there, leave their feces there, bang drums all night. That’s the kind of work that builds a great world.
But to return for just a moment to sanity, or a heartless one percenter’s view of sanity (actually, I take that back… Warren Buffett told me recently that by his measurements I am barely middle class…), the economy is in such a mess for retirees in particular it’s genuinely cruel. The Fed’s worthless cheap money policy means zero interest for savers. That hits us old people very hard. Plus, only a very confident man or woman counts on the stock market for gains right now.
Our homes, once the rock of our retirement hopes, are now essentially worthless. They have an appraised value. Yes, that is true. But they never sell. So, basically, they are worthless.
Most of us don’t get company pensions. That was the previous generation. Only civil servants get really juicy pensions now—and that won’t last.
So, as my neck feels as if a vampire bit it (no more than I deserve), I had a sudden revelation. Two sudden revelations: